In the thirties naval architect Ricus van de Stadt received an order to design a daysailer suitable for series production from door manufacturer Bruynzeel of Zaandam, The Netherland, which had just developed a superior form of plywood. Bruynzeel was of the opinion that his plywood (“hechthout” in Dutch), was superbly suited as building material for sailing yachts.

In 1939 the VALK came into being, proving the plywood from Bruynzeel was eminently suitable. The Valk remains a popular open sailing boat in the Netherlands today and after 75 years there are still Valks sailing from the first production series.

The Valk established Van de Stadt as an innovative yacht designer open to new building methods and materials. He used his hydrodynamic knowledge to design a spade rudder in combination with a fin keel and trim tab.

In 1949 he applied this design to a 12-meter ocean racer: the ZEEVALK, which was also constructed of plywood. Winning the Fastnet Race in her class in 1951, this light construction proved his design philosophy once and for all. It wasn’t until years later though that reputable designers from all over the world hesitantly took to his ideas.

His experience with the new material inspired him to design a sailing yacht that was suitable for self-building. The JUNO was the first ever hard chine cabin cruiser developed especially for do it yourself (DIY) building in 1951. Because of the great success it was followed up by the PRIMAAT, also known as the Buccaneer in the UK, where it is sold by Yachting World.

In 1955 a new and successful One Design dinghy class named STERN was developed. It was the first GRP production boat with a total production of over 3000 boats.

A year later Bruynzeel commissioned an even more extreme hard-chine plywood flyer named ZEESLANG. It was built with a bulbed fin keel, that would not look out of place on a 21st century racer-cruiser.

The first, and possibly most influential, GRP production cabin cruiser-racer in Europe was the PIONIER (1959). Herman Jansen sailed this standard production boat (built in 1965) around the world single-handedly in 1972.

In 1960 the STORMVOGEL was designed, it was the first ultra light, super fast maxi racer made of cold moulded wood diagonal construction. She also had a fin keel and a spade rudder, which contributed to her winning the Fastnet Race in 1961.

The year 1965 marked Van de Stadt’s first design for Dehler, named VARIANTA. It became the most successful family cruiser ever with a total production of approximately 4000 boats. To this day you will find large fleets of Varianta’s competing as One Design cruisers.

The OCEAN 71, launched in 1969, was the largest GRP production boat in the world. A total of 22 yachts were built and in 1970 the very first one built won the two-handed Round Britain Race by two days.

Henry Pigott solo sailed his MIRROR OFFSHORE, with a length over all of less than 6 meters, from England to Brazil and back in 1972.

In 1977 Naomi James sailed around the world in a GALLANT 53. She became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by herself.

In 1984 the multi-chine quick assembly construction for DIY building in steel and aluminium was developed and applied to the design of the VAN DE STADT 34.

In that same year DEHLER DB 2’s dominated the 3/4-Ton Cup in Kiel winning 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th place.

In 1988 the glass-fibre wood core system was created. The FLYING FISH is the first round bilge yacht constructed with this system. This was a new and very easy system for DIY and professionals alike to build a round bilge yacht with the same characteristics as a GRP yacht.

In 1998 Van de Stadt designed The SYLLOGIC 40, a very fast Open 40 racer with a canting mast and a rotating keel built of Carbon-fibre wood core.

Sailing a glass-fibre wood core SAMOA 47, Vinny Lauwers became the first sailor with a disability to solo sail around the world, earning the Australian the Sportsman of the Year award in 2001.

In 2004 the SWING RIG was introduced. This simple yet very powerful rig was successfully tested and applied in the creation of the SWING RIG 51.

In the same year the STADTSHIP 56 was designed. This aluminium yacht with both retractable keel and rudders can dry out very easy without legs.

The Indian Navy built a glass-fibre wood core TONGA 56 and in 2007 sailed her around the world on two occasions, one of which was non-stop.

In 2008 the STADTSHIP 70 was created. This high performance cruising yacht with 1.5 t removable water ballast, offers an excellent sailing performance while being a comfortable and safe passage maker. A remarkable feature of this yacht is the extensive pneumatic system for operating bow thruster, windlass, bowsprit, transom door and water pressure system. The yacht also has hidden airbags which can be used to keep this large yacht afloat in case of emergency.

The STADTSHIP 58 is Van de Stadt’s most recent deck saloon cruising yacht. It was built in 2013 and features a complete deck saloon with panoramic views. With a retractable bulb-keel with a draft of 3.20m, 2t of water ballast and a sail area of 190 m2 this yacht combines excellent sailing performance with lots of comfort.