Rob Doyle is a designer with a creative soul, who draws his lifeblood from the love of the sea he got from his father. His yacht design, naval architecture and engineering Studio is at Kinsale, in Ireland
«I fell in love with boats when I was 12 years old, but the life-changing phone call came when I was 26». This is what Rob Doyle, heir apparent to the world-famous designer Ron Holland, tells us during a pleasant chat about the start of his career, explaining how he ended up running one of the best established design firms on the world yachting scene.
The two friends have worked together for twenty years, a long period that has seen their ideas and designs come to fruition in some of the most admired sailing and motor yachts of all time.
They include the 110ft Blue Too Ketch, his first superyacht, followed by the 45m Marco Polo motor yacht, the 64m Felicita West, the 58m Ethereal, the 78m M5 and the 60m Perseus 3. «That call transformed me into one of the world’s youngest superyacht designers. Ron not only taught me how to design beautiful, high-performance vessels, but above all how to run a design firm. He also taught me the great skill of stress-free design, listening to clients and adapting my designs to their requirements».
When he was just a boy, his father told him stories about his races in the seas off the Irish coast. «It’s funny how everything comes around again», smiles Rob. «My father raced in a Holland boat». The young Rob also competed for the first time against a boat designed by his future mentor. Doyle went on to graduate from the Southampton Institute of Higher Education, which is now Solent University.
He got his first job as a naval architect with Rodger Martin, a famous raceboat designer based in Newport, Rhode Island. Doyle’s work is a constant challenge: seeking out, studying and finding the best solutions for launching top-performance sailing and motor yacht.
Rob Doyle confesses that the spirit with which he takes on these challenges originates from his first job, which has stayed in his heart: a Quest 30
produced by Rodger Martin. «That was the first time I saw my designs become reality». However, it is on the water, with the regattas in the Maxi circuit, that his knowledge is really consolidated. This experience has enriched his work and is not something all designers can boast of having in their curriculum. Just as he turned 26, Rob started working with Holland: «At the time», he explains, «the firm was made up of just me, Ron and the secretary. It was a real baptism of fire for me».
From the past to the present and the future, Rob Doyle has produced and continues to come up with a series of projects and ideas for sailing and motor yachts. When it comes to motor yachts, he concentrates all his naval architecture efforts on optimising navigation comfort in all sea conditions and boat performance.
«As regards the design», Rob Doyle explains, «most effort is focused on the use of materials to create innovative, eye-catching lines and new propulsion systems that permit great flexibility in engine room positioning. For sailing, on the other hand, everything is focused on creating more volume. We shape the hull so as to achieve more spacious environments for guests and on-board toys, while maintaining speed for participation in international regattas. Thanks to the use of new materials, we are also studying innovative systems able to guarantee complete on-board safety when sailing. We want to come up with vessels with a top deck free from equipment and mechanisms, so that guests can enjoy them in complete freedom, without any risks or danger».
Our chat comes to an end and when we ask him to tell us about his family, his life and what he likes doing, his reply is exactly what we would have expected:
«I like doing my job. I’ve never woken up feeling anxious about having to go into the office. I devote all the rest of my time to my family. I enjoy the sea, my sailing yacht and the wonderful nature to be found in the place where I am lucky enough to live, in the company of my wife Emma and our three children Beau, Rio and Cash».