Theodoor Gillissen (1921 – 2002) was born in Haarlem. In his youth, Theo built several small boats with his father. He later continued this in the design of boats for friends and participation in design competitions (see also “Archive” on our website). In the drawing room of shipyard “Merwede” he drew parts of sea-going vessels, after which he started in Vleuten in 1961 as an independent yacht architect.
He not only designed ships, but also supervised their construction. An estimated 800 ships from his drawings have been built. He was best known as a designer of the Gillissen Vlet, which was built in various sizes at many yards, including Valk from Franeker and Dolman from Muiden. The famous Valkvlet, for example, is derived from its original design. This also applies to the Linden cutter. But also beautiful Gillissen cutters and usually huddled juggled motor yachts are striking appearances on the water. Much less well-known are the graceful s-spans sailing yachts, most of which were designed before 1960. Gillissen died in Leiden in 2002.
Theo Gillissen has been of great importance for water sports. After all, he was at the cradle of watersports recreation, which developed strongly in the 70s. And “his” ships are still recognized and highly appreciated.
(for a more detailed biography about Theo Gillissen see Newsletter 4)