Notable Yachts


Design No. 7

Dorade is a legendary yacht in the annals of sailing history, a design that captured the world’s attention and never let go. Launched in 1930 from the Minneford Yacht Yard, the 52-foot yawl stunned the offshore racing community just one year later, finishing the Transatlantic Yacht Race a full two days ahead of the rest of the considerably larger field.

Dorade was Design No. 7, one of the earliest ever produced by Sparkman & Stephens, drawn by Olin Stephens when he was just 23 years old. Dorade’s design went on to influence countless new builds in offshore racing, and she included innovations such as deck-mounted ventilators – thereafter known as “dorades”.

She remains one of the most striking profiles on the water today and continues to have success in the offshore racing community.

6 Meters

40 Designs

Sparkman & Stephens produced 37 of the 6 Meter designs, starting with Thalia and continuing through Tempest. Early use of tank testing was key to the success of these yachts, and to giving S&S designs an edge out on the racecourse.

Goose was a breakthrough design for Sparkman & Stephens in the 6 Meter class, with a sharper, deeper foresection that reduced resistance and led her to win nearly every race in which she competed.

The 6 Meter evolved with each hull laid and included innovations of all kinds. Toogie V, for instance, had an owner who eliminated the trim tab, ordered a smaller headsail and worked with designer Olin Stephens to modify the hull shape.

8 Meters

4 Designs

Sparkman & Stephens produced four yachts in the 8 Meter Class: Conewago, Prelude, Iskareen and Iroquois.

The firm’s knowledge of 12 Meter yachts helped to make the 8 Meter designs some of the most innovative in their class. The 8 Meter Iroquois, for instance, was essentially a scaled-down version of the 12 Meter America’s Cup winner Intrepid, a breakthrough Sparkman & Stephens design that had a separate keel and rudder, a knuckle bow and a lowered center of gravity thanks to unique deck-gear placement.

Iskareen was arguably the most noteworthy of the Sparkman & Stephens 8 Meters, with Rod Stephens having called her “probably the best” in the class at her time.

12 Meters

16 Designs

Sparkman & Stephens produced 16 yachts in the 12 Meter Class, several of them so successful in their achievements that they remain among the most distinguished racing yachts in world history. Among the well-known 12 Meters the firm designed were Courageous, Columbia, Freedom, Enterprise, Intrepid, Northern Light, Valiant and Vim.

Columbia was the first 12 Meter to win the America’s Cup, an achievement that was a testament to her design and construction at a time when America’s Cup racing captured the world’s attention the way the Super Bowl and World Series do today. Other builds in the Sparkman & Stephens 12 Meter fleet included a variety of innovations, such as Vim, which had a trim tab integral to her rudder, two speed winches and an aluminum mast (a first for any 12 Meter yacht).


Design No. 12

Walter Barnum commissioned Sparkman & Stephens to design Brilliant with what the firm considered a “notoriously rigorous design brief.”

The yacht had to be able to roll over in a hurricane and come up with her deck-opening covers intact; lie steadily in a full gale; have a “nearly unbreakable” rudder and steering gear; have lower masts able to withstand strain approaching a complete capsize; have more (and better) fasteners than the maximum usually used; and more.

Brilliant also was supposed to be built with materials that were “literally perfect for the use intended,” and to be fast, weatherly and handsome. Sparkman & Stephens managed to achieve all of that and more, at a construction cost of $100,000.

Stormy Weather

Design No. 27

Olin Stephens noted several times that of all the Sparkman & Stephens designs produced during his lifetime, the 54-foot yawl Stormy Weather was his favorite.

While much of the ocean racing world saw Dorade as an unbelievable design achievement, S&S knew there was room for improvement. The design of Stormy Weather was vetted with tank testing at the Stevens Institute. The lessons learned in the tank with Stormy Weather in turn influenced a number of designs to come, such as Bolero and Loki.

The Henry Nevins yard on City Island, New York, built Stormy Weather, which became a racing powerhouse during her first year. She continues to be a presence in classic-yacht races and regattas today.


Design No. 77

The J-Class yacht Ranger was designed and constructed to demonstrate the dominance and power of American technology and yachting strength—and she did just that, successfully defending the America’s Cup against the British-built challenger Endeavour II in seven of seven straight wins.

Ranger was known as a “Super J” because she achieved the maximum waterline length that racing rules allowed. Another of Ranger’s key innovations was a wing-mast made of duralumin, which combines aluminum, copper and other elements.

A revival of the J-Class fleet in time for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda speaks to the continuing beauty and celebrated performance of yachts like Ranger.


Design No. 222

The 72-foot sloop Baruna, built by the Quincy Adams yard in Massachusetts, dominated the racing scene almost immediately upon her launch, becoming a record-breaker that sometimes finished hours ahead of the rest of the fleet. And interestingly, the design brief for Baruna included not only racing, but also family cruising—a task she fulfilled for her original owner during the many years when he sailed her.

Baruna’s design details also earned accolades for Sparkman & Stephens, including the shape of her deckhouse, which was less boxy than those aboard other yachts of her day and instead conformed to the overall aesthetic of her hull.


Design No. 711

Launched in 1949, the 73-foot Bolero achieved dominance on the offshore racing circuit, winning the Newport-Bermuda Race in 1950, 1954 and 1956—and setting a course record that lasted nearly two decades.

Bolero was an unmatched achievement on the world’s waters, built to show others what was possible. She was designed and constructed for John Nicholas Brown, then undersecretary of the U.S. Navy and vice commodore of the New York Yacht Club.

Brown’s passion for excellence in craftsmanship and seaworthiness, combined with the Sparkman & Stephens approach to innovation and excellence, made Bolero one of the most renowned yachts in sailing history.


Design No. 1054

Finisterre was the grand dame of all famous centerboard boats, setting a record by winning three consecutive Bermuda races and leading major designers around the world to copy her type and style.

Sparkman & Stephens got the commission to design Finisterre because her owner, Carleton Mitchell, had sailed a number of times with Rod Stephens. Mitchell said that he didn’t think anyone else could match Stephens’ knowledge of deck layout, rigging and sails, and certainly could not compete with the “innovative design genius” of Olin Stephens, who by then had drafted the lines for the legendary racing yachts Dorade and Ranger.

Running Tide

Design No. 1969

Sparkman & Stephens produced a number of legendary sailing yachts, but it’s believed that Running Tide won more races than them all—with well more than 200 trophies to her name.

Wolter Huisman built the aluminum hull in Holland and then shipped it to America, where Kretzer Boat Works on City Island, New York, completed the build. Her interior was simple, as the owner’s focus was purely on racing. She was considered not only innovative in her day, but, to some experts, downright radical, given that she didn’t even have an owner’s stateroom. The entire forward section aboard Running Tide was reserved for sail stowage.

Dora IV (War Baby, Tenacious)

Design No. 2089

Media mogul Ted Turner sailed Dora IV to victory in the 1979 Fastnet Race, which started with 303 yachts but then encountered gale-force winds of more than 60 knots—Force 11 on the Beaufort Scale, just one level beneath hurricane-force winds. The weather caused 69 yachts to withdraw from the race, and 23 either sank or were abandoned, with 15 sailors losing their lives. Turner sailed on, with Dora IV’s aluminum hull holding strong.

The race highlighted the importance of Sparkman & Stephens (and builder Palmer Johnson) sticking to traditional principles of design, at a time when some European designers were moving to ultra-light designs that could not withstand such an encounter with Mother Nature.


Design No. 2713

The 65-foot Predacious was believed to be the largest Downeast-style boat when New England Boatworks launched her—but she handled like a much smaller design thanks to high-tech composite materials that kept her weight down. The design and construction choices also gave Predacious speed, with her twin Caterpillar engines pushing her to a top end of 35 knots.

Sparkman & Stephens incorporated extensive soundproofing and vibration dampening into the design, which allowed for normal-level conversations inside even when the yacht was at full throttle. This was important for her owner, who used Predacious for commuting and cruising with his family.


Design No. 2273

The owner of Flyer wanted her built for one reason and one reason only: to live up to her name as she competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Sparkman & Stephens focused almost entirely on seaworthiness and speed when bringing Flyer to life, with what the firm called “good habitability” for a crew of 11. In particular, the design team wanted to ensure that the crew would remain dry while sleeping underway.

Flyer proved a success, besting 14 competitors in the Whitbread Round the World Race and earning first place in a time of 119 days plus one hour. The runner-up crossed the finish line on day 121.


Design No. 2688

When Palmer Johnson launched the 195-foot La Baronessa, she was the largest all-aluminum yacht built in the United States since 1930 and the largest all-aluminum yacht ever built for a private owner.

Sparkman & Stephens handled naval architecture and structural engineering—a substantial job on a yacht that carries 42,000 gallons of fuel, allowing for a staggering range of 14,000 nautical miles.

La Baronessa was noted for her low decibel readings in the interior, enhancing the guest experience aboard, as well as for her advanced fire suppression system, which was unusual to find aboard a private yacht of any size.


Design No. 2579

Derecktor Shipyards built the 112-foot motor yacht MitSeah in aluminum, giving her a top speed of 29 knots—a notable achievement in high-speed cruising among larger motoryachts at the time.

Sparkman & Stephens chief designer Bill Langan gave MitSeah a unique profile, as a way for her to stand out in the harbor among other motoryachts of her size. A noteworthy engineering innovation aboard MitSeah was the special recesses built into her hull to accommodate five-bladed propellers while maintaining the owner’s shallow-draft requirement. Experts called the Sparkman & Stephens solution not only efficient, but also as quiet as a water-jet system of the same vintage.


Design No. 2510

Palmer Johnson built Galileo to be an impressive world-cruiser. At the time of her launch, she was the largest aluminum sailing yacht built in the United States since the 1930s.

Sparkman & Stephens knew, given the owner’s brief, that Galileo would see serious use and at some point require refitting. That’s why S&S designed a “soft patch” into Galileo’s house top and main salon sole.

The patch was a section of aluminum that could be removed without interfering with any wiring or piping. The design element came in handy during a major refit of Galileo in 2006, when a new generator was loaded aboard through the patch.


Design No. 2527

Derecktor Shipyards built Encore to a Sparkman & Stephens design specification that allowed her interior to convert from cruiser/racer to pure racing mode whenever the owner felt the need for speed. Encore won and placed in multiple races, including taking top honors at Antigua Race Week.

Interestingly, she was one among several dozen Sparkman & Stephens designs that the Derecktor yard constructed, including the 12 Meter Valiant and the 114-foot motoryacht Mitseaah. The combination of design firm and shipyard has proved powerful no matter the size or style of yacht, during a relationship that has spanned more than half a century.

Victoria of Strathearn

Design No. 2551

Sparkman & Stephens chief designer Bill Langan oversaw the lines for the 91-foot Victoria of Strathearn, a ketch built by Camper & Nicholsons in England. The owner wanted a yacht that was ideal for worldwide cruising, a requirement that led Langan to include a generously sized guest cockpit amidships, in addition to a working cockpit with controls aft for the crew.

When the owners weren’t using her, they offered Victoria of Strathearn for charter. Sparkman & Stephens advertised her as having “a British country house feel” and said her “powerful performance under sail is difficult to resist and will prove to be a most memorable experience.”

Anson Bell/Helios 2

Design No. 2666

Originally launched as Anson Bell and later rechristened Helios 2, this 156-foot Palmer Johnson was designed to be one of the safest megayachts afloat—with levels of fire-resistant construction and watertight subdivision that went beyond even the most substantial yacht classifications offered.

In the unlikely event of a hull breach, even if two compartments were opened to the sea, Anson Bell is designed to stay afloat. Most other yachts don’t even have one-compartment subdivision.

Equally noteworthy is that Sparkman & Stephens achieved this level of safety in a way that was virtually unnoticeable. When the owner and guests step aboard, they see only luxury and feel only comfort.

Morris M Series

Design No. 2706, 2703, 2727, 2741, 2741x

Sparkman & Stephens collaborated with Morris Yachts in Rhode Island and Maine to produce the M Series, with models ranging from a 29-foot daysailer to a 52-foot flagship.

Each of the M Series yachts combines classic good looks with modern performance innovations. More than 150 boats have been built to these designs.

The M52 is an example of a yacht with features usually found only on much larger designs, such as belowdecks line-control systems and a one-person cockpit command center at the helm. Though this largest of the M Series yachts has a powerful sailplan, it can be controlled by just one person, thanks to features such as a self-tacking jib.

Nazenin V

Design No. 2725

Of all the motorsailers that Sparkman & Stephens designed, the 170-foot Nazenin V is the largest. RMK Yachts in Turkey built her from aluminum—and upon her launch, she was the largest yacht ever built in that material in the country.

Nazenin V earned a special judges’ commendation at the World Superyacht Awards, thanks to her “outstanding design and finish quality.” Her construction included materials such as carbon fiber spars, as well as a carbon fiber rudder to optimize performance and handling.

Perhaps the most fun aboard Nazenin V is her motorized crow’s nest, which climbs high to provide amazing views.


Design No. 2736

The owners of the 128-foot Newcastle Safira not only tapped Sparkman & Stephens for its expertise in naval architecture, but also insisted on environmental responsibility throughout the design and construction process, as well as in the finished yacht herself.

To that end, Sparkman & Stephens gave Safira a hull form coupled to Schottel azimuthing pod drives, allowing the yacht to cruise 20 percent more efficiently than similar-size yachts with conventional propulsion systems. LED lighting reduced electrical loads on board, and outfitting materials were renewable and recycled, including cotton, silk and wool. Safira’s outdoor decking was spec’d in Esthec, a composite material that resembles teak, but without a single tree being felled.


Design No. 2752

Lyman Morse built the hull of the 48-foot Oriole completely out of carbon fiber, with an innovative, custom-designed hydraulic rotational sail drive as part of the propulsion system. Sparkman & Stephens designed the sail drive to be controllable in tandem with the bow thruster and joystick, allowing Oriole to turn 360 degrees while standing in place.

The owner of Oriole wanted unique details, which is why everything from the retractable anchor arm to the hand grabs are all custom designed. The steering pedestal has the wheel located forward of the pedestal, so the skipper won’t have to reach through the spokes to reach the navigation and propulsion controls. The look is as stunning as the design is practical.