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Cruising Conversations Episode 3 – Bill Kimley – Seahorse Marine


Jeff Merrill has known Bill Kimley for several years and the two agreed to get together in May at the 2019 Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show in Richmond, CA to record a #CruisingConversation.

Bill was in town to promote the Coot 38 listed for sale by Oceanic Yacht Sales which turned out to be an ideal location for filming this video. As you will see and learn, Bill has a very strong connection to the trawler market preceding and evolving into the creation of Seahorse Marine in 1981.

Bill is best known as the builder of Diesel Duck trawlers and Seahorse trawlers out of his shipyards in Zhuhai (mainland) China. Seahorse Marine was the first production boat builder to move from Taiwan to China.

When you wind Bill up, he can talk for hours and we’re sure we could have easily diverted into more tangents on some of the other projects he has been involved with, but this is a long enough interview as is.

Bill is fun to spend time with. If you have met him, you already know (and if not you will soon find out). Bill has a quick wit and you never know what he is going to say next.

As a U.C. Berkeley graduate, staff commodore of Richmond Yacht Club and a former yacht broker in the Richmond, CA area Bill is very well connected in the Bay area. Bill has a number of longtime friends who came by to see him including former sailmaker and world famous maritime artist, Jim DeWitt.

JMYS has listed and sold several steel Diesel Ducks and Seahorse fiberglass trawlers. We have grown to truly appreciate their capabilities and craftsmanship.

Seahorse Marine relies on word of mouth for promotion. We have never seen a Seahorse magazine ad – the marketing cost savings are passed along to the buyers as lower prices when they order a new build.

The Diesel Ducks were designed by the late George Buehler. They are exceptional steel trawlers, surprisingly roomy and extremely economical passage makers. (View #CruisingConversation episode 1 featuring Mike Pizl and his Pacific crossing from Washington to Hawaii aboard hull number one of the 462 model).

The Seahorse 52 started out life as the Mandarin 52 sailboat, a Blaine Seeley design. Bill liked the 52 underbody hull form and tooled up a new deck plan and reconfigured the interior layout to turn this efficient offshore sailboat into a very impressive power trawler.

To learn more about Diesel Ducks, there is a dedicated internet forum you can join,

Bill is a very serious model train buff, it’s fun to learn some of the things that intrigue this very amusing man. Bill’s wife, Stella, remained in China to hold down the fort so she was not able to join us in person, but she was interjected fondly during the course of our interview.

We hope you will enjoy learning a bit more about Bill Kimley and his involvement with the trawler market and the boats he builds at Seahorse Marine. If you would like to get in touch with Bill, the best email is

Thanks for watching Episode 3. We welcome your comments and hope you will come back and stay tuned as we have more #CruisingConversations in the works.

Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales, Inc.