About Nordkyn Design


Yarra at Dorian Bay, Antarctic Peninsula

Nordkyn Design sits at the confluence of yacht design, marine engineering and hands-on, practical offshore seamanship

Nordkyn Design is run as a marine design office and consultancy, and started with the objective of transposing years at sea and a scientific and engineering background into a design advantage. It is about vessels with phenomenal sea-keeping characteristics, born from first-hand experience over tens of thousands of miles at sea in all weather and all parts of the world.

Excellence is built on a foundation of sound choices and open-mindedness

Try developing a design good for everything and everyone – and it may appeal to a broad market, but it will invariably end up plagued by mediocrity. Simplicity and definition of purpose are essential guiding principles. Reliability, resilience and tightly controlled dependencies are some the other recurring concepts here.

Years spent travelling to some of the most difficult, isolated and inaccessible parts of the globe with no prospect of any assistance separated what truly matters from what doesn’t, what is desirable from what is not.

It is also about offshore sailing, the purity of adventure and cruising all latitudes. It is sometimes about regions that afford very little in the way of mistakes, but offer simple and pure rewards that defy description. You need to experience them.
It is about seamanship and self-reliance at the limit. One of the aspirations of this site is improving safety at sea on small vessels through contributing to the understanding of the dynamics of small craft at sea as conditions deteriorates.

The growing number of offshore incidents and rescues we are experiencing is highly detrimental to everyone with an interest in ocean cruising and, if left unchecked, will eventually destroy the freedom of setting sail for distant lands. Virtually all weather-related offshore incidents are avoidable: it is not a matter of knowing what to do – I don’t – it is a matter of understanding how things go wrong, why and being able circumvent them when the time comes.


Profile PhotoEric Bretscher holds a Masters in Computer Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Switzerland, and a Diploma in Project Management from the Australian Institute of Management. He has a background in heavy industrial engineering and process control.

He taught all aspects of coastal and offshore sailing and navigation at the well-known French sailing school Les Glénans in the early 1990s and later set out alone on board the sloop Yarra for 7 years, covering some 55,000NM between latitudes north of the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic, including many mythical locations such as Iceland, Patagonia, Easter Island, the fog-bound Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Tasmania and many more with a sextant, depth sounder, speed log and a stack of paper documents.

He has been involved with marine engineering, projects and the propulsion of commercial crafts since 1997. He designed a number of pleasure crafts and commercial vessels since and personally built the 43′ alloy sloop Nordkyn launched in 2010.