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

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 […]

What a Spirit-of-Tradition Yacht ISN’T!

One of the things we’ve learned in three-plus decades of designing custom boats, is how unusual each project can become. Custom boats are as individual as the people who own them. Yet, the key to a successful custom boat is all about having the right match to the right design. Often, what makes the custom boat work is realizing not what it is, but what it isn’t. For example, take some of those Spirit-of-Tradition designs; the SoT is not a fit for everyone, nor for every set of dreams and desires. At the heart, an SoT yacht provides state-of-the-art construction, […]

Learning to Speak SoT: A Discussion of Marine Design Vernaculars.

We’ve been operating in this industry for 30-plus years, and of that time we’ve enjoyed some 20 years in creating Spirit-of-Tradition yachts. This SoT thing is now a thing. And we’re lucky to have been involved on the frontlines since its inception. But, let’s make something distinctly clear about all design: There’s real-world use of boats, like racing in regattas in the U.S., Caribbean, and Europe. And then there is the design of intent and the creation of ideas, brought together by client and architect. These two points headline two different worlds, and the two worlds won’t always communicate in […]

Breaking News: All-Maine “Anna” Wins Global Design Award.

4/2/2019 — LONDON, ENGLAND: Stephens Waring Yacht Design, the internationally recognized marine engineering and architecture firm, announced today that its recent 65-foot luxury yacht Anna won a Classic Boat Award 2019 in an exclusive ceremony here. The Classic Boat Awards celebrate excellence in custom-built and restored boats from around the world. The award is presented annually by the editors of Classic Boat Magazine, the yachting publication also based here, in London, England. “We’re delightfully honored to be recognized by Classic Boat with this award. We’re thrilled to be in such great company among our fellow nominees,” says Robert Stephens, principal […]

Notes on The Economic Impact of Custom Boats.

With the launch of Anna — our new all-custom 65-foot daysiler, behind us, we’ve had a moment to consider not just the value of a new custom boat, but the value that custom boat creates. Because if you think about it, a custom-boat’s value is subjective and straightforward: How much did she cost to build? How much might a new buyer pay for her? What might it cost for potential owners to have a similar experience with another yacht? No matter how unique a custom boat, her value is basically a few numbers agreed on by consenting adults. But the […]

Some Modern-Classic Classics: Elements of Spirit-of-Tradition Design in Three Traditional Vessels.

One of the nice perks of hosting a global conversation about Spirit-Of-Tradition vessels, is our Spirit-of-Tradition Registry. The Registry lists the boats that help define the modern-classic design narrative. It has grown to include roughly 30 vessels that thousands of readers have read or commented on. The Spirit-of-Tradition Registry has been a blast. But here’s the thing: We’ve been doing our part getting the word out on the Classic Boat Award, the world-wide prize for classic and Spirit-of-Tradition yachts, hosted by London-based Classic Boat magazine. As the name implies, most of the boats nominated are pure classic vessels. But even […]

The Spirit-of-Tradition Skipper: James Murphy.

With Anna recently nominated by Classic Boat as one of the top Spirit-of-Tradition vessels globally, in 2018, we began to wonder, of all our designs, why her.  So we figured, we should get in touch with the professional seaman who, along with wife-engineer Amy, is in charge of sailing this lovely boat: Captain James Murphy. Jim is unique among professional private captains. He has decades of experience in skippering modern-classic sailing boats both in Maine and the Caribbean. He has always preferred working in smaller, unique vessels like Anna, where he can share his passion for classic boats with their […]

What Does It Mean to Design a true “Spirit-of-Tradition” Yacht?

“What is Spirit-of-Tradition design?” When it comes to designing great boats, we’ve been asking ourselves questions like this for 25 years. Operating in any design idiom, it’s important to recognize a flow of ideas comes from somewhere. A “somewhere” that may be inspired by some historical precedent or a springboard off a unique lineage of elements or forms. Spirit-Of-Tradition design is like any other vernacular: Strong themes and elements merge into a cohesive piece of naval architecture; forming a vernacular where one can identify those integral cues from traditional and classic lineage and recognize how that interpretation is intrinsic within […]