BELFAST — Sailors around the Northeast with a love of boats that look like they were designed in the early 20th century but sail with modern speed and efficiency have long been familiar with Stephens Waring Yacht Design.
Bob Stephens and Paul Waring began their design careers at Brooklin Boat Yard and were responsible for some of the most elegant boats launched there.
The relationship continued after the pair opened their own office in Belfast, but the move gave them the opportunity to work with other boatbuilders.
Last year, the Lyman-Morse yard in Thomaston launched Anna, a 65-foot cold molded sloop designed by Stephens and Waring.
Last week, Anna won a Classic Boat Award at an event held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London. Given by the British publication Classic Boat, the award is among the most prestigious in the classic yacht world.
Classic Boat was first published in 1987 and defines classic boats as “boats which endure.” It was the first magazine published in the United Kingdom dedicated to traditional boats and boating.
The designers, both of whom live on the Blue Hill Peninsula, were thrilled with their award, but quick to share the credit.
“Anna is the product of a team, with multifaceted talents to solve all the challenges,” Stephens said in a Monday email. “The most important members of Anna’s team were the owners who held us to an incredibly high standard and who influenced every element of the yacht.
Stephens credited the “skilled eye and deft touch with interior design and style” of Rockland designer Martha Coolidge for “shaping the feel of the yacht down below” in its elegant accommodations. He also gave plaudits to the team at Lyman Morse.
“To receive this award on Anna’s birthday,” she was launched almost exactly one year ago, “is particularly rewarding,” Stephens said. “To win this accolade from the premiere magazine of classic European yachting is very special.”
It’s no secret that most sailors enjoy the opportunity for a good party and last week’s awards ceremony was no exception.
Among the celebrity guests at the awards ceremony was Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who, in 1969, became the first person officially recognized to have circumnavigated the globe nonstop and singlehanded. The boat he sailed to accomplish the feat was a far cry from Anna.
On June 14, 1968, Knox-Johnston left Falmouth, England, in the 32-foot Atkin-designed ketch Suhaili, one of eight competitors in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. He returned to Falmouth just over 10 months later, the only one of the starters to complete the race.
Before the race, Knox-Johnston sailed Suhaili from India, where she was launched in 1963, to England.
Among the other sailboats receiving awards last week were: two restored sailing vessels, each about 120 years old, and several antique powerboats.