Published on April 2nd, 2013

Who has more boats built to his/her designs than any designer in sailing history?


Without even doing the arithmetic, it’s safe to say that Bruce Kirby has more boats built to his designs than any designer in sailing history. The 13′ (4m) Laser alone accounts for well over 220,000 boats in three different rig configurations sailing in 140 countries. Add the more than 1,200 San Juan 24s (7.3m) that have been built, not to mention the 800 Sonars (23’/7m).

However, Kirby’s design career and body of work are much more eclectic than these three boats suggest, running the gamut from high-performance International 14 Foot (4.3m) dinghies to America’s Cup 12-Meters, with dalliances into traditional cruising sharpies.

Even more amazing is that as a yacht designer he was entirely self-taught, without the usual apprenticeship program of first working for other designers, or graduating from a known school of naval architecture or any correspondence program in yacht design. Bruce Kirby, by his own admission, was “never any good at math.”


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