Taylor Designs in the ‘Hood

Enjoying Marblehead for nearly 30 years

I have enjoyed an office overlooking Marblehead Harbor for nearly 30 years. Soon after I moved in, I had bigger windows installed to give me more light and even better views. From my second floor ‘ivory tower’ I can see the full length of the harbor, from the lighthouse to the causeway, and nearly all of its roughly 2,000 moorings. In season, it looks as though you could walk across from my office to the ‘Neck’, stepping from boat to boat, but there is actually plenty of sea room to weave a boat through them on a relaxed harbor cruise. I do these cruises often; I am always pleased to see how many of my designs are lying on those moorings, and I am even more pleased to note how often a lot of these boats are away somewhere. They were all designed to be lively, responsive, and fun to sail, after all, so the amount of time that they actually are sailing is one measure of how fully those design goals were reached.

A more analytical measure of a design can be her performance on the race course. Happily, my boats have had a lot of success there, and I am eternally grateful to the cadre of talented and committed owners and crews who made that success possible. Peter Rosenberg gave my race boat designs credibility with Sabra, a 34-foot IOR racer, and Lou Pocharski moved them to the next level with his T-38 Spirit. The ‘Taylor 40’ commissioned by Al D’Alessandro was a true breakthrough, as the first design to apply grand prix race boat technology to the IMS rule. Mark Lindsay built seven of these benchmark semi-custom boats in all, and while two met early and violent ends, the rest enjoyed long and successful careers under various owners and handicapping systems, the hallmark of a well-built, good all-around sailboat.

Despite those 2,000 moorings, Marblehead can no longer claim to be the ‘Yachting Capital of the World’. It does remain a primary sailing center, however, that a long list of yachting luminaries have called home. I know many of the contemporary ones well, and I am gratified that such high end sailors have choosen to own my designs. Lou Pocharsky (T-38 Spirit) was a World Champion, Bruce Dyson (8m Pleione) was an Olympic trialist, Jud Smith (T-45 Africa) is both a World Champion and world renowned, and David Curtis (T-39c Rival) is a World Champion too many times to count. Given all their talent, experience, and connections, the fact that they sought out my boats is a source of real pleasure and pride.

Design #100 Pleione on her mooring in Marblehead harbor with some closely packed neighbors