How To Launch a Torqeedo.

Thanks to the folks at Torqeedo, getting rid of that silly old internal combustion engine has never been easier. Back in 2014, one of our favorite smaller designs, The Signature Series 24, got a loving prototype build up at the Northwestern School of Boatbuilding, in Port Hadlock, Washington. Christened Azulita at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, that year, this little Spirit of Tradition honey has since made her way to the mid-west. These days she charms her current owners day-sailing on Lake Michigan. (Go ahead, waste the morning and check this video of her footing around in, at most, 5 knots […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Millennium Falcon Comes to Foggy.

Not that long ago, in a boatshop not so far away, our former co-workers at Brooklin Boat Yard gave us a plumb gig: Engineer probably the single most complicated boarding system for probably the most unique sloop on the planet: the 74-foot, Frank Gehry/German Frers-designed Foggy II.  After a similar number of design hours that we’d put into the design of an average 40 footer — the Millennium Falcon was born. The Falcon, as we have come to call it, is the central fitting for the do-it-all, transom-mounted articulated boarding stair that could also reach out and dock with a dingy,  tender, or […]

Around the World, Unassisted, and Without Diesel Fuel.

We are as rapt as any sailor with the 2016 Vendee Globe. Who can resist this most serious test of sailing ability? We’re glued to our smartphones and PCs, following the global match racing that every four years brings us bizarre and beautiful footage of the craziest, most daring, mostly French, solo sailors blasting around the globe, unassisted, in high-tech, insanely powerful machines. But we as boat designers have a deeper backstory to explore in this 2016 Vendee Globe. There’s a serious hybrid-engineering angle going on deep in the fleet. Foresight Natural Energy, skippered by 33 year-old Conrad Colman, is trying to lap of the […]

Giving Thanks for Gemini.

We’re going to let you in on a little secret of big-time yacht design: We come up with big-time ideas, we almost never come up with scary ideas. That’s the client’s job.  Most of the time, by the time a customer comes to us, he or she is pure yachting inspiration: Their perfect yacht will go this fast. It will travel this far. It will be this big. And cost that much. Our part of the game is to corral those broad strokes into a sequence of details that keeps the devil at bay. We have a lot of fun […]

By the numbers: The Ultimate “Ditch Cruiser.”

Every fall,  East Coast cruisers get ready for their annual migration down the Intracoastal Waterway to points south.  Inside barrier islands the passage is calm and often beautiful and serene.  The ICW provides much-needed shelter from the stormy waters and winds found offshore. Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream is all the pictorial evidence anybody needs for just how nasty conditions can get “outside.” But an ICW passage isn’t for every boat. There are constraints.  Much of “The Ditch,” as it is often called, is shallow. It’s dredged and the nicest anchorages along the way are restricted to shoal-draft boats. But […]