Some Modern-Classic Classics: Elements of Spirit-of-Tradition Design in Three Traditional Vessels.

One of the nice perks of hosting a global conversation about Spirit-Of-Tradition vessels, is our Spirit-of-Tradition Registry. The Registry lists the boats that help define the modern-classic design narrative. It has grown to include roughly 30 vessels that thousands of readers have read or commented on.

The Spirit-of-Tradition Registry has been a blast.

But here’s the thing: We’ve been doing our part getting the word out on the Classic Boat Award, the world-wide prize for classic and Spirit-of-Tradition yachts, hosted by London-based Classic Boat magazine. As the name implies, most of the boats nominated are pure classic vessels. But even so, we have been excited to learn that several boats still tell interesting design tales. Though these boats might not fit all the criteria of a true Spirit-of-Tradition design, we thought, why not spread the word about these terrific boats.

Trust us. Any boat lover will think they are worth a look.

Valora: Essentially, this 43-foot schooner is a direct recreation of a charter daysailing boat of the same name, that worked in and around Martha’s Vineyard until about 8 years ago. That’s when, during a bad summer Nor’easter, the boat broke loose from her mooring and was thrown up on the harbor breakwater. In spite of the efforts of dozens to save her, Valora splintered to pieces.

It’s a grim legend: only her mast survived.

But time seems to honor its veterans: Valora would live to have another day. Owner Karl Frey found the means to rebuild. He brought in David and Nathaniel Stimson of Boothbay Harbor, Maine to do an all-new design and build. Today’s Valora would be similar to the original, but based more on the principles of Commodore Ralph Munroe’s 20th-century sharpie work boats. Tucked into her design of classic lineage, Valora hides a shallow draft and a ballasted fin keel, with a separate rudder hanging from the transom. Stimson was clever to work in all sorts of new ideas: A carbon steel frame, epoxy coatings and particularly large and comfortable cockpits. That’s right: There are two. One in front. One in back. Making the new Valora ready to go back to Day Charter duty in the Vineyard.

What a lovely ride that should be.

Nyala: The 56-foot modern rebuild is almost a direct lift from the Sparkman & Stephens classic yawl Impala. This serious racer blasted through the waters in the northeast, and back and forth across the Atlantic into the 1950s. She was originally built of traditional materials like mahogany. But today’s Nyala was rebuilt by the modern Dutch yard, Ventis. This builder cleverly integrated all sorts of sensible, modern innovations. Of note, Nyala features upgraded fittings, a modified rudder position, new lines, lighting and interior design.

But the real story is in the build. Take a look at this excellent time-lapse video, that breaks down how the computer cut molds, composite fiber overlay, and the laminate deck planking were shaped, sanded, finished and then flipped.

Beside being lovely, Nyala offers an excellent lesson in building and launching a “classic” boat, not in a strictly classic way.

Sweet Myrrh: This little cutie jumped out at us for her cutting-edge design, straight from 1912! Also of interest is her construction method called Consuta. The technique is an early version of stitch and glue fabrication that layers mahogany planks sewn together with copper wire. Sweet Myrrh was completely rebuilt by Hendwood and Dean, in Oxfordshire, just west of London, this past year, with no drawings for designs.

They simply recreated her with just the right modern touches. Including an all-electric power plant. Not bad for a 115 year-old classic runabout.

Very clever, indeed!