The S-Class Sloop was designed by Nat Herreshoff late 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 Herreshoff Manufacturing Company built 94 S boats, George Lawley Sons built an additional 7 to Captain Nats design, and the US 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. There are 3350 pounds of external lead, 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 the regatta schedule is quite busy. The powerful sail plan and sweet hull combine to create a competitive racer that has been active for 90 years and still going strong.
Information courtesy of the Herreshoff Registry