Journal / Article /

Meet the team: Scott Blee — main designer

One of the secrets of Bering success is in its professionals and special bonds in the team. Most specialists work in Bering for many years already and it proofs in both sides the professionalism of the specialists and the good energy and atmosphere in the company.
We would like to introduce you the very important person in our team – our designer Scott Blee.
Scott owns his own company – Sabdes Yacht Design and works together with Bering over the projects for more than 10 years already.
We asked Scott a few questions to dive into the history of this successful cooperation.

Hi Scott, first of all it is a great pleasure to work together. Tell us please few words about you and your company. When was it created, where and how?
Sabdes Yacht Design began in the year 2000, it was just after my second stream of studies; this time at Royal Melbourne University of Technology, studying Industrial Design (specializing in vehicle design). After I achieved my Bachelor Degree I began advertising my design services via my website, using my yacht concept portfolio up to that point in time. SABDES was situated in Melbourne, now I move around quite a bit with frequent working visits to clients at shipyards in Antalya, The Netherlands and the UK to name a few.

For how long you and Bering are the partners?
Since year 2009, so just over ten years now we’ve been collaborating. I’d noticed a Bering 18metre concept in a US yacht magazine (they called it a ‘Euro style’ I think it was), and liked what they were attempting; I thought the design needed some more refinement and maybe I could offer them some help. So I reached out via an online enquiry to Judy Waldman, a Broker in the US, about discussing the design with the Bering company, and she gave my details to Alexei the owner who contacted me that week. We hit it off well over the phone and he tasked me to restyle their 15metre boat to see what I’d come up with… the rest is history as they say.

Before Bering – in what directions you worked and what were your achievements?
Post my first stream of studies in Naval Architecture, I’d started my professional design career working in a Ship Design office at a Naval Shipbuilding company in Melbourne. I was directly involved in a large Navy Frigate build project, then after that begun a series of concept design involvements in a range of Offshore Patrol Vessels, and Paramilitary craft, as well as two 27,000 tons Aircraft Carriers working for BAE Systems. Interestingly, I also worked on concepts for a 63metre classic yacht conversion project for the same company! After this I briefly shifted direction into land based projects, becoming concept architect on a few modern Architectural developments. Then after, demand for my yacht work started increasing, so all my focus went onto yachts design.

Why yachts? Where was the start point for this field? In your childhood or something else?
I was brought up in Hobart Tasmania, where there were lots of waterways and boats, ships and fast catamaran ferry’s (but not many Superyachts!). From a very young age I was reading European yacht magazines, discovering Italian yacht design along the way, and for some reason I got hooked on stylish large European boats. I was constantly drawing Benetti, San Lorenzo, style yachts, then discovered Jon Bannenberg’s superyacht designs and he made another very big impression (Jon was also an Aussie). Sports cars design was also a fascination for me; Lotus, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin etc! I’d also started car racing, and at one point had to make a distinct choice for where I best put my energies; between a career in racing and a career in design!

What is the level of your input in Bering`s designs in your opinion?
It usually starts off with discussions with Alexei Mikhailov, founder and President of Bering Yachts. I take onboard this and make my own round of suggestions based on initial work received from Bering’s Naval Architect; my primary role is as the Exterior Designer and I have good freedom for putting my ideas forward. Alexei and I have constant communications in development and styling ideas. Refining, throwing suggestions, around and generally we push each other along very well!

How much time does it take to create a model?
We begin with talking about the aim of the new design, it’s features, style, characteristics, toys etc. Then also about getting to know who is the client and their preferences for ideas and styling. We to and fro these discussions, which firms up our ideas. The time spent for each model varies somewhat on the size, but generally we have a first round for the preliminary design, then after customer contract signing a second modelling and refinement phase; So it can be take let’s say one to two months for the preliminary design to resolve, then another for the production model.     

What are you working on now with Bering?
Recently we finished our work with the flagship of Bering fleet – Bering 145. And now we work on the updates on styling for the B65 model. An exciting new model; the B75. And an extraordinary 55 meter Explorer yacht, which will simply be groundbreaking!

During all these years what can you tell about the Bering style, how has it changed and what is it going to look like in future in your opinion?
Bering started out with very seaworthy, traditional style Trawler yachts, and we have been investing in a modern design evolution of the style since. Most recently we have introduced changes in our hull form on some of the larger models, to be more straight bow with longer waterlines. This does many positive things including giving more fwd space, and a nice modern style amongst others, all without impacting seaworthiness. Bering are custom builders also, so depending on the client, we can push ahead with innovation easily; We already see large glass areas in cabins and lounges, and interior and exterior spaces merging more freely. Fold down balconies and beach clubs are already being built into new Berings.  The future style of Bering is going to be an evolution, not a revolution. We are building ever bigger boats, so expect this too, but always there will be the Bering ethos.

What kind of yachts are the most popular now in your opinion?
Explorer Yachts!! And SUV explorer style; that are boats with less capability than true explorers but with similar functional purposes.

In what things do you find the inspiration?
Boats, yachts, Architecture, cars, products… sometimes I see just an element of a style.. a small detail in a product that I like.

What your common working day looks like?
First some good coffee, then I like to get straight into a few hours design work to capture any ideas that may have formed while sleeping! The day usually has a few breaks for refreshing, exercise etc, and often I find I’m still burning the candle late at night (the sign of a design-aholic I think?) 

What about your free time, how do you prefer to spend it?
Any ‘off time’ I have is spent on water; I own a few boats; a sailing yacht, a sliding seat rowing boat, and a classic Australian flybridge motor cruiser. Also I like to travel even if it’s mainly for work, ski, play tennis, drive cars (I’m known to collect a few).