40 ft
Hull Material:
Norm Schwartz
Alex Irving
Year Built:
48-volt Electric Drive
Asking Price:
Port Townsend, WA, US
Contact Name:
Brian McGinn
Contact Email:
[email protected]

Off Center Harbor's Remarks

A stunning thoroughbred, SPARKLE has spent her long life winning races and looking as beautiful as a boat can possibly look. The chance to own such a magical creature won’t last long, that’s for sure. You can click here to see Off Center Harbor's video "SPARKLE: The Boat to Beat."

Description from Boat's Main Listing

(Was $85,000) SPARKLE was built in Southern California in 1947 by Alex Irving, her lines drawn by Norm Schwartz. She is a double ended masthead sloop, 40’ on deck, 36’ waterline, 8’ beam, 6’ 3” draught, 12,000 lbs. displacement. She won the Lipton Cup Trophy her first season, and went on to dominate Southern California racing for the next three decades. Other designers tried, unsuccessfully, to beat her. Her history is well documented (trophies, photo albums, newspaper stories) and those will follow the boat.

Brian McGinn purchased SPARKLE in 1997 and brought her to Port Townsend. Enthralled by her sexy shape and obvious speed, Guy Hupy signed on to help with her first partial rebuild in 1999 during which a spade rudder and new diesel were added. She was relaunched from the Point Hudson Boat shop in 2001 and hosted a reunion of Alex and the original crew for a long weekend of sailing. (Alex was then 84.)

Brian and Guy campaigned her in 60-70 races each year, winning regularly, and re-earning the moniker as “the boat to beat."

Eventually, her steam-bent oak frames lost their battle with the original iron fasteners and in the winter of 2008/9 she underwent a complete rebuild. Alex passed away at 95 the same week the work began.

SPARKLE got the full treatment: all wood that had been in contact with iron fasteners was renewed; new laminated fir frames were laid up inside her old planking; new laminated stems, forefoot and horn timbers were installed, and she was re-planked with silver bali above the waterline and sapele below—with all bronze fasteners this time around. She got new decks, new mahogany house sides and coamings along with new teak hatches, guardrails and toerails. She retains her original lead keel with Monel keel bolts, deadwood, housetop, and her 1948 mast. She has a new hollow spruce boom and carbon fiber spinnaker pole.

She also got a new 48-volt electric drive unit in 2012 with a new Max-Prop. She was relaunched in 2012 with new standing rigging. She returned to the racing and boat show circuit with the strength to take on all comers. She was awarded best restored sailboat at the Classic Boat Festival in Victoria.

Her deck layout is optimized for racing, with rope clutches and 7 bronze winches to handle the lines. She has Harken tracks and blocks and Spectra halyards, all only seven years old or newer. Her sail inventory consists of light and heavy #1 and #2 jibs, a fully battened mainsail, asymmetric spinnaker, and three conventional spinnakers. Her battery bank was replaced this summer.

This is a rare opportunity to own an historic racing boat that is fully race-ready.

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