The yacht design branch of Sparkman & Stephens has a long and well-established history dating back to 1929. With notable designs such as Bolero, Finisterre, and several of the winning America’s Cup 12-Metres, the heritage of S&S is diverse. In addition to the well-known large sail and power yachts in the S&S design portfolio, we have also designed icons of family sailing such as the Lightning and Blue Jay. It is from this wide range of previous designs that we have drawn inspiration for the Sparkman & Stephens 30.
Our founder and long-time Chief Designer, Olin J. Stephens II passed away in 2008 at the age of 100. Earlier that same year, our team had been working with him on a design that he saw as his dream project. It was inspired by one of his all-time favorite projects – a 30’ wooden sloop built in 1935 for the Miami-Nassau race, Babe. The yacht was cutting-edge for the time, with a plumb bow and “cut-off” stern, as described by Rod Stephens. A well-defined keel and generous sail plan made her a competitive sailing boat, with very simple accommodations and minimal live-aboard comforts.The re-design was to be a traditionally built wooden boat, with double-planked construction and painted canvas decks. Design 0097-c1 was fully developed for a one-off build, with bronze deck hardware and custom portlights.
We at S&S, felt the simplicity and back-to-basics approach that Olin took on the Babe project was a rare characteristic in yacht design today, where complex systems, hotel quality comforts, and skyrocketing build costs rule the roost. A return to the basic, reliable, yet beautiful, family daysailer and club racer is something for which every sailor in us is secretly looking. So, we have taken the original concept developed with Olin in 2008 and adapted it for a mass-market production run. Standard FRP construction techniques, off-the-shelf hardware, and bare essential onboard systems, combined with an affordable price tag, are the primary objectives for this modern boat with a classic appeal.