USA-26 One Life J/99

Now for the fun stuff

Buying a brand new boat is terrifying — particularly when you plunk down money before hull #1 of a brand new design splashes. Then come all the million largely irreversible decisions on hull configuration, options, sails, and the rest. Bob and Ben at Sail Northwest have been awesome, and I never would have coped without their help, but still.

There were some tough deletions along the way related to budget, but one thing I was willing to bump beyond my “Thou shalt not pass” top line dollar figure was hull art. Don’t get me wrong, the J/99 has beautiful lines and would look good in simple white. But I love seeing artfully-designed sailboats driving through waves and badly want my J/99 to contribute to the art of sailing.

That said, one thing I worry about is having the boat be “all flash, no dash“. It seems to me having a pretty hull on a slow boat would be adding injury to insult and be fodder for lots of snide comments in the fleet. “All hat, no cattle” and all, right?

Fortunately, I’m old enough to not really care what other people think. I also know the sailing community in Seattle is incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. As long as J/Boats delivers a fast hull (not really worried there), I can put in the hard work — and be reasonably sure about receiving help from my friends in the local sailing community — to make the boat as fast as her artwork.

With that, and with the inspiration provided by Kris’ spinnaker design, I was finally ready to choose a designer and firm.

I reached out to a bunch of people nationally and locally. I emailed other owners who had boat art I liked. I spent hours browsing websites to see what boat graphics companies or designers might be a good fit. Despite the fact Northwest sailors seem more reticent about hull art (if you walk around marinas in different areas of the country, or follow race photographers on social media, you’ll see lots more hull art on racing boats elsewhere than here), one name kept rising to the top…

Seattle’s Prism Graphics.

I’d worked with them for the name on Dragonfly, and came away happy. But this project is orders of magnitude more complicated than a name.

I sent my color scheme and some ideas to Prism and, then after some back and forth to figure out the right shade of blue, it was down to waiting to see if what I pictured in my head would make it to the page.

Yani, relatively new to the Prism team, was assigned as my designer. She sent back the first draft and I was absolutely blown away. Yani somehow climbed into my brain — just over email, mind you — and saw what I was thinking. Then she improved it.

Version 1.0 of One Life’s hull art

Astonishingly few edits later, and just one visit to meet the amazing Yani in person to nail down the final color choices, and we had the final design.

Now comes the tough part… waiting for One Life to arrive so I can see how the art on the flat page translates to her hull.

I can’t emphasize how much what a great experience it was working with Yani and the team at Prism to develop the artwork. The cost is not as much as you might expect, and Prism is really creative about working within budgets. It would be great to see more creative hull art gracing our region’s racing boats so you should absolutely give them a call.

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