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Acclaimed yacht designer teaching at University

Press Release – Auckland University

Renowned superyacht and performance sailing yacht designer Ron Holland will be lecturing in The University of Auckland’s new masters programme in yacht engineering. Acclaimed yacht designer teaching at University
Renowned superyacht and performance sailing yacht designer Ron Holland will be lecturing in The University of Auckland’s new masters programme in yacht engineering.

The Master of Engineering Studies in Yacht Engineering, offered by the Yacht Research Unit based in the Faculty of Engineering, is believed to be the first yacht engineering masters degree in the world.

Mr Holland, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s most influential yacht designers, has been involved with the yacht design industry for 37 years. The Ireland-based yacht designer, who was born and raised in New Zealand, has design studios in Kinsale, Ireland, and in Vancouver, Canada.

Director of the Yacht Research Unit Professor Richard Flay says Mr Holland will be taking six lectures focused on the practical aspects of running a yacht design business.

“Ron will be lecturing on how to deal with the business side of the industry including how to set up a yacht-design business, and how to work with the client to achieve a successful outcome.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Mr Holland involved in the masters programme. He’s won numerous awards and been responsible for many innovations within the yacht design industry in the past three decades,” says Professor Flay.

Professor Flay says the one-year programme provides students with technical, engineering, economic, and regulatory knowledge.

“The masters degree is for students who are looking to work as designers or research engineers in the yacht and small craft industry, or the high performance yacht racing sector.”

The University is launching the Masters in Engineering Studies in Yacht Engineering at the 4th High Performance Yacht Design Conference in Auckland this month, which is hosted by the Yacht Research Unit, and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (NZ branch). The conference coincides with the Auckland stop-over of the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race.

• A University-hosted panel discussion on Volvo Open 70 Design and Sailability, is being held with the masters launch at the Viaduct Events Centre in the Latitude Lounge (Level 3) at 7pm on 12 March. Hosted by Peter Montgomery, panellists include Chris Nicholson (skipper, Camper / ETNZ) Tony Mutter (Watch captain, PUMA Ocean Racing) Mike Sanderson (skipper, Team Sanya) Simon Fisher (helmsman, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing), Giovanni Belgrano (Designer, Camper/ETNZ) Ian Campbell (design consultant, Wolfson Uni) Gautier Sergent (sail designer, Groupama sailing team) To register for the panel discussion which is open to the media and the public, visit

Editor notes:

About the Yacht Research Unit

The Research Unit built the world’s first Twisted Flow Wind Tunnel (TFWT) designed to simulate the flow of wind over yacht sails and made famous around the world for its role in Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup victories in 1995 and 2000. Since then it has also been used by many other racing syndicates.

The specialist unit has been involved with all of the teams in the current Volvo Ocean Race. It has carried out detailed sail development studies in the Twisted Flow Wind Tunnel for five of the six teams and provided and supported many of the teams with the VSPARS sail vision system through its spin-off company VSPARS. Graduates and past students of the Research Unit are sailing or designing for some of the Volvo teams. Andrew McLean and Adam Minoprio are on board Camper / ETNZ and Gautier Sergent (Groupama) and Burns Fallow (Camper/ETNZ) are sail designers.

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