J&J Design

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J&J Design
Privately held company
IndustryNaval architecture, Marine engineering
FoundersJapec Jakopin and Jernej Jakopin
HeadquartersLjubljana, Slovenia
Area served
ServicesYacht design and engineering

J&J Design is a naval architecture, design, boat and production-process engineering company, mainly for high-volume production sail and powerboat builders. It introduced the carbon-epoxy technology from the America's Cup into cruising sailboats with the Shipman line. J&J also designed and engineered the first serial production hybrid powerboats, the Greenline Hybrid range.[1] [2]


J&J Design was founded in 1983 by brothers Japec Jakopin and Jernej Jakopin in Ljubljana, Slovenia.[3] Japec, the elder brother learned to sail by the age of 13. After graduating from the Medical school at the University of Ljubljana in 1974 he pursued an academic career at that school's Institute of Physiology and at the University Medical Centre. During that time he spent the weekends designing and building do-it-yourself boats, and operating a sailboat charter base. In 1983 CEO of Elan, the main Slovenian sporting goods (including recreational boats) manufacturer, accepted his proposal to come up with a better sailboat model. Younger brother Jernej Jakopin, an architect with a degree from Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, joined in and J&J Design was founded. Elan 31 sailboat was its first project.[4][5]

Founders of J&J Design

Elan 31 was followed by Elan 33, 34, 38 and 43.[4] In 1985, skippered by Dušan Puh, Elan 31R won the production boat prize at the Three Quarter Ton World Championship in Marstrand, Sweden.[6] Elan sold 940 units of the Elan 31 and 33, and between 1983 and 1987 increased its marine sales from DEM 2 M to DEM 32 M (2.6 M US$ to 42 M US$, as of 2016, inflation adjusted).[4] After 1987, when the new management of Elan decided to refocus on ski production, J&J Design continued designing boats for other European boatyards, mainly for Jeanneau.[5]


In 1989 the two brothers founded a broader company, Seaway, expanding the design to engineering, tooling and prototyping for boat manufacturers. J&J Design continued to operate in the framework of Seaway, providing the design part of a one-stop-shop boat development solution.[5]

By 2000 Seaway became the only independent company outside major yacht builders that could engage in the entire boat development process - from design to prototype and final moulds, for a list of clients that included Bavaria, Jeanneau, Dufour Yachts and Grand Soleil. Its revenue grew to 6.6 M Euros.[2][5]

KD Group, one of the largest Slovenian private finance groups, invested 3 M Euros in the company in 2001, for a 50% share and a request for change of strategy to own boat production. This investment enabled the purchase of a robot for precise prototype and mould production, required by Seaway's customers and acquisition of new, larger premises for installation of the new tool.[5]

In 2003 J&J Design developed, in cooperation with Jørgen Bonde from Denmark, the new-era Shipman sailing boat, Shipman 50, the first singlehanded high-performance pilothouse offshore cruiser. New carbon/epoxy prepreg technology (Carbon fiber reinforced polymer), previously only used in competition sailing such as the America's Cup, made possible the transition to lighter, faster and more efficient production cruising yachts.[7][8] Shipman 50 was followed by bigger Shipman 63, Shipman 72 and Shipman 80 models.

Shipman 80 carbon yacht sailing in apparent wind

In 2009 a hybrid powerboat with diesel, electric and solar propulsion was developed and produced, the 33 feet (10 m) long Greenline Hybrid 33.[9][10]

Its main appeal besides the hybrid propulsion with zero-emission and no-noise sailing was the constant availability of 110/230 VAC power for appliances.[11] Arguably the best-selling 10 m boat in 2010 and 2011 it sold 400 units by 2015,[12] [13] and was followed by larger models, GL 40 in 2011, Ocean Class 70 in 2012 and GL 48 in 2014.[14][15]

Hybrid technology was also applied to the sailing boat line, to the Shipman 59 Hybrid Solar Carbon in 2014, designed together with Doug Peterson and the French naval architect Guillaume Verdier.[16][17]

Greenline Hybrid lineup: GL 40, GL 48 and GL 33 in the Bay of Piran, 2014

The world financial crisis of 2007 had a severe impact on the pleasure boat sector.[18] The enduring credit crunch that followed crippled the production at Seaway and despite the full order book in 2015 both divisions of the company went out of business.[19]

J&J Design Revival[edit]

The boatbuilding part of Seaway (Greenline and Shipman ranges) was taken over by Vladimir Zinchenko (SVP Yachts)[20][21][22][23] while Jakopin brothers reestablished J&J Design as an independent company with Japec Jakopin and Jernej Jakopin as the CEOs[24] and with a team of 25 designers and engineers.[1]

The company continued to work for major volume boatbuilders in the power and sailing area, including the Greenline builder SVP Yachts, by providing design as well as boat engineering and production process engineering for vessels from 20 to 80 feet.[25]

Awarded Designs[edit]

J&J designs have won over 90 Boat of the Year, Design or Environmental awards.[1] European Yacht of the Year (awarded annually since 2001) and European Powerboat of the Year (since 2005) prize winning designs are listed below.[3][26][27][28]

Year Name Propulsion Category Description
2004 Shipman 50 Sail Overall winner First production cruising sailboat in carbon technology
2006 Shipman 63 Sail Yachts over 14 m Shorthanded deckhouse performance cruiser
2007 Salona 37 Sail Yachts 10 – 12 m New generation cruiser-racer for the largest Croatian boatbuilder
2009 Bavaria 30 Sport HT Power Powerboats till 10 m An intuitive handling boat
2009 Marex 37 Power Powerboats 10 – 12 m New aft cabin walkaround concept, with E. Thorup
2009 Windy 44 Power Powerboats 12 – 14 m High performance hull of light and strong build
2010 Greenline 33 Power Special award for innovation First production diesel-electric-photovoltaic boat
2011 Monte Carlo Yachts 76 Sail Yachts over 50 feet Innovative boat assembly concept, with Nuvolari Lenard
2012 Prestige 500 F Power Powerboats over 45 feet New interior concept in a large volume hull, with Studio Garroni
2016 Grand Soleil 46 LC Sail Luxury cruisers Shorthanded performance cruiser with a new protected steering station


  1. ^ a b c "J&J Design, 1983-". Phoenix, Arizona: SailboatData.Com. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Bryant, Chris (12 November 2010), "Japec Jakopin: Green machine keeps boat builder afloat", Financial Times, retrieved 10 January 2016
  3. ^ a b Žiberna, Marjan (7 May 2010), "His way - Seaway", The Slovenia Times, Slovenia, retrieved 1 March 2016
  4. ^ a b c Golob, Tadej (March 2006), "Japec Jakopin", Playboy, Slovenia: 39–47, retrieved 1 March 2016
  5. ^ a b c d e Shapiro, Daniel; Vahčič, Aleš; Papania, Lisa (2008). "Chapter 9: Seaway: building boats in Slovenia". In Aidis, Ruta; Welter, Friederike (eds.). The Cutting Edge / Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New Europe. Edward Elgar. pp. 146–165. ISBN 978-1845429744.
  6. ^ "Elan Sailing Yachts". Larnaca, Cyprus: Blue Point Yachting. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  7. ^ Bock, Jörn (19 November 2003), "Revolution im Serienbau" [Revolution in series production], Yacht, Hamburg, Germany: 52–59
  8. ^ "SHIPMAN 50". Phoenix, Arizona: SailboatData.Com. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  9. ^ Haak, Alyssa (20 March 2013). "The Prius Boat: Hybrid Power Catches a Current / Greenline's new hybrid yachts combine an old-school diesel engine with a modern electric motor and lithium battery pack". New York City, New York. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  10. ^ Marsh, Dave (June 2010), "Greenline 33 Hybrid", Motor Boat & Yachting, London, England: 58, 60–65
  11. ^ Reich, Gary (January 2011), "Dreamboat - A Shockingly Good Hybrid", PropTalk - Chesapeake Bay Boating, St. Annapolis, MD: 22–25, retrieved 10 January 2016
  12. ^ Strang, Jeff (4 April 2012), "Boat Tests - Greenline 40 Hybrid", TradeaBoat, Oakleigh, Australia, retrieved 10 February 2016
  13. ^ Carney, Heather (October 2015), "Greenline Hybrid Yachts May Be Eco-Friendly, But They're Just As Luxurious As The Boats You're Used To", Boca Life Magazine, Boca Raton, Florida, retrieved 22 February 2016
  14. ^ Marsh, Dave (March 2012), "Boat report - Greenline 70", Motor Boat & Yachting, London, England: 52–59
  15. ^ "Seaway Greenline 48 - photos of world premiere at boot 2014". Düseldorf, Germany. January 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  16. ^ "International team designs Shipman 59". MySailing. Surry Hills NSW, Australia. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Why MACIF won the Vendee Globe". The Daily Sail. London, UK. 9 January 2014. Archived from the original on 18 January 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  18. ^ Yin, Liyun (29 July 2009), "Boating industry in a fight for survival", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA, retrieved 10 March 2016
  19. ^ "High-End Yacht Maker Goes Bankrupt". Ljubljana, Slovenia. 14 March 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  20. ^ Small-Scale Production at Seaway Relaunched, STA, 8 July 2015, retrieved 23 February 2016
  21. ^ Mihajlović, Novica (5 August 2015), "Seaway pod ruskim najemnikom prvo barko prodal Japoncem" [Seaway's New Tenant Sold the First Boat to Japanese], Finance, retrieved 23 February 2016
  22. ^ "SVP Yachts". Zapuže, Slovenia. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  23. ^ Frank, Robert (22 August 2015), "Hybrid-Powered Megayachts Come With Green Bragging Rights", The New York Times, retrieved 19 February 2016
  24. ^ Morozov, Sebastjan (5 January 2015), "Brata Jakopin z novim podjetjem", Dnevnik, Ljubljana, Slovenia, retrieved 22 February 2016
  25. ^ "Интервью с Владимиром Зинченко" [Vladimir Zinchenko Interview]. Motor Boat and Yachting, Russian Edition. Moscow, Russia. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  26. ^ "European Yacht of the Year 2016". Düsseldorf: boot - Düsseldorf Boat Show. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  27. ^ "A look back at boot 2011 / The water sports Oscars are awarded". Düsseldorf: boot - Düsseldorf Boat Show. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  28. ^ "Prestige 500 wins European Powerboat of the Year Award 2012". Middletown, Rhode Island: Sail-World.com. Retrieved 10 March 2016.

External References[edit]