Roberto Barros grandson Christian, Roberto Barros, Lin Pardey, couple of friends, Larry Pardey and Astrid Barros during a party in Rio de Janeiro. 1992.
A half tonner designed in the year of 1978 by Roberto Barros and his partner at that time Antônio Ferrer.
Luis Gouveia , Roberto and Astrid Barros during a lecture they gave at the city of Curitiba. 1997
Roberto Barros is the founder of the office. He started a boat building career some forty years ago producing custom cruising and racing sail boats. In his search for building lighter and faster boats, he discovered that he had to brake away from the established concepts of that time. In 1964 he produced the plans for an ultra light displacement boat and built it in a very short time, with a minimum budget for the amazement of his contemporary yachtsmen. Once plans with those characteristics were difficult to be found he felt inducted to design himself and construct other sailboats of similar concept, all of them were sold to enthusiasts as soon as they were launched.
In 1967 he and his wife Eileen started a long distance cruise to the South Pacific Islands aboard an engineless light displacement twenty five foot yacht. After almost three years of a paradisiacal cruise, they received the visit of a stork, bringing them a little girl, daughter of the South Seas. The new responsibilities brought the couple back to Rio de Janeiro, where Roberto started producing in series glass fibre sailing boats. By then this was a new industrial field in his country in which he was a pioneer. Parallel to this main occupation Roberto Barros designed and built a series of I.0R. custom sailing boats that became well known regionally.
Roberto Barros and John Guzzwell talking about the 140 foot Mega Yacht they helped to build in cold molded construction
In the early eighties he was involved with a team which built the largest cold molded yacht up to that date, a one hundred and forty feet long ocean cruising sail boat, constructed at the city of Porto Alegre in southern Brazil. In 1985 he launched a thirty foot double ender called Maitairoa. With this boat the Roberto Barros family lived unforgettable adventures in the southern ocean including an involuntary grounding in a lonely beach of a sub Antarctic island. After a complicated salvage operation they managed to put their boat afloat again and once no harm occurred to the boat they sailed back to Rio de Janeiro in a three thousand miles non stop trip. Later Maitairoa was sold to a lady who sailed her from Rio to Gibraltar and the French Riviera where she lives aboard presently. Meanwhile, his Tahitian daughter, Astrid Barros, decided for a career in naval architecture and with this incentive in mind Roberto Barros decided to start a yacht design office to be run as a family business. In 1987 the office was founded, having as partners Roberto and Eileen Barros, as well as Astrid Barros. Later on, Astrid married the naval architect Luis Gouveia who also became a member of the company. Astrid Barros is probably the only woman born in French Polynesia who has a Ph.D. degree in computational fluid dynamics. Being brought up among boats since her birth, she developed an early taste for everything related to the seas, mainly the fast racing sailboats. She started her racing career when she was barely three years old when she helped tacking her parents sixteen foot pocket cruiser racer. As a teenager she became a keen laser and I.M.S. racer and parallel she kept injecting more salt in her veins participating with the voyages of Maitairoa, her parents cruising sailboat. One of these trips was to Cape Town, South Africa, when during her short stay there, she was invited to crew a brand new I.0.R. maxi-yacht. After obtaining her degree in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture, she specialised in hydrodynamics, later obtaining a master degree and a doctorate on this subject, never missing time to give a hand at the office and to keep the Yacht racing career going.
In the year of 2000 she was invited to participate in the Recife-Fernando de Noronha race aboard a radical racing trimaran crewed by an all woman team. They managed to be the second boat to arrive, beating the previous record for the race, loosing the first position for a larger multihull with a professional crew on board. The race committee , in a macho attitude, awarded them a six burner stove, one burner for each crew member. When her doctorate was concluded, Astrid was invited to join American Bureau of Shipping as a specialist in fluid dynamics and despite the feeling of loss at Roberto Barros Yacht Design it was impossible to deny the opportunities at her new job. After transferring the position of chief engineer to her husband, she remained on as a partner at Roberto Barros Yacht Design, and presently she is a consultant for hydrodynamic issues.
Eileen Barros is the person who runs the secretarial work at Roberto Barros Yacht Design. Being a British citizen, she is the one who takes care of spelling and grammar when dealing with the English speaking community. Eileen's experience aboard sailboats is unquestionable. Her inumerous adventures aboard tiny little boats and larger ones are related in books written by her husband and few women have had so many extraordinary experiences in a life span, like falling overboard during a capsize in the Caribbean when the engineless twenty five footer, she and her husband were sailing encountered the tail of a tropical cyclone, or being stranded on a lonely beach at the Falkland Islands during a severe storm. Presently besides being a grandmother for the second time she is having to save her skin from the sun, after many years of abuse, and for that matter she is retiring from her sailing career. But her love for boats and the enthusiasm for her work remains the same.
In may 2007 we took the important decision of transferring the main office of our yacht design business to Perth, Western Australia, after twenty years of uninterrupted operation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Roberto Barros Yacht Design, the original company, remained operating in Rio, as a branch of the new company, now established in Australia, which is called B & G Yacht Design. The naval architect Luis Gouveia is now running the business from Perth, while Roberto Barros remains in Rio, taking care of the decisions related to the regional market, where the company have established deep roots during those twenty years of activity.
Luis Gouveia reports his first experiences in his new country:
B & G Yacht Design - our office in Australia
Since last year, when I moved to Australia, I am involved in the task of integrating our yacht design office with this new market. The chosen city to establish our office was Perth, the capital of booming Western Australia. The nautical activity is very intense here, be it sailing, motor-boating, fishing or canoeing, either in the sheltered waters of the Swan River, or in the Indian Ocean.
Best known by the sailing community is nearby Fremantle. Distant 15 minutes from Perth downtown but still in its metropolitan area, in the year of 1983 Fremantle hosted the first America's Cup regatta raced outside the United States. The town had been completely remodeled on that occasion and the complex of marinas built for the event is now being used by thousands of boaters and is also an entertainment site, with lots of restaurants and different tourist attractions. A nice place to visit there is The Western Australia Maritime Museum, where it is exposed one of the most famous Australian boats, Australia II, the first yacht to beat the Americans in more than 130 years of the America's Cup competition.
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Australia II and the Western Australia Maritime Museum
The place I chose to settle the office was Bicton, a suburb of Perth located in the south margin of the Swan River, a stone throw from Fremantle. Roberto Barros, my partner, who remained in Rio de Janeiro, and I, took some time in adapting to work so far apart from each other. We communicate daily by e-mail and skype and during this time we learned to take advantage of the 11 hours time difference. Now it is as if our office is running 24 hours nonstop, since while one of us is ending his daily routine, the other one is just beginning his day.
Luis near the Swan River
I spent the first months in the new country trying to learn more about the local market. I visited some boat shows, especially on the west coast, talked to boaters in the marinas and clubs and sailed in new acquaintances' boats. The interest in strong, safe, seaworthy, stable, reliable, easy to build, attractive and low maintenance yachts is the general rule, and in these aspects Australians don't differ from people elsewhere. I soon learned that we are quite at ease regarding these requirements, since we also pursuit these characteristics and they belong to our design philosophy.
Luis, Astrid, Christian e Juliana in Cape Leeuwin
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Cape Leeuwin lighthouse - where two oceans meet
Since May, 2008 we have a company officially registered in Australia. It is B & G Yacht Design and in the coming days the new name and logo will be displayed in our website. We are quite motivated with this new challenge. More than just a new beginning, we feel that the B & G Yacht Design is an extension and a step ahead on all the hard work we had done in more than 20 years dedicated to designing yachts.
Return to Australia
After a sojourn in Asia our yacht design Office is back to Australia. This overseas stay was a rewarding experience, as much from a personal standpoint, as professionally.
Perth Downtown seen from Matilda's Bay.
During the early months of 2009, when we were absolutely acclimatized with our new country, my wife Astrid received an invitation to be the project engineer for a Brazilian company which was building two deep water drilling rigs in Singapore.
It was not a cool decision. B & G Yacht Design, the naval architecture firm we registered in Australia to develop nautical projects was getting close to be one year old and we were sorry to weaken our plans of expanding our presence in this new market.
We learned that it would be possible to operate the office from abroad, as long as our book-keeper kept up-dated our fiscal obligations with the Australian authorities. So we decided to leave for a new overseas adventure.
Singapore is quite interesting. Being a young city/state placed in a small island in the southern part of the Malaysian peninsula, it is possible to round the whole country along the borders by car in less than two hours. It is an industrial and commercial hub, besides being one of the most important ports in Asia. It is a country of hard workers, but, on the other hand, the standard of living is very high, being a good example for other developing countries on how a good administration and a community of hard workers can make the difference.
Singapore is a small island/state placed in the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, where in fifty years of independence was built one of the most solid economies in the whole world.
We stayed in Singapore for one and a half years. The construction of the first drilling rig was already half-completed when of our arrival and the second one was still to be started.
In mid-2010, when the first rig was almost completed, the same company started a negotiation of two drill ships with Samsung Shipyards, in South Korea, and once again Astrid was invited to be the site engineer manager.
This time the decision to go for the new challenge was simpler, since we had been operating B & G yacht Design from the distance without great difficulty, and we were becoming to be known for our lack of permanence in the same place for too long, and the name of our company was becoming better known. It was also a good chance to experiment the culture of a new country and its people. In September, 2010, we left Singapore to live in another island, Geoge, in South Korea.
Samsung Shipyard in Geoje Island, South Korea.
My routine changed somehow in South Korea. Besides working in our yacht design office, I also participated as a marine engineering adviser in the construction of the two drill ships to be built in Samsung Shipyards.
The shipyard is the third largest in Korea, with the potential of producing eighty-five ships per year when operating at its upper limit. It was a challenging experience for me to be involved from the very beginning with a type of work that has little to do with yacht designing.
The time it took to build the two ships was amazingly short, taking into account the complexity of the ships' project: eighteen months from the phase of cutting the plates to launching, all that being done at the highest level of quality, as it was later confirmed by the contracting party, and the authorities from the contracting country, for the approval of the two ships, so they could start to operate with no delay.
Departure of the vessel Amaralina Star filmed by the crew of the sister ship Laguna Star at Samsung Shipyard.
Amaralina Star, one of the ships in which I participated in the construction when staying in Korea.
I received an invitation to accomplish an unusual and challenging task. By indication of our team mate Luis Manuel Pinho, who also belongs to the NGO Sea Shepherd's Foundation, I had been asked if I could survey a ship which they were considering purchasing to be incorporated to their fleet. So far so good, the only detail being that the ship was in Japan and had belonged to the Japanese government, the very adversaries of the ONG, and if it was the slightest suspicion that I had any involvement with the Sea Shepherd Organization, any possibility of deal would be frozen in a blink. They instructed me to tell I had been hired by a broker who had been commissioned by a wealthy American who intended to buy the ship for adapting it into a leisure yacht. In the end everything worked out fine, the ship was in good conditions and I gave them the green light to proceed in the negotiations. The acquisition was accomplished and the ship is already operating for the cause of saving the whales from the Japanese whale-hunters. The cherry in the pie was that our collaborator Luis Manuel Pinho was appointed as captain of the ship. (The whole story of this deal will be told in another article)
Seifu Maru docked in Shimonoseki, Japan.
Once concluded the construction of the two drill ships, we once again were invited to stay in Korea for the construction of another ship, one more time commissioned by the same company that hired us. However we decided that the escape from our original plan had gone too far and that the time had come to return to Australia. We packed our stuffs in September 2012 and left Geoje Island bound for Perth, the place we had chosen to stay. In our way home we decided to spend a fortnight in Thailand, chartering a sailboat in Phucket. (This is going to be another article we will be publishing soon)
Sailing in the outskirts of Phucket Marina.
Arriving in Australia now it is time to set up shop again. It takes time but it is part of the fun.
New B & G Yacht Design Office in Perth, Western Australia.
Back to work, for sure we will have some time ahead with plenty of hurdles to overcome. But we have good news.
One of our most recent designs, the Kiribati 36, has already its second unit constructed, ready to be launched.
Another innovative project just introduced, the Pop Alu 32, has already two units under construction in two different countries.
The Pop 25, a recent introduction in the market, is already our blockbuster, most probably in function of its amazing easiness of construction. The class has already two boats close to be launched and several others advancing in their construction in a fast pace.
Another of our recent works, the Curruira 33, has already one boat close to be launched in Turkey.
It is also very rewarding to learn that our line of stock plans keep expanding staidly. It is routine to receive reports of boats from our design being launched in the most different places.
Pop 25, Curruíra 33 and Pop Alu 32, new designs we had introduced recently
About our new projects, we have two new designs in our agenda. The first one is a 21foot day-sailer, having its introduction scheduled for this April. The other is a 34 foot catamaran to be introduced in the first half of 2013.
If you follow our site regularly, you will probably find more action from now on, since we are totally focused in the yacht design branch of our activities.
If you want any special information, please contact me by the e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will promptly reply you.
Pop Daysailer 21, the next B & G Yacht Design to be launched