SoT Registry


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 […]

Morris 52: Windsock II

Designers Sparkman & Stephens said it themselves about Windsock II: “Teak is definitely the theme of this sailing yacht.” America’s design legends were not lying. This 52-foot Spirit-of-Tradition stalwart is a veritable wedding cake of this lavish tropical hardwood. Layer upon layer of teak is found under foot, in the cockpit and throughout the boat. There’s high-gloss, quarter-sawn passages of the stuff in the cockpit coamings and furniture. More muted finishes of the wood are found in the side decks, afterdeck, and the foredeck. Heck, every surface we could see above the sheer is sheathed with either elegantly bare or […]

Swede 55: Vortex

Surprisingly undocumented for a design this important — most searches for the “Vortex 55” lead to a hand mixer — these Knud Reimers boats were among the first group to sound the starting gun for the modern Spirit-of-Tradition narrative. Drawn in 1975, the Swede 55 was all about Reimers adapting a square-meter rule, popular for that time,  to a mass-produced, fiberglass 53-foot day-sailer. Something like 35 were built between about 1975 and 1985, with names like Tiana, and Rosina. What matters today is, if you look carefully at the original design to the right, is how Reimers lays out most […]


Dreadnaught, as a word, is all about “fearing nothing. ” But as a boat, she’s tells a kinder, more subtle Spirit-of-Tradition story. This 49-footer is a Jim Taylor design daysailer lovingly assembled at Brooklyn Boat Yard back in 2014. This boat is all about equilibrium. She balances a traditional, near classic, hull of just 35.1 feet of waterline with long overhangs that extend the boat’s sailing length under way, just as legendary designer William Fife might have used a century earlier. As is the way with Spirit-of-Tradition vessels, the old-school story above the water is balanced by modern technologies below. […]


If the Spirit-of-Tradition has a Web star, it is the WallyNano. People gape at this all-modern classic, as she tacks, sails and blast reaches.  Can you blame them? For not a ton of money, just about anybody can have this 21st-century re-imagining of the Spirit-of-Tradition narrative, via Hoek Design and originally built by Nedship in Turkey. Note: An updated version is now available from Doomernik Yachts. It is pictured below. Described by critics as “painfully good-looking,” the WallyNano is so spare on deck that its sheer is interesting to the eye, both on the leeward and windward sides. Notice how […]


Rebecca is a big beautiful, Spirit-of-Tradition girl. At nearly 140 feet (!) long overall, her fore-deck is longer than most boats. No wonder, builder Pendennis claims she is one of the largest ketches the yard has ever assembled. But what’s truly remarkable about Rebecca is how delicate she is. German Frers mined out a masterful sheer with this design, that’s long and elegant, yet surprisingly restrained for a 172-ton ship. These clean main lines open Frers to all sorts of great design choices. He minimizes the boat’s mass with a single, rather low deckhouse, that uses tumble-home to further lighten […]


The build of Pleione is a story of how the Spirit-of-Tradition genre feeds into narratives of modern racing embodied by sailboats built to a meter rule. In this case, the all-world International Rule, started all the way back the dawn of the 20th Century. These so-called 8-Meter boats have stayed at the cutting edge of the design world ever since, innovating by keeping what’s new logic mixed with old guidelines. Designer Jim Taylor was careful to incorporate the Spirit-of-Tradition themes in Pleione from the 1930’s iterations of the International Rule: She’s long and narrow and flashes gaudy overhangs at stem […]