Japec Jakopin

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Japec Jakopin
Japec Jakopin Ognjisce 2012.jpg
Born (1951-04-19) 19 April 1951 (age 72)
OccupationCEO of J&J Design
Years active1971 - present
  • Nataša Jordan
    (m. 1974⁠–⁠1992)
  • Maruša Mohorč
    (m. 1998)
ChildrenTilen, Eva, Jakob, Gitica and Jadran

Japec Jakopin (pron. Yapets Yacopeen), born 19 April 1951, is the CEO of J&J Design, a pleasure boat design company, based in Slovenia, which he founded in 1983, together with his brother Jernej. Jakopin is most known as a yacht concept designer.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Jakopin was born in 1951 in Brežice, Slovenia. The family lived in the nearby village of Leskovec pri Krškem.[3]

Japec began diving at the age of six and learned to sail by the age of 13.[4] 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, Department of Intensive Internal Medicine. In 1977 he obtained a master's degree in cardiology, of problems connected to arrhythmia, also during freediving, in 1980 a PhD and in 1981 the title academic specialist in cardiology.[5] In 1983 he resigned from his academic (and medical) career because of political issues.[4]

Yacht design[edit]

During his academic years Jakopin spent his weekends in the Croatian seaside town of Punat building do-it-yourself boats, and later learned the charter yacht business.[4] After leaving the medical profession in 1983 Japec, together with his younger brother Jernej, founded J&J Design studio, for production yacht design.[2][6] In 1983 they designed the Elan 31 sailing boat for the Elan sporting goods factory of Begunje, Slovenia, followed by Elan 33. Between 1983 and 1987 Elan sold 940 units of the Elan 31, Elan 33 and Elan 43, increasing its marine sales from DEM 2 million to DEM 32 million.[4] In 1987, Japec took a marketing and sales manager job at the French sailboat and powerboat builder Jeanneau where he stayed until 1990. In the meantime J&J Design continued designing boats for Jeanneau and several other European boatyards.[4]

Expansion into boat development and production[edit]

In 1989 the two brothers founded Seaway, also in Slovenia, to expand J&J Design activities to engineering, tooling and prototyping for boat manufacturers. By 2000 Seaway became the only independent company outside major yacht builders that could engage in the entire development process - from design to prototype and final moulds, and its revenue grew to 6.6 million euros.[2][7] The list of clients included Bavaria, Beneteau and Jeanneau.[2] In 2001 KD Group, the largest Slovenian private finance group, invested 3 million euros in the company, for a 50% share and a request for change of strategy to own boat production. 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.[7]

Shipman 80 carbon yacht sailing in apparent wind

Seaway produced a limited number of high-class yachts and powerboats, the Shipman carbon sailboat line from 2002 and Skagen powerboat line from 2004.[2][6]

The Shipman 50 and Shipman 63 won the 2003 and 2006 European Boat of the Year Award at the Boot Düsseldorf boat show.

In 2009 a hybrid powerboat with diesel, electric and solar propulsion was developed and produced,[8] the 33 feet (10 m) long Greenline Hybrid 33 (GH 33). It also won the 2010 European Boat of the Year Award at the Boot Düsseldorf boat show. 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.[9] It sold 400 units by 2015, claimed to be the best-selling 10 m boat in 2010 and 2011,[10][11] and was followed by larger models, GL 40 in 2011, Greenline Ocean Class 70 in 2012 and GL 48 in 2014.[12][13]

GH 33, stern view with photovoltaic cells on the roof

Hybrid technology was also applied to a Seaway's sailing boat, to the Shipman 59 Carbon, designed together with Doug Peterson and the French naval architect Guillaume Verdier.[14][15]

In 2014 Seaway was in no shortage of orders for boats, but the enduring credit crunch after the 2008 crisis crippled further production and in 2015 both divisions of the company went out of business.[16]

J&J Design revived[edit]

In the meantime Jakopin brothers reestablished J&J Design as an independent company[17][18] while the boatbuilding part of Seaway (Greenline and Shipman families) was taken over by SVP Yachts (Vladimir Zinchenko).[19][20][21][22] The renewed venture continued to provide design as well as boat engineering and production process engineering for vessels from 20 to 80 feet, to major volume boatbuilders in the power and sailing area, including the Greenline builder SVP Yachts.[23] Since 1983 J&J Design produced over 300 designs from which 60.000 boats were built, by 63 boatbuilders in 26 countries. They won over 110 Boat of the Year, Design or Environmental awards.[24]

Jeranko, Artnik, Jakopin in Kaş, 2021

Other activities[edit]

Jakopin was engaged in promoting new ideas in naval design, especially in the area of hybrid boat propulsion and environment friendly technologies, through lectures,[25][26] public presentations[27][28] and work in professional associations such as the Slovenian Academy of Engineering.[29] In October 2021 he won three gold medals in the freediving world championship in Kaş, Turkey in the category over 70 years: in constant weight monofin dive, in free immersion and in constant weight bifin dive. As of 2021 Jakopin held three world records in the above category, in free immersion, bifin and monofin classes.[30]

At the Freediving Indoor World Championship 2022, in June in Belgrade, Serbia he repeated the achievement from Kaş in Masters 70+ category, in Bifins (164 m), Monofin (186 m) and Static apnea (7 minutes 6 seconds) disciplines. In 2022 these results were the world records for the category.[31] In Monofin and Static apnea they were also the best for all groups over 50 years of age.[32][33][34]


  1. ^ "J & J Design - the world's biggest design studio". Church Point, Australia. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bryant, Chris (12 November 2010), "Japec Jakopin: Green machine keeps boat builder afloat", Financial Times, retrieved 19 March 2021
  3. ^ "Slovenian Academy of Engineering - Full and Associate Members". Ljubljana, Slovenia. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Golob, Tadej (March 2006), "Japec Jakopin", Playboy, Slovenia: 39, 47, archived from the original on 14 December 2017, retrieved 19 March 2021
  5. ^ "Japec Jakopin / Personal Bibliography". Co-operative Online Bibliographic System & Services. Maribor, Slovenia. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b "The company that sailed over Catch-22", Evolution / Business and Technology Magazine from SKF, Stockholm, Sweden, 18 June 2010, retrieved 19 March 2021
  7. ^ a b 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.
  8. ^ 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 19 March 2021.
  9. ^ Reich, Gary (January 2011), "Dreamboat - A Shockingly Good Hybrid", PropTalk - Chesapeake Bay Boating, St. Annapolis, MD: 22, 25, retrieved 10 January 2014
  10. ^ Strang, Jeff (4 April 2012), "Boat Tests - Greenline 40 Hybrid", TradeaBoat, Oakleigh, Australia, archived from the original on 5 February 2014, retrieved 12 February 2021
  11. ^ 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, archived from the original on 15 March 2016, retrieved 12 February 2021
  12. ^ Marsh, Dave (March 2012), "Boat report - Greenline 70", Motor Boat & Yachting, London, England: 52–59
  13. ^ "Seaway Greenline 48 - photos of world premiere at boot 2014". Düsseldorf, Germany. January 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  14. ^ "International team designs Shipman 59". MySailing. Surry Hills NSW, Australia. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Why MACIF won the Vendee Globe". The Daily Sail. London, UK. 9 January 2014. Archived from the original on 17 March 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  16. ^ "High-End Yacht Maker Goes Bankrupt". Ljubljana, Slovenia. 14 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  17. ^ Morozov, Sebastjan (5 January 2015), "Brata Jakopin z novim podjetjem" [Jakopin Brothers' New Company], Dnevnik, Ljubljana, Slovenia, retrieved 22 February 2016
  18. ^ "J&J Design, 1983-". Phoenix, Arizona: SailboatData.Com. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  19. ^ Small-Scale Production at Seaway Relaunched, STA, 8 July 2015, retrieved 19 March 2021
  20. ^ 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 19 March 2021
  21. ^ "SVP AVIO d. o. o." Zapuže, Slovenia. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  22. ^ Frank, Robert (22 August 2015), "Hybrid-Powered Megayachts Come With Green Bragging Rights", The New York Times, retrieved 19 March 2021
  23. ^ "Интервью с Владимиром Зинченко" [Vladimir Zinchenko Interview]. Motor Boat and Yachting, Russian Edition (in Russian). Moscow, Russia. 17 March 2016. Archived from the original on 18 June 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  24. ^ Hopkinson, Nick (June–July 2020). "The one-stop design & development shop". International Boat Industry. London, UK: 50, 51. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  25. ^ "Worldclass Enterprise Software and Design Firms in Eastern and Balkans Europe". Stanford CA: Stanford University / European Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Thought Leaders Seminar. 27 January 2014. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Japec Jakopin, Stanford University lecture". Seaway. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  27. ^ Schauer-Bieche, Florian (30 May 2013). "5 days left: Who's talking? Japec Jakopin". TEDx Klagenfurt. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  28. ^ "Hybrid boats: Japec Jakopin at TEDxKlagenfurt". TEDx Talks. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  29. ^ "Full and Associate Members". Slovenian Academy of Engineering. 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Outdoor (Sea) Master 70 + Category World Records". CMAS - World Underwater Federation. 10 November 2021. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  31. ^ "CMAS Freediving Indoor World Championships Belgrade 2022". CMAS - World Underwater Federation. 29 June 2022. Retrieved 14 August 2022.
  32. ^ "Dynamic with Bi-Fins, June 13, Belgrade 2022, Master 70+ Men Result List". CMAS - World Underwater Federation. 13 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  33. ^ "Dynamic with Fins, June 15, Belgrade 2022, Master 70+ Men Result List" (PDF). CMAS - World Underwater Federation. 15 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  34. ^ "Static Apnea, June 14, Belgrade 2022, Master 70+ Men Result List". CMAS - World Underwater Federation. 14 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.

External References[edit]