Starting Up the Debate on Motor Yachts.

Sailboats are fighting off a hard leeward marketing shore, these days. In any given year, something like ten motor-powered craft are sold for every one sailboat. Powerboats have become such a powerful marketplace force in the boating industry, that many of the world’s best boatbuilders no longer bother with sailboats. The Hinckley Company, which essentially pioneered the high-end production sailing yacht with classics like the Pilot 35 and Bermuda 40, still advertises its lovely Bermuda 50. But that doesn’t mean there’s one ready for a customer to buy. Read the fine print: This boat is a custom-built boat, just like […]

What’s so flippin’ cool about expedition yachts?

It’s so true, we have to say it again: What’s so flipping cool about expedition yachts? Sturdy, serious-looking and able, it seems like everybody loves a yacht that feels like it can circle the globe not once, but time after time. We sure do. And we’re not shy about just waiting for the right person to come through the door and ask us to make one. Here’s why: That Hard Body, Expedition Look. What speaks to us about expedition yachts most, is their ability to take on whatever duties the captain asks them to do.  They’re not dazzle and speed, […]

Isobel Open To The Public in Newport.

One of our favorite boats is about to get the red-carpet treatment in one of our favorite locations for boats: On Wednesday June 7th, the lovely 75-foot sloop  will be open to the public at the ridiculously-perfect Sail Newport yacht facility, just across the bay from America’s yachting mecca: Newport, RI. It’s all too perfect to miss. One of us, Bob Stephens, gets to deliver the boat himself from Camden, Maine. And he’ll be on-board, and on hand, to answer all your questions on Wednesday. To keep things organized either give Tripp Estabrook, at Testabrook@lymanmorse.com or (401) 474-4322, a shout […]

The Spirit-of-Tradition 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! Over the last decades, nothing has gotten the Spirit-of-Tradition 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 Spirit-of-Tradition racing. And with the weather warming, and race season upon us, we think it’s time for an SoT […]

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 […]