A little background – The early years

The “Past Projects” page of my website gives a pretty clear view of my professional background, but I thought I’d roll the clock back a bit further to give those who are interested some insight into what started me down the path of spending a lifetime “messing about in boats”.


I like to believe that boating has always been in my blood. My father spent his career as a Marine Engineer, working for Crowley Maritime, so I guess from a genetic standpoint, you could certainly say that I might have always had a predisposition towards boats.


In 1968, two weeks after I was born, my parents loaded my sister and I aboard their 32′ gaff rigged cutter, the Kyuquot, and set sail from Newport Beach California, for a 5 year adventure which would take us north to Alaska and then South to Panama and the Caribbean, and eventually deposit us in Virginia Beach, Virginia.Kyuquot 1971


At that point I think I was already hooked. My father’s work had us relocating fairly often, but always to port cities where the ocean was never far away. Whether it was Virginia Beach, Jacksonville Florida, Galveston Texas or the San Francisco Bay Area, boats remained a big part of our family’s recreational life. Any sort of watercraft would do.

kyuquot-1971     france-1978

maine-1973     img005

Eventually I became interested in the design of these watercraft. When I went off to university, it was to study Art and Design. The refined eye and knowledge which I gained, I hoped to some day apply to the design and engineering of yachts. I was enough of a realist, however to know that Yacht Design was more than drawing a pretty picture. In fact I felt that it would be irresponsible of me to begin designing boats until I had a better grasp on their structure.

My next step, to that end, after a sojourn in France, was to enroll in the Apprenticeship program at the Maine Maritime Museum. It was there that I began my hands-on education in boat building. That experience led me to gainful employment in the yacht industry and after securing a regular job, I was able to pursue filling what I felt was the last missing gap in my education in Yacht Design. I enrolled at the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology in their Yacht Design program. This would fill in the gaps as far as the technical aspects of hull form and the various materials and structural nuances behind the engineering of yachts.

fair-sarae-1988     isla-mujeres-1990

All of this brings me back around, full circle, to this blog. To me this blog symbolizes the next step in my career. I feel that I’m to the point now that I had first envisioned years ago as I was studying Design at San Diego State University. My true passion lies in the conceptualizing of yachts and their various trappings; coming up with ideas for solving problems and creating dramatic and beautiful, floating but functional works of art. My years of experience now enable me to solve these problems and create these designs with confidence.

My recent realization is that unless I have a platform to describe and propagate these ideas, they are not going to do anyone any good. I hope that this blog will be that platform. My intent is to take my ideas, scribbled in my sketchbooks at home, and present them to the world. I hope that shining some light on some of these ideas will serve as a conversation starter and perhaps lead to a situation where I might see them realized.

Thanks for your support.

Tim Estabrook

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