Rod Stephens was one of American’s best known and respected sailors. In 1933 he became Associate Designer, later promoted to President, of Sparkman & Stephens naval architecture and yacht design firm, a company founded in 1929 by his brother Olin Stephens and Drake Sparkman.
Rod Stephens was a consummate seaman. His brother Olin designed the boats. Rod, rigger and engineer, oversaw their construction and fitting out, made sure they performed, and schooled their new owners before turning them over. It was a natural, agreeable division of labor for the Stephens brothers that began in childhood, and launched their careers with the Dorade collaboration in 1931. Dorade won the transatlantic race that year by two days. Rod became Harold Vanderbilt’s right hand man on his 12-meter, Vim, and on his America’s Cup winning Ranger in 1937. Stevens also crewed on Cup winning 12-meters Columbia and Constellation. On a boat, Rod was everywhere solving problems. In a crisis, he was always the first man up the rig.
“Don’t forget your storm sails are for storms. When it’s blowing 60, small is beautiful.”
Before he died in 1995, Rod had completed 100 pages of a book. Roderick Stephens – His Book, Rod on Sailing, Lessons from the Sea, covers everything from anchors to swing tables to rigging. For an aspiring seaman, it’s as close to a Bible as sailing has to offer.
Read it here, Rod on Sailing, Lessons from the Sea
Posted here with the permission of Sparkman & Stephens www.sparkmanstephens.com