News

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]