Following the success of the New York 30’s from 1905 and the great New York 50’s a decade later, Nathaniel Herreshoff had his mind set on a 40′ version. Designed to the Universal Rule, in 1916 he had 12 built at his yard, the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, and a further 2 built in 1926. Although designed to be cruisers with good accommodation they turned out to be fast, exciting racing machines and were called the “Fighting Forties” after their competitive vigour. Onlookers stated that they were mini versions of the Herreshoff-designed America’s Cup defender, Resolute, that sailed to victory in 1920.
They were expensive yachts to own for the wealthy American and when personal income tax was introduced in 1917, fortunes began to shrink and attention turned to smaller more affordable yachts. Still, the New York 40’s remained racing competitively into the late 1920’s winning the Newport – Bermuda Race on two separate occasions: Memory (1924), Rugosa II (1928).