Sometimes I envy my friend and fellow journalist/blogger Ben Ellison, owner of the outstanding electronics site Panbo. He lives in Maine, one of the prettiest places to live and cruise. My envy grew recently when I learned that he attended an open house at Rob Eddy’s model-making shop, also in Maine.
If I didn’t live a plane ride away, I’d have hightailed it on over, too. If you’re not familiar with Eddy, you should be. As the founder and owner of Robert H. Eddy & Associates, he is commissioned by owners who desire an artistic, painstakingly accurate replica of their pride and joy.
The photos you see here are just a sampling of the 30-plus exquisite models of boats and yachts of all sizes that he has created since the 1970s. The Maltese Falcon model at top (with a cork to better show scale) is immediately recognizable, but can you name the yacht whose helm is depicted in the photo below? That’s Hyperion. Other superyachts that Eddy has carved models of include Schererazade, Andromeda la Dea, Mariette, and Atlantide.
Hyperion alone took nearly two years to complete; Eddy and one associate do all the work. This includes casting winches, anchors, and rigging that look like they’ll really work if the models were ever set afloat. Eddy spends an average of 2,500 hours carving the models – though Atlantide required 5,500, the most to date. The topsides of the hulls are typically mahogany, while the undersides are made of basswood, from the linden tree. “Each project demands different thinking,” he explains, adding that he’ll use fiberglass or laser-cut acrylic for some components if the wood would need to be carved too thin and therefore not hold up as well. As for deck gear, Eddy employs 14- or 18-karat gold: white gold for stainless steel or aluminum, and yellow gold for bronze work and propellers.
The only way to get these details straight is to see the yachts in person. Whether the yacht is in New Zealand or New York, Eddy hops a plane, armed with his camera and items to take measurements. While he naturally obtains the naval architect’s drawings for each yacht, he notes that sometimes changes are made between the last set of drawings and the finished product. Case in point is the 98-foot ketch Windcrest, a model of which he’s working on now. If he hadn’t personally inspected the yacht and taken multiple photographs, he’d never have known that the split-spoke wheel at the helm was changed to a regular spoke wheel. The owner definitely would have noticed the mistake, though – something Eddy is not willing to risk. “My clientele are people who really love their boats,” he explains.
Whether his clients sit in their office and dream of their next cruise or eventually someday sell the boat, Eddy says the model is “a three-dimensional piece of art” that they can always enjoy. Because it’s art, he does sometimes take artistic license – but in a way that puts a smile on people’s faces. With one project, for example, he discovered that ruby was the birthstone of the owner’s wife… so he inserted rubies into the tops of each winch.
It’s personal touches like this that make the difference. If you’ve always wanted a scale model of your megayacht, Eddy is the go-to person. But be warned: The more complex the vessel, the more time he and his associate need.
After all, he is building you a custom yacht.