Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design Brings Luxury Yachting to Town

A Class Unto Itself

Melges 20 Sport boats—Designed by Reichel/Pugh in 1992 and first launched in 1993, nearly 900 Melges 24s have been produced by Melges Peformance Yachts since.

Photo by Carlo Borlenghi

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Well-muscled and nimble, the design and engineering firm Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design may have less notoriety in its own hometown of San Diego than it has on the world stage. Internationally, the company enjoys an electrifying reputation for elite Superyachts, Sportboat fleets and Maxi racers. The company demonstrates with astonishing alacrity and dedication their award-winning designs that cut through the ordinary. From the engineering and craftsmanship of the 1992 winner of the America’s Cup America3 in San Diego to 2003’s Team Stars and Stripes and the 2007’s Team Desafio Espanol, Reichel/Pugh’s brilliance expresses itself in every imaginable type of keel boat, including the pocket rocket Melges 24. The current introduction of the 130-foot superyacht My Song elevates what it means to combine innovative design with engineering prowess. 

At the helm are the firm’s co-founders and visionaries: Naval Architect John Reichel and decades-long designer, Grand Prix racer and industry leader Jim Pugh. They both individually and collectively inspire and drive the finest talent available. “In this niche market, the goal is to take a vision, create it and exceed expectations,” says Jim Pugh, adding, “for you to succeed, [clients] need to win.” Inspired from the age of 16, when his family moved to the south of England, Pugh watched boats on the river, mesmerized, and ultimately incorporated sailing and design into his life’s work.

To further facilitate the company’s success, Reichel/Pugh has brought on board professionals of like minds. As if it wasn’t enough to fill their company with premium engineers, architects and designers, each staff member also rides the pro circuit. Because the designer/engineer becomes the sailor, the compelling process further inspires and informs innovation. The result? Reichel/Pugh is always pushing into the next paradigm of possibility.

With razor focus, the team takes the potential for beauty and combines it with impressive high-tech scientific applications. In the last two decades, Reichel/Pugh has turned yachts into ultra-luxury performance superyachts, and it’s morphed one-designs into astonishing Melges sportboat worldwide racing fleets. Integrated into this effort is crew safety and ship seaworthiness, a driving philosophy that balances robust design with minimum weight. With that, Reichel/Pugh has become an international leader—recognized by shipbuilders and clients alike—for their integrity as well as their science.

Baltic YachtsHetairos—The largest yacht to ever compete at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Photo courtesy of Baltic Yachts

Reichel/Pugh Designs

The ultimate in luxury cruising, superyachts combine pleasure with the thrill of the race. These dual-purpose, multi-role hybrid boats serve two masters: a cruising experience with luxurious appointments, and a high-performance, optimized-for-speed craft for the racing circuit. Cruise the Caribbean or Mediterranean with friends and family for a week, then strip down the yacht for racing––it’s the best of both worlds. 

Case in point: Reichel/Pugh’s 130’ My Song has set the tone for performance superyachting. In collaboration with Baltic Yachts, Italian design house Nauta Design and MCM created one of the most remarkable state-of-the-art, all carbon superyachts launched this fall. Built by Finland’s Baltic Yachts, their world-class staff provided precision manufacturing based on Reichel/Pugh’s co-located design and engineering team—a collaborative relationship fostered and nurtured through 

previous projects. With designer Nauta’s deck and interior design collaboration and Reichel/Pugh’s naval architecture and structural engineering, My Song provides just one example of superyachts of the future.

With the advent of Reichel/Pugh’s innovative Melges 20 sportboat debut in 2008, the company has become a quintessential leader of the most popular and competitive one-design sportboats in the world. Nearly forty Melges 20s sailed the 2015 Worlds of San Francisco; the 2015 Melges 24 Worlds boasted ninety-five boats, and over a hundred Melges 24s are expected at the upcoming world championship in Miami this November.