Considering how lovely she is, it’s surprising how little documentation exists for Sophie. But according to reports by those close to the build of this Bruce King design, the 91-footer has quite a backstory: She was originally launched in 1991 for Jan Stenbeck, the Swedish media magnet and America’s Cup campaign backer. The boat was named after one of his daughters, as an ode to the original America’s Cup J-Boats. Sophie rapidly became a big project. She traveled to three different builders: Renaissance Yachts in Thomaston, Maine, Wayfarer Marine in Camden, and finally to Derecktor’s in Georgetown.
But despite the convoluted build story, Sophie tells a smooth Spirit-of-Tradition narrative.
Sophie was drawn along with King’s later popular mega-yachts, like Hetarios, Maria Cativa, and WhiteFin. But there’s something here that quietly transcends these flashy cousins. King seems to be testing how ruthlessly efficient he can draw a boat: The sheer is heck flat. And the overhangs are clean and not garish, like most J-Boats. Note in the pictures below how effective Sophie is going to weather. And how relaxed captain and crew are aboard her.
That was not the life aboard the original J’s — which were all about surviving the race, to win the race.
In terms of modern-classic details, the big story is the huge boom: It’s a re-engineered version of the massive Park Avenue Booms from the American Cup days. We think its a terrific detail that works with the updated and sensible deck ergonomics, the reasonable use of roll-up headsails and an overall clean and updated deck layout.
It’s no wonder you never hear about Sophie. The owners want to keep her secret.
- LOA: 91’0″ / 27.73m
- LWL: 60’00 / 18.28m
- Beam: 16’04 / 4.99m
- Max Draft: 14’0 / 4.26m
- Hull material: Wood construction
- Rig: Sloop
- Designer: King
- Built by: Renaissance Yachts, Maine
- Year Built: 1991
- Original Owner: Jan Stenbeck