Luders 24

Belle, New York Yacht Club, 2019

In the early nineteen thirties, the Fishers Island Yacht Club was casting about for a class to use for the junior sailors. A. E. Luders, Sr. and Jr. were chosen to design and build this new one-design class. The “Luders Gang” was well known as active racers and innovative designers of racing boats (they even went on to design several America’s Cup contenders). The Luders decided that rather than produce a “chunky little boat” similar to many others used by juniors, they would design a miniature version of the then modern International Rule Sloop (such as the Six Meter). About fifteen L16s were built in 1934, and they were raced at Fishers Island until a hurricane decimated the fleet later in the decade. The surviving boats scattered, but interest in the class grew as more and more people saw the sleek little boats.

During World War II, Luders Marine Construction Company began building “molded plywood” life rafts to be dropped from airplanes to downed pilots in the water. This was a new technology using wood veneers and large autoclaves to cure the glue, producing a “monocoque” hull identical in construction to some aircraft such as the famous “Spruce Goose”. In 1944, as the war was winding down, Luders began looking for post-war uses for these autoclaves and decided to adapt the L16 design to this new high-tech building process. Thus, the new “hot-molded” L16 Class was born!

The Luders 24’s were built of this same laminate wood construction, Luders pioneered composite yacht construction; this method creates a strong, stiff and seamless hull, while retaining the aesthetic appeal of a traditional wooden yacht.

Information courtesy of www.classicsailboats.org

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