History of the S Class

The S-Class Sloop, also called the "S-boat," was designed by Nathaniel G. Herreshoff in 1919 and comprise one of the most significant one-design racing classes of the era. They are revered by their owners for their responsive helm, for their ability to stand up to a breeze, and for their ability to ghost along in light air.  The S-boat has a five-eighths rig and a powerful sail plan consisting of a self-tending jib, a main and a spinnaker. The 42-foot spruce mast is tapered, hollow, and curved. The running backstays and overhanging boom carry about 426 square feet of sail and provide a thrilling ride.  The cockpit is comfortable and reasonably dry, and there is a small cabin for protection from the weather, storage, and a porta-potti. The powerful sail plan and sweet hull combine to create a competitive racer that has been active for over 100 years and is still going strong.

The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company built 94 S-boats, George Lawley & Son built an additional 7 S-boats to Captain Nat’s design, and the U.S. Navy built another 2 examples in Hawaii.   As is typical of a Herreshoff design, the boats have light scantlings. They are constructed with cedar planking over steamed white oak frames and a bronze-strapped keel. The external lead keel weighs 3350 pounds, giving the boat a stiff ballast ratio of 50.  Today about half of these boats are still sailing and many are actively racing.

There are large fleets in Narragansett Bay and Western Long Island Sound and both have a busy regatta schedule.  QYC has a fleet of six S-boats with weekly races during the sailing season. 

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