Vale Dave Christensen
Dave Christensen, the esteemed founder of Christensen shipyard passed away, aged 87, following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
He died in Vancouver on 15 October in the presence of his three daughters.
Over the past 12 years, Rivergate has had the privilege of working on many Christensen yachts, most recently ‘No Comment’, a 47m (157ft) luxury superyacht. All Christensens near the hallmarks of supreme seaworthiness, volume and individuality.
We extend our condolences and deep respect to Dave Christensen’s family and those talented boat builders who apply their skills to continue his vision.
Boat building was not Dave Christensen’s first career. He had a very successful career as a property developer in the US Northwest and retired at the age of 50 before teaming up with two friends, Leroy Hart of Hart Toys, and Wes Lematta, a pioneer of helicopter aviation, in 1978 to build hull moulds for yachts.
They built the first three Westport ‘Airex core’ hulls in the world, which were 80ft in length and known as ‘Las Americas’, owned by Dave, ‘Lucky Logger’, owned by Wes, and ‘Nancy Anne’, owned by Leroy.
Dave and his family spent around 18 months cruising up and down the Pacific Coast, noting ways he could improve on his boat.
Upon return, Dave sold Las Americas for $1.2, then he went back to Westport and commissioned two new boats, one a spec build and one for himself. Three or four months later, he sold both. Within 12 months, Dave had contracted eight 90ft Westports, intending to keep one, but sold them all while they were in build.
He became so involved in the process, that in 1985 he established his own shipyard and constructed the yard’s first vessel, a 40m motor yacht called ‘Royal Oak’.
Four decades on, Christensen Yachts continues Dave’s original founding vision to deliver beautiful, ocean-going yachts to other fellow yachtsmen. Today, the company is led by two owners – who have owned six Christensen yachts – and are committed to elevating Christensen Yachts to new heights in quality and the building experience.
With nearly 1,000 man-years of boat building experience under one roof, Christensen Yachts employs 120 boat builders committed to ensuring each boat is not only built to the highest quality and delivered on time and on budget.
When Dave Christensen opened the shipyard, he placed a sign above the entrance: “Through these doors pass the finest boat builders in the world.” To which the shipyard’s new owners added: “And the world’s most satisfied yacht owners.”
According to his family and management team, Dave was an inspiration to those who came into close working contact with him and motivated many to pursue successful boating careers.