Ed Dubois talks personal style

Acclaimed naval architect Ed Dubois recently won the Judges’ Special Prize at The World Superyacht Awards.

Ed Dubois at home in Hampshire.
Ed Dubois at home in Hampshire. | Image: Richard Grassie

My personal style signifier is a Pelikan fountain pen, which doesn’t explode on flights because of a mechanism that they have patented. It is my security blanket, although I tend to either lose them or my children walk off with them. I am left-handed and learnt to write with a fountain pen, so I feel better equipped with a pen than with a Biro. From £45, www.pelikanpens.co.uk.

The last thing I bought and loved was a golden retriever puppy, called Hebe.

Floris shaving soap bowl, £30, and badger brush, £42.
Floris shaving soap bowl, £30, and badger brush, £42.

The best gift I’ve given recently, according to my wife, Honor, was a Burmese cat. It is ash grey and replaces her Burmese brown, which died. My children and I are having a fierce discussion about the name. Burmese are fiendishly expensive; more expensive than washing machines. Hebe is absolutely terrified of it.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Shanghai. I travel too much, but I do love east Asia; it has inspired me since I first went to Hong Kong in the 1970s (where I got my second design order). Although I had been through Shanghai before, I had not stayed, and last November I spent four days there. One can get a jaded palate travelling, but the combination of old and new with the French influence really struck me.


And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a conch shell I found on the seabed when I was diving in Turks and Caicos. I didn’t think of souvenirs before I had children, but now I want to bring them something back from my trips.

The thing I’m eyeing next is this 1950s Alfa Romeo 6C, which is so pretty you want to eat it. I am not really a car person but I would love one of them. I think they only made about 600. If I had the loot and could be totally indulgent, I would have one. www.alfaromeo.co.uk.

A 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Villa d’Este.
A 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Villa d’Este. | Image: © Alfa Romeo Automobilismo Storico, Centro Documentazione (Arese, Milano)

A recent “find” is a really sweet little restaurant on the water’s edge in Antigua called Cecilia’s, run by a former Swedish model – she’s strikingly beautiful and a real character. It is a five-minute drive from the airport. I had a four-hour transit between St Bart’s and my flight home, so I went there for lunch and ate a delicious red snapper. It has a great atmosphere and wonderful views; you feel as though you are in a movie. Dutchman’s Bay, Antigua (+1268-562 7070; www.highpointantigua.com).

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an actor. I don’t know whether I would have made it, but I was told I should be one when I was at school. I had an amazing schoolmaster who turned me on to Shakespeare, and I liked acting. I was offered an audition for Rada, but by that time I was into yacht design.

Pelikan Souverän M600 fountain pen, £229.
Pelikan Souverän M600 fountain pen, £229.

The last meal that truly impressed me was a fantastic mushroom risotto in the Terrazza restaurant at Hotel Splendido in Portofino some time ago. It is on top of the hill overlooking a charming little bay, and is basically where the Milanese take their mistresses. It has got the most beautiful view and a fantastic chef. Salita Baratta 16, 16034 Portofino, Italy (+3901-8526 7801; www.hotelsplendido.com).

The grooming staples I’m never without are a Floris shaving bowl and badger brush. It started when I began to shave – I thought it incredibly grown-up – and someone gave me the shaving bowl, and I continue to buy them. Shaving bowl, £21-£30, badger brush, £42-£55; www.florislondon.com.

Hotel Splendido, Portofino.
Hotel Splendido, Portofino. | Image: Genivs Loci

The book on my bedside table is – really – I Want My Potty by Tony Ross. I am reading it with my five-year-old son. Otherwise, I have just finished Toast by Nigel Slater.

In my fridge you’ll always find a bottle of Sancerre, and if I have a food fetish it is for tomato and avocado salad with loads of olive oil. Sometimes I make it. I love cooking – I lived on my own until I was 44 – but I’ve got a very limited repertoire.


The last music I downloaded was Simon Rattle’s Berlin Philharmonic recordings of Brahms’ Symphonies, on to my iPhone. I love classical music and am having a Brahms moment this month. You can get sick of him, but his 4th Symphony is so powerful. www.berliner-philharmoniker.de.

My favourite website is Amanresorts. I don’t surf the net very much, but their site is fantastic. They have lots of resorts in south-east Asia – you can dream about where to go next. www.amanresorts.com.