Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

Distant Rainbow - Celtic Sea

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up
people to collect wood and don't assign them
tasks and work, but rather teach them to
long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Design 1 - Junior One Design Class of Long Island (Manhasset Bay One-Design)

In a small bay on the north shore of Long Island there is a quaint yacht club named the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club. And from this club sail 13 one design racing yachts, the first design commission of Sparkman & Stephens. Designed in 1928, she was Olin Stephens' first professional work, at age 20.

There's a great article from the 1996 September/October issue of Wooden Boat magazine and they recite a quote from Olin Stephens from 1928 as follows: "In any design, the most important factors of speed seem to be long sailing lines and large sail area, with moderate displacement and small wetted surface. Then comes beauty, by which is meant clean, fair, pleasing lines. Though per se beauty is not a factor of speed, the easiest boats to look at seem the easiest to drive". This is a fine example of these concepts.

Here are the plans.

Here is how it came to be: In 1928 the Junior Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound solicited designs for a new class of boats for sail training young sailors. The broker Drake Sparkman asked young Olin if he wanted to try his hand at a design, knowing Olin from Larchmont Yacht Club and knowing he was a budding designer. Olin accepted the invitation and the firm was born, October 28, 1929.

Here's an article from Yachting Magazine. Double click for readable view.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 21'-6"
LWL 15'-0"
Beam 5'-10"
Draft 3'6"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stellar Yachts 52 - Design 2682

The Stellar 52 was a development of the very successful Stephens 47, Queen Long 47, Hylas 49 and Stephens 50 hull form. Using a modified Stephens 50 hull mold the Stellar 52 was married to a newly designed and modernized deck. It's a shame the builder went out of business because it was a very popular boat.

The 52 had a fairly long keel with internal ballast and a skeg hung rudder as shown in the following illustration.

We then took the new deck and married it to a new and more modern hull, and re-designated Stellar 53 and design #2682-C1. Here's hull number 1 as she was delivered from the shipyard, having just arrived in Fort Lauderdale.

Note the new (external) bulb keel and spade rudder. Only one boat was built to this design before the builder closed down.

Before closing the builder asked us to design a 60' version of this boat, design #2683. Here's a profile rendering.

Four different interior arrangements were developed.

Principal Dimensions Stellar 52, 53 and 60
LOA 51'-9", 53'-0", 61'-6"
LWL 39'-0", 45'-9", 52'-11"
Beam 15'-4", 15'-4", 17'-0"
Draft 6'-0", 7'-0", 9'-0"

Design 2550 - Maysylph

Launched in 1990, Maysylph was considered the pinnacle of a near-decade of mega-ketch design. The line of large motorsailers leading up to the design of Maysylph includes yachts Osprey (design #2391 - 96' LOA), Sea Angel (design #2455 - 88' LOA), Freedom (design #2483 - 124' LOA), Galileo (design #2510 - 123' LOA), Venturosa (design #2529 - 110' LOA) and Astral (design 2536 - 115' LOA), representing a span of 7 years. Her sailing qualities were improved beyond those of Galileo and a she featured a further refined sail plan, underbody and appendages including a wing keel with increased draft.

Here's the layout.

She was built by Palmer Johnson with an interior by John Munford.

Some interior shots.

Ship's Office

Main Salon

Owner's Study

Master Stateroom

She was later to become Northern Star, then Nazenin IV and now Axia.

Northern Star

Nazenin IV

Here are the deck and sail plans.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 123'-3"
LWL 96'-0"
Beam 26'-6"
Draft 12'-0"
Displacement 169 Tons

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Design 1358 - Anitra

Arguably one of the prettiest yachts in the S&S archives, Anitra was built in 1963 by the famed Bengt Plym shipyard of Sweden. She was built of wood and finished in bright varnish. 7 sisterships were constructed including famous yachts such as Stiren, China Clipper and Mabelle to name a few.

Here are the plans.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 48'-5"
LWL 33'-6"
Beam 12'-4"
Draft 6'-11"
Displacement 29,762 lbs

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lotus Class - Design 1603

This pretty little boat was designed as a "stock" plan set that was designed to the MORC (Midget Ocean Racing Class) rule. They were built by a variety of boat builders. A couple of interior layouts were developed, shown here.

They were built of wood. The year was 1961.

Here's the sail plan.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 28'-6"
LWL 22'-6"
Beam 8'-0"
Draft 5'-0"
Displacement 7,985 lbs

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays - 2010

Season's Greetings
Happy Holidays
from all of us at Sparkman & Stephens
New York - Newport - Fort Lauderdale

New Yorker Magazine - 1957

There is a very good 2-part profile article about the Stephens brothers from New Yorker magazine from 1957. The first article appears in the September 7, 1957 issue and the follow up in the September 14, 1957 issue. You can access by visiting the New Yorker Magazine website here, and by doing an article search for Olin Stephens (You will also find an article about the J-boat Ranger).

To access the archives one must subscribe. If you don't want to do that you can email me at and I'll send you a copy (here's where the intellectual property lawyers at NYer magazine call me...).

Stormy Weather Light Box

A few years back the grandson of the original owner of Stormy Weather sent us some plans and instructions for a "light box" that was found in a roll in the bilges of the boat. According to the instructions we received the light box was to be used at the New York Boat Show in 1936. It's interesting in that it's a low tech marketing item and a very obscure bit of the early American yacht business paraphernalia.

Included was a large photo transparency of Stormy Weather sailing. This was to be suspended within a wooden frame by light lines. The suspended image was then to be back lit. The rendering above was also in the roll of materials.

A couple of our guys agreed to reconstruct the frame. Here's the completed product which was on display at our 75th Anniversary party at Mystic Seaport back in 2004.

After the event we looked around for a use for such an item. The light box was ultimately installed in the Sailing Neighborhood at the Westchester Medical Center. See our posting of 9 July by clicking here. Here it is hanging at the hospital where it still hangs today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mitch Gibbons-Neff

For those that knew Mitch, here's a great shot of him being rowed around the mooring field. This was probably taken in Wooden Boat Harbor right after the Feeder Race a few years back. And here's a nice shot of Mitch doing what he liked best - messing around with boats.

Design 2640 - Harrier

This 47' IMS cruiser/racer was launched in 1997 by Yachting Developments of New Zealand.

Here are a couple of interior shots.

Here are the plans.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 47'-0"
LWL 40'-0"
Beam 13'-3"
Draft 9'-4"

42' Trawler - Design 981

Here is a 42' wooden trawler named Hood III, which was built by J.J. Taylor & Sons, Ltd. of Toronto, Canada in 1951. She is constructed of wood and powered by a single GM diesel engine.

Here are the plans.

And a couple of interior images.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 42'-2"
LWL 39'-0"
Beam 13'-0"
Draft 4'-5"
Displacement 37,065 lbs