News

A Spirited Look at an SOT Classic: Marjorie

It’s interesting how different doing something classic turns out to be. Case in point is Marjorie. She’s very much on the “Tradition” side of the Spirit of Tradition equation. While she’s entirely modern, her looks were driven almost completely by late-1930’s cruising yachts. Our client’s a great fan of L. Francis Herreshoff, who unlike his father Nat, rebelled against  fitting in—and this included into rating rules. Marjorie had to exude the feeling of his great cruising ketches like Ticonderoga and Bounty. But there would be no fussy clipper bows. Thank you, dear client, for letting us off that foolish design […]

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 […]

Marine Engineering 102: Why’s My Hull Shaped the Way It Is?

It’s the mysteries of our hulls that draw us to them. One moment, you’re on dry land unacknowledged by an uncaring terra firma. The next, you’re aboard. And part of the running conversation between you, the sea, and the hull that floats on that sea. Not all hulls use the same vocabulary. Agro, tippy skiffs seem to threaten with a techno hull-speak of planing, surfing and foiling. And more stately yachts, like our plush 90-foot ketch Bequia, practically bow to those who wander her decks with a hushed language of soft entry, high freeboard and tons of reserve buoyancy. To […]

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 […]

We love our clients! We love our clients! We love our clients! We love our clients! We love our clients!

But sometimes we have to just keep repeating that to ourselves. Like a mantra. Because sometimes our dear clients can drive us … nuts. It’s a strange business, designing boats. Customers have to be a little bit “unusual” to commission a custom-boat. It means you’re so picky that of all the thousands of designs, you couldn’t find what you wanted among the common offerings. And you’ve also spent a long time thinking through each itty-bitty corner of your unique boat. You’ve got a lot of preconceived notions. But not the exact expertise to make them all work. So when we […]

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 […]