The Best of the Best : The Yacht Designs of Sparkman & Stephens
by Francis S. Kinney, Russell Bourne (Contributor)
Within the pages of this long-awaited volume, the authors have sought to set forth some 100 of the most beautiful, most beloved S&S vessels, whose designs range across a surprisingly wide arc; including not just sleek and powerful ocean racers, but everything from production one-designs to customized mega-yachts. Here the boat is hero; quality of design the theme. With each selected yacht, the authors have suggested why that design was of special importance, either because of a technical breakthrough it made, because of trophies won or longevity, or simply because of the pleasure given by its lines to the observing eye. Interviews with and remembrances of the Stephens' brothers and their successors have served as the authors' guides for most of these boat biographies. For others, owners and sailing rivals of the yachts have been tapped for their recollections. Subtly, the case for superiority has been made in the case of each boat, although the authors admit that ultimately the final criterion for selection is quite subjective. Although no single volume, however capacious, could distill the essential elements of yachting in the twentieth century, the wonderfully detailed text and exhaustively (and beautifully) illustrated presentation of these selected significant Sparkman & Stephens designs provides an exceptionally revealing portrait of the evolution both of yacht design during the twentieth century and of racing and sailing practices. Olin J. Stephens II and Roderick Stephens, Jr., who have been called the best "seamen and designers of all time, two skills and two brothers unbreakably linked," first committed themselves to the world of boats back in the early 1920s when they taught themselves how to sail amid the sandflats of Barnstable, Massachusetts. Since then, their innovative designs and outstanding record as sailors have inspired generations of followers, who will welcome the opportunity to see many of their finest creations highlighted in this volume.