There have been some very special periods in the history of yachts. In general, this applied surprisingly well to both sail and power, though there is of course no absolute connection or totally uniform coincidence of dates. Certainly the late 1890s was one of those periods, but it's too far back in history to be able to work with today, at least in our opinion, though we are aware that some people have considered building replicas of boats of that era. The 1920s, though, saw the introduction of a whole new generation of boats, both sail and power, which had their beginnings much earlier, but really came into their own in the '20s.
For power yachts, it was an era of gasoline or even an occasional diesel yacht of sizes that many more people could afford (as opposed to the enormous yachts of the preceding decades which were out of the reach of all but the wealthiest people). These new yachts were stately and elegant in appearance, at least potentially surprisingly seaworthy, and fairly fast for a basically heavy (by today's standard) kind of yacht. They were narrow, which somewhat limited accommodations, but that was a problem which could be dealt with by making the boat longer, which increased speed as well. For someone who was interested in a beautiful, elegant, surprisingly seaworthy yacht, they were a whole new world. Our Chief Designer discovered the compelling appeal of these motor yachts himself when, after having been interested only in sail for his whole life, he found himself a few years ago quite interested in the power yachts of this era, after coming across a few photos of them. He started working on some designs, liked them, and thought they would be very good boats for today. Eventually we made them part of the kind of boats we want to offer. Click here to explore power boats further
For sail, it was more the late 1920s that began this great era. At that point the jib-headed, or Marconi, rig began to replace the old gaff rig in even the largest yachts, as the late great English designer Charles E. Nicholson found a client willing to put the new rig in her existing gaff-rigged boat, and had a big success. The "ice" having been broken, the rest of the world quickly followed, and by the late 1920s the gaff rig was on its way out except for a few very special boats, mostly strictly classical schooners. The new rig was not only faster, it was much easier to handle, without the need to frequently send sailors aloft to handle main topsails and do other jobs like that. Overhanging booms began to disappear as the new rig raised mast heights, and -- correspondingly -- bowsprits (called "widow-makers" by the great fishing schooner fleet due to the high number of accidents involved with them) also disappeared. By the late 1920s, boats looked -- above the water at least -- much as they would look until the late 1960s. Click here to explore sail boats further
When measurement rule developments in the late 1960s eliminated graceful long ends, sailboats began to migrate toward a vertical-ended profile shape, which makes a good-looking power yacht but which for a sailboat seems essentially "square" in profile (not our favorite sailboat shape, as the reader can no doubt tell). That 1925 to 1939 period produced an appearance (above the water) much like the sailboats shown on this web site, which also appear on universalrule.com. While sailboats were becoming "boxy" looking, power yachts became very streamlined in appearance: sleek when well-executed, but lacking in the classical elegance that the power yachts of the 1925 to 1939 period embodied.
In both cases -- power and sail -- the boats of that 1925 to 1939 time period are characterized by their excellent seakeeping characteristics, and by their timeless elegance and beauty. There is nothing artificial about them; they are genuinely beautiful boats. They are not the kind of boat that someone buys to show off; they are the kind of boat that someone builds because he/she truly appreciates something genuinely special. Whether sail or power, they feature very high ultimate stability (meaning they can right themselves from a severe knockdown as in a storm), so that great performance goes along with the great elegance.
One has to go a long way even to see a boat like this today. There are very few left. But we can bring about a new group of them, with the same timeless elegance and wonderful powering or sailing traits, but with some modern design elements included, with far better construction, and with modern safety features like multiple exists from each stateroom, to ensure an even better boat in every way.
These are our boats; getting them back into use -- and designing some of them ourselves -- is what we have set out to do.