Royal Huisman heartily congratulates naval architect Gerard ‘Gerry’ Dykstra, who received the prestigious...


22 June 2022
Royal Huisman heartily congratulates naval architect Gerard ‘Gerry’ Dykstra, who received the prestigious...

…Lifetime Achievement Award at the Design & Innovation Awards in Milan, in acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to the superyacht industry.

To celebrate Gerry’s achievements, Boat International organized a video presentation for him and the audience attending the ceremony. Alice Huisman, managing director of Royal Huisman from 2003 until 2015, provided her personal experiences based on the various projects undertaken by Royal Huisman together with Gerry and the team of Dykstra Naval Architects. The video message by Alice will be embedded on this page shortly.

Again, congratulations to Gerard ‘Gerry’ Dykstra and Dykstra Naval Architects for this impressive achievement, from the team of Royal Huisman.



Above: Gerry onboard his own first yacht design, BESTEVAER (Royal Huisman, 1976)


Gerard ‘Gerry’ Dykstra, the team of Dykstra Naval Architects and Royal Huisman

Internationally renowned sailor and naval architect Gerry Dykstra began his association with the Huisman shipyard back in 1973, when Wolter Huisman persuaded him to make a tough winter passage to Italy to deliver the recently completed Dick Carter designed BENBOW.

Dykstra’s entry in the 1972 OSTAR (Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race) with Second Life had ended in mast failure. Determined to succeed next time, he asked the Huisman shipyard to build his own first yacht design, BESTEVAER, for the 1976 race. During the building period, Dykstra periodically worked with the Huisman shipyard to help optimize their racing yachts. In the 1976 OSTAR, further mast troubles halfway across the Atlantic forced Dykstra to return to Plymouth for repairs. But he set off yet again to chase the fleet and complete the passage in record time.

Dykstra was then recruited by Conny van Rietschoten as navigator and watch leader aboard the Huisman-built Sparkman & Stephens design FLYER in the 1977-1978 Whitbread Round the World Race (nowadays the Ocean Race), which she won on handicap. In 1980 Gerry skippered the same yacht (competing as FLYING WILMA) in the Jakarta to Rotterdam Spice Race, winning convincingly in sixty-eight days.

Above: FLYER (left) and ENDEAVOUR (right) and Gerry Dykstra


Overview of projects by Gerry Dykstra and the team of Dykstra Naval Architects at Royal Huisman: BESTEVAER, 1976 –  ENDEAVOUR, 1989 – BORKUMRIFF IV, 2002 – ATHENA, 2004 – METEOR, 2007 – HANUMAN, 2009 – KAMAXITHA – PUMULA – undisclosed sloop, 2015 – AQUARIUS, 2018 – SEA EAGLE II, 2020 – AQUARIUS II, current project 408. More information can be found in the overview of all Husiman yachts and craft built since 1884 can be found at this website > Yachts >  Delivered yachts > All Huisman craft since 1884 [click here]

Above (from left to right): ATHENA, Gerry Dykstra, Elisabeth Meyer and Wolter Huisman holding a frame of ENDEAVOUR, BORKUMRIFF IV


The next collaboration between Huisman and Dykstra was the restoration of ENDEAVOUR. The project was enormously successful and led to Dykstra’s long-term involvement with J-Class yachts. Dykstra’s expertise in classic and traditional sailing vessels resulted in him being selected to design the clipper STAD AMSTERDAM – a project for which the advisory committee involved one Wolter Huisman. Three years later, Royal Huisman was commissioned to build another classic design from Dykstra and John G. Alden, the Gloucester schooner BORKUMRIFF IV. Further magnificent ‘classic revival’ yachts followed, including Athena, Meteor, Hanuman, Pumula and Kamaxitha.

The most recent projects of the Dykstra team partnering with Royal Huisman are the modern classic ketch AQUARIUS, the contemporary three-masted schooner SEA EAGLE II and the yet to be launched AQUARIUS II for the owners of AQUARIUS. The owners find their existing yacht ‘close to perfect’, but simply want a larger yacht – with even more impressive performance, by exactly the same team.

Above (from left to right): SEA EAGLE II, AQUARIUS, KAMAXITHA