By Ted Hood
Managing Partner, Wellington Yacht Partners

[ped – i – gree]  “distinguished, excellent…a continuous history or series or precedents, especially considered as evidence of respectability or legitimacy”

That old adage “They don’t build them like they used to,” is familiar to most and certainly applies to the current sailboat market. Anyone looking to buy a new boat today is limited to mostly mass-produced, modern-styled lookalike designs that often incorporate some innovative ideas and equipment, but are ultimately built with one goal:  keeping costs down. That’s a great thing to attract new sailors to the market. But it also means high volume with limited options and low man hours, utilizing modern materials like man-made wood veneers and even faux wood trim.

For those looking for a higher level of detail and finish, where to go? There remain a very few good custom builders – such as Brooklin Boat Yard and Lyman Morse in Maine – where one can build a true “one-off” design to exacting standards after waiting 12-24 months for delivery.

Fortunately, there is another option that many of our clients have enjoyed with great satisfaction — the many fine semi-custom sailboats crafted during the peak building activity of the 80’s and 90’s. The four most iconic brands that stand out are Hinckley, Little Harbor, Alden and Bristol. Each design features a handsome shear line with relatively more overhang and a more traditional transom, typically with a keel/centerboard configuration that provides access to shallow waters while also preserving upwind performance. One will find a variety of layouts, equipment and interior woods, along with a mix of aft- and mid-cockpit versions available, depending on what one is looking for. Desirable features include custom stainless deck hardware, intricate exterior trim and exquisitely finished interior joiner work, often with raised-panel cabinetry and solid teak and holly floorboards.

Today, one would be hard pressed to find these qualities in most new boats, as the man hours required to build them would make any new boat cost-prohibitive. For example, a Little Harbor 54 typically required on average 18,000 man hours to complete in 1990, while a mass-produced Beneteau 55 requires less than 4,000 hours. The good news is, you can find a used Hinckley, Little Harbor, Alden or Bristol sailboat at a price that is just a fraction of its replacement cost.

We call them “pedigree sailboats” simply because they carry a solid reputation of quality, attention to detail and traditional design that cannot be duplicated today. There is a consistent following of sailors who appreciate and seek that pedigree and enjoy the pride of ownership that comes with it.

With our intimate knowledge of the design, construction and sailing characteristics of these fine yachts, our diverse team of brokers at Wellington is ready to assist you in your search.

By Bob Marston
Partner, Wellington Yacht Partners

Let’s face it, for a boater there are few things better than spending time on the water with friends and family. If you’re looking for space, liveability and a fun sailing platform, a catamaran may be the right choice for you.

There are essentially two types of sailing catamarans in the cruising market — those with dagger-boards and those with keels. Catamarans with dagger-boards tend to be designed for high-performance (i.e. fast) sailing, whereas those with fixed keels tend to have traditional sailing speeds.

Some of the production high-performance builders to consider are GUNBOAT, CATANA, OUTREMER and H&H. Common fixed-keel catamaran builders include SUN REEF, LAGOON, FOUNTAINE PAJOT, LEOPARD, and PRIVILEGE.

High-performance catamarans get their speed by limiting weight in construction, oftentimes by using high-tech materials like carbon fiber and including high-profile dagger-boards and rudders to assist with lift. They have large sail plans and can attain speeds in the teens, with some of the fastest options – like GUNBOATs – reaching 20-plus knots when pushed. Another advantage of dagger-boards is shallow-water access, as boards can be raised to access anchorages not accessible to keeled hulls. Offshore, this design can have less of a chance of “tripping” in heavy weather by raising the leeward dagger-board. Many owners of high-performance catamarans are good experienced sailors or hire professional crew to help eliminate the learning curve of a high-performance boat.

While fixed-keel cruising catamarans do not have the speed of high-performance catamarans, they do provide a very forgiving and comfortable cruising platform. These models have huge amounts of space for storage and living. Larger models have fly-bridge areas that offer great views while sailing and are an excellent place to relax and look around the anchorage when at rest. The sail plan of a fixed-keel catamaran tends to be a little more conservative, but still pushes the boat at normal sailing yacht speeds – in the range of 7 to 9 knots. While weight is always considered in the design of a catamaran, fixed-keel cats do not tend to have exotic materials such as carbon fiber, so they are less expensive to build and purchase. Other advantages of fixed-keel catamarans are protection of the hull underbody in the case of accidental grounding and more interior space, since dagger-board trunks do not have to be incorporated. It’s also nice to have the ability to block the boat when hauled out of the water on its own keels, whereas some of the performance-style catamarans, with their composite hull structures, require cradles or large blocks of foam for hull support when hauled out.

Throughout the spectrum of cruising catamarans available, there is something for every type of user. We are happy to share our knowledge and talk you through what might be best for your personal needs.


By Bob Marston
Partner, Wellington Yacht Partners

From 1999 to 2010 I had the pleasure of working as a salesman for Oyster Yachts in the Newport, RI, U.S. office. Under the vision and direction of founder Richard Matthews, the company grew and evolved to the successful brand it is today, recognized around the world as one of the best blue water cruising yachts available.

Oyster has earned its reputation through a continuous evolution of design, build integrity and responsiveness to feedback from its owners, who take their yachts to distant horizons.

In 1973 Oyster began with the constructions of a 32 foot cruiser/racer named the UFO. A successful design, UFO won most of the regattas it entered in 1974. Winning results soon brought more orders, and a boat-building company was formed. In the 1980s Oyster started to introduce cruising models like the 406, 46 and 49PH.

The success of these designs brought Oyster into the offshore cruising yacht scene. Their designer at the time was the firm of Holman and Pye, and many credit them for bringing the deck saloon concept to market. The model that put Oyster on the world cruising map was the Oyster 55 in 1989. Soon after its launch there were a number of Oyster 55s in the Blue Water Rally; it was here that the Oyster 55 gained notice and the deck saloon concept became a household name in cruising circles.

In the late 90s Don Pye was wishing to retire, so Oyster started the search for a new designer. They settled on Rob Humphreys, and in 1998 Rob designed the Oyster 56. The Oyster 56 Series was extremely successful, with 76 hulls built. Its characteristics were soon passed along to other new models in the line during the early 2000s: the Oyster 49, 53, 62, 66 and 82. These models were referred to as “G4” or Generation 4 designs. The construction of the yachts remained the same as they had been, with hand-laid solid glass layup, skeg-hung rudders and fin keels.

Around 2006 Oyster’s in-house design team along with Rob Humphreys was coming out with a new “G5” Generation 5 Design. These models were the Oyster 46, 54, 575, 655 and 72.

In the late 2000s, Oyster along with the Ed Dubois Design Team created the Oyster 100 and 125 Models, which remain the largest yachts Oyster has built to date.

Around this same time Oyster introduced the 625 and 885 with its “sea scape” hull windows. Taking the idea from their Super Yachts, they also included other features like flush-deck hatches and a single-point mainsheet to offer a cleaner deck layout.

The current generation of Oysters are the 565, 595, 675, 745 and 885. Refined features on these models are the integrated bowsprits for off-wind sails, European-style interior layout options with master cabin forward, tidy deck layouts and more modern interior design. While the 745 and 885 are crew-oriented yachts, the 565 and 595 are still intended as owner-operator models.

Oyster Yachts has never been a builder to sit on its laurels. Their success is derived from a creative in-house design team as well as from feedback from many happy owners all over the world sharing their experiences, both positive and negative. This feedback is then considered in the newer models, making Oyster yachts a constant evolution in progress.

Oysters are a brand we love to sell and have tremendous personal knowledge of. Please feel free to contact us to discuss all things Oyster.

By Bob Marston
Partner, Wellington Yacht Partners

In 1972 Tom Morris left his previous life in Philadelphia to pursue his passion of boat building. At that time I’m sure he wouldn’t have imagined his vision would someday result in the establishment of Morris Yachts, one of America’s finest yacht brands.

Tom Morris embarked on his craft building Friendship sloops in Southwest Harbor, Maine. He purchased the fiberglass hulls and decks from Jarvis Newman and fit out the boats under the Morris name. I remember his son Cuyler telling me how he and Tom would literally go into the woods and hand select the spruce trees to be used for the spars.

In 1974 Tom connected with designer Chuck Paine, who was promoting a new design. It was the Francis 26, a robust double ender with excellent sea handling characteristics, capable of sailing anywhere. As the relationship between Tom and Chuck grew, so did the model offerings with the Linda 28, Annie 29, Leigh 30 and the Justine 36 Series soon after.

In the late 1980s the company started to focus more on its cruising yachts. These were the Morris Ocean Series 38, 42, 44 and 46 Models. The Morris Ocean Series were great-performing, aft cockpit, trunk cabin style sailing yachts with pretty lines and exquisite craftsmanship. The success and quality of these designs soon gained recognition in the yachting community, and Morris Yachts found itself with owners  throughout the world.

In 1999 Morris Yachts expanded their production capacity by purchasing the Able boatyard in Trenton, Maine. At the same time they added a series of Offshore Cruiser Racer models with the Morris Ocean  45, 48 and 52RS. One of the most notable boats was FIREFLY, a Morris Ocean Series 45, which did extremely well in distance races.

In 2004 Morris Yachts announced its Sparkman and Stephens designed Morris M36 that set the bar for the luxury day sailor market. The Morris M36’s beautiful over-hangs and low profile cabin top were an instant classic.  A performance keel, spade rudder and fractional carbon rig made the M36 a pleasure to sail, and the huge cockpit was enough to take three couples for an afternoon sail easily.

The success of the Morris M36 soon spun off into other models… the Morris M29, Morris M42 and Morris M52.  A standard feature of all the M Series was the ability for the helmsman to handle all control lines from the wheel, making the yachts truly able to be singlehanded, while keeping guests in the cockpit free from entanglement.

After some 45 years of boat building, one thing is for certain:  The Morris Family is passionate about sailing, and anyone who has had the chance to get aboard a Morris Yacht will agree.

At Wellington Yacht Partners we know Morris Yachts and their clientele well. We are happy to discuss the differences between models and share our own experiences with these fine yachts.