Bob Stephens' latest Spirit of Tradition design, Goshawk, excels on many levels: classic sailing-yacht style, state-of-the-art construction, the best in new sail technology and modern systems integration. The new 76-foot sloop built by the Brooklin Boat Yard draws upon Joel White's W-class design, but with much less beam and a sleeker profile.
Goshawk borrows from the owner's previous boat - another Stephens creation - Lena (launched in 2001), also built by the Brooklin Boat Yard. The boat's heritage also is evident in yet another Stephens design, Hoi An, launched by the Brooklin yard in 2004.
According to John Maxwell, Goshawk's captain and manager of the Brooklin Boat Yard's brokerage division, the new boat's owner wanted a competitive yacht that could be raced in his home waters of Maine and stand up to the rigors of offshore racing and passagemaking.
A backlog of work at the bustling Brooklin yard and the owner's desire to participate in the 2005 Marblehead to Halifax Race prompted collaboration with Taylor Allen's Rockport Marine for Goshawk's hull construction. In order to meet the spring launch deadline, Rockport Marine built the yacht's composite hull, which was then towed to Brooklin for completion. Allen said this is not the first time Rockport Marine and Brooklin Boat Yard have collaborated. In 1998 identical W-class 76-footers were built, with each yard completing a hull while the other finished it off.
Goshawk's hull is a sandwich of Port Orford cedar on the inside hull, followed by a layer of carbon fiber, an inch of foam, 2-by-1/8-inch western red cedar, fore-and-aft mahogany stripping, and finished off by a layer of fiberglass boat cloth. The resulting hull structure is stiff, with the foam component providing insulation.
The foam layer is prevented from floating by the inclusion of stiffening strips made from Port Orford cedar. These 1-by-1-inch bands are placed fore and aft from sheer to keel, capturing the foam and adding to the hull's structural integrity.
Once completed, the hull was fitted with a single fabrication silicon bronze keel frame (by Rockport Marine) that serves as foundation for the mast step, genset and engine beds, and attachment point for the yacht's I. Broomfield & Son 17,000-lb lead-cast bulb keel. The custom keel frame adds to the overall stiffness of Goshawk's hull.