German shipyard celebrates 50 years

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The Knierim Yachtbau GmbH shipyard in Kiel, Germany, is celebrating its 50th anniversary building boats.

In its second generation, the yard has built yachts that include the German America’s Cup racer Germany I and the 31-meter catamaran Turanor Planet Solar, which is powered only by solar energy.

The company began in 1965 on the real estate occupied by a former lifeboat shed on the eastern bank of the Kieler fjord. Günter Knierim's yacht and boat yard serviced and repaired solid timber fishing cutters.

However, the yard soon concentrated on sporting boats. Plywood hulls were developed, and entire yachts were laid down at Kiel. In the 1970s the quarter-ton Vagabund, with a chine hull, was the prototype for three successors.

The first quarter-tonners made from molded plywood, the Attacke and the Kninispri, followed and took the Mini Tonner world championship in the South of France in 1983.

In 1999, Gunnar Knierim, who won the Admiral’s Cup in 1993 on Willi Illbruck's Pinta and had learned about refined composite technologies at the Admiral's Cup in New Zealand, took over as managing director. Two years later he relocated the company to an area on the Kiel Canal. The yard has produced some 30 new builds, ranging from comfortable cruise ships for sailing around the world to high-tech racing yachts. The number of employees rose to about 45.

Spread over more than 20,000 square meters, the company provides winter storage, refit services, repairs, conversions and paintwork. Knierim Yachts n’ Technics was founded to cover the entire range of yachting equipment.

The company said its motto will continue for 50 more years: "We don't want to do anything other than build good boats.”

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