An S&S 48′ Yawl in Royal Clarence Marina, Gosport for a limited scope inspection survey to the deck and topsides. These Sparkman and Stephens designs, from the pen of New York yacht designer Olin Stephens, are real classics. This sturdy 48′ yawl S&S design in GRP is a typical S&S design – the GRP was laminated pre the current engineering knowledge with very substantial single skin GRP layup. For a marine surveyor these S&S designs are a breath of fresh air, with access to the hull and internal fittings being easy inspect, with few internal mouldings to hamper inspection.
I’ve surveyed a number of these classics, including the well known SHE 31 (Built by South Hants Engineering), a She Delta (a modified SHE 31 with higher topsides), an S&S 34, which really brought these designs to the attention of British sailors when Sir Edward Heath’s “Morning Cloud” won numerous events including a Sydney Hobart and Admirals cup races. Perhaps the most famous S&S design of all was “Dorade”, a 52′ yawl which put Olin Stephens on the map when she won numerous ocean races including the RORC Fastnet race and the 1931 transatlantic race by two days. Being of narrow beam with huge overlapping genoas giving “free” rated sail area, she was a significant departure from earlier US designs, and very effective on the racing circuit, as they still are today under IRC handicap. Dorade featured many innovations of her day, including the use of steam bent timber which was revolutionary at that time, as well as sophisticated deck layout and a new design of deck vent, still manufactured today and known as “Dorade vents”.