Stephens Waring 75: Isobel

It will be interesting to see how long Richard Schotte stays faithful to his latest boat, Isobel, a custom Stephens Waring performance deck-saloon cruiser that was launched at Brooklin Boat Yard in Maine last July. Schotte, it would seem, is the sort of client designers, builders and brokers dream of.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Isobel

It will be interesting to see how long Richard Schotte stays faithful to his latest boat, Isobel, a custom Stephens Waring performance deck-saloon cruiser that was launched at Brooklin Boat Yard in Maine last July. Schotte, it would seem, is the sort of client designers, builders and brokers dream of. Isobel is the fourth boat he’s commissioned from Stephens Waring over the past decade and represents a quantum leap of sorts, both in terms of her size and appearance. Where Schotte’s previous yachts were of modest size and quite classic and traditional in appearance, Isobel, as you can see, is rather large and looks very sexy.

Is she in any sense traditional? This was a question many were asking when she appeared in the classic yacht regattas on Penobscot Bay last summer, particularly after she won the Spirit of Tradition class in the Castine Classic Yacht Race immediately after her launching.

Isobel2

I worked her foredeck in race one of the inaugural Penobscot Bay Rendezvous in August, and I’m here to tell you her performance is explicitly modern. Yes, she is built of wood—cold-molded Western red cedar over laminated Douglas fir frames—but she is exceedingly light. Weighing just 37,000lbs, with an eye-poppingly low D/L ratio of 88 and an impressively high SA/D ratio of almost 30, she has little trouble breaking into double-digit speeds, even when the wind is moderate. Tacking angles are gratifyingly tight, and she slips easily upwind like a thief. Downwind, with the proper sails flying, she is a veritable rocket ship.

Certainly there’s nothing traditional about her rig. Her tall carbon-fiber mast, with no backstay and three sets of swept-back spreaders, supports a lethal-looking square-topped mainsail and a slim blade jib. Her long unstayed carbon sprit is just the thing for flying big modern A-sails and Code 0-type gennakers. Her deck and cockpit layout is clean and contemporary. The mainsail sheets to an arch over the aft end of the saloon deckhouse, and most working lines are led underneath the crisp teak deck. There are twin steering stations aft, with stylish custom wheel pedestals, and a full range of modern hydraulic controls and electric winches for trimming and shaping sails.

Belowdecks there is also little doubt you’re aboard a modern boat. The materials, again, are wood—gorgeous bird’s-eye maple joinery and a luscious quarter-sawn oak cabin sole—but the styling is quite chic. The custom stainless steel tiling behind the sink and range, the organic curve of the central lateral bulkhead and the galley countertop, and the brightly lit raised saloon opening straight into the cockpit all speak to a markedly 21st century aesthetic.

Isobel3

One area in which Isobel does recall an earlier era is in the quantity of her accommodations. Thanks to her narrow lines and the fact that her entire back end—roughly a third of her total length—is given over to a cockpit with nothing crammed underneath, there simply isn’t space for the palatial digs many modern cruising sailors have grown accustomed to.

The owner’s stateroom forward is generous, but hardly profligate, and features a queen-sized island berth and a large head with an enclosed shower stall. Guests meanwhile are relegated to either a tiny passage cabin with a tight single berth or a narrow midship cabin with two single bunk berths, with only one small day head to share between them. For a boat this large (the hull, minus bowsprit, is over 68 feet long), it is a decidely modest, almost 19th century layout.

However you define the term “spirit of tradition,” there is no denying that Isobel is a strikingly beautiful yacht. Though she is aesthetically modern, I think that what makes this boat so attractive are precisely those elements in her design that echo the past. The narrow hull, with its dramatic plumb bow and elegant stern overhang, quite explicitly recalls the rakish deep-keeled pilot cutters that commonly graced British waters a century and more ago.

Squint just a bit and that modern square-headed mainsail looks a bit like a gaff sail, doesn’t it? Squint a bit more and that rakish carbon sprit starts to look like one the great massive poles that sprouted from the bows of the cutters of old. Then open your eyes wide again—and you will understand that when it comes to yacht design, as in so many other things, beauty is indeed eternal.

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA 75ft 8in

LOD 68ft 8in

LWL 57ft 2in

BEAM 15ft

DRAFT 10ft

DISPLACEMENT 37,000lbs

BALLAST 13,500lbs

SAIL AREA 1,588ft2

FUEL/WATER 140/170gal

ENGINE 110hp Steyr diesel

BUILD COST Approx. $3 million

Photos by Alison Langely

Related

Lee-Cloths-Lee-Boards-and-single-bunks-on-ISBJORN_by-Andy-Schell_Trans-Atlantic-2019

The Perfect Offshore Boat: Part 2

November, 2009: Mia and I were sailing our 1966 Allied Seabreeze yawl, Arcturus, on our first-ever offshore passage together, a short hop from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. Our second night out, the brisk northwesterly wind shut down, but the sea state ...read more

210727_JR_SE_Tokyo20_186871368

Tune in for Olympic Sailing

Today marks the start of 470 and NARCA 17 racing on Enoshima Bay, and racing in the other seven fleets is already underway. A few of the American sailors are already off to an impressive start, with Maggie Shea and Stephanie Roble currently in second place in the 49er FX, Luke ...read more

Happy-Cat

Boat Review: Happy Cat Hurricane

I’m not sure what I expected from my daysail on the Happy Cat Hurricane. One thing I do know is that the day didn’t go as planned. The SAIL staff was invited by Alex Caslow from Redbeard Sailing to Gunpowder State Park on Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore. We were to test several ...read more

210722_PM_Tokyo20_4910_5979-2048x

Olympic Sailing Guide

The Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Games is finally here. From July 24 to August 4, sailors from across the world will be gathering on six courses on Enoshima Bay to race for gold. Ten classes will take part in the event: RS:X (men), RS:X (women), Laser Full Rig, Laser Radial, ...read more

01-LEAD-TobagoCaysHorseshoeColors

Chartering: Voltage is King

For some time now, both in the pages of this magazine and with individual charterers, I’ve talked about how important it is to pay close attention during a charter checkout. The idea is to listen “between the lines,” as it were, to be sure you aren’t missing any hidden red flags ...read more

AC75-No.-1

ETNZ May Abandon New Zealand

Remember when the Kiwis were the young, underfunded upstarts of the America’s Cup world, with right on their side as they took on the Big Bad Americans? Remember the withering criticism leveled at Larry Ellison when, in the wake of “The Comeback” on San Francisco Bay, arguably ...read more

01-LEAD-EX26_1119_dehler_30od_race_2nd_077_web_4zu3_300dpi2048x

Boat Review: Dehler 30 One Design

I’ve long believed that while they may not be as much fun, the best sail trials are the ones that take place in drifters since it’s then that a boat’s performance—or lack thereof—really becomes evident. Pretty much any boat is fun to sail in 15 knots of wind. That said, there’s ...read more

01-LEAD-Opener-DJI_0026-2048x

The Multihull Industry’s Major Builders

It’s a given that boatbuilding these days is a global industry, with sailboats going down the ways everywhere from the icy waters of Scandinavia to the South China sea. This includes the manufacture of multihulls—no surprise given their birthplace in the far-flung islands of the ...read more