Monday, March 14, 2011

Design 1621 - Knickerbocker Class

I have always liked the look of these boats. The class was developed for the Knickerbocker Yacht Club of Port Washington, New York, which closed it's doors in 2009, after 135 years of operation. The design was developed in 1961. The boats were built by American Boatbuilding Corporation of Warwick, Rhode Island.

The boat was designed with blade jib, main and spinnaker: and no genoas. They were designed for around the buoy racing and also the occasional over-nighter.

Here are the plans.

Here's a copy of an old spec sheet.

These boats are fairly readily available on the used boat market for reasonable cost.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 26'-3"
LWL 19'-0"
Beam 6'-7"
Draft 4'-5"
Displacement 4,030 lbs
Ballast 2,150 lbs
Sail Area 339 sq ft


  1. We just purchased a Knickerbocker which we will sail as a family daysailer and race in the new classics races in Oyster Bay, NY. Thanks for the detailed info.

    1. Hello,
      A couple of years ago, I purchased the #1 prototype Knickerbocker from the original owner, a friend of Olin Stephens. I have yet to finish some minor repairs and have not had her in the water. I would love to hear from anyone has has sailed a Knickerbocker. Also trying to contact the marine architect who helped draw the original design. Don't know his name, but not Stephens. My email is: - Thanks!

    2. Hello,
      How does she sail????
      Any chance you, or someone who does, know who helped draw this design other than Olin Stephens. My understanding is that he is still around the Long Island area. Would love to speak with him about my prototype. Thanks, Mark

  2. Just agreed to purchase hull # 18. I'll be moving her to Lake Lanier Thursday.

  3. I would be interested in purchasing a Knickerbocker as a project boat. Any suggestions or thoughts?


  4. There are a couple on Long Island for sale. Both are in pretty rough condition, though if you had the space, time and expertise you could have a nice boat for not a lot of $$.

  5. I recently purchased the Knick that languished at the Port Washington YC for a number of years. It's last official name was "Whisper II" and sailed on Lake Champlain before returning to LIS. I am interested in any information about "Whisper II" since I have none. I am also interested in sails since the set I thought I had purchased with the boat disappeared in Sandy.

  6. Congrats on the purchase. I really enjoy hull #18. I've repainted her decks and cabin sides, replaced all the exterior wood with 1/4 Sawn mahogany added roller reefing to the jib.
    Though I don't race her, she is very fast. Passed a lot of other boats on the lake last Saturday.
    I definetely reccomend a reefing setup for the main. I've got slap reefing and one set of reef points. I thinking of adding a second set. That main is enourmous. When you start seeing the first hint of whitecaps you'd better have a reef in.
    I use a Torqeedo 1003 electric outboard on the original bronze mount. Plenty of power to get her in and out of the marina, and it's light enough to stow when sailing. At anything over 15 degrees of heel you'll put the mount and motor under water!

  7. My father, Dr. Harvey Lincoff, had KOD #1 for about 40 years. In the late '50s he was a Luters 16 champion on Long Island Sound. His boat was named Hotspur, after the racehorse. At the time, yacht clubs were segregated by religion. In Manhasset Bay there were three clubs: Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. The Luters races were at Larchmont, which was a long sail from Knickerbocker in Manhasset Bay, so my father went next door to the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club and asked a club official if he could buy into their Resolute class. The Resolute was a beautiful wooden sloop, a bit bigger than a Luters. He was told he could buy a Resolute, but he couldn't race with them. Furious, my father and the other Knickerbocker racers decided to build their own class, and they hired Olin Stephens.

    One of my father's primary criteria for the Knickerbocker was that it be faster than a Resolute. My late mother Daphne, who had suffered through many 4 hour and longer fluky Long Island Sound races, had a different criteria. She demanded that the boat have a head! The new boat, KOD #1, was christened Hutspa (with an umlaut over the u). It was shown at the New York boat show, and the Times reporter was told that Hutspa was gaelic for Hotspur!

    The new boat was indeed significantly faster than a Resolute. On race days the Resolute fleet started first, five minutes ahead of the Knicks. It was a point of pride to finish ahead of the entire Resolute fleet. Years later there was a fire in the Manhasset Bay yard and the beautiful wooden Resolutes were lost. MBYC switched to Etchells 22s, and were never passed by the Knicks again! Times have changed. Several years ago, when Knickerbocker closed after more than 100 years, the members were invited to join Manhasset Bay.

    Along with a fiberglass hull, one of the new design features of the Knick was styrofoam flotation under the transom and foredeck. It was coarse brown and covered in fiberglass. When KOD #1 was delivered, it was intentionally swamped at the Knickerbocker dock to prove it was unsinkable. During a race in the late '90s, my Dad, then in his late 70s, had an inexperienced crew of two when a squall approached. He told them to get in the cabin, stripped to his underwear, and prepared to race through it. Gusts of 70 mph flattened the boat and swamped it, but it didn't sink. Some other Knicks, which had had the ugly old styrofoam replaced, sank. Those smart enough to drop their sails won that day.

    My father won the first KOD championship. There was a plaque in the club with a half model of a white Knick, like Hutspa, under full sail. Each year the name of the KOD champion was added to the plaque. Most Sundays there were about 10 Knicks racing. I remember Bonne Chance, which had a light blue hull, and which I saw in good condition out of the water a few years ago. It was owned by Jesse Sheinberg, the only female skipper in the fleet.

    I also remember Jambalaya, which was #14 or 18, and a frequent winner. One of the last times I raced on Hutspa we had nine people aboard, including small children. On the last downwind leg I was at the helm and we were in the lead, even though we weren't flying a chute because of all the kids. Jambalaya was flying hers and was bearing down on us and preparing to pass close to windward! I asked my Dad if I should take her up. "Of course," he replied, and I did. After her chute wrapped he said that's enough. About 5 minutes later she passed to leeward and won.

    The Knicks were wonderful boats and I envy those lucky enough to be sailing them still!

  8. Andy thanks for posting this. I own Jambalaya (now Lucidity). I bought her from Phil Flowers who had her on lake Keowee SC where he raced her extensively along with 2 other KOD's there at the Keowee Sailing club.
    She now resides on Lake Lanier GA.
    I've replaced all her wood with 1/4 sawn Honduran Mahogany, repainted her deck and cockpit and added a wooden grating to her cockpit sole. Also did add a 2nd set of reef points. This really helps when the wind pipes up.
    She is indeed hull # 18.

  9. Mark - I am so happy that you are taking great care of our beloved Jambalaya, Hull #18. We owned her for 14 years when we were members of Knickerbocker Yacht Club. We had tremendous success racing her and were the fleet champs for the last 7 years with her - just a great boat.

    I would like to catch up with you and to see pics of your restoration.

    My email is

    Rand Milton

    1. Rand,

      I sent some pics via your email. Did you receive them?

  10. I have KOD Hull#7 that I purchased several years ago from the same boat yard in Port Washington that had Bonnie Chance and one other one.. The boat was in rough shape, but I brought it back to my yard in Salem Ma.and stripped it of all hardware, fittings, and teak trim, not the original trim according to the spec sheet. I have had a couple of cfaftsman from Marblehead restoring the fiberglass damage and it is now back to it's original condition and we are about to start the painting processs. My intention was, and still is to finish the boat and sail it, but I do have it listed on craigslist boston if anyone wants to take a look.
    Thanks, Scott

  11. Scott did you finish the restoration?

  12. We owned hull #20 in Rochester NY. Our boat also went to Keewee Key but I'm not sure where the boat is now. I'd love to find out if anyone knows.
    Thanks Ann

  13. We owned hull #20 in Rochester NY. Our boat also went to Keewee Key but I'm not sure where the boat is now. I'd love to find out if anyone knows.
    Thanks Ann

    1. Ann there were 3 KOD's on Lake Keowee when I purchased #18.

  14. Well I've enjoyed # 18 for several years now, and have done a lot of work to her.
    An upcoming move to the coast of South Carolina has me looking for something better for shoal water gunkholing that'll fit at our dock, so Lucidity, ex Jambalaya is up for sale.
    Particulars at;,-NE-of-Atlanta/GA/United-States#.WCdGMbQ8KhA

  15. I just saw your Ad, are any of these boat still around/available?

    Pat 513 891 5112, e mail

  16. KOD #15 is for sale.

    Contact Roy at

  17. I have Second Chance KOD #8 on a mooring at Irvington (on Hudson) NY.
    I stripped and repainted her in flag blue. I fell in love with the gorgeous lines.

  18. There is a KOD for sail at Oyster Bay Marine Center. Just saw it 2 days ago. As an aside, I sail a MBOD hull #23, not for sale...yet.

  19. KOD #11 - is for sale. The boat is in Oyster Bay, NY. Call John 917-847-7033