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Being drawn to boats since a child Jon always knew what he wanted to do since the age of seven or eight. "I was always sketching boats since early grade school" Jon recalls. "Even before my father bought the family's 60' Alden ketch "Sunshine", I would always look forward to going to the harbor to look at all the boats. Another special treat was going to the Broadwater Marina restaurant after early mass on Sunday for breakfast and then swing by Globe News Stand to see if a new Yachting or Rudder magazine came in. My family has always had a passion for boats, for generations. My father raised me as his did on their schooner "Helen", now "Lavengro", and I try to instill the same in raising my son Jon Jr."

"I always loved to draw and was encouraged to do so by my family, especially my grandmother, who named me Perelli after her grandfather the famous 19th century artist and sculptor Achille Perelli." This was all a part of Jon's childhood environment and ultimately set the course that he would follow his entire life.
Many summers were spent sailing on Sunshine. A typical summer day sailing out to Ship Island. On the horizon is Fort Massachusetts located on the west end of Ship island.
Having started at the age of fourteen as an understudy to Frank van Bentem, a Dutch naval architect, Jon decided early on to consummate the start of his career. "I remember when I finally got an interview with Mr. van Bentem he tried to scare me away by pulling out systems, machinery and structural drawings of vessels he designed and I vividly remember saying to myself I will do whatever it takes to learn this, and I did. Fact of the matter Mr. van Bentem succeeded, I was scared to death, but equally determined to learn. The rest of the interview I suppose went fine as he hired me at the age of 14 starting at a whopping $40.00 a week based on a 40 hour work week. I worked at van Bentem and Associates until the age of 18 finishing up with two years of accredited naval architecture courses in my junior and senior years of high school in a special co-op program with USM. I went to school in the morning and then to work. My time at van Bentem's was priceless and I am eternally in his debt for taking me under his wing. We covered every aspect of vessel design, I was not only learning but I could go to the shipyard's and look at what I drew. van Bentem and Associates produced many commercial vessels from simple deck or tank barges to sophisticated 190-foot offshore supply vessels. In the last two years there I had a hand in everything the office produced and did many of the proposals on new designs. When Frank knew I was ready for the next level he would let me do it." Jon had been through every phase of vessel design by the time he was 16 in a unique, vocational and "hands on" environment resulting in an accelerated learning program for him.
"Frank told me years later the reason why he did his best to scare me off on that first day was that he wanted to be sure this was something I really wanted to do and would be fully committed to. I finally got that interview because I was relentless and the only way I would stop bugging him was to give me a chance, and he did."

Jon did have a life outside of van Bentem and Associates but averaging over 60 hours a week in his junior and senior years made for many occasions of his friends hanging out at the office on a Friday or Saturday evening waiting while he was finishing up his current task so they could all go out. Through these years Jon still found time to go sailing on the weekends in the summer, usually on a Sunday keeping his childhood connection with the sea.

Mr. van Bentem sold his business to Dravo Corporation and relocated to their headquarters as VP of engineering. Jon was offered a position there and a scholarship to MIT but declined. By now he could design a boat from bow to stern, but at age 18 no one would take him seriously and he knew that so he continued to develop his career on the Gulf Coast spending the next two years at Ingalls obtaining a secret security clearance working systems and field engineer work on the last two nuclear subs overhauled by Ingalls followed by systems designer on the DD993 class destroyers.

In the following years he continued building his experience working in both commercial and military vessel design mostly in New Orleans, Houston and back to the Gulf Coast. Late in 1989, after the passing of his father he decided to take the next big step and do exactly what he always wanted to do, open his own yacht design firm, so in November of 1989 Jon founded Overing Yacht Designs, the first yacht design business in this part of the country...and the rest is history, or rather OYD history.

"Though years of working on and designing commercial and military vessels was not my lifelong dream, I am fortunate to have built this experience and knowledge as it gives me an edge few have in the yacht industry. The mission is always survivability and dependability with most commercial and military vessels, they have to go when others can't and what constitutes this is ingrained in me and reflective in the yachts we produce. The captains and owners of the yachts we have designed are our best salesmen."

As for Mr. Frank van Bentem. Jon stays in touch, "he will call me or I will call him to catch up. He will tell me he is retired now...and the next conversation he is doing marine consulting work, or generally something related to a boat. I suppose you never really retire if you are fortunate enough to do what you love to do."

"Thank's to Frank for giving me my start at such an early age now accumulating decades of experience and still can't picture myself retiring at any age. Having worked on, designed or co-designed hundreds and hundreds of vessels each time we start a new project it is new, exciting and never old."
Launch Day! A typical spring haul at the old ship ways on Biloxi beach. Jon and the Sunshine.
"For years I was encouraged to move to South Florida or New England to design yachts and always maintained that the Gulf Coast is my home and I will make it work here." Everytime we head in a new direction we will often hear critics say "oh you can't do that", but we do. OYD has continually promoted advancements in this industry since its' inception and has emergered as a leader in yacht design and advanced hull forms.

Aside from being the state's first yacht design firm, we were the first to produce Mississippi's first megayacht in the early 1990's now named Shogun." This helped usher in a new industry to South Mississippi by proving that a high quality megayacht can be produced in this region.

In the mid 1990's OYD followed this by designing Inace's first trideck motoryacht, the 100-foot Carib Queen. This was a huge step for the Brazilian builder and opened up another door that's helped to result in many subsequent orders by proving to the world their capabilities. OYD followed with two more yacht projects there, a 98-foot Mariner and a 135-foot full-displacement trideck.

In the late 1990's OYD designed the largest motoryacht built in New Zealand, the Noble House, a 174-foot quad-deck built on OYD's renowned fast-displacement hull form. OYD later co-developed the 180-foot Mia Elise hull built by Trinity. Trinity sought OYD's expertise and experience as it was their first round bilge full displacement motoryacht. Having shared many of our design features from the 174, Trinity also incorporated a lower level like OYD's 174 making her a quad-deck and utilized the same type structural system as well.

In response to the 2010 BP oil spill OYD developed the OVERING PIRANHA a unique, proprietary skimmer capable of skimming oil in open water. Looking beyond the immediate crisis, we designed these vessels as multi-role craft to serve a purpose after the spill. A total of seven were built.
"My age has finally caught up to my experience"
"We are a product of our environment"
"It's not easy being first"
Today, OYD continues to collaborate with owners and builders, domestic and abroad. Our recently launched Dauntless D73 Explorer was built in Turkey and delivered to the U.S. in October of 2013. We now have several models offered by the world renowned builder Cheoy Lee and look forward to expanding the line with this highly pedigreed shipyard. The first 25 years have been exciting and I look forward to the next 25!
Tough, luxurious megayachts built like small ships