Van Gorkom Yacht Design has been involved in a wide spectrum of design and engineering projects over the years. They have all had their unique challenges but there has always been one common thread between them, and that has been our dedication to the client and their needs. Listed to the right are just a few of the accolades that have come our way from the people we have done business with.

Corbin 41


Van Gorkom Yacht Design was truly a pleasure to work with. They made a concerted effort to understand my intent for the boat and design a solution appropriate to my skill level and technical constraints. VGYD produced the design very quickly, the drawings were detailed and easy to follow, and they provided ongoing follow-up support to make sure fabrication went smoothly.

Collin Harty


48ft Power Catamaran

I want to commend you and your colleagues at Van Gorkom Yacht Design on the excellent litigation support you provided to me with respect to the 42 foot power catamaran which came apart in the course of its maiden voyage.

Acting for owners in the claims against the yacht’s fabricator, I was so grateful for your design, fabrication and composition analyses and for your education on the applicable best manufacturing techniques. Additionally, your thorough expert reporting pursuant to our Rules of Civil Procedure made for an excellent practical presentation to our Judicial Settlement Conference Judge. This was an exceptionally important part of case theory as our Judges tend to be generalists and require specialized evidence on order to formulate their decisions and other positions.Most importantly, your reporting led to a clear understanding of the yacht’s design and fabrication deficiencies and the hydraulic actions which led to the yacht’s failure. I have every expectation that it was the thoroughness of your approach which led to the most beneficial settlement which we achieved for our clients. Thank you so much.

Gavin Giles, Q.C.

McInnes Cooper
Halifax, N.S.



I had the distinct pleasure of working with Geoff Van Gorkom this past winter (2013-14) in designing a new keel for my 46-foot aluminum sloop. Living in Newport, Rhode Island, I had quite a few naval architects from which to choose. Geoff came highly recommended from some of the best and brightest in the industry.

My project presented several challenges: the boat is USCG certified for passenger carrying, so all plans and construction details had to be approved by the USCG. I also needed to have the drawings completed, approved, keel poured, attached to boat and re-plating completed before out busy summer season.

I met with Geoff in late November and less than three weeks later, I had renderings and drawings ready for USCG approval. This project also proved extra challenging since we realized after removing the keel that it had never been incorrectly attached to the boat to begin with. Not only did Geoff have to design a new keel, he had to engineer a better way to attach it.

Despite leaving for a planned trip to Australia, Geoff continued to remain in regular contact with me and produced several drawings and weight estimate analyses while on vacation. A much simpler and more efficient keel was designed and fabricated by mid-spring, and by late June the boat was completed and sailing again!

Geoff is extremely talented and knowledgeable about all aspects of design, construction, and engineering. Another plus is that he has contacts with some of the best designers in the country. Geoff has excellent follow-up and communication skills and is fair and reasonably priced. I would recommend him without reservation for any new build, refit, or repair project.

John Hirschler

Sightsailing, Inc.
Newport, Rhode Island

25ft Center Console Sportsfishing Boat

My experience with Geoff Van Gorkom involved a very tragic legal case concerning an incident wherein four people were killed while fishing off the Coast of Louisiana. I represented several family members who wanted and needed answers as to why the subject fishing boat capsized, throwing their loved ones into frigid water which led to hypothermia for all involved. I needed an insightful and experienced maritime engineer.

Thankfully and fortunately a friend recommended Geoff. His insight and candid analysis was right on target. He assisted in identifying the product defect which caused massive amounts of water to enter the boat in less than two minutes resulting in the boat capsizing, and helped me greatly in our efforts to prove that defect. The defense attempted to blame the boat operators, men who had many years of off shore fishing and boating experience. However, through Geoff’s efforts, we were not only able to refute this meritless defense, but were also able to identify and prove the defect and its relationship to the capsizing event.

This was the first such report defect with an otherwise reputable manufacturer. Our hope is that the case has led to safety design changes within the industry. Throughout the case Geoff was professional, responsive, prompt and always available. Unlike some experts my firm has worked with in the past, Geoff never surprised me with an inflated, unexpected bill. I highly recommend Geoff Van Gorkom as a forensic engineer and an expert witness.

Nolan E. Awbrey

Riley & Jackson, P.C.
Birmington, Alabama

Deerfoot 61


I purchased an unfinished Deerfoot 61 hull with the intention to finish it to my taste. I’d be doing most of the work myself and contracting out a few of the jobs, such as the keel and mast. The boat was just a hull. There was no deck, keel, rig, rudder, or for that matter, much else. I managed to get most of the original construction drawings together.

I then approached Van Gorkom Yacht Design for the engineering I needed. I asked Geoff to design a deck, a keel, a rudder, and to do a new rig design. I was interested in updating the older design of the Deerfoot with a bigger rig, a deeper more developed keel, and a rudder to match the modern keel. Working with Geoff as he produce this work was a pleasure.

When the original Deerfoot 61s were built, it took something like 20,000 man hours to complete one. I knew what I was in for when I took on this project. For me, the joinery is part of the fun, and although there are times I grow tired of sanding and grinding fiberglass, I have to say it has still been an amazing experience. I’m on my third 55 gallon drum of West epoxy! To date, a lot of work has been completed. Most all of the designs Geoff did for me have been carried out. The deck beams have been constructed and installed, along with most of the deck structure. It is ready for the ply and glass covering. The mast and boom have been built by Charleston Spars. The keel has been built by Kanter Yachts and the rudder I built myself.

All during the process Geoff has been available and provided guidance. The designs, drawings, CAD files, and in some cases the templates he produced, where all of high quality and easily followed. I have been very satisfied with the designs and the results produced from them. Geoff knows his business, but more than that, he is a gentleman that is a joy to work with. That’s a rare breed in today’s world. Without his assistance, my project would have been impossible.

Timothy Dunlap

Annapolis, Maryland

Sponberg Yacht Design


I have known Geoffrey Van Gorkom for 30 years and have been a close friend and colleague for most of that time. We worked closely together on a number of boat design projects, some mine, some his, assisted by the fact that we had adjoining offices in downtown Newport, RI for over a decade. I can attest to his skill and inventiveness as a consummate engineer and boat designer.

Geoff has an innate flair for the design of racing sailboats which is comparable to the best racing sailboat designers today. But a naval architect’s work is actually quite varied, including not only sailboat and powerboat design, but also conducting analytical performance studies, engineering boat structures, figuring out complex refit projects, as well as deciphering expert investigations in boating accident cases. We have conferred on all these types of work, and Geoff ranks among the best of the technical professional naval architects in the field.

Eric W. Sponberg

Sponberg Yacht Design
St. Augustine, FL


I approached Van Gorkom Yacht Design in the fall of 2015 with regards to improving the upwind performance of our custom 33’ sport boat Bella. Geoff was candid and open with his recommendations to improve performance, which included the modification of the keel fin.

The end result was a design that utilized the existing keel strut structure but reconfigured the foil shape and incorporated a trim tab and fairing panels. The design solutions were simple and eloquent.

The construction was executed in the winter through early summer of 2016. Sea trials began in August and the results were remarkable. Upwind performance has been significantly improved and the boat is a delight to sail to weather.

Geoff’s knowledge and attention to detail were instrumental in the success of this modification. He worked with us through the entire design, build and commissioning process to ensure our satisfaction with the project.

Mark Nannini & Mike Kehew