Graham's interest in yacht design was galvanised at school when "Intrepid" beat the Australian challenger "Dame Pattie" in the 1967 America's Cup. Sailing wasn't a school sport and he didn't start sailing yachts until he was invited to sail on a 57ft, 1936 built timber yacht "Kyeema" at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater in the early seventies. Hearing from the skipper of "Kyeema" about a friend of a friend building a large yacht to go world cruising, Graham knocked on the door of Dr Tony Fisher who's new yacht was nearing completion at Cronulla ... the yacht was the Joe Adams designed 73ft "Helsal". Considering his inexperience with offshore racing Graham was very fortunate - not forgetting that you can make your own luck - to be part of the crew for the 1973 Sydney / Hobart Race when "Helsal" broke the elapsed time race record.
In the following 12 months he was a hand on "Helsal" during its first years racing on the East Coast. Other races that year included the Sydney / Moolooabah, Brisbane / Gladstone, Lord Howe, Montague Is, Sydney / Noumea - If "Helsal" went sailing Graham was there. Tony Fisher, who appreciated that there was more desire evident than just sailing and looking after somebody else's yacht, asked Graham two or three times ... "what do you really want to do?" ... the simple answer ... "design sailing yachts" ..."well ring Joe" was Tony's equally simple reply. One Monday morning this is exactly what happened and as fate would have it Joe had advertised that very weekend for somebody to help in his yacht design business!
Graham started with Joe Adams in 1974 and basically served a three year apprenticeship. He became a partner at Adams Yacht Design in 1977 - which continued until 1987.(See The Past).
Sailing during this period included several more Sydney / Hobart Races, plus more of the coastal races in different designs ranging from the 66ft Helsal II to the Carina 44. Graham also owned two Adams 10m yachts which he mainly sailed on Sydney Harbour with Middle Harbour Yacht Club ... however in 1980 he took the flush deck A10m "Waggers II" in the Sydney / Hobart Race - one of two flush deck 10's to compete in Sydney / Hobart races. While a capable offshore sailing yacht the 10's were very small inside and lacked for comfort with "headroom" of only 4'2"!
Radford Yacht Design started in 1987. Since then Graham has been responsible for all the yacht designs and design drawings produced ... from the hull shapes and construction details to the creation of the 3D computer models and nestings for the kit yachts ... and continues to operate a one man office. This may limit the output but sets the standard and the desired lifestyle.
Outside of the office the sailing continues with trips to Europe, North America, Asia and many parts of Australia. There are times when the office is unattended and the phone may not be answered for a few weeks ... but the research goes on and the designs are completed and built.
Hopefully the designs on the web site will whet your appetite, but if you want a design size or style not covered at this site contact Graham and discuss your requirements.
This web site of yacht designs gives information on over twenty four years of steady progress at Radford Yacht Design and shows a wide range of design styles and constructions suitable for both amateur and professional boatbuilders.
The first major project for Radford Yacht Design in 1987 was to start on the R1000 Series steel cruising yachts. To do this effectively it required progressing from the drawing board to CAD/CAM computer technology as quickly as possible. The range and size of the yachts in the Series was decided early on but it took years to do the required work based on available time, demand and income to support this new investment work.
The technology introduced to do these steel yachts has made an enormous difference to the quality and detail of all the other designs undertaken by the office and is now reflected in the range of aluminium kit yachts which have been designed.
Two early designs, the R16.75m aluminium cruising yacht (called of all things - Radified!) and the R19.1m aluminium charter yacht - Design # 12 - Nina Q1, were both launched by 1990 and have since sailed many successful miles. "Nina Q1" has now been renamed as "Blizzard"and added to its adventures with trips to the Southern Ocean and the South Magnetic Pole.
In 1989 Graham was asked to design a 10.6m (35ft) racing yacht. RACE was launched later that year and after a few 'tweaks' showed excellent performance. At the same time work started on the R10.6m - the first of the cruising / racing designs. The 10.6m was built one-off in aluminium or frp/foam sandwich. In 1990 the production yacht SPRINT was designed and proved to be a great development on the theme. Sprints have performed very well in Victoria, S.A. and W.A. competing in inshore and short offshore races and are still available as a production yacht in 2004.
After visiting the start of the 1990/91 BOC race in Newport R.I. - in which Don McIntyre and Minoru Saito were competing - Graham was commissioned to design a 17.5m Cruising yacht. It was an important project with the yacht being designed to A.B.S. A1 Yacht Class & Offshore Charter Survey. The end result - "PAROO" - was one of the best built and presented yachts launched in Australia in the early 90's. "PAROO" completed a circumnavigation in the late 1990's and is now on a second circumnavigation with new owners.
In 1992 Graham designed a 16.5m displacement powerboat - just the hull shape and construction scantlings. The aim was to produce an efficient hull which would motor at hull speed with a relatively small engine. There is a desire to design more displacement powerboats - the R12m displacement power boat, DSN #77 concept drawings are on the index page - but sailing yachts still consume most of the design time of the office.
The range of cruiser / racers expanded in 1992 with a start on the R14m and the R12.2m designs. The first R14m wasn't launched until Mid 1994 and the first R12.2m launched late 1995. In its first season "RED JACKET" (R12.2m) won the Western Australian Yachting Association Siska Trophy for the top Ocean Racing Yacht of the Year 1996. One needs to be very patient while waiting for new designs to be launched!
Towards the end of 1993 a start was made on the performance cruising yacht style with the commencement of the R14.8m design. These designs fill an important segment in the stock plan range. Designed with the volume and carrying capacity necessary for cruising but built from lighter construction materials such as FRP, cedar strip or aluminium, the performance cruising yachts fit neatly between the steel cruising yachts and the cruising/racing yachts in terms of displacement and performance
It is not unusual for the gestation period of a non racing yacht, from design to finished yacht, to be 3-6 years so it was not surprising that 1995 saw a range of designs finally launched. These included a number of R400's, the R15.2m Fast Cruising yacht, the 16.5m Displacement powerboat, the first R12.2m and the first R14.8m Performance Cruising yacht.
At the end of 1995 Graham was commissioned to design a 23m Aluminium Charter Yacht. The yacht was designed and built to inshore and offshore charter requirements and was launched in 1998. Much of the structure for this yacht was plasma cut ready for assembly - in a similar fashion to the steel kit yachts. "Ke-ama II"- DSN#45 was one of those special design projects.
The range of performance cruising yachts has expanded with the building of the R11m and the R13.2 Pilothouse. There is no doubt that more boats sailing generate more interest, so this wide range of styles taking to the water should encourage more activity.
The SeaClass 10.6m production yacht was designed and the tooling and moulds completed in 1995/96 and is presently being built by Shekinah Boat Works at Taree, N.S.W. The yachts are being built to survey.
The introduction of our web site in 1997 opened up the market and allowed for easier access to overseas clients. The first design was for a client in Juneau, Alaska ... the R14m aluminium pilot house kit yacht. The first kit was cut by Northwest Plasma Cutting and the hull and deck built by Northwind Marine in Seattle. R14's have been built in Canada and Europe.
In 1998 and 1999 the R12m "Red Jacket" was trucked from Perth W.A. to Sydney for the Sydney / Hobart Race. They failed to finish the storm swept 1998 race because of minor rig damage but returned in 1999 to win Class C, IMS - beating all but a few Class A, IMS yachts in the process - a great result for an owner built, relatively low budget exercise.
The next aluminium kit yacht was the R16.75m centre cockpit cruising yacht. It is a detailed kit design with most hull deck components plasma cut for faster assembly. It was designed for a British client who had the yacht built at Ballina, N.S.W. It is presently located in New Zealand.
The R415 was designed in 1999-2000. This was a new design to replace the R400, with improved sailing ability, construction and kit details. It is interesting to note that in the year the first 415 was launched (2003) that R400's started returning to Australia after 7 to 8 years cruising the world.
The R13.7m was designed in 2000 for a client in W.A. It is a relatively light displacement racing yacht with a narrow beam, fractional rig and lifting bulb keel. Construction is frp/foam sandwich. "Trim" was sold in 2009 and now races with the ORCV under it's new name "Tevake II"
The first R460 centre cockpit steel cruising yacht was built in Turkey with another being built in Italy.
In 2001 design started on the R18.3m - Design # 66 - aluminium centre cockpit, pilot house yacht for a client in Seattle, WA. This kit yacht was also cut by Northwest Plasma Cutting and is presently being assembled by the owner.
Late 2001 also saw the start of the design of an aft cockpit 14m aluminium kit yacht. The yacht was being built for cruising but with the intention of competing in the 2003 Melbourne / Osaka double handed yacht race. Launched in late 2002 "The Wizard" raced to Osaka in March/April 2003, finishing fourth overall and first in the cruising division.
Also in 2001 preliminary design started on a steam assisted yacht. The design has evolved into the R15.82m S.A.Y. and construction started in March 2004. This is an unusual project with coal bunkers, coal fired boiler, 20HP steam engine and controllable pitch propeller. It is being built from an aluminium kit with the majority of hull and deck components cut ready for assembly.
The "Sprint" went back in production with yachts launched in Melbourne and Sydney.The original Sprint - "Horizon Sprint" is still racing, winning five well contested Range Series in Melbourne on AMS. "Sprint IV" is being raced successfully by her new owner on Lake Macquarie under the name of "Squid".
Plans for an R13.2m - Design #53 - centre cockpit have been sold to a client in Turkey. This performance cruising yacht hull will be built using cedar strip construction. Construction frames to be cut from computer files.
A SeaClass 10.6m constructed at Shekinah Boat Works was delivered to a sailing school in Melbourne www.yachtmaster.com.au. The construction of the hull and deck is to survey.
Another SeaClass 10.6m was delivered to Sydney in November 2004.
A design which has been evolving on the computer for a few years - two R12m yachts were built by Shekinah Boat Works at Taree, N.S.W. The design is available with a range of keel and rig options, including the very interesting cat rig. The two R12m yachts currently sail from Manly Yacht Club NSW - one with the cat rig , the other with the conventional rig. "Copernicus" has completed many blue water sea miles, competing in 2 Sydney/Hobarts, Lord Howe Island, Southport and many notable offshore races, acquitting itself well against other yachts of similar size.