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

Design 1033 - Nina

This 55' length overall motorsailer is very typical of the period. She was built by Palmer Johnson of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1955. The construction material was wood.

We have a number of great professional photographs of the boat. Here's a sample.

Here are the plans.

Principle Dimensions
LOA 55'-3"
LWL 46'-6"
Beam 13'-9"
Draft 5'-3"
Displacement 46,750 lbs

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rod Stephens, Jr.

Roderick Stephens, Jr.

Here's a nice professional portrait of Roderick Stephens, Jr. around the time of his retirement from Sparkman & Stephens.

And a tribute from Cruising World magazine just after his death. Double click for bigger view.

You can access a copy of his unfinished and unpublished book about sailing by clicking here.

And finally his pet project, the DUKW. For his involvement in the development of this amphibious truck, Rod would earn himself the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Sonny - Design 94

Sonny is a design very similar in style to a long progression of earlier designs including Dorade (design #7), Stormy Weather (design #27), Edlu I (design#35) and Avanti (design #85). She is a beautiful example of a Sparkman & Stephens design.

The boat has been restored a couple of times. The first major restoration was by Cantiere Navale Dell'Argentario of Italy in 2002. Here's a great shot of Sonny arriving at Argentario.

And the ballast keel coming off.

The boat was eventually purchased by an American yachtsman, brought to New England where she underwent another major restoration. She is now in mint condition and makes her home at the International Yacht Restoration School docks.

Here's an article from Yachting Magazine from 1935. Double click for bigger view.

And the plans.

You can see some sailing shots in a previous post by clicking here.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 53'-6"
LWL 39'-0"
Beam 12'-7"
Draft 7'-8"
Displacement 46,774 lbs

1 Tonner - Design 2062

This one-tonner design was extensively used for both one-off and production boat building in both wood and fiberglass. The boat shown above (and below), Pathfinder" was build in New Zealand of wood by Brin Wilson, who built a number of S&S designed boats in the 1970s.

The boat shown below was one of the production run built in Australia and known as a Superstar 339 SS.

Here's the general arrangement for the wood version.

And here's a sail plan for yet another production fiberglass version, this with flush deck. Boats were also built in France and Italy.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 38'-7"
LWL 29'-7"
Beam 11'-5"
Draft 6'-6"