World-renowned yacht designer Ed Dubois passed away

edduboisEd Dubois, leading designer of Dubois Naval Architects died at the age of 64. Following a period of illness last year, he had been in better health and had been working on new projects until he was admitted to hospital. Before passing away, Dubois was designing a yacht scheduled for launch in spring next year: the 190ft Royal Huisman Ngoni, nicknamed “The Beast” because of her 233ft rig.
His company assured that the business would continue. Peter Bolke, senior designer who has been in the group for 23 years, has become managing director with immediate effect.
The company added: “With one of the industry’s most innovative 58m yachts currently in build and a number of similarly ambitious projects in the design stage, Ed left the business at an exciting moment in its development.
“Peter and his team will be supported by Ed’s great friends, Richard Cunningham and Andrew Prynne QC, Ed’s friend for 50 years.”
Born in London in 1952, as a child he discovered the feeling he called “being propelled by the wind across the water”, and he soon started designing and building model yachts, which he sailed on the pond in Kensington Gardens. Not only was he a passionate yacht designer, he was also a competent sailor and enjoyed offshore racing.
Dubois trained as a naval architect at Southampton and designed small yachts, making his mark with an offshore racer, the Police Car, a 42ft craft that raced in the two-ton class, for Australian owner Peter Cantwell. She debuted in the 1979 Admiral’s Cup as part of a winning Australian team.
Eddie Warden Owen, chief executive of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, said: “Police Car threw him into the yacht racing limelight which his upbringing and personality was more than equipped to enjoy and exploit so that throughout the 1980s he became one of the designers of choice for those who wanted to win the Admiral’s Cup.”
“His design of Victory of Burnham for Peter de Savary, which was a team member in the British team that won the 1981 Admiral’s Cup, propelled Ed Dubois into the heady world of the America’s Cup, designing a 12 metre yacht for De Savary’s 1983 America’s Cup campaign.”
Later on, Dubois was commissioned his first superyacht, the 37m Aquel II, built in New Zealand by Sensation Yachts. His praised career in yacht design included the successful Clipper 68s, the tough boats used by Clipper Ventures for four ocean races from 2005-12. Alongside with sailing yachts, his company was also renowned for many sail and motor-powered superyachts, such as the 152ft Feadship Kiss, launched last year.
A regatta named after him, the two-day Dubois Cup, established in 2007, is part of his legacy and sees classic designs from the studio compete every two years.
Dubois was awarded an honorary doctorate in design by Southampton Solent University in 2004 and was a fellow of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects and Royal Academy of Engineering.