As we navigate into the darkest time of the year, we want to take a moment to share appreciation and gratitude for all the bright moments and accomplishments that have made 2023 such an amazing journey. The highlights and achievements are only made possible through the special relationships shared with our clients, suppliers, and builders from whom we draw inspiration and who make our work of dreaming big possible.
This year we set out an ambitious agenda to try new things and push our boundaries as designers. This list includes several notable firsts including the design of a fully-electric boat project, Isobel. We also pushed outside the traditional boundaries of architecture with several IMMERST Studio projects that included a floating-villa destined for South Carolina, as well as the Canopy Tower destined for Colorado.
We reimagined the “old”, as “new”, with a number of Resto-Mod projects that include a 25-M powercat, a refit of Zingara, and most recently the classic motor yacht Iroquois (more to come soon). We also expanded our portfolio of custom Spirit-of-Tradition designs with S/V Wisp, a 39-ft daysailer that connects our Maine yachting heritage to the next generation of sailing enjoyment.
We extend our gratitude to this amazing community of clients, yacht owners, builders, visionaries, and supporters who allow us to turn visions into reality.
2023 Project Highlights
The Spirit of Tradition is Strong
This year we completed design work on 12m LOA S/V Wisp. The design follows a long lineage of Stephens Waring SoT genre yachts– the combining of classic appearance with modern construction tech and sail-handling innovations. The gracefully balanced hull illustrates historical precedent found in many yachts built 75 years ago. The moderately shaped overhangs politely recall the design of last-century cruiser-racers. And, above deck, the sweeping coaming encloses a plush upholstered cockpit where duties are comfortably divided into sailing (aft) and lounging (forward). A helmsperson can easily manage all sailing controls without leaving the wheel, while guests may enjoy seating around a drop-leaf table that conceals a wine cooler and glasses storage. Aboard Wisp, we find a cohesive assembly of design elements – superstructure and sailing hull mingle among mid-century themes in a daysailer where standing headroom and creature comforts are found at the top of the design brief.
The All-Electric Coupe Isobel
Pushing new boundaries and embracing a desire to create sustainably-powered boats, we took on our first fully electric boat project, Isobel. Design work on the vessel pushed us to embrace new technology and components and helped forge relationships with new suppliers. This includes working closely with UK-based RAD Propulsion and Fellten Batteries. While she boasts an impressive array of next generation technology inside, we designed Isobel with a sleek profile with mid-century modern styling that draws inspiration from the elegance of 1950s Rivas. Able to reach a top speed of 25 kts, her lightweight wood-composite design pairs spirit-of-tradition aesthetics with inspiring next-generation tech below deck. Most exciting, she will demonstrate that with the right use profile electrics can match the performance and durability of their ICE counterparts. Learn More.
Teaching an Old Cat New Tricks
It’s no simple task reimagining a 30-year-old vessel as a modern stylish head-turner. The enormous complexities that come with transforming this 25M Powercat through a comprehensive Resto-Mod required our full creative and engineering RPM to fuel the ride. The design renovation is extensive from bow to stern and captures a fresh balance of style, safety, and performance. It’s a blue-sky project, the entire yacht, from the inside out; design work began by scrapping all superstructure and interior down to bare hulls. A new vision re-establishes modern crisp lines, and re-styled sheer perimeter that pushes the boundaries within the scope of this 90’s CAT. The all-new aesthetic style demands a more sophisticated level of engineering and construction to complete the Resto-Mod right down to cutting edge electrical and HVAC systems, and highly refined interior finish throughout. Work on her is currently underway in the Southeast region of the US and the yacht will likely splash in 2025. Learn More.
Reimagining Living and Lifestyle on Water: Charleston Floating Villa
Work on the Charleston, SC Floating Villa was propelled through our IMMERST Studio– an endeavor distilled from 30 years of marine industry leadership translated to floating architectural innovation. The foundation of the villa employs our proprietary OASys – Ocean Architecture System: an integrated system of floating foundations that minimizes environmental impact and mitigates any motion from harbor wake. It also protects against extreme weather or hurricane storm surges. The design allowed us to integrate sustainable elements combining green building techniques with efficient use of space to conserve energy and minimize operating demands on local resources. Learn More.
Re-rigging Zingara for the Modern Age
Since we took ownership of our beloved Spirit of Tradition yacht, Zingara has brought much joy to us on the water. However, after 20+ years in service, many things were ready for updates. For us, that meant modernizing performance and comfort by transforming the sailing platform to bring us long-term enjoyment with a meaningful reboot.
The modernizing effort was an exercise in optimizing the sailing platform by designing a modern rig and sail plan and working to improve focused operational parameters. The redesign converted her from a yawl rig to a modern sloop rig arrangement. With the shroud base set as wide as possible to eliminate overlapping sails we reduced all loads on the spars and rigging as much as possible; thereby reducing weight aloft and increasing stability. Working with composites wizards Moore Brothers in Bristol, RI we were able to design and build a carbon mast and boom and push both of our shop’s problem solving and creativity to new places. We packed all the power the boat needed for most sailing days in a larger, simpler rig that focuses efficiency in a muscular, more efficient, square-headed mainsail and powerful working jib, meticulously designed by our friends at Doyle Sails Newport. We also replaced and upgraded all halyards, clutches, standing rigging, furler system, sails. The journey has paved the way for other owners to follow suit and create a path for new life and enjoyment of older boats. Learn More.
Zemphira Tried and True
In 2020 our 2005-built 76-foot racing/cruising sloop Goshawk was purchased by an owner committed to bringing the yacht up to date as the most competitive racing yacht the design could achieve. 2023 saw the final phase of Zemphira’s multi-year refit in the capable hands of Lyman Morse Boatbuilding. With the mandate of an all-star staff of owner’s representatives and sailing crew, we worked hard over three years to make her faster, more fun to sail, more tweakable, and more amenable to luxury cruising.
2021 saw a new refined rudder for performance, and many comfort-enhancing updates: light carbon boarding platform, full removable cockpit bimini enclosure, teak-over-carbon bucket owners seats on the afterdeck, and a sleek Reckmann underdeck hydraulic furler. In 2022 following a serious grounding, Zemphira received a rebuilt bottom and internal structure, replacing the wood-composite hull bottom and internal bronze structure with all-carbon laminations, and a new slimmer, sleeker keel in a damage-reducing socket installation, making her even slipperier in light air.
This year, we brought the crowning touch—a re-imagined sail plan brought a newly built rig to employ all the innovations in sail-plan technology over the last two decades. We moved shroud chainplates out to the rail, eliminating overlapping genoas and reducing the compression loading on the mast, enabling a lighter tube and smaller standing rigging. A mast of high-modulus carbon and carbon standing rigging saved more weight aloft, to the tune of several hundred kilos, increasing righting moment and allowing us to add 2.2 meters of mast height and sail area. Through an extensive program of VPP analysis we substantially improved performance against rating, widening her opportunity to win in lighter air. We also designed a sleek new carbon mast collar, replaced all blocks with light modern soft-attachment blocks, and engineered a sophisticated hydraulic jib-sheet inhauler system allowing her to point higher.
Following the modifications, Zemphira began racking hardware at numerous races including sweeping Class A with three wins at the Safe Harbor Race Weekend in Newport, RI. In 2023, her list of racing accolades expanded in the New England classic yacht racing circuit, achieving notable victories, including 1st place finishes in the Newport Classic Yacht Regatta, the Boothbay Regatta, and the Safe Harbor Race Weekend. Learn More.
While excited to wrap up such an exciting year, we look to the coming year with optimism and energy. We will be announcing new projects in the coming months and look forward to drawing new ideas and inspiration from our clients on even more ambitious projects in the year to come.
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