William Hand

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William H. Hand, Jr. (1875-1946) has been described as one of the most prolific yacht designers of the 20th century with an exceptionally good eye for handsome boats.[1] Hand’s career began around 1900 with small sailboats, but soon shifted to V-bottomed powerboats. They were his specialty until after World War I when he directed his talent to seakindly schooners including the famous Bowdoin (Arctic schooner) and LOTUS (schooner). Later during the 1930s, motorsailers became his passion. Hand’s office was in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

The New England Hurricane of 1938 and accompanying tidal surge damaged or destroyed a good deal of Hand’s design work and records. Hand’s surviving drawings are at the Hart Nautical Collections, MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


A two-part article on William Hand, published in Woodenboat Nos. 28 and 29 (May/June and July/August 1979) covers the designer’s career. Additional material is in Waldo Howland’s book Life in Boats: The Years Before the War, published by Mystic Seaport in 1984. For a rundown on Hand’s drawings, refer to Kurt Hasselbalch’s Guide to Davis-Hand Collection by MIT in 1998.

Tasmanian One-Design


  1. Bray, Anne and Maynard (2000). Designs to Inspire: From The Rudder 1897-1942, WoodenBoat Publications. ISBN 0-937822-63-9, p. 178.

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