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Designing a true “Spirit-of-Tradition” Yacht

Published on December 17th, 2018

The team at Stephens Waring Yacht Design, who enjoy blending the best of classic yacht designs with the latest in materials and technology, seek to answer the question on what it means to design a true “Spirit-of-Tradition” Yacht.


“What is Spirit-of-Tradition design?” When it comes to designing great boats, we’ve been asking ourselves questions like this for 25 years.

Operating in any design idiom, it’s important to recognize a flow of ideas comes from somewhere. A “somewhere” that may be inspired by some historical precedent or a springboard off a unique lineage of elements or forms. Spirit-Of-Tradition design is like any other vernacular: Strong themes and elements merge into a cohesive piece of naval architecture; forming a vernacular where one can identify those integral cues from traditional and classic lineage and recognize how that interpretation is intrinsic within the modern work itself.

Yes, this sounds like an artist’s statement.

But beyond these design challenges, our interests also extend into forming clear and concise classing practices for racing management of Spirit-of-Tradition and classic fleets. In regattas each summer here on the East Coast of the United Sates, yacht owners experience a variety of methodologies for placing boats in classes, fairly and unfairly.

The building momentum that’s bringing more classic yacht owners to these racing events has caught our watchful eye, as well as the many glaring issues that plague the sustainability of today’s racing events. This has us aiming at clearer definitions for classing race fleets. It’s so important to build a rationale behind these classing decisions. And a quick look through the varied Notices of Race found at these events, illustrates the inconsistent themes and often unexpected logic used by various race committees to organize racing classes.

Much more… click here.

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