Yankee One Design

1937 Classic Wooden Racing Sailboats

A Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Y14 CONTESSA, Y33 LOTSWIFE, Y28 HAPHAZARD, and an unidentified Yankee race in Sippican Harbor, Buzzards Bay 1956
photo by Norman Fortier, courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum

The YOD in a Nutshell


W. Starling Burgess designed this class of racing boats in 1937. About 40 Yankees have been built, always out of wood. They’ve raced and sailed on both of America’s coasts, the Great Lakes, Chesepeake Bay, New Zealand, France, and Australia.

  • 3/4″ mahogany (or silver bali) planking
  • oak frames & floors
  • 30′ 6″ length overall
  • 24′ waterline
  • 4′ 6″ draft
  • 6′ 6″ beam (widest point)
  • 4,775 lbs displacement
  • lead keel must weigh between 2,525 and 2,550 lbs
    full specs…

John Linderman launches Y40 TARFUN
Stone Boatyard, Alameda, CA
Y21 SIROCCO
France

News & Interesting


Contessa Racing

Poop deck pink boatswain man-of-war holystone lad keel walk the plank lugger black spot gibbet coffer Sea Legs crack Jennys tea cup matey port scuttle Davy Jones' Locker crow's nest lookout tackle wherry hogshead aft bring a spring upon her cable. Holystone parley...

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March 2016- Restoring the Contessa

Poop deck pink boatswain man-of-war holystone lad keel walk the plank lugger black spot gibbet coffer Sea Legs crack Jennys tea cup matey port scuttle Davy Jones' Locker crow's nest lookout tackle wherry hogshead aft bring a spring upon her cable. Holystone parley...

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Contessa Sailing – working

Poop deck pink boatswain man-of-war holystone lad keel walk the plank lugger black spot gibbet coffer Sea Legs crack Jennys tea cup matey port scuttle Davy Jones' Locker crow's nest lookout tackle wherry hogshead aft bring a spring upon her cable. Holystone parley...

read more

Contessa Racing — Working

Poop deck pink boatswain man-of-war holystone lad keel walk the plank lugger black spot gibbet coffer Sea Legs crack Jennys tea cup matey port scuttle Davy Jones' Locker crow's nest lookout tackle wherry hogshead aft bring a spring upon her cable. Holystone parley...

read more

Class History


Burgess was a famous naval architect when he anonymously designed this class.

In 1937, Starling Burgess had just created his 3rd winning America’s Cup J-Class yacht when his entry won the YOD class design contest.

This contest to design a new 30′ racing class was actually a passionate “build-local” campaign during the Great Depression, sparked by New England sailors who wanted their local boat yards to build the sailboats for their yacht clubs.

These sailors were dismayed that a recently formed class, the 33′ International One Design (IOD), had rules requiring that every one of its hulls be built in Norway.

The first fleet of 25 Norwegian built IODs were delivered to the NYC Yacht Club in December of 1936, and within weeks, the Yankee One Design (YOD) Association announced its design contest, to be judged by 3 hugely famous America’s Cup yacht designers: Starling Burgess, L. Francis Herreshoff, and Frank Paine.

Then in a bold behind the scenes move, YOD organizers also secretly hired one of the judges, W. Starling Burgess, to enter the contest. His brilliant, final, edited blueprints were secretly accepted by the YOD committee and sent to the boat builder before the contest deadline had even passed and the other entries were reviewed.

Yes, the YOD design contest was spectacularly rigged, and there were some strong private criticisms. But Burgess’ involvement was so well hushed that it was nearly forgotten over the next 74 years. More…

Are you a Yankee One Design Sailor?


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