Sparkman & Stephens has long been synonymous with sailing yacht design. Olin J. Stephens II was responsible for an astonishing number of trend-setting designs, including Dorade, Stormy Weather, Tenacious, and Bolero. Heavily involved in the America’s Cup for much of the 20th century, the firm designed the successful J-Class Cup defender Ranger and the 12-Meters Columbia, Constellation, Intrepid, Courageous, and Freedom. S&S remains involved in trend-setting designs today, having created a broad range of production sailing yachts such as the Morris Yachts M-Series and a number of custom mega sailing yachts including Victoria of Strathearn and the 171 ft (52 meter) ketch Nazenin V.
Sparkman & Stephens has a long history of designing all sizes and types of custom sailing yachts. Our team of designers has an unparalleled database to draw upon for the development of any new design.
Although best known for the design of custom yachts, S&S' greatest influence has been with the design of production yachts. These designs include the Blue Jay and Lightning classes, on which countless numbers have learned to sail. In recent years, the firm has produced successful production designs for many well-known builders such as Swan, Tartan, Queen Long, Northwind, and Morris Yachts.
From its earliest years, S&S has set the pace on race-yacht design. Many of the firm’s early classics such as Dorade, Stormy Weather, and Bolero have been restored and are sailing and racing. The success on the race course of the early designs led to success at the highest level, in the America's Cup. Consistent winning designs paved the way for S&S' future. More recent performance designs include the 73 ft Encore and the 81 ft maxi Sagamore. S&S designers have access to decades of data to assist in the design of any type of racing yacht, from ultralight modern to elegant but quick modern classics.
Few designers have as many offshore cruising yachts in service as Sparkman & Stephens. The company has long been known for designing safe, seaworthy, comfortable long-range sailing vessels. Among the better-known S&S designs are the 80 ft Tempest, 124 ft Freedom, and 112 ft Zingaro.
Many sailors prefer to keep it simple. Since company founder Olin J. Stephens II drew his first boat, the Manhasset Bay One-Design, S&S has been active producing some of the most beloved daysailers on the water. The success of S&S modern daysailers can be best illustrated by the the gorgeous and successful M-Series, built by Morris Yachts.
Known as the "Super J", Ranger was designed to the maximum waterline length allowed by the Universal Rule, 87', by a collaboration between Sparkman & Stephens and Starling Burgess in 1937. Extensive tank testing of numerous hull models, allowed the final decision to be based on which hull would perform best in the expected conditions of the America's Cup off Newport, Rhode Island.
The resurgence of the J Class is currently in full swing with spectacular racing taking place around the globe. Each set of S&S J Class lines is noteworthy and unique, and all take advantage of the maximum allowable hull length under the rule. Optimized using state of the art technology and ideology in design and build, original lines plans are available for new construction.
No designer or design firm has had as much success in America’s Cup competition as has Sparkman & Stephens beginning with the J-Class Ranger, which defended the Cup in 1930 to Freedom, the 1980 defender. And at no period during its 150-year-plus history has the Cup seen such design dominance as during the 12-Meter era. A succession of S&S Twelves defended the America’s Cup seven times beginning in 1958, the first year the class raced in the event, to 1980. Capturing those honors were Columbia, Constellation, Intrepid, Courageous and Freedom with Intrepid and Courageous winning two regattas each. The Cup has moved on to more contemporary designs, but many of the Twelves are still raced actively around the world.
It’s difficult not to mention S&S and classic yachts in the same breath. The list of influential and important classic S&S designs is extensive: Stormy Weather, Dorade, Bolero, Sonny. Many of the early S&S designs sprang from the exceedingly fertile mind of company co-founder Olin J. Stephens II. Stephens, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 100, lived to see many of his earliest designs including the aforementioned yachts, lovingly restored to mint condition. Many are still raced competitively and even more are cruised actively.
The uninitiated will almost always select the older yachts in a harbor as being the "prettiest." Recent years have seen a surge in interest in the aesthetic values present in the classic yachts of yore where form and function held relatively equal weight. Having been responsible for many of the designs that have come to be recognized as classics, Sparkman & Stephens has naturally been at the forefront of the retro-classic revival. Production designs such as the beautiful Morris M-Series yachts and custom designs such as Payah Kun, Anna and Aileen typify this class of yachts, where the aesthetic spirit of a bygone era is maintained above the waterline, but is fitted with a modern underbody and appendage package and modern systems.