Sceptre 1958

MM-36

New product

Sceptre 1958 Expand

 Sceptre, 1958, America's Cup Challenger, designed by David Boyd.

More details

$295.00

Hand-crafted plank-on-frame wood hull with white topsides, gold cove stripe, red  boot stripe. Red bottom paint.

Hull size: 60cm.

Board size: 75cm X 20cm

Size75cm X 20 cm
Year1958
Half Hull SizeMedium (75cm X 20cm)

Scotsman David Boyd was 55 years old when he designed Sceptre. He was at the time, managing director of the Robertson & Son yard at Sandbank, Argyll, Scotland, and had been so for 33 years. He had a sense of esthetic and his first major design, the 34-ton yawl Zigeuner was living proof.

In 1957, Boyd was selected to design the challenger at the issue of a competition in January, in which three of his fellow-designers were competing: James Mac-Gruer, Arthur Robb and Charles Nicholson Junior. The principle of the competition was interesting; each of the architects was to submit two designs: one conventional, the other more original.

On July 13th, 1957, David Boyd’s model B was picked. Astonishingly enough, following the comparison, no effort was made in order to continue to improve the performances of the model picked. Time was short, true, and the lesson inflicted by Columbia was harsh.

With over 2000 hulls built, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff’s 1914 design for a “Buzzards Bay Boys Boat” – the Herreshoff 12 ½ – has been in production for 113 years and is likely the most popular small yacht ever. Versions include a fiberglass redesign – the Bullseye, from Cape Cod Shipbuilding; exact fiberglass replicas like William Harding’s Doughdish, and Joel White’s Haven 12 ½ – a centerboard design built to sail shallower water. Uncounted copies from custom wooden boat builders also testify to its appeal.

 

With a 12 ½ foot waterline, the H 12 ½ is16 feet long. Proposed as a children’s training boat, it handled the choppy seas and brisk breezes of Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay with an easy motion and a comforting sense of security. The design is informed by Captain Nat’s critical, innovative eye and long experience building trophy winning sailing yachts. By 1914 he was in his mid-sixties and drawing some of his best-loved designs – the Buzzards Bay 25s, Newport 29s and his own Alerion. Instead of rule-stretching high speed sleds his pen now drew human sized, sweet-sailing and uncomplicated boats that spoke of his deep appreciation for the arts of sailing and naval design.

 

Herreshoff gave the H 12 ½ a short ballast keel for stability and a deep, spacious cockpit to carry multiple kids and/or adults. Sold initially with a gaff and later with a Marconi rig, the sail area is small enough to be handily managed by a boy or girl – steel biceps not required. In experienced hands, however, the rig is big enough to slip along with a bit of a bone in her teeth. Adults have been known to downsize from trophy yacht to H 12 ½ just to relish casual sunset sailing into their golden years. It’s ironic that no one alive sailed on Captain Nat’s masterpiece, Reliance – a brilliantly engineered, extreme racer – but thousands have memories of sailing his “children’s” boat.

 

Particularly popular in Southern New England, H 12 ½ s are found all along North America’s Atlantic coast. In some families they’re handed down through generations, and rarely is one in need of repair not rescued and relaunched. Surprisingly, they have also traveled quite far afield: they sail in Norway, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and many countries far from Bristol, RI. The H 12 ½ truly has a hull shape and history for the ages.

Jeff Silva