Dykstra Naval Architects brings over 50 years of experience in
design, redesign, naval architecture and marine engineering of
classic and modern performance yachts and offers preliminary and
concept designs for both pleasure and commercially operated yachts.
Founded in 1969 by Gerard Dykstra, and now led by Thys Nikkels and
Mark Leslie-Miller, the award winning team at Dykstra is comprised
of passionate sailors actively sailing our own designs and
redesigns. Using first hand practical experience combined with
in-house developed software to provide expertise in spars, rigs,
and structural analysis that is current, tested and tried.
Concept design and Innovation
The combination of sailing experience, skilled engineers and passion for new and sustainable techniques drives Dykstra Naval Architects to realize the most challenging concepts. Great examples are the Dynarig and Aerorig concepts. These ideas can now be used to create new perspectives in yachting and create new a new chapter in the yachting history.
Passion for Innovation and Green technologies!
Research and Development
To realize these concepts, the engineers use first hand practical experience combined with in-house developed software to provide expertise in spars, rigs, and structural analysis that is current, tested and tried. The designs are modeled and tested in wind tunnels and towing tanks. These results are compared with classical theoretical hydrodynamic and aerodynamic models. To analyze design details CFD can be used. Dykstra Naval Architects is often asked to contribute in other projects to design and research the rigging and sailing plan. Constant research is done for new methods and materials, both by University Interns as by the Dykstra Naval Architects team. A combination that proved to work well to keep everybody in touch with latest technology.
Re-design and Performance optimisation
Dykstra Naval Architects provided the Naval Architecture and re-design for some of the most challenging refits. Great examples are the 2 mast schooner Adela, 3- mast schooner Adix, JK7 Velsheda, JK3 Shamrock V, J5 Ranger and JK4 Endeavour, SY Athena, Meteor and many others.
Gerard DykstraFounder / Naval Architect
Gerard founded the company in 1969, but continued working as a professional sailor right up until 1980. He brings 50 years of experience to the design, redesign, naval architecture and marine engineering of classic and modern performance yachts. "My heroes are the great designers Herreshoff and Watson, but I strongly believe that technological assistance is required in modern boat building. My hobbies include ocean racing and cruising, tennis, hiking, skating, and I'm fascinated by wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP)."
Thys NikkelsCEO / Partner / Naval Architect
Thys started working with Gerard Dykstra in 1991 shortly after finishing his Marine Engineering studies. He was interested not only in the yacht design side of the company, but also Gerard's work for a development project that he was involved with in Indonesia. Thys became a partner in the company in 2000, and then the CEO and owner in 2004. "The challenge I see in running Dykstra Naval Architects is in forging a team of the right people, who share their passion and knowledge of sailing yachts in the widest sense. As a team, we are stronger that the individuals themselves."
Mark Leslie-MillerPartner / Naval Architect
Mark joined DNA in 2005 as an intern and has become a Partner of Dykstra Naval Architects in 2023. He has a Masters degree from Delft University of Technology in Maritime technology, focusing on ship design. In the office, Mark specialises in hydrodynamics, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), model testing and performance predictions. "I like to do as much recreational sailing as much as I can, either with my kids or in regattas, aboard dinghies, yachts, flat-bottom boats, keelboats. Basically whatever I can get my hands on! I also like to read, play my saxophone and try to be outdoors as much as possible."
Hilbert ten HaveNaval Architect
Hilbert has worked at Dykstra Naval Architects since 2005. Growing up, he started sailing and shipbuilding at an early age. While studying marine engineering and naval architecture, he completed his internship at DNA, and has remained ever since. He specialises in structural design in aluminium, steel, wood and advanced composites, as well as the general naval architecture of concepts. "I lived on a 'Tjalk', an original sailing barge from the old days, restoring her and cruising. I love ocean sailing and have covered over 5,000 miles on Bestevaer 2. I also like running and travelling."
Wick HillegeNaval Architect
In 2021 Wick joined the company after his studies at Delft University of Technology where he combined a master's degree in ship hydromechanics with a position as researcher at the university's towing tank. He spends most of his time out on the water competing at international inshore and offshore regattas. "A yacht underway in a sea state, striving for the delicate balance between the governing aero- and hydrodynamic forces, never ceases to amaze. Capturing this chaotic behaviour remains in my opinion one of the greatest challenges in naval architecture and I consider myself lucky to work on this every day. Besides this and sailing, I love kitesurfing, climbing, make music or spend the day with food and friends."
Erik WassenNaval Architect
Erik has worked at Dykstra Naval Architects since 1992. He enjoys stepping beyond convention and creating new solutions by combining form with function and thorough engineering. As a kid he designed and built remote-controlled planes and sailing models. His hobby brought him into naval architecture, and he completed his thesis on spar and mast calculations at DNA. "With Dykstra I have been involved in many design and R&D projects, but personal highlights include Hetairos and NanuQ. Their challenging requirements were inspiring and resulted in ground-breaking innovations."
Jeroen de VosNaval Architect
Jeroen has worked at Dykstra Naval Architects since 1997, where he specialises in J-Class yachts, VPP and performance assessments, sail and deck plans, and the revolutionary Dynarig. He has been part of the race crew aboard Windrose of Amsterdam, and the J Class yachts J5 Ranger and JH2 Rainbow. "Beyond all the computer analysis, tank testing, and so on, what really matters with the J-Class is the crew. Winning is all about working as a team. My hobbies include sailing, hiking, swimming and skippering Skutsje Eelkje II, a traditional flat-bottomed boat in Holland."
Thomas van EsNaval Architect
Thomas began working at Dykstra Naval Architects in 2008, after four years spent as full-time crew aboard several tall ships such as Clipper Stad Amsterdam, Wylde Swan and Noorderlicht. He studied Marine Engineering and specialises in square-rigged projects or proposals, the design and engineering of square rigs, deck and sail plans, exterior styling, structural engineering and refit projects. "Apart from anything to do with square riggers, my interests include sailing, traveling, photography, music and motorbiking."
Loon started working for the company in 1969, when she married Gerard. The couple met while playing for the same tennis club and started sailing together in 1968. Since then, they have made numerous ocean crossings and, after running a charter yacht out of Bequia, have cruised widely aboard their own yacht Bestevaer 2, mostly in cold climates. Loon and Gerard have three children. "I still enjoy playing tennis – and I have twice been the Dutch veteran tennis champion but also field hockey, sailing, hiking, skating and cooking. "
Edwin LuijfNaval Architect
Working at Dykstra Naval Architects since 2001, Edwin is responsible for the successful Bestevaer and Bestewind yacht lines, as well as custom and semi-custom yacht projects up 80 feet. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.
"It goes without saying that I'm a keen sailor myself, especially dinghies, but I also enjoy restoring boats, ice skating and racing aboard the flat bottom Skutsje Eelkje II."
Chad ThiekenGlobal Sales / USA based
A Class IV/3000GT captain with a degree in maritime business and naval architecture, hands-on knowledge and experience of working with owners, designers, shipyards and crew. He has sailed 165,000 nautical miles, on yachts such as Hanuman, Ranger, Ethereal, Windcrest, Athena, Hyperion, Independence and Marie. He has also competed in J-Class and International One Design regattas. "When not on the water, I enjoy spending time with his family on Mount Desert Island, in Maine's Arcadia National Park, hiking, cycling, paddle boarding and kayaking my own designs."
Anneliek van der LindePR/Marketing
Anneliek was born in Vollenhove, home of Royal Huisman, where her love of yacht building and sailing started almost as soon as she could walk. A mother to three girls, for ten years she worked for some of the leading sailing yacht shipyards in Holland before joining the DNA team in 2006. "I'm passionate about the J-Class yachts: I just love their look and feel, their history and the excitement of sailing them. I've been lucky enough to sail on eight out of the nine J Class yachts on the water. Apart from sailing, I love cooking, good wine and travelling."
The Dykstra Naval Architects Team
from left to right:
Mark Leslie-Miller / Partner & Naval Architect
Edwin Luijf / Naval Architect
Anneliek van der Linde / PR & Marketing
Thys Nikkels / CEO & Naval Architect
Gerard Dykstra / Company founder & Naval Architect
Loon Dykstra / Accounts
Hilbert ten Have / Naval Architect
Erik Wassen / Naval Architect
Thomas van Es / Naval Architect
Jeroen de Vos / Naval Architect
not on photo:
Chad Thieken / Global Sales, USA Maine based
Wick Hillege / Naval Architect
Books & Papers by Dykstra Naval Architects.
Structural design of S/Y Dream Symphony: the largest wooden ship ever built
HISWA Symposium, by Alex Shimnell (SP - High Modulus) and Hilbert ten Have (DNA)
Weather routing for motor sailors
HISWA Symposium, by Daan Sparreboom and Mark Leslie-Miller (DNA)
"The use of fibre optic strain monitoring systems.. Dynarigs"
'The use of fibre optic strain monitoring systems in the design, testing and performance monitoring of the novel freestanding Dynarigs…'. by Damon Roberts, Gerard Dykstra and others, HISWA Symposium
"Maltese Falcon: the Realization"
HISWA Symposium, by Gerard Dykstra
"Propulsion aspects of large sailing yachts"
HISWA Symposium, by Jeroen de Vos (DNA) and G. Nijsten
'The resurgence of the classic designs and the J-Class revival, Logic, theory and satisfaction behind the recreation of the classic boat'.
MAREX, by Thys Nikkels and Gerard Dykstra
‘Wind tunnel tests on schooner rigs and their use in performance prediction by VPP calculations’
HISWA Symposium, by Gerard Dykstra and Ian Campbell
'The recreation of the classic boat'
HISWA Symposium, by Gerard Dykstra and Mike Carr
'Innovation in traditional boat building in Indonesia, theory and practice'
IIAS Symposium, Leiden University and 1999, TU Delft, Sustainable technology for the maritime sector. by Gerard Dykstra and J. Schutter
'An appreciation of developments in sailing yacht designs'
MAREX Symposium, Auckland, New Zealand, by Gerard Dykstra
'Wooden boat building development in Indonesia'
HISWA Symposium, by Gerard Dykstra, D. Bar and R. Cameron
'Sail handling systems for the larger cruising yacht'
HISWA Symposium, by Gerard Dykstra and H. van der Linde
Book about and for Gerard Dykstra, Published for the special occasion of presenting the KIVI NIRA medal of honor to Gerard Dykstra. Book edited by Anneliek van der Linde
'Tien jaar zeilen'
Ten years of sailing by Gerard Dykstra. ISBN NR. 90.6091.219.5
'Kaap Hoorn aan bakboord'
Contribution by Gerard Dykstra
'Natuurlijke energy aan boord'
Natural energy onboard sailing yachts, by Gerard Dykstra
'Les coureurs du grand large'
Contribution by Gerard Dykstra
"Sail plans and deck layouts for ocean going cruising yachts'
HISWA Symposium on Naval Architecture, by Gerard Dykstra