The 40' Sparkman & Stephens Launch ESCORT
All of a sudden day boats are the rage. Traditionally Maine day boats were simple lobster boat or bass boat types for day tripping, island excursions and days on isolated beaches. Sometimes they were used for commuting to and from summer residences on the islands. Everyone seems to be coming out with a version of this veritable old concept. One of the finest designs from the classic era would be perfectly suited to "day boat" use. This is the 40' ESCORT designed in 1940 by Sparkman & Stephens.
Rod Stephens once told me that ESCORT was his own favorite of all the power boats designed by Sparkman & Stephens. Her lines are graceful, and definitely say "speed". ESCORT was used by Briggs Cunningham as 12 Meter Cup defender COLUMBIA's tender. Although she was designed as a launch, she has accommodations for two forward. Her speed in 1940 was reported to be 28 mph. What would she do with modern engines?
At the yard where ESCORT's sistership MELANTHO used to be stored, one of the painters explained to me that MELANTHO received the best paint job in the yard every year because she was the favorite boat of the yard's workmen. This supports L. Francis Herreshoff's theory that the best looking boats were the best built and cared for. The yard crew called MELANTHO the "twin screw canoe" because of her twin engines and her narrow, easily driven lines. Instead of ESCORT's open steering station, MELANTHO had an enclosed lobster style steering station. Her superstructure was built with stunning, varnished ash.
Drawing Courtesy of Sparkman & Stephens
If you are thinking of a day style boat, why not consider a real classic drawn by the cerebral genius himself, Olin Stephens and recommended by his brother Rod, the master of all matters practical.