Ed Dubois was a good friend of Practical Boat Owner magazine contributor Peter K Poland and this was probably the last and most up-to-date profile on him. As published in the February 2016 issue of PBO.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Peter K Poland said: ‘I am delighted that this article is being reproduced. Ed was a brilliant designer, a great guy and a laugh a minute.

‘As an example, I remember introducing him to Sarah Norbury – PBO’s then editor – as Rick Stein (because he looked just like him).

‘Sarah fell for this and Ed chivvied things along by pretending to be Rick for ages before we took sympathy and told her he was the designer of the large Southerly yacht in which we were sitting.

‘There was never a dull moment when Ed was around. He will be greatly missed.’

Former PBO Editor Sarah Norbury recalled: ‘Yes he was great fun. I hadn’t seen him for a few years and in that time he and the famous chef had grown uncannily alike in looks! I’m glad Peter’s article is being reproduced as a tribute to one of the great yacht designers, taken much too soon.’

The man himself, Ed Dubois

The man himself, Ed Dubois

I first met Ed Dubois in Southend-on-Sea in 1974. We were both relative nippers and setting forth on new careers – Ed as a boat designer and me as a boatbuilder, writes Peter K Poland.

He was filling in time working for Yachts and Yachting as a journalist while waiting for a work permit to come through from the USA prior to taking up a job offer at the illustrious Sparkman & Stephens design office.

From the word go, Ed aimed for the top.

At that time, I was planning a new Hunter model. One option was to go for a brand-new David Thomas design. The other (cheaper) route was to plonk a classier deck onto our existing Hunter 701 hull to give it more modern looks and extra space down below.

‘I’d like to have a go at that,’ said Ed over a pint (or two) of Essex ale and soon presented an attractive 701 ‘Mark 2’ drawing.

I showed both options to Peter Hornbrook, an existing Hunter owner with a yen for a new boat, asking: ‘Which one do you want?’

He scratched his head then pointed to the Thomas design, saying: ‘This one looks interesting. Besides which, I already have a 701.’

So he ordered Sonata No1 ‘off plan’ and offered to become the founding secretary of the Hunter Sonata One Design class. Thus the die was cast. If Peter had gone for the revamped 701, later Hunters might have been Dubois designs!

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Early ambitions
  3. 3. An eye for the one-offs
  4. 4. Superyacht world
  5. 5. Still done by eye
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