Marine Classics
Marine Classics
Boat Designers
and Builders

0844 850 1940

Boat Design History

 The origins of the ‘runabout’ style of classic motor launch begin around 1890-1910. Early pioneers were often involved in racing or speed records. 

 They built their own boats and racing success brought other people wanting to buy boats. By the 1920’s some of these enterprises had grown to making hundreds of boats, examples are Gar Wood and Hacker Craft.

classic boat design

riva aquarama


riva boat

 Later other companies such as Century, and Chris-Craft took this style of  craft to further levels of performance and elegance. Meanwhile in europe boatbuilders such as Brookes; and Boesch were building mahogany speedboats. Some of these companies still make wooden boats today. At the high end of the market, wooden boats have never been replaced by fibreglass as they have at the mass production end.

 The rounded ‘barrelback’ stern initially became popular in the 1930’s. Chris-Craft in particular making several hundred; many of which still exist. (and change hands for very many times their original price)

 Riva have a long pedigree in boatbuilding, and in the 1950’s started producing some of  the most elegant of all classic boats. They stopped making wooden boats in 1995 because they were too expensive in labour compared to their more profitable fibreglass range.

 The introduction of modern materials such as Epoxy resin has transformed wooden boatbuilding. These materials increase the strength and lifespan of boats, whilst reducing maintenance. Good quality mahogany encapsulated in epoxy resin can be made immune to the old enemies of damp and rot, and modern coatings do away with varnishing routines. Laminating space age materials such as Kevlar and carbon fibre to wood gives an incredible strength and impact resistance - much better than fibreglass.

 At Marine Classics we take our design cues from the finest examples of the past century, combined with modern aerospace developed materials and construction techniques.


classic yacht tenders