Preview: Daysailing a Herreshoff S-Boat – Serenity at Sea

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Long-known for its speed around the race course, the nimble and muscular Herreshoff S-Boat can provide just as much enjoyment on a leisurely day-sail — so when OCH member Mike Coffin offered us the opportunity, we accepted on the spot and were not disappointed.

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14 Responses So Far to “Daysailing a Herreshoff S-Boat – Serenity at Sea

  • Avatar

    Terry Smith says:

    +1 to all the accolades below — including the appreciation of the low-angle shots that run long enough to let us enjoy seeing how easily Silhouette moves through the water. Her wake (i.e., the absence thereof) prompted me to tell my monitor ” I”ve seen kayaks leave more of a fuss than this beauty!”

    I’ve only sailed one Herreshshoff designed hull — a wooden Bullseye that our family had use of for several weeks on Barnegat Bay. It was sixty years ago, and the pure pleasure delivered through its tiller (a true “one pinky” effort) made Mr. Coffin’s similar description all the more poignant. He is a very contented skipper.

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    David Hubbard says:

    I sail mine like that often, just drive around the harbor. Makes for a wonderful afternoon! They also turn very quick with that short keel, (Most of what you see in the picture is actually the rudder coming off the back of it) so I loose very little speed in tacks and mark roundings.

    Keep an eye out for the 2019 100th anniversary of the class! We are planning big regattas at Larchmont and Bristol! We might get 20 – 30 boats on the line!

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    Ben Emory says:

    I was privileged to race in S boats for a number of summers in the Sorrento fleet — aboard Jacataqua. Sadly, they race no more on Frenchman Bay. The feel of these boats, whether racing or just daysailing, is indeed just wonderful. I much miss the S boat sailing, although my Herreshoff Fish on Eggemoggin Reach is a good substitute.

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    Ian Parry says:

    Beautiful boat. Very similar to our Derwent class….Hobart Tasmania. 26ft small bowsprit. Same underwater shape. Curved mast. Running backstays. First built here in 1930s. About 10 left sailing. We have Merlin 1948 and Titania 1950.
    Will send photos sometime. Regards Ian Parry

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    Thomas Morgan says:

    This is the most effective winter visual therapy for a sailor waiting in southern Ohio for May to arrive.and a return to Maine to launch a boat in the Royal River. Don’t stop!

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    Chad Brown says:

    Herreshoff ,Maynard Bray, and “Into the Mystic”, now that’s heaven.

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    Nathan Bayreuther says:

    I really appreciate, in this video and many others, how the videographer settles on one particular shot of the boat moving through the water without cutting to a different shot after only a few seconds. For instance, the continuous profile shot of this S-Boat sailing from 1:18 to 1:40 allows the viewer the unique opportunity to study and enjoy watching how it moves through the water. That’s 22 uninterrupted seconds! Most other similar videos you see on YouTube jump around from shot to shot after only 3 or 4 seconds at a time. Thanks OCH, for your great work – it really makes a difference, in my opinion.

    • Avatar

      Kevin Ross says:

      The pleasure is all mine Nathan – thanks for the comment, you’ve brightened this video editor’s day.

    • Avatar

      Larry Cheek says:

      I applaud and second Nathan’s comments. The contemplative pace of OCH’s interviewing and video editing is in harmony with the nature of wooden boats and sailing itself. Consequently these videos serve as a much-appreciated antidote to the restless, distracted superficiality of our time.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Truth be told Nathan, the hapless guy (me) holding the camera, while often also driving the boat, just hangs on a shot as long as possible to try and get at least 3 good seconds between splashes and bounces, and the magic all happens at the hands of the editor.

    • Avatar

      Scott Stevenson says:

      I knew there was something better about OCH videography, thanks for putting a finger on it!

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    Charles Flanagan says:

    Growing up around Mount Hope Bay and sailing by the S Boat moored at the head in my little Old Town lapstrake sailboat, she was the boat that looked perfect to me. Out of my reach price wise for many years, the closest I came to owning a similar boat was the Winter Harbor 21. Gaff rigged but with club footed jib, she sailed the same way. Had a chance year before last to sail her again in Winter Harbor some 50 years after I had owned her. In fact Maynard was the one who identified her in Tiverton years ago and made it possible to rejoin the fleet there.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    Is it true that the S-boats were one of the earliest Marconi rigged sloops designed by NGH? And that some of the earliest owners were America’s Cup syndicate members who were so intrigued with the new rig’s possibilities that an experiment with one was tried on RESOLUTE (or some other larger sloop)?

    • Avatar

      Maynard Bray says:

      I believe that is true, although in the fall of 1919, about when the S-boats emerged, the New York 50 Carolina was rigged with a 110′ marconi mast and tried against Grayling, a sister one-design, carrying the original gaff rig. With an Americas Cup contest coming up in 1920, thought was being given to fitting Resolute with a marconi rig. But no such change came about for that particular contest.

      The S-boats, and the Victory class sloops designed by William Gardner and built by Nevins simultaneously, were the first significant boats to sport the marconi rig—Carolina, of course, excepted.


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