The SoT Regatta Debate Goes Global

What makes for a proper Spirit of Tradition regatta is now officially a global debate. In case you missed it, we have begun laying out arguments on how to reform SoT regattas ahead of the Camden Classics Cup, which we sponsor, that is coming later this summer. In several stories, we’ve outlined reforms for class rules, rethinking ways organizers should handle divisions amongst classic, vintage and SoT yachts. Protecting the passions of the many owners we know who feel gypped by the structure of SoT and classic racing events is important. What we did not know was that some of […]

Staying in Class: Fixing the Pitfalls of Running a Classic Regatta

This is our second year as major sponsors of the Camden Classics Cup, the latest addition to the classic boat racing circuit here in the northeastern U.S. But we’ve been racing Vintage, Classic and Spirit of Tradition boats since the 1990’s. And, as with most things, we’ve developed strong opinions about what makes a compelling vintage, classic or SoT regatta. Guess what? We’re going to share those thoughts with you, now. The rebirth of Classic yacht racing was a disorganized grassroots movement. Each regatta was built on the dusty, rotten framework of the old days, driven by the rebirth of many […]

Finding the Value of the Non-Traditional.

One of the strangest unintended consequences of designing a Spirit of Tradition yacht — or any custom yacht for that matter — is figuring what they’re worth to their second owner. Own a production Morris 52 or J-44, and it’s easy enough to find its price. There’s a good-sized fleet. And good chance that somebody has paid for a similar model boat, with similar features. Go find that price. But to price the custom boats we create, valuing them is not easy. There are few similar reference points. Each boat is unique. We build them to last for 100 years. And […]

A Spirit of Tradition Class Manifesto

You know it’s a good fight when it’s goes on for 25 years! And over the last decades, nothing has gotten the SOT community hotter under the collar than what is — and what isn’t — a “Spirit of Tradition” raceboat. Classing the newer thoroughbreds has been a concern. As is, how to level the playing for older boats, given the rush to owner embellishments like structure refits, improved equipment, and modern sailing hardware.  We’ve evolved our own strong opinions on setting procedural guidelines for SOT racing. And with the weather warming, and race season upon us, we think it’s time […]

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 […]

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, […]