In the 1930s, the yacht of today already existed. The story of Fokker’s QED

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The Fokker Yacht
Q.E.D. The Fokker Yacht was launched in 1938, built using aeronautical techniques and at the time decidedly ahead of its time for the nautical world

You say Fokker and you think of airplanes, of the legendary biplanes of World War I, of the “Red Baron.” However, it is decidedly less well known that Anthony Fokker, aviation pioneer, entrepreneur and inventor, was passionate about boating. In the 1930s, together with naval designer William Atkin, he envisioned and built the Q.E.D., a futuristic and innovative 33-meter motorboat.

Q.E.D. ( Quod Erat Demonstrandum, As Wanted to Demonstrate) was built by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Corporation in Morris Heights, New York City and launched on June 20, 1938. Anthony Fokker was obsessed with the concepts of lightness and aerodynamics, which he rigorously applied to the construction of his yacht.

Fokker’s yacht. Light and fast

Fokker’s yacht. had in fact torpedo lines, and was built with criteria that were decidedly avant-garde for the nautical world of the times, and the intermingling with the aeronautical world was evident. It was made of African mahogany for the hull and aircraft-grade lightweight plywood for the internal structures. Some structural elements and the upper nugget were made of aluminum.

The hull was divided into nine watertight compartments, and much attention was given to reducing noise and vibration. It was exactly 33.53 meters long, weighed 66 tons (about half of a 33-meter fast cruiser of today) traveled at a cruising speed of16-17 knots and could reach a maximum of 29 knots. Sophisticated propulsion system…

Q.E.D. Fokker’s boat had five engines on board

In addition to the main engine, a Vimalart V-2500-1 12-cylinder 800-hp Vimalart, used for long sailings, there were two 600-hp Wright Typhoon Capitols (at a later stage air-cooled Wright Cyclones) in order to achieve maximum speed. A separate Ford V-8 engine was installed to power the on-board systems and for ventilation aboard Fokker’s yacht (and an additional V-8 was present as a “respect” thruster, to be used as needed).

 The Fokker Yacht

Fokker’s mushroom anchor

Innovations included a large retractable “mushroom-shaped” anchor that, along with the chain, was located just forward of the center of the hull to concentrate and lower displacement (interesting to think how it was later taken up in much more modern times by other shipyards,
starting with Wally
).

Both the forward and aft portions of the main-deck were openable and concealed within them space for speedboats, canoes and other floating objects, complete with davits for their hauling and launching. As we would say now, everything needed to handle a large number of “water toys.”

Fokker's Yacht
Anthony Fokker in 1912. Photo by Fritz Heuschkel, Copyright Free

An untimely end…

Anthony Fokker’s Q.E.D. unfortunately did not have a long life. In October 1939 it burned and sank in the Hudson River. That same year, at only 49 years old, its inventor and owner also died of meningitis. To say the least, his words at the launching of his 33-meter boat were premonitory: “I wish to show that my yacht, by introducing new principles, will revolutionize and give new impetus to the shipbuilding industry… I hope it can be obsolete within two years. This is the way we build airplanes. As soon as we complete them, they are already outdated. This is good. It is progress. Today there are too many yachts that outlive their owners….

 

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