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Biography: Steve Hollis

Ocean Sails was established in 1971 and has been under the present ownership since 1980 when Bermudian Steve Hollis bought the business from John Harries.

Steve became interested in the art of sailmaking at age 13 and studied the craft under expert sailmaker Jay Hooper. Steve then joined Ocean Sails in 1973 and has been involved with all aspects of the sailmaking industry ever since. His experience also includes traditional sailmaking and rigging, learned on old time schooners and square riggers.

From building sails for the 57-foot South African racing yacht Stormkaap and gaff ketch Zephyrus to supplying sails for all the fitted dinghies in the early 80’s; including the 1985 winning Bermuda fitted dinghy Venture, rebuilding sails for such schooners as Bluenose, Harvey Gamage and TeVega to servicing hundreds of sails from all over the world every year, Hollis’ extensive experience and knowledge is instrumental in all aspects of sail service and design.

Steve’s further involvement with the Bermuda Fitted Dinghy’s included building sails for “Spirit of Bermuda” as well as building the fitted dinghy “Bloodhound”, with Jordy Walker and Blair Simmons; these where the last two fitted dinghy’s designed and built in Bermuda.

After buying an unfinished Venus 34 hull in England and shipping it to Bermuda, Steve spent 6 years finishing the hull, building the decks, cabin, interior, rig and sails as a long term project to live aboard and cruise when given the chance.

Steve has sailed approximately forty thousand sea miles; from off shore racing to extensive cruising, in everything from one toners to gaff rigged schooners. He has competed in numerous Newport Bermuda Races, Marion Bermuda races and the Bermuda One Two Race where he met his wife Suzanne.

Steven Hollis’ sailing career began at age 7 when he sailed on Keith Hollis’ Luders 16, he then sailed at the Bermuda Sailboat Club on White’s Island sailing Cadets, Enterprises and Fitted Dinghy’s, then joining the sailing program at the RBYC and soon becoming assistant sailing instructor while still apprenticing sailmaking under Jay Hooper. Steve has been involved with the Bermuda Offshore Cruising Association since 1969 sailing with Charlie Berry’s Rainbow II, Sir Bayard Dill’s Duchess of Devonshire, Edmond Marshal’s Rebel and for many years sailed with the great Bert Darrell on Kildee.

More recently Steve was invited to race in the St. Tropez Regatta on the beautiful gaff rigged Fife The Lady Anne. With a 40 foot water line, 70 feet of deck and 90 feet overall carrying a mast height of 110 feet, this powerful boat, with no winches, won the regatta.

Locally for the past several years Steve has been enjoying great success racing on Tom Wadson’s Swift of Paget winning numerous races.

As yacht racing became more competitive, in order to keep up with the rapid pace of growing technology and design trends Ocean Sails eventually joined the world renowned Doyle Sailmaking group in 1985. Doyle Sailmakers has successfully integrated old world craftsmanship with fully computerized design and laser cutting which impressed Steve.

Ocean Sails/Doyle Sailmakers Bermuda, provides services as diverse as custom canvas production, luxurious marine upholstery both interior and exterior, stainless steel fabrication, commercial & domestic awnings, architectural design and is now further expanding its rigging facility.

Ocean Sails has broken into the world market for the top quality custom canvas and upholstery produced in the Water Street Shop. Over the last several years worldwide yachts have chosen Ocean Sails for the quality craftsmanship produced, this has put Bermuda on the map for the yachts as a place to come for such work. Steve was asked to fabricate all the canvas work for the London registered 200’ schooner Adix, in time for the prestigious Americas Cup Jubilee, which led to the order for all the awnings for the newly built 165’ schooner BorkumRiff IV based in Antibes France. The Connecticut registered Swan 53 Baraka commissioned Ocean Sails to do a complete custom leather interior. The leather was a custom color and grain specially tanned in Italy.

Biography: Suzanne Hollis

Suzanne, Co-owner, Business /Advertising Manager of Ocean Sails/Doyle Bermuda, has been involved in the marine industry since 1981. Suzanne started out working at the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium in Connecticut, creating and developing educational programs and assisting in the rehabilitation of whales and dolphins.

In 1985 she joined Halsey Sailmakers becoming Business Manager and Advertising/Public Relations Director and was instrumental in the growth of the company.

Suzanne’s further involvement in the marine industry included the formation of a syndicate for the sponsorship of the 1993/94 Whitbread Round-the-World Race and managed customer relations for Derecktor Shipyard’s Repair and Refit, a large-scale shipyard operation in New York.

Being part of Ocean Sails/Doyle Bermuda since 1996 Suzanne continues to work with Steve to expand the business and their services to the yachting community for both transient and local clientele.

In addition, Suzanne has spearheaded a project producing a survey for the transient yachts, in hopes to establish the value of the visiting yachts to Bermuda and work towards upgrading and expanding the facilities available.