The (very) enthusiastic founder of the Seascape boatyard in Slovenia, Andraz Mihelin, says it’s up to producers to lead the way with new concepts, not customers
Andraz Mihelin talks and thinks simultaneously, and he talks and thinks a lot. We are sitting in a Danish hotel restaurant, surrounded by dark brown walls with pictures of local war heroes, drinking Coke and recovering from a long race. My plan is to make him describe the philo - sophy behind his wave of new designs that have entered the market – all genuine planing keelboats. Seascape has built a strong brand from producing fast but easy-tohandle small trailable cruising boats, and they are probably now market leaders in an interesting niche. They are doing something completely different, and they are growing and selling more boats than ever. As you might have guessed from the opening sentence, Mihelin is not a hard man to interview. You basically just let him loose.
Seahorse: Why was Seascape brought into the world?
Andraz Mihelin: Because we believe that we need some genuine modern boats and they are in very short supply. Kristian Hajnsek, my partner in the company, and myself came from a Mini Transat background, we sailed Minis for six years in France and built two Protos. We were shocked at the level of knowledge and experience in the French sailing community. I mean, in France, the first generations of professional modern multihulls – I’m thinking of the Orma 60s – became extinct before the rest of the world even started to get excited about them. They had 60ft trimarans doing windward/ leeward courses, and with small modifications they did transatlantic races with the same boats, sailing at 20-30kt+. We built 6.5m boats that go singlehanded across the Atlantic, sometimes with daily averages around 10-12kt. It was like landing on another planet. And all this happened while the rest of the world regarded Volvo 60s, Kevlar-built, semi-displacement boats as the pinnacle of the sport!
Seahorse: So the inspiration was the mainly French tradition of fast ocean-going shorthanders?
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