Kings of the hill – Part I

For more years than any other designer in history, and with more international influence, during the course of the 20th century the New York office of Sparkman & Stephens was the dominant force in yacht design. Today a much changed company of the same name still ticks along nicely in various fields of naval architecture but with a much lower profile. Nevertheless, pioneering Sparkman & Stephens offshore designs like Dorade and Stormy Weather, as well as America’s Cup winning 12 Metres such as Intrepid and Courageous, continue to draw the eye wherever they appear at modern regattas... and they are still winning too. Designer and former Seahorse editor Julian Everitt takes an extended look at one of the most famous yachting brands of them all

In a sunny New York City on 20 October 1970 a team of FBI agents scoured the buildings on both sides of Manhattan’s Madison Avenue between 28th and 29th Streets. Questioning shopkeepers, janitors and secretaries, they gave special attention to the offices overlooking no79, a dull 16-storey building on the east side. From early the next morning uniformed police banned all parking on the block and kept pedestrians on the move. They vetted every entrant to no79.

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