Chris Critchett

Chris has been with Michael Peters Yacht Design since his internship in the early 90’s, post graduation from the Webb Institute with his B.S. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering & M.Sc. in Ocean Technology. Now company VP, his work includes structural engineering support, mechanical systems lead, and project manager for MPYD’s recreational craft projects. When he’s not working on boats at MPYD; he’s diving, fishing, sailing, paddling, and/or collecting old boats no one has time to use.


What does it mean to you to be an ISS judge? It’s an honor to be in such good company, and have the chance to give some credit when we see a job well done.

What do you like about the ISS Design & Awards Gala? The gala part is of course a lot of fun, but I think most important is the chance to gather in one room, lubricate the conversation, and interact as a group rather than from our separate ivory towers scattered around the globe. Wherever you are, the world shrinks when you start talking boats, and this is a great chance to experience more of that.

How did you get your start in the yachting industry? I wanted to go somewhere warm for the winter, really. I grew up on and in the cold murky Great Lakes which led me to naval architecture school in New York, but the yachting came about because I wanted a winter internship in Florida. Many of my childhood friends went to warm places for Christmas or spring break, and my family never did. I inquired at every boat builder or designer that advertised an office in Florida and wound up working with Michael Peters when MPYD was run from a spare room. By that time he and Mark Masciarotte of DIANA were friends & had a line on MPYD’s first ‘big’ yacht to design, thought it would take a few more years for that to come to fruition. That project with Mark & Felix Buytendijk led to another, and to attending some of the first ISS events back in the 90’s.

What is your favorite part of your job? I like working in a small organization, with good people, and for clients all over the world who do a wide variety of different things. But probably the best part is getting together every day with other boat nerds who get excited about the same things I do. I’m sure I could adapt to any number of other careers and enjoy difference challenges, but being able to combine career and passion is a rare luxury that I try and remember to appreciate every day.

Where do you find inspiration? I like to think I admire excellence wherever I see it, and try to emulate it when possible. I’m not a trained designer, but I find great fascination in beautifully designed ‘things,’ from flatware to cars & boats to buildings, to graphics. Technical achievements are one thing, but to combine that excellence with beauty is another level entirely and a worthy goal.

Where are you the happiest? On a boat, generally. Traveling by boat may be tops, especially if I’m driving, but sitting at anchor can be pretty special, too. Probably the best version of that lately is bringing the family out on our old wooden lobster boat to an island beach in Maine and having the place to ourselves for the day (they are spoiled and insist the captain find another island if we don’t). Why? I have no idea, it’s just always been that way for me and I can’t seem to fix it. Something from childhood no doubt but I can’t put my finger on it. How do you manage life balance? Very poorly, apparently. Too many boats.

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve gotten? It’s a tie, I think: first, enjoy the journey because you may not get to the destination; and second, you’re never good enough to be an ‘unpleasant person.’ (I may be paraphrasing that one for a polite audience.)