SoT Registry

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 […]


Petrel comes from a longstanding dream of her owner/designer, and she is a result of Spirit of Tradition attitude done at the behest of one man’s time. The hull is a sexily-engineered wood-epoxy-over-Airex core, built by Walter Greene way back in 1983. After which the owner and designer Jay Paris slowly finished off some of the rest of the boat over the next 30 years. Quality sometimes takes that long. Petrel was finally made sea-ready with a recent reboot at Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding. The result is a fast and  weatherly modern classic that works both in coastal waters and in the open […]

Marie J

Marie J was the cold-molded wooden prototype for a successful fiberglass production boat, the Tiffany Jayne 34. She was a development of the early ultra-light daysailer/racers coming out of California in the late 1970’s. Designed by Paul Kotzebue, of the Pacific northwest, this svelte double-ender can accommodate a crew for weekending or overnight racing. The high-end build by C&B Marine, in Santa Cruz, California, engineered in high performance keel and rudder into this classic design. Cutting edge for her day, there are reports that production versions of Marie J were capable of bursts of speeds of 16 knots! in ideal reaching conditions […]

Center Harbor 31: Grace

Grace tells a powerful Spirit of Tradition narrative, but she does so delicately. Joel White’s original 1996 Center Harbor 31 designs were done in throwback paper and pencil. (Full disclosure: These drawings were done mostly with Bob Stephens own hands.) White was careful to pull Grace’s sheer and layout from the mid-coast Maine daysailer narrative, found in boats like L. Francis Herreshoff’s Quiet Tune. But the keel and rudder designs feature a contemporary bulb and foils. Both sloop and ketch rigs were available. And the semi-custom construction allowed the design to iterate slowly over the years. Deeper keels were mixed […]