|Jon Bannenberg: 1929-2002|
Part 3: “Jon did not follow trends, he set them.”
By Diane M. Byrne — August 2002
The design studio Bannenberg founded is continuing operation under the direction of his son Dickie, who worked alongside his father on a few recent projects, including the just-delivered "Project B" (the owner wishes to keep the name anonymous) from Benetti. Her oval windows--seven on each side of the main deck, plus two to port and three to starboard of the bridge deck--lend her an unmistakable Bannenberg pedigree.
It's dispiriting that Bannenberg didn't live long enough to see the completion of Mercedes III, a 185-footer for a repeat client that's set for delivery next summer at Oceanfast, since Bannenberg is largely credited with putting the Australian yard on the yachting map. Oceanfast and Bannenberg had collaborated on 16 previous launches, including Thunder A in 1998 and, not coincidentally, Mercedes II in 1996, both of which garnered Superyacht Society design awards. "He was always striving for better, more innovative ways of achieving that unique, understated elegance and opulence which became his trademark," says Oceanfast chairman John Rothwell. "Jon did not follow trends, he set them."
Mark Masciarotte, president of the Superyacht Society, which bestowed Bannenberg with its Leadership Award in 1997, agrees: "He introduced design concepts that although, at times, baffled the naval architects whose responsibility it was to find solutions, resulted in stunning, ground-breaking creations."
In addressing Malcolm Forbes and the rest of the gathered crowd at the christening of The Highlander, Bannenberg revealed--perhaps unknowingly--why he'd gained a reputation as one of the true gentlemen of the yacht business: "If it weren't for owners wanting to build, none of us would be here today. It's a very important thing--never to be forgotten--that all of these wonderful things we have done start with one person's imagination. Great honor to be involved with your imagination, Malcolm."
No, Jon. The honor was ours.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.