Jim Taylor Yacht Designs is fast approaching its 40th year. I have often described my business as being supported by a three legged stool of new ‘one off’ designs for individuals, new production designs for companies to build in some quantity, and consulting work (optimizations and alterations) on existing boats. The weight carried by any one of these has varied over time (the financial upheaval of 2007-2009 led some owners to upgrade boats they already owned rather than building new ones), but the primary focus has always been, and continues to be, on developing new designs.
Looking back, the variety in size and type represented among nearly four decades of new designs is remarkable. The smallest on the list is a 13 ft youth trainer, and the largest (as a design team member) is a 78 ft America’s Cup winner. In terms of numbers of fully developed designs, most have been in the 35 and 45 ft range that I consider the ‘sweet spot’ for boats that are big enough to stand up to rough conditions offshore, but not too big to handle comfortably shorthanded. In terms of most boats produced to my designs, the average size is far smaller, of course, as there are many thousands owned by people who enjoy their sailing in much smaller, less expensive boats. The split between racing and cruising designs tilts a bit towards racers, and there have been plenty of racer/cruisers blurring the distinction in between. Most importantly, the primary characteristics that form the essential DNA of all of my designs, big or small, racer or cruiser, are (in no particular order) that they perform well, they be responsive, lively and fun to sail, and that they look good aesthetically. There is no excuse for an ugly boat, ever, and if an owner does not feel good looking back at his when he leaves her at the mooring, he needs a new one!
Short term success on the race course attracts lots of attention, and thanks to a number of great owners and crews, my designs have earned plenty of that, (See ‘About: Racing Highlights’). However, I think I am most proud of the fact that my designs have proven to be good all-around sailboats that people can enjoy in all sorts of different ways, long term. The vast majority of the boats that have been built to my designs are still sailing, and a lot of high end sailors, the likes of Gary Jobson, Lou Pocharsky, Bruce Dyson, Jud Smith, and David Curtis, have owned and enjoyed them. Given all their talent, experience, and connections, the fact that they sought out my boats for their own use is a source of real pleasure and pride.
I often forget that arranging for yacht design services may not seem as simple to potential clients as it seems to me. All of my agreements with clients are carefully detailed to suit their individual goals. I welcome your inquiries, I hope that the guidelines below may be helpful, and that you will contact me if you have questions or would like additional information.