Frank Mulder Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Kitzbühel, Austria – Dutch naval architect and yacht designer Frank Mulder was presented with the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award by Boat International Media during its annual Design and Innovation Awards program. In making the award the judges noted the breadth and scope of his designs and his skill as designing exceptional yachts in all construction materials.
After earning his degree from the prestigious Haarlem University, Mulder landed a spot as a production manager at Amels Shipyard in 1974 and soon after moved to Damen Group where he was in charge of the high-speed vessel program for military and commercial ships.
In 1979 he opened his own studio and added yacht design to his professional services. His first superyacht was the 38-metre tri-deck Tropic C launched at Heesen Yachts in Oss in 1986, which was followed up by 34m Wheels in 1987. The yacht that brought him global attention came one years later. Octopussy, built for US auto dealer John Staluppi eclipsed the fastest yacht speed record previously set by the King of Spain’s Fortuna by achieving 53.17 knots. In video remarks made for the presentation, Staluppi referred to Mulder as “brilliant,” and called him, “the world’s best naval architect”.
Mulder would go on to deliver designs for other record holders for Staluppi – the 66.7 knot Moonraker and the 67-knot 42-metre The World is not Enough – ensuring that Mulder became known as the top naval architect for fast luxury yachts. Yet fast yachts were not his only forte, in fact his most recent award-winning yacht was the 21.5 knot full-displacement Benetti-built Spectre. In congratulating Mulder on the award, Benetti Founder Paolo Vitelli called Specter, “a work of art”.
Other superyachts bearing his signature include the 46m Vicem Vulcan, a 46 metre delivered by JinLong in China for actor Jackie Chan, the 46.85m Blowsy from Heesen, five beautiful custom Cheoy Lee superyachts, and many costal cruisers built at such yards as Moonen, Elling, Mulder, Vitesse, Van Dutch and Riviera. In total, from naval patrol vessels to tenders and superyachts, the Mulder mark is on nearly 1,000 hulls, a notable portfolio for 50 years of yacht design.
As the 2024 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Mulder joins the ranks of other renowned yacht designers including Gerard Dijkstra, Frits De Voogt, Ron Holland, Martin Francis, German Frers, Giovanni Zuccon, Luca Brenta, Tim Heywood, Terry Disdale, François Zuretti, and John Munford. The Award was presented in front of a packed crowd on the first evening of Boat International’s Superyacht Design Festival.
In 2022, Frank Mulder stepped down, leaving the helm of Mulder Design to his son, Bas, who graduated from the same naval architecture school as Frank and is now leading the family business into the future. The Mulder Design studio is located in the Amsterdam suburb of Amstelveen.