Living the Dream: The Superyacht Cup, Palma, 2019

We know you think that the life of a yacht designer is nothing but head-down, nose-to-the-grindstone, bound to the computer screen while we deal with prismatic coefficients and righting arms. All true—but every now and then we get an opportunity that we just can’t pass up. This spring a long-time client who commissioned one of our favorite boats said, “Bob, wouldn’t it be great to get the guys back together for a ten-year reunion of Bequia’s build? And why don’t we do it at the Superyacht Cup, in Palma?” Well, okay, twist my arm.  To understand the excitement of participating […]

The SoT Regatta Issue: The 2019 Camden Classics Cup Handicapper’s Tip Sheet.

The 2019 Camden Classics Cup  is almost making us wish there was legal sports betting in sailing! We got a chance last week to review the scratch sheet for this summer’s celebration of contemporary, classic and modern-classic yachting in the heart of lovely Penobscot Bay, Maine. And this still-growing fleet of 43 boats is chock full of competitive classes, great backstories and larger-than-life characters. The eye-popper class in this year’s Camden Classics is the 9-boat, Vintage Division 1. The entry here that you can’t help but gawk at is Spartan, the beautifully-restored Herreshoff NY50 that’s been burning up the race […]

The SoT Regatta Issue: Split-Keel Classics To Get Their Racing Day in the Maine Sun.

It is the dark ugly secret of classic and modern-classic racing. That yes, designers of some of the most classic of classic vessels had the audacity to separate the keel from the rudder on their designs. We know! Hide the kids, but it is true! Since about the middle of 20th century, it was increasingly common for even the most traditional looking yachts to quietly move away from full keel underbodies and separate the main fin keel from the rudder in the underwater sections of their boats. The original Swan 36 was probably the most famous example of such a […]

The SoT Regatta Issue: The Handicapper’s App In Your Pocket.

That dumb old smartphone of yours is about to get a whole lot cleverer about organizing and managing classic and modern-classic regattas. Earlier this year, we got a private demonstration of a new mobile race management app from the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation, the Warwick, Rhode Island-based sailing technology incubator. The app is called the Race Tracker and Analyzer, or RTA, and it attempts to scrub out the hassle and complexity of organizing, tracking, and racing in a regatta. “The current race tracking experience is too complicated and costly,” says McKenzie Wilson, executive director of the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation, […]

2019 Camden Classics Cup Early Registration Breaks Records.

Though we planned our full preview coverage for the 2019 Camden Classics Cup in the spring, we wanted to give the Spirit-of-Tradition community an important heads up: Early registration has begun. The demand has broken all previous records. An unprecedented dozen or so vessels have entered the online registration process in the first week. And indications are, that all facets of the event including sponsorship, local housing and marina resources will be at a premium for 2019. Only about 18 dockage slots remain. So if you are at all interested in experiencing the Camden Classics Cup as it should be […]

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 […]

The 2018 Maine Classic and Spirit-of-Tradition Race Report

Camden Classics Cup, July 26-28: It was a good few days for traditional and modern sailboat racing in Penobscot Bay, Maine. The third running of the Camden Classics Cup continued to build on the success of the first two events. We counted 68 yachts on the scratch sheet. Or about double the 30 boats that shaped up to race, year before last. We’re shameless promoters of the Camden Classics. We are sponsors of the regatta. We serve on committees to improve the rules for it. And our boats, and our selves, race in the event. And even discounting for all […]

Classic Lessons Learned For Classic and Spirit-of-Tradition Races

Let’s begin with the disclosures: We didn’t just spend two weeks racing Vintage, Classic and Spirit-of-Tradition yachts. We spent a lot of time during those races thinking about racing: How to organize these modern-classic events more effectively; how to class boats more fairly; how to handicap the yachts more properly and how to make these events more inclusive, rather than more exclusive. This brainwork was part of a reasonably rigorous market survey we are conducting of the Vintage, Classic and Spirit-of-Tradition racing fleets. The full report is due out later this year. But even now, we are finding solid lessons […]