All the Oceans is an excellent read and is sure to become a classic on the bookshelves of anyone involved in the world of yachts from the 1970s to modern days. Holland got his start as a youth by immersing himself in the world of offshore sailing and racing and was intimately involved with some of the world’s fastest speedsters in some of its most challenging races.
From his offices in lreland, Holland designed yachts for, and became friends with, such notable figures as former British Prime Minister Ted Heath, newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch and Monaco’s Prince Rainier. He also designed a number of production yachts for Nautor Swan, Camper Nicholson and Jeanneau and collaborated on New Zealand’s first America’s Cup entry in 1987 (which lost out in the final round to Dennis Connor’s Stars and Stripes).
In the 1980s, Holland started designing 100-foot-plus sailboats. His most celebrated is the 247-foot (75.3 metre) Mirabella V, launched in 2005. It was, and still is, the largest sloop ever built. Until then, the technology to manufacture the massive masts, winches, rigging, sails and hydraulics for such large vessels didn’t exist, but that didn’t stop Holland. There were many skeptics who said that the structural challenges were insurmountable. However, Holland proved them wrong. The amazing aspect to all this is that Holland was never schooled in yacht design; he learned the basics while working and taking classes as an apprentice boat builder at the age of 16.
Some of the most riveting parts of the book are when Holland takes us through high-seas dramas such as being arrested by the Cuban military; his near-death experience during the notorious 1979 Fastnet Race during which 15 people died; the keel failure of Simon Le Bon’s (lead singer for Duran Duran) yacht prior to the Whitbread Race, and more.
In 2012, Holland moved his design offices to Vancouver and began to settle into semi-retirement. However, he hasn’t given up sailing and still owns a small Coronado 25 for local sailing where he is active in the racing community. Holland was there, saw it all and helped write history. AII the Oceans takes us on an amazing insider’s voyage through it all.
—Peter A. Robson