World’s coolest yachts: Reliance

Yachting World

We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times. Andre Hoek nominates Reliance

My choice would be the yacht Reliance of 1903 designed by the famous Nat Herreshoff. I read the book Temple to the Wind a long time ago and could not put it down. That yacht was, for its day, such an extreme design and engineering feat, without computers and all designed and built in a short time. Herreshoff was the master in those days.

The yacht measured over 200ft overall with just 90ft of waterline [the huge overhangs were to take advantage of the rating rule when heeled], it displaced 189 tons and had a sail area of 1,500m2 (16,000ft2)! It was massive and with wooden masts that tipped 200ft above the water, an 84ft long wooden spinnaker pole and cotton sails.

Photo: Alpha Stock/Alamy

She was the first yacht with winches below decks and despite that still had a crew of 64 to handle the gigantic sailplan.

Reliance won the America’s Cup against Shamrock III, a beautiful yacht designed by William Fife. Those were the days of extreme but beautiful yachts!

Reliance stats rating:

Top speed: 20 knots
LOA: 61.3m/201ft
Launched: 1903
Berths: 0
Price: $175,000
Adrenalin factor: 80%

Andre Hoek

Over the last four decades Andre Hoek has designed or optimised more classic style yachts than perhaps anyone, from traditional Dutch leeboarders to his highly successful Truly Classic and Pilot Classic ranges, through to stunning superyachts such as Adele and Elfje – plus of course his work on three of today’s latest J Class yachts.


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