Marshall "Duffy" Duffield grew up on the bay in Newport Beach in the late ‘50s and ‘60s. His father owned several fishing and sailing yachts and he imparted to Duffy his love of the seafaring life. In 1970, at 17, Duffy started building a youth class racing sailboat. His boats won every major west coast sailing event in the class.
Duffy has spent his entire life on the water and over a span of three decades he evolved into an award-winning offshore racer. He’s won the Transpac, several Congressional Cups, S.O.R.C., St. Francis Big Boat Series and numerous other big name races along the west coast and Mexico.
Drawing on his background of racing fast-planing dinghies as a teenager, Duffy designed a breakthrough hull for the ’77 Transpac which reached speeds of over 25 knots, unheard of in those days. His forward-thinking design eventually became the standard for all offshore racing sailboats.
And since 1970, he had been mass-manufacturing the famous Duffy electric boats, which revolutionized the way people boated in harbors and lakes. The experts warned that electric-powered boats would never catch-on. They thought battery power was just too weak to push a twenty-foot displacement boat though the water.
Forty five years and many thousands of electric boats later, the Duffy®
line is more successful than ever, producing 11 different models from 14-30 feet and selling worldwide.
Over the last 20 years, Duffy and his family have enjoyed cruising on their 56’ Ray Hunt-designed 1965 Bertram-built wood yacht named the Following Sea
. Duffy has restored her into a classic beauty.
Duffy’s many experiences aboard the Following Sea
led him to develop a serious interest in producing a new, innovative, yet traditional yacht.
"I wanted a traditional-looking boat that was proportionally correct and would still perform well while using much less fuel. My eye caught the name of an east coast designer named Doug Zurn. His boats 'looked right' to me and he emphasized using modern, advanced composite materials for fast cruising and fuel savings."
Duffy, the young designer and builder
Duffy on board his first offshore racing design and build in 1977. Native Son reached a top speed of 27 knots!
After working together for two years, Duffy and Zurn came up with their ideal boat which satisfied these objectives:
1. Easily operated by one couple
2. Moderate displacement for less drag
3. Built with strong, modern composite materials for maximum strength to weight
4. One level-living from cockpit to helm with 360 degree visibility
5. Reach a cruising speed of 17 knots with one engine
6. Locate power aft, keeping living areas quiet
7. Easier and more efficient maintenance and service as well as better access through large cockpit hatches
8. Use one-half the fuel normally consumed by typical yachts of the same size and class
9. Provide luxury accommodations for two couples with a crew cabin
10. Provide luxurious amenities a fine yacht requires with minimal energy consumption
In Duffy’s Words
"My idea of a great yacht is one that is simple. It’s too easy to over-engineer. It’s much harder to simplify. Keeping the systems less complicated and very accessible is paramount. Unfortunately, hardware and mechanical devices can eventually be troublesome. The fewer systems the better."
"A yacht underway should travel on its designed lines and not dig a hole. It is critical for a yacht to slide through the water properly to obtain maximum fuel economy and a smooth ride."
"With the advent of sophisticated hydrostatic design software, we are now capable of precisely controlling the weights and balances of a vessel. And by installing the engine in the aft part of the boat, we distribute the displacement so the boat floats properly when underway."
"Placing the water, waste and fuel tanks close to the center of buoyancy is a critical factor in maximizing proper trim when the boat is fully burdened."
"Having a low center of gravity or profile reduces any side-to-side movement making your ride more comfortable. Low profile also means less windage and better fuel economy as well as higher boat speed with less horsepower."
"Having built the world's quietest boats for all my adult life, I know the value of silent running. Sailors know how wonderful it is when the engine is off. Reducing noise and locating the engines away from the main living areas of the boat makes for a more pleasurable cruise. This also allows for much easier access to the entire engine without dismantling the main salon floor."
"My take on a single engine installation is that it is twice as simple. Simple equates to less things to purchase, install and maintain. You use half the space and gain tremendous accessibility."
"In my twenty years of owning a twin-engine yacht, on only two occasions has an engine failed. Both events were 100% my fault and were completely avoidable if I had just concentrated on one engine. One lulls themselves into dangerous complacency by thinking there’s always another engine."
"When you go yachting, you’ve made a commitment which is unlike anything you do on land. You can’t just walk home if things go bad. Often, you can’t rely on outside help and that second engine won’t make your trip more safe."
"Remember this. It takes twice as much time and effort to watch over two engines instead of one."
"The reality is that properly installed, a single engine with easily accessible redundant systems will run dependably for as long as you properly maintain it. Two engines do not mean freedom from safety concerns. It just means double the work."