Sparkman & Stephens

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Sparkman & Stephens
IndustryNaval Architecture
Founded1929 (1929)
Key people
Olin J. Stephens
Roderick "Rod" Stephens
ProductsSail and Power Yacht Design

Sparkman & Stephens is a naval architecture and yacht brokerage firm with offices in Newport, Rhode Island and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The firm performs design and engineering of new and existing vessels for pleasure, commercial, and military use. Sparkman & Stephens also acts as a yacht and ship brokerage. The firm offers similar design and engineering services for the performance optimization of existing yachts.

Their designs have won most of the major international yacht races such as the America's Cup, for several decades, including a string of victories in the Fastnet and Sydney to Hobart as well as winning twice the Whitbread Round the World Race by Sayula II in 1974 and Flyer in 1978.[citation needed] S&S has a number of custom yacht design projects as well as being designers for boat builders such as Nautor's Swan, Grand Banks Yachts, and Morris Yachts. With more than 100 units built, the S&S design #1710 also known as Swan 36 became the most utilized design in the history of Sparkman & Stephens.[1]

During World War II the company was employed to design the hulls for the invaluable DUKW 'army duck' and the Ford GPA amphibious jeep.[2] For this Roderick Stephens was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award.


Sparkman & Stephens Inc was formally created on October 28, 1929, with five partners: Drake Sparkman and his younger brother James Sparkman, James Murray, and brothers Olin J. Stephens and Roderick Stephens.[3]

The Stephens brothers began their careers as self-taught sailors on Barnstable Bay, Massachusetts. Both entered the marine industry at an early age – Olin apprenticing in yacht design under Philip Rhodes, and Roderick learning shipbuilding at the prominent Nevins Yard in City Island, New York, which would later produce several of his firm's designs.[4] With their father's backing, the 21-year-old Olin and his brother entered into a partnership with the already successful yacht broker Drake Sparkman, and Sparkman & Stephens, Inc. was formed.

S&S remains involved in designs having created a range of production sailing yachts such as the Morris 36 and 52 and a number of custom super-sailers including Victoria of Strathern and the 52-meter ketch Nazenin V, recently bestowed with multiple Superyacht of the Year Awards.

In August 2018 Donald Tofias purchased S&S and is now the firm's President.[5]

The brokers at Sparkman & Stephens represent over 800 crewed charter yachts worldwide in both sail and power, from 55 to 200 + ft.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Design 1710 - Cybele and the Swan 36". Sparkman & Stephens. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  2. ^ Allen, Thomas B. (August 2002). "Odd DUKW: On land and in the water, World War II's amphibian workhorse showed the skeptics a thing or two — now it shows tourists the sights". Smithsonian. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  3. ^ Adkins, Douglass D. (2012). Dorade : The History of an Ocean Racing Yacht (1st ed.). Boston: David R. Godine. ISBN 978-1-56792-447-3. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Olin Stephens – Leading designer of racing yachts who produced 2,200 boats, among them six winners of the America's Cup" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  5. ^ "Donald Tofias buys Sparkman & Stephens >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News". 31 August 2018.

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