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Welcome to the World of Yankee One Design

Y43 Gemini's first sail ever, with Jack

The Yankee One Design class is a collection of classic wooden racing sailboats, each with its own unique character, yet all sharing the same fundamental design.

Class Origin

Born from a 1937 design contest commissioned by a group of sailors from Marblehead, Massachusetts, these boats were designed by the renowned Starling Burgess. The Yankee Class Association was formed in the same year, and the class quickly gained popularity.

Starling Burgess in a hat, close-up portrait
Y36 Yankee Venture by Diane Beeston 1968

Design Features

The Yankees are known for their distinctive design features. They are 30 feet long and only 6'6" at their widest, which means they'll heel in a soft breeze. However, with more than half of a Yankee's displacement in a counterweight of lead ballast at the tip of the keel, the boat feels solid and performs exceptionally well in a storm.

Historical Construction

The boats were built by various boatyards, including Quincy Adams Yacht Yard in Quincy, MA; Nevins yard in City Island, NY; Stone Boatyard in Alameda, CA; and The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, WA.

Y42 Flotsam and John Linderman
Y42 Flotsam by Diane Beeston

Adaptations and Restoration

The Yankees are not expected or encouraged to be restored to the original specifications. Rebuilds often significantly strengthen a boat and typically end frame breakage. The two most recent Yankees have slightly thicker frames, which are either laminated (Y42) or square steam-bent (Y43), and Y43 also has longitudinal stringers. As a result, Y42 FLOTSAM, and Y43 GEMINI have not had any frames break, and have been in excellent condition since they were built, in 1963, and 2010, respectively.

Current Status and Mysteries

Of the 39 Yankees that were built, 9 are still sailing and 5 are under restoration, their conditions varying. Three of the Yankees that still exist have lost track of their identity, 9 have definitely been retired, which means they were cut up, and 16 YOD sailboats are missing. Three of them are actually the boats that have lost their identities. The great mystery is what happened to the other 13 Yankees.

Cleveland YOD fleet 1960s
Sirroco in France

Sailing Experience

Despite the dramatic photos, sailing a Yankee isn't scary. They feel solidly powerful, and what looks like a brutal pounding from shore is an exhilarating good time onboard a Yankee because the boat is slicing through whitecaps like a hot knife through butter.


Fleet Racing

Yankees were designed to race in glorious fleets, pitting one yacht club against another. However, WWII interrupted pleasure boat production. Then in the 1960s, yacht clubs began racing fiberglass fleets due to the higher maintenance costs of wooden boats. Yet there have always been sailors and families who love and admire, sail and restore these boats. 

YOD Cleveland fleet
Y29 Westward Ho summer 2010


We invite you to explore the world of the Yankee One Design class by joining our mailing list so we can tell you when we add new content to this site. Our website is in transition during the summer of 2023, and we look forward to including all the content from our old site, like the boat directory, plus new historical archive photos, sailing blogs, and a list of opportunities to sail on Yankees.

So if you're a fan of Yankee One-Design sailboats, please say hello, subscribe, and keep in touch.

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