Yankee One Design by L. Francis Herreshoff, W. Starling Burgess, and Frank Paine
The product of a rare collaboration between three of the best designers of their time, the Yankee One Design could only be excellent, and she is.
In our opinion the hull lines of the Yankee are some of the best ever drawn, for outright speed under a wide range of conditions combined with excellent handling characteristics.
A long, narrow, relatively straight-sided boat with short overhangs, the Yankee’s great beauty is not so much in her profile, like most boat’s, but in a close-up appreciation of her hull lines. There is a lot going on in terms of shape, with a full deckline forward combined with a fine entrance, a shapely transom and V-shaped sections aft forming the terminus of a long, straight run, a minimized underbody profile combined with sections minimizing wetted surface area, a keel shape that looks modern even today, and details such as the blunt stemhead merging with streamlined bow chocks. Taken altogether, we feel she is one of the most beautiful boats ever drawn, even if some of that beauty can only be fully appreciated when she is out of the water.
This is a boat with a very high maximum speed, and she will sail at that speed a lot of the time. There’s a lot more boat here than there would be in a boat of this length having longer overhangs, so there’s more buoyancy, and while she would undoubtedly be wet, she will always be having more of a tendency to ride up and over the seas than would many boats. While she is a racing boat for sure, she is large enough so that her cabin would be quite suitable for simple cruising, and she has tremendous space for storage in the ends.
The construction of the Yankee One Design was very light. They carried a lot of ballast and a lot of sail, and while this made them perform well, they didn’t last long—the forces generated were too much for such a flexible structure. With today’s excellent epoxy glues and modern construction methods, this problem would be eliminated in a new boat, which could be far more rigid and durable, without adding weight.
We can think of no design more deserving of re-creation than the Yankee One Design.