George Lennox Watson was one of the first to set up a drawing office purely to design boats for sport and pleasure, in Glasgow in 1873. His Britannia was one of the most successful British yachts of all time. American brothers John B. and Nathanael Herreshoff, who established the renowned Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, Rhode Island, in 1863, were also specialists.
Between 1893 and 1914, the Herreshoff company designed seven advanced, powerful racing sloops. Five won the right to defend the America's Cup, and all five vanquished the challenger. Besides these majestic yachts, Herreshoff created a whole range of day boats and small yachts.
The dominant yacht designer of the 20th century was another American, Olin Stephens. His reputation was established by the 51-ft (15.5-m) yawl Dorade, winner of the 1931 and 1933 transatlantic races. Influential on
The Mirror, promoted by the British daily newspaper of the same name, was introduced in 1963 and is still going strong, with 80,000 around the world.
The designer helms his new yawl, built in 1930, on a close reach. His brother, Rod, is just behind him. The formal clothing of those on board suggests a demonstration sail on a fine, sunny day.
two counts, she rated well under the handicap rules used both in Europe and America, and heralded the dominance of the single section Bermudan mast over the two-section gaff rig for offshore boats. Olin Stephens was still designing race winners five decades later, often pioneering ideas that later became the norm.
In the 1950s, Ricus van de Stadt of the Netherlands challenged the accepted wisdom that rudders should be hung on the trailing edge of the keel to reduce wetted surface and boost performance. The combination of separate hydro-dynamically efficient keels and rudders, coupled to the light plywood construction of the 39-ft (12-m) Zeevalk, foreshadowed the adoption of the "fin and skeg" hull design. Van de Stadt was one
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