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 […]

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 […]

Top Ten “Spirit of Tradition” Yachts for 2017.

And so it begins: 2017 will be the year the Spirit of Tradition story finally gets set down on paper. We cannot explain why the world has not bothered to document what went down design-wise in Mid-coast Maine over the past 20 years. How the talented — and the flawed — mixed traditional classic yachts with modern materials. And how these pioneers pushed back the barriers for performance and design. And changed boating, for better or worse. It’s a story that will take a while to tell. Probably, well into 2018. But this is the year we are on it, […]

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, […]

Das GunBoat: A Look At One Smart Carbon Cat.

One of the early production Gunboat 55’s, VaiVai, is for sale. And our designer two-cents is, this cat is the steal of this glamorous, all-carbon multi-hull litter. VaiVai is one of what owners and brokers close to this fast-growing fleet estimate is about 20 Gunboats in various states of completion around the globe. These G-boats are mostly floating maids in waiting, as the assets of Gunboat International, VaiVai’s original maker, work their way through North Carolina Eastern Bankruptcy Court. For the record, major branding and tools were sold in May of 2016 to France-based Grand Large Yachting, which now claims management of the physical production […]

Photobombing the Vendee Globe.

Might it be time for a Vendee Globe Cruiser’s class? All this time spent watching this latest Vendee Globe round-the-world race has got our Spirit of Tradition designer mind tingling: Might there be a way to channel the spirit of the original around-alone sailors of the Sunday Times Golden Globe race of 1969? If you recall, nine competitors started and only one finished, Robin Knox-Johnston. Could we update his original 32’ wooden double-ended ketch Suhaili with today’s highly-tuned racing machines? Let’s do a mini design brief for the Vendee Globe racers and find out. For the last few iterations, to better manage the risk and […]

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 […]

Isobel: The 75-foot, 8-Inch Smile Machine.

As a semi-regular feature, we thought we’d look back at some exciting boats from our past, talk about how they came to be, discuss why we love them so. And maybe, sometimes, help them find good new homes. Isobel is one of our favorites. She the fruit of a long relationship: the fourth boat we designed for the same client over 10-years.  As such, she is not just one boat. But evolution of several, with changes and refinement in tastes and style.   For the record the boats, in order are: Lena, a long-ended, light and skinny 47-foot daysailer; Goshawk, a […]