The Spirit of Tradition “Guest Cottage:” The Most Exclusive Marine Environments on Earth — But at a Fraction of the Cost.

It’s been a bit spooky out here on the sidelines of the Tiny Floating House wave. We love the charm of smaller homes that float. But it’s scary how seemingly unaware smaller floating home makers are of the nautical engineering realities of self-contained little, floating human worlds.   On many levels, “Floating Homes” are different than yachts. They do not need to be easily driven through the water. They do not carry sails. Most don’t have motors. And often, floating homes have more consistent and lower-cost access to shoreside infrastructure. But these miss the point — and risks — of […]

Marine Engineering 103: The Hidden Life of Chainplates.

In terms of unknown, unloved, and uncared-for naval engineering heroes, it’s tough to beat chainplates. That’s right, chainplates. The deeply-engineered chunks of metal or space-age composites that join hulls to rigging and masts. Chainplates aren’t exactly flashy. They do none of the sexy “sail-ish” stuff of generating lift or foiling through water. They don’t help a boat float or navigate. Think of chainplates as anchors, they merely connect. They are part of the virtual engineering chain that manages the enormous loads of a large boat moving through wind and water. Chainplates do their work using bronze, stainless steel, aluminum and […]

The 8 Rules of Spirit of Tradition Yacht Design

We’ve been drawing Spirit of Tradition boats for pretty close to a quarter-century now, and we’d like to think we’ve gotten pretty good at it. After all, we were in on the ground floor when sailors began thinking it’d be cool to sail a boat that had all the structure, performance and convenience of the ugly modern boats in the marketplace of the early Nineties, but tied back to the gorgeous graceful lines of the meticulously restored classics beginning a resurgence in those days. The key to a successful SOT design (that is short for Spirit of Tradition) is to […]

It’s not a “Tiny Floating House.” It’s a boat.

We like traditional residential architects. Some of our best friends are traditional residential architects. We enjoy the well-designed homes these architects make. We do interior design work for them. But even so, we have a big problem with a hip new architectural trend: So-called “Tiny Floating Homes” To us, “Tiny Floating Homes” are the worst kind of Post-Information Age marketing drivel. The original “Tiny Home” was bad enough: A Unabomber-scale shack marketed to the young who did not know better. Can’t afford a real house? No problem, kid. Get a “Tiny House” instead. And you get all the hassles of […]

Marine Engineering 101: Why My Keel Doesn’t Fall Off.

They’re boats. Not much happens without their keels. You’d think that the average boat person would be all over what’s up with the big heavy things down-under their boats. But most don’t and for good reason. The engineering involved intimidates: The Beach Boys would never, ever write a song “Hull John B.” And Jimmy Buffett, as much as he loves to fly, never got far with a tune called “Changes in Laminar Flow, Changes in Lateral Resistance.” But irrational keel fear is pretty darn dumb, once you know what it does and why. So let’s start with how a keel […]

High-Tech Secrets of the “All-Mahogany” Italmas.

We love wooden boats.  Not as a tree-hugging denial of the engineering present, but as a modern composite design material. Properly-done custom wooden boats are considerably more efficient to build than most similar fiber-reinforced plastic, or metal craft. And natural materials, like wood, are also attractive options in marine design and engineering. If you don’t believe that, go look up flax composites and see how the same stuff they wear in Game of Thrones finds its way into high-tech boats. With that said, we’ve never condoned the other end of the wood debate: The “wood bigot.”  The fellow that seems only happy when […]

The Spirit of Tradition Condo: The New York 40 “Marilee.”

Nathaniel Herreshoff may be regarded as the Gandalf of all things that float. But interior living and creature comforts?  Well, not so much. We know a bunch about design practice since that Golden Age of American yachting. Take Herreshoff’s classic 60-foot class, the New York 40.  Browse through the 14 boats that the Herreshoff Marine Museum, in Bristol Rhode Island, lists as original New York 40s, and it’s clear these classics did in fact set the bar for weatherliness, toughness, and outer elegance. But take a look down below, and it quickly turns into an off Thursday night at the local pub: Dark, cramped, lo-tech, […]

Exposing Anna: Showing off 65 Feet of Truth and Beauty.

With the holiday season upon us, we want to clue the world in on what we are thankful for: Family, friends, and the beautiful 65-foot Anna that is coming to life on the framing floor at Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding. Last week, we got a serious holiday treat. We stopped down to see how she was coming together, answer questions, and explain to the craftsman who actually build our boats what we were after. We took some pictures and some notes. And put them all together into a holiday designer’s photo album for Anna. What we hope — knock on cold-molded, hand-laid mahogany — will be […]