In the 1930’s, Ricus Van de Stadt bought a yard and opened a design studio in the Netherlands. A door manufacturer Bruynzeel fabricated a superior form of plywood called hechthout. The plywood was particularly suited for making sailboats. In 1939, Ricus designed the Valk and using the hechthout plywood built her in his yard. She was an instant and enduring success. In the Netherlands today, the Valk is still the most popular open sailboat design. Some of the original production 70 years later are still sailing. Van de Stadt ever an innovator continued seeking the next big improvements in design and contruction. He modified the Valk into the Zeevalk with a spade rudder and fin keel.
In 1955, Van de Stadt started experimenting with fiberglass. He designed and built a 30′ fiberglass sailboat called the Pionier. He embraced fiberglass contruction. In 1960, he introduced the first Maxi ocean racer, the 70′ Storm Vogel.
In 1973, Van de Stadt sold the yard but kept the design studio. In 1978, Ricus retired leaving the design studio to associates. In 1999, Ricus passed away at 89 years old. Today, Van de Stadt is a famous custom design studio. They have an excellent reputation for fast, modern designs of luxury sailboats, Maxi ocean racers of aluminum or fiberglass contruction.