Sparkman & Stephens
Sparkman & Stephens is a naval architecture and yacht brokerage firm with main offices on 5th Avenue in New York City, USA and a second office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The firm performs complete design and engineering of new vessels for pleasure, commercial, and military use, and they act as a yacht and ship brokerage. The firm also offers similar design and engineering services for the performance optimization and enhancement of existing yachts.
Their designs won most of the major international yacht races such as the America's Cup, for several decades, including a string of victories in the Fastnet and Sydney to Hobart races. Built by some of the most respected boatbuilders, Sparkman & Stephens designs are highly regarded not just for their speed but for their elegance, seaworthiness and suitability for cruising. Currently S&S has a number of custom yacht design projects as well as being designers for many prominent production boat builders such as Nautor (Swan), Grand Banks Yachts, and Morris Yachts.
Sparkman & Stephens Inc was formally created on November 11, 1929, with five partners: Drake Sparkman and his younger brother James Sparkman, James Murray, and brothers Olin J. Stephens and Roderick (Rod) Stephens Jr.
The Stephens brothers began their careers as self-taught sailors on Barnstable Bay, Massachusetts. Both entered the marine industry at an early age - Olin apprenticing in yacht design under Philip Rhodes, and Rod working at the legendary Nevins Yard in City Island, New York. With his father's backing, the 21-year old Olin entered into a partnership with the already successful yacht broker Drake Sparkman, and Sparkman & Stephens, Inc. was formed. Months after opening for business, the financial crisis of the Great Depression swept the global market. In spite of this, the Stephens' father ordered a design for a racing yacht from the young firm - a yacht named Dorade. As her first major test, Dorade won the much-publicized 1931 Trans-Atlantic Race. That victory launched the design reputation of Sparkman & Stephens - and set a course for the firm that would last more than half a century.
Together Olin and Rod Stephens formed a team that had a major worldwide influence in yacht design, creating good solid racing and cruising designs that helped to popularize the sport. Since the establishment of Sparkman & Stephens, the firm has successfully completed over 2750 designs and related assignments in the pleasure, commercial and military sectors. Best known for the design of sailing yachts, the firm has branched out as it has continued to grow over the years. The company is organized into two departments, one focused on design, naval architecture and marine engineering and the other handling the brokerage, chartering, and insurance of yachts.
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