A Pocket Guide to Making a Spirit-of-Tradition Design.

Early conversations led in a contemporary direction: Hard chines, plumb stem and stern and low cabin roof.

Let’s keep it short and simple, shall we? Here’s a tangible, brief example of a qualified new client that made the trip to coastal Maine, climbed the two steep flights of stairs to our third floor office and spent several months exploring the modern-classic marine idiom with us.

The fellow grew up sailing classic one-design boats, but cut his adult marine teeth on modern production boats. Early conversations were all about the basics of what he wanted: Which boats moved him; what applications did he see for his boat; and where would he like to travel. The first boat we drew came out of the oven with a clear Italian slant. It was an all-modern “Club Med-ish” sort of boat, with a plumb stem, plumb stern, wide transom, and chines high on the hull sides aft. Not a typical Spirit-0f-Tradition affair, at all.

But still, we loved the way this design came around. This client is brilliant and open to our interpretations. It has been interesting tuning these concepts for a more modern take on the modern-classic idioms. We’re having a blast.

The Classic Takes Over.

As local Maine idioms took over, the design found its way to more classic idioms: A softer stem, stern and comfortable, flexible space.

But then, local history exerted its quiet power. Through the course of the summer here in Maine, our new customer had a chance to admire many of the classics in our neighborhood, including one or two of our designs. And slowly the conversations, and his tastes, evolved. He kept getting pulled in towards that classic side of the equation.

What we wound up with became a case study for all the right reasons to go with a Spirit-of-Tradition design: He’s kept all the performance and interior roominess of the earlier modern concept; but asked us to wrap it inside a more mid-60’s classic-like, Spirit-of-Tradition envelope. He took his time, thought carefully about his needs and his desires, and asked us to blend classic themes into a completely modern boat.

Here’s how the SoT game played out for this owner: The boat will be built entirely in carbon and foam composite, both hull and deck. She’ll be fast, roomy, safe and fun to sail. She’ll give him the convenience of a modern boat with equipment, amenities and sophistication like a stern tender garage. She’ll be raced in SoT or mainstream classes, though competing was way down his list of must-haves. And, she’ll give him the satisfaction of a beautiful interpretation of classic themes as he dinghies away from her mooring at day’s end.

That’s exactly what makes the Spirit-of-Tradition the all-world idea it is: The right boat for the right reasons, that makes an unusual boat that respects classic themes.