Knierim boasts an outstanding reputation among international yacht owners. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Knierim stands for everything that is top of the range in the boat builder’s craft. In its second generation, the yard has focused on building individual high-tech yachts, comprising the unique German America’s Cup racer Germany I (2006) as well as the 31-metre catamaran TÛRANOR Planet Solar (2010), driven by solar energy alone.
The success story began in 1965 on the real estate occupied by a former lifeboat shed on the Eastern bank of the Kieler fjord. Günter Knierim’s yacht and boatyard serviced and repaired solid timber fishing cutters.
However, it wasn’t very long before they concentrated on sporting boats. Plywood hulls were developed and even entire yachts laid down at Kiel. In the 70s, the quarter-tonne “Vagabund”, with a chine hull, was the prototype for three successors. The first quarter-tonners, made from moulded plywood, the “Attacke” and the “Kninispri”, followed and took the Mini Tonner world championship in the South of France in 1983.
In 1999, Gunnar Knierim, who won the Admirals’ Cup in 1993 on Willi Illbruck’s Pinta and had learned about refined composite technologies at the Admiral’s Cup in New Zealand, took over as managing director. Two years later, he relocated the company to a colossal area on the Kiel Canal. To date, this courageous step has produced some 30 new builds, ranging from comfortable cruise ships for sailing round the world to high-tech racing yachts. The number of employees rose to around 45.
Jointly managed by Knierim and the businessman Steffen Müller, the shipyard then became a member of the DEUTSCHE YACHTEN Working Group. With its 26-metre Maxi UCA, the fastest ship across the Atlantic in the 2003 DCNAC race, it scaled new heights. Germany 1, the first German America’s Cup campaign contender in 2006, was a high-tech prestigious build, just like TÛRANOR Planet Solar, a solar-powered catamaran, significantly designed by KNIERIM in 2010. With a length of 31 metres and a beam of 15 metres, it is to date the largest waterborne craft powered purely by solar energy, and is CO2-neutral into the bargain.
After producing the Knierim Runabout 36 yacht tender in 2013, the yard, last year, launched the 18.30 metre long Knierim 60 a truly speedy giant sailing yacht. An extraordinary 53-foot boat, which will be publicly unveiled shortly, is currently under construction. The keel for a 57-foot long high-tech racing yacht has also been laid. Since 2005, the prototype hulls and decks together with rudders, keels, bulkheads and other structural components have been milled independently in the yard’s own subsidiary, KNIERIM Tooling, on state-of-the-art 5-axis machines.
Two of these are more than 30 metres long, 8.50 metres wide and four metres high. They also provide extraordinarily precise shaping for wind power system rotor blades, in aerospace and shipbuilding, as well as large industrial parts and deck equipment for mega yachts. They have also been producing direct female tooling for a long time.
Spread over more than 20,000 square metres, the company provides winter storage, refit services, repairs, conversions and paintwork. KNIERIM Yachts n’ Technics was founded to cover the entire range of yachting equipment. “We don’t want to do anything other than build good boats”, is the company’s watchword. The self-made claim as an incisive philosophy for the next 50 years.