New Maine Sloop Marries Classic, Cutting-Edge Yacht Design

Sometimes it’s nice when the real thing is even better than the dream. That’s what we’re thinking after watching the launch of Isobel, the light-displacement cruiser/racer launched July 15 at Brooklin Boat Yard. We were impressed a while ago when the first drawings of Isobel emerged from Stephens Waring Yacht Design, but seeing this 75-foot sloop actually floating on her lines in Brooklin blew us away. The plum bow and sprit announces that this yacht means business on the racecourse, the deck saloon hints that she’s not afraid to tackle heavy weather, while the graceful tumblehome aft leaves onlookers with a glimpse of tradition, redefined.

Isobel, which will hail out of Camden, Maine, is the fourth yacht that Bob Stephens and Paul Waring have designed for Richard and Mary Jane Schotte. Having learned certain lessons through their other yachts ‑ Lena, Goshawk, and Ginger – the Schottes’ new commission challenged the designers to produce an attractive, easily sailed fast cruiser. With a square-top mainsail and a shallow underbody that makes the sloop like a half-sister to a Volvo Open 70 as she hangs in the Travelift slings, Isobel will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with around the buoys and on longer racecourses. (She’ll have her first test during the Penobscot Bay Rendezvous, which starts August 18.) “Isobelbreaks new ground for us; her deck-saloon layout offers really great opportunities for comfort and shelter, and to combine this with a truly high-performance hull and rig makes her a unique offering,” said Bob Stephens.