Courageous america's cup winner in 1974 and 77.

Sparkman & Stephens-Foremost Yacht Designers.

Sparkman and Stephens are one of the more influential design offices of the 20th Century and are still in vogue today.


S&S Inc. was formally created on October 28, 1929, with five partners: Drake Sparkman and his younger brother James Sparkman, James Murray, and brothers Olin J. Stephens and Roderick Stephens. The Stephens brothers began their careers as self-taught sailors in Barnstable Bay, Massachusetts.
Both entered the marine industry at an early age – Olin apprenticing in yacht design under Philip Rhodes, and Roderick learning shipbuilding at the prominent Nevins Yard in City Island, New York, which would later produce several of his firm’s designs.[4] With their father’s backing, the 21-year-old Olin and his brother entered into a partnership with the already successful yacht broker Drake Sparkman, and Sparkman & Stephens, Inc. was formed.

S&S remains involved in designs having created a range of production sailing yachts such as the Morris 36 and 52 and several custom super-sailers including Victoria of Strathern and the 52-meter ketch Nazenin V, recently bestowed with multiple Superyacht of the Year Awards.

In August 2018 Donald Tofias purchased S&S and is now the firm’s president.[5]
The brokers at Sparkman & Stephens represent over 800 crewed charter yachts worldwide in both sail and power, from 55 to 200 feet.


Courageous an S&S design successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1974 for the US with Ted Hood at the helm. After the 1974 cup, Hood built a new boat, Independence, which he thought was faster than Courageous, and sold Courageous to Ted Turner. Turner won the 1977 America’s Cup defender trials in Courageous, beating Hood in the process, and then went on to successfully defend the America’s Cup against Australia later that year.[1]
When preparing Courageous for the 1977 America’s Cup, it was re-measured for compliance with the 12-metre class rule. It was discovered that Courageous was lighter than the weight declared in its original racing certificate for the 1974 America’s Cup. Less weight typically means a faster performance in lighter winds and a slower performance in stronger winds. If Courageous was underweight before the competition in 1974, then the designers would have had to make adjustments to the sail area, the waterline length, or other attributes to make the design comply with the 12-metre rule. If Courageous was found to be underweight during the event, it would have been disqualified. It is unknown what effect this oversight had on the result of the 74 events.


the America’s cup



Affiliate Disclosure: We earn a commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *