Reliance: World’s coolest yachts

Published on September 26th, 2022

Yachting World has been asking top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times, and when they turned the question to one of the world’s best sailors, classic yacht designer Andre Hoek nominated Reliance. Here’s the report:

My choice would be the yacht Reliance of 1903 designed by the famous Nat Herreshoff. I read the book Temple to the Wind a long time ago and could not put it down. That yacht was, for its day, such an extreme design and engineering feat, without computers and all designed and built in a short time. Herreshoff was the master in those days.

The yacht measured over 200ft overall with just 90ft of waterline [the huge overhangs were to take advantage of the rating rule when heeled], it displaced 189 tons and had a sail area of 1,500m2 (16,000ft2)! It was massive and with wooden masts that tipped 200ft above the water, an 84ft long wooden spinnaker pole and cotton sails.

She was the first yacht with winches below decks and despite that still had a crew of 64 to handle the gigantic sailplan.

Reliance won the America’s Cup against Shamrock III, a beautiful yacht designed by William Fife. Those were the days of extreme but beautiful yachts!

Reliance stats rating:
Top speed: 20 knots
LOA: 61.3m/201ft
Launched: 1903
Berths: 0
Price: $175,000
Adrenalin factor: 80%

For Yachting World’s list of cool boats, click here.

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