America's cup schooner design

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Guest, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Im currently a student at the Southampton Institute studying towards a degree in Yacht an powercraft design. We currently have an assignment related to boat design, the topic we have chosen relates to the changes in America's cup designs from 1851 to the present day, looking at all generations, schooners through to 12 metres, J boats throught to the IACC.

    Any information regarding the topic would be very much appreciated, especially regarding the Schooners.

    thank u for your help
  2. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    There have been two near reblicas built recently of the schooner yacht America, a black one and a white one. Design issues for the white one were handled by Sparkman & Stephens. If the plans aren't in the S&S office in New York then they're archived at the Mystic Seaport Museum. The black one was designed and built by (and I think has a fin keel, unlike the original).

    The America's hull shape was a repudiation of the design theoies prevalent at the beginning of the 19th century. See

    Many America's Cup designs were by 4 designers: Nat Herreshoff, Starling Burgess, Charles Nicholson, & Olin Stephens. Books about them might be helpful to you, and Olin Stephens recently wrote a book.

    Some people from Mystic Seaport recently published a performance study & wind force coefficients for a 2-masted S&S design, which they presented at the Chesepeake Sailing Yacht Symposium (the one 4 years ago perhaps?)

    I hope that helps. I'd be happy to try to answer any specific questions I can.
  3. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    Olin Stevens is still very much alive and kicking, now in his mid 90's. Had a chance to have dinner with him a couple of years ago, and he said one of his greatest regrets was the IOR rule and his invovement in it. That would make another good case study in yacht design.

    In any event, you ought to try to contact him personally, perhaps through S&S. Nothing like going to the source. He's a very personable guy and might be willing to help you out.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    thanks very much, some very useful names and associations to contact, does anyone else have any other relecant information befroe I begin to write up the report
  5. yipster
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    yipster designer

    And we all looked at the official website that also has some history and pic’s of the changes in America's cup designs from 1851 to the present day…
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    and that site is???? I may have been on it but may have missed it on the search engine
  7. yipster
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    yipster designer

  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    fao Stephen Ditmore.

    your information has been very useful regarding the america's cup, well the schooners at least. I was just wondering if u had access to any dimensional information, or other info regarding sizes, speeds or anything that could prove useful and if so could u send it to me at

    or post it on this thread
  9. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    They should be able to answer your questions at

    All Herreshoff Manufacturing Company plans are in the MIT Museum/Hart Nautical Collection. This collection includes the designs of Nathaniel G. Herreshoff and the work of his son, A. Sidney DeW Herreshoff, as an employee of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company.

    The MIT Museum/Hart Nautical Collection
    265 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, MA 02139

    Curator: Kurt Hasselbalch
    Phone: 617-253-5942
    Fax: 617-258-9107
    Email: Kurt@MIT.EDU

    L. Francis Herreshoff design plans are archived at the Mystic Seaport Museum—Ship Plans Department.

    Phone: 860-572-0711
    Fax: 860-572-5394

    There should be information available on your side of the pond, too. Charles Nicholson was Britain's leading America's Cup designer but I think he did mostly sloops. There's also a Scott by the name of Fife to be aware of, though he never designed an America's Cup challenger. While Nicholson may have been the better engineer technically, I'm one of those who considers Fife to have designed some of the most beautiful yachts ever built. Fife's work was very influencial.

    I don't recall who designed the early British challengers, but the people at should be able to tell you.

    Schooners continued to be used for commercial fishing after sloops came to dominate Americal's Cup racing. The most famous of these was the Bluenose out of Nova Scotia, which was never defeated in racing among fishing schooners.
  10. poul
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    poul Junior Member

    Royal Denship is building a replica of the J-boat Ranger. The hull is buld exact after the original drawings, but the owner has ordered it with a luxury interior.
  11. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    Jim Teeters of Teeters Yacht Technology in Newport, RI, USA might be able to help you obtain performance data on the white replica of the America, on Ranger, and on 12 meter and IACC class sloops. Endeavour, the J class sloop that nearly brought the cup back to England in 1934, has been rebuilt, and her owners might also be interested in assisting you.

    I would think the VPP available from the Wolfson Unit there in Southamton would be a useful tool. The Mystic Seaport Museum might be able to help with sail force coeff. for two masted vessels, as mentioned before.
  12. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Schooner Yacht America sighting

    ....courtesy of scuttlbutt

    If all the passion running about the yacht America over more than 150
    years proves anything, it is that, at least to some people, this one
    vessel is part of our national identity. We simply will not let this
    schooner go gently into that good night.

    After E. Jared Bliss (winner of the 1908 Bermuda Race) and Charles
    Francis Adams (winner of the 1920 America's Cup) arranged in 1921 to
    have the yacht America transferred to the government, there was building
    controversy in yachting circles about her condition. I've seen an angry
    letter from Herbert L. Stone, the publisher of Yachting magazine, to his
    fellow sailor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, concerning the nation's
    duty to keep her up. Stone and others became apoplectic after the
    collapse of the shed at Annapolis, yet the government had other things
    on its mind than complete restorations of yachts, and workmen completed
    the shipbreaking exercise that a heavy spring snowfall and a weak roof
    conspired to initiate.

    She was not immortal. No wooden boat is unless it is treated like an
    heirloom. She was a 95-year-old wooden boat that had been driven hard
    through her first 40 years, was barely under sail during the next 50,
    and had stifled under covers for a long time. She had already been
    overhauled at least twice. In the late 1850s in England, Leonard Jerome
    turned up to make an offer on her only to find her sunk, on the bottom.
    Jerome (who became Winston Churchill's grandfather) passed on her, and
    her next owner undertook a major refit. Then in the 1880s in
    Massachusetts her owner, Benjamin Butler, had her strengthened and
    re-rigged as a cruising boat under the supervision of Edward Burgess,
    the designer of three America's Cup defenders. One result was that much
    of the distinctive rake was taken out of her masts. -- John Rousmaniere
    Just happened across this today, and thought it might be appropriate to add it to any existing discussion of the schooner yacht America.

    I can well remember sitting at the Naval Academy seawall in Annapolis Md and spotting far off in the distance a big schooner under full sail way out in the Chesapeake Bay....what a wonderful site. And it was headed into port! She dropped her sails and motored into the Annapolis harbor right across my view and parallel to the sea wall. Her long black hull and those raked mast. It was the replica that Schaefer Beer built.

    That sighting was a very memorable experience for a young guy fascinated with sailboat design
  13. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    About the IOR it was a little more subtil than that. I raced extensively IOR, nothing wrong with them, compere to modern racing boat.
    As always the perfect storm will destroy a fleet. It happens only four years ago. remember?
    This trend to says: IOR danger, is ridiculus and done by people who never raced IOR. And I doubt you raced one.
    Ask Ted Turner, Elvstrom, Van DeStadt, Ron Holland and contless other.
    As I said for Olin, it was a little more clever than you want to make beleive in his declaration.
  14. narwhal
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    narwhal Junior Member

    I have a reproduction of a painting of the yacht MAGIC, I think from the 1870 America's Cup race, hanging in my study. It too is a schooner, like AMERICA, but you can begin to see the development of features that characterized the large single masted Cup contenders of the turn of the century.

  15. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    You must have raced on different IOR boats than I did. :)

    The rule did a good job of rating existing designs when it first came out. As the designers found the holes in the rule the boats got pretty bad. Fast IOR 25 footers were dead slow 35 foot boats. A long downwind leg on a IOR boat was NOT fun. The rule produced boats with fine ends and moderate displacement. They did not surf. They sailed nearly DDW in a breeze with the boat supported fore and aft by their fine ends, form stability reduced by the narrow sailing water line beam in the trough and the high aspect mainsail unable to balance a huge spinnaker without the use of a blooper ... death roll city.

    They did go upwind pretty well.
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