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Sparkman & Stephens 48 ft Yawl 1938/2006



Sparkman & Stephens 48 ft Yawl 1938/2006

Designer Sparkman & Stephens
Builder Barrett Boat Works, Spring Lake, Michigan
Date 1938
Length overall 48 ft 3 in / 14.71 m
Length deck 48 ft 3 in / 14.71 m
Length waterline 34 ft 1 in / 10.39 m
Beam 11 ft 2 in / 3.4 m
Draft 7 ft 7 in / 2.31 m
Displacement 14 Tonnes
Construction Mahogany on oak
Engine Yanmar 4-cyl JH series 100 hp turbo diesel
Location United Kingdom
Price GBP 420,000

These details are provisional and may be amended



If any classic yacht is true to the idea that it is using and maintaining a boat as originally intended that preserves it, rather than as a static exhibit, it’s TOMAHAWK. And she has the Sparkman & Stephens DORADE-descendent ‘inboard yawl’ pedigree and storied career to go with it: of class wins, top placings and participation in the great American inland and offshore races of the 1930s and 1940s. A mid 2000s keel-up restoration, including discreet modern comfort upgrades, ensured TOMAHAWK’s longevity, allowing the cruising and racing adventures to continue, mostly by friends and family, rarely with professional help: in England, the Mediterranean, Transatlantic, the Caribbean, the Baltic, even the Barents Sea. TOMAHAWK is a rare and highly recommended opportunity.



- Fuel pump reconditioned

- All thru-hulls replaced
- Wooden backing plates overlap planks
- Windlass service

- Off-boat deep engine service
- New electrical loom, injectors, turbo
- New cutlass bearings.
- Inspection ports created in fuel tanks
- and facility to drain and inspect fuel

- Steering shaft inside binnacle replaced
- to better accommodate autohelm
- some cogs and parts machined

- New Sitka spruce mainmast by Collars
- Ed Burnett-designed modification from original
- New articulated spreader roots design by Theo Rye
- Mizzen Boom repair by Collars
- Goose neck repaired and made good

- New spruce whisker pole by Collars

- New Main boom by Collars to original design
- New spruce spinnaker pole by Collars

- Hull stripped to bare wood and re-finished
- New sails
- Fo'c'sle converted to double berth cabin
- Port side book shelves and cupboards made and installed
- Original saloon table re-fitted
- Bronze bow plate and roller for new anchor and G7 chain
- Heating installed
- Stripped out gas system
- Mastervolt lithium battery system installed by Mastervolt
- New pipe work to heads and re-finish

- All her frames replaced in laminated oak
- Most planking replaced, again mahogany
- Horn timber, stem, stern, rudder, bronze knees and deck fittings reused
- New deck
- New trunk cabin sides keeping original roof
- Spars reused
- Deck fittings re-used
- Interior sympathetically re-worked in New England style
- All new mechanical and electrical




TOMAHAWK's commissioning owner, 29-year-old Grand Rapids, Michigan lawyer Tom W. Heffernan, wanted a boat to win the Chigago-Mackinac Race, and had an inheritance from his family's successes in lumber and banking to pay for it. He could never guess that 80 years later she would be cruising the waters of the White and Barent Seas, and rounding the North Cape.

Her origins are from a purple patch in yacht design history when K. Aage Nielsen ran the Sparkman & Stephens Boston office 1936 to 1941 before setting up on his own account after the Second World War. Other successful and still famous S & S yachts from this period include the 72ft yawl WINDIGO and her sister PTARMIGAN, and the 52ft yawl/sloop CICLON and her post-war sister VENTURE III (now BOUNTY). Many years later Olin J. Stephens wrote: "... had I had a yacht built for myself, I would have had her designed by Aage Nielsen."

That Nielsen enjoyed a perhaps surprising amount of trusted freedom at the S & S Boston office speaks for that respect, but for TOMAHAWK the remit seems to have been a larger and stronger development of the highly successful S & S 'New York 32' Class of sloops; a theme Nielsen would revisit in 1944 for the 'Hinckley 32' (ft waterline) production sloop.

Nielsen's drawings are believed to have been signed off by Gilbert 'Gil' Wyland at S & S's New York HQ, and his colleague Robert 'Bob' G. Henry oversaw the build at Barrett Boat Works, Spring Lake, Michigan, where Carl E. Kistler was foreman boatbuilder after previous fine boatbuilding experience at Robinson Marine Construction, Benton Harbor.

TOMAHAWK did eventually win her class in the Chicago-Mackinack, but not in her first season. With Bob Henry aboard in 1938, she finished a creditable 3rd in the 'Cruiser' Division (as opposed the 'Racer' Division of Universal Rule boats), ahead on elapsed and corrected time of the much larger Alden yawl ROYONO. But no boat could touch the 62ft S & S yawl MANITOU that season, the comfortable winner in a course record elapsed time and on handicap.

In 1939 and 1940, TOMAHAWK entered both the Port Huron-Mackinac and the Chicago-Mackinack races. In almost a photo-finish of the first seven boats after over 300 miles in the light airs 1939 Chicago-Mackinack, TOMAHAWK did remarkably well, winning Cruiser Division B, only just failing to win overall line honours, finishing 4 minutes ahead of MANITOU and only 21 seconds behind the much longer WINDIGO.

In the 1940 Port Huron-Mackinac, she finished 4th on Corrected Time in the Racing-Cruising Class. For that year’s Chicago-Mackinac, the race’s increasing popularity saw the 'Cruiser-Racer' Division split into four groups. Proving herself a true all-rounder, in a stormy race TOMAHAWK took Cruiser-Racer Division line honours and 2nd on corrected time in Division A, again ahead of MANITOU and ROYONO, among others, on real and corrected time.

Both races were held in 1941, but without TOMAHAWK. Heffernan had been drafted to the Navy in October 1940 and TOMAHAWK sat out the war at his workplace, the Great Lakes Naval Station, North Chicago. Heffernan would later be posted to the Pentagon, and TOMAHAWK began a new life on the east coast from 1945.

Brooklyn, New York, brass goods manufacturer and Manhasset, NY, resident Paul W. Hyatt had been a winning (at one time world record holder) amateur racer of outboard hydroplanes until changing power source in 1939 to join the increasingly active inner Long Island Sound 'Coastwise Cruiser' fleet of beautifully proportioned 37ft John Alden-designed sloops; Hyatt's was named SUSAN.

After the Second World War, Hyatt's racing instincts moved offshore with ownership of TOMAHAWK. He seems to have honed their experience gradually, taking in Long Island Sound overnight races from 1945, and coming 5th in class in the 1947 Newport-Annapolis Race, before competing in Class A of the 1948 Newport Bermuda Race among stellar company such as: ARGYLL, BARUNA (the winner), ESCAPADE, GESTURE, HIGHLAND LIGHT, NIÑA, ROYONO, STORMY WEATHER, and more. Halcyon days.

TOMAHAWK participated in the 1949 New York Yacht Club Cruise under charter to George R. Hinman and remained the Hyatt family cruiser and racer out of Manhasset Bay until Paul Hyatt relocated south in 1955 to Tampa Bay, Florida.

What then became of this beautiful yawl remains something of a mystery, but TOMAHAWK is believed to have remained on Long Island Sound and its extensions until purchased from Mystic, Connecticut, by English boat restorer Brian Pope in 1999 after she'd featured in WoodenBoat magazine's 'Save a Classic' column.

TOMAHAWK was in carefully catalogued bits after a failed restoration, but at least saved, and arrived at Pope's Penpol, Cornwall, yard like that; waiting a client with deep pockets to restore life to a truly worthy subject. In process of restoration at a different Cornish yard at that time was another of K. Aage Nielsen's designs for Sparkman & Stephens, the 1945 52ft yawl COMETA (ex, and now again COMET).

By 2004, Richard Bond was that person, already a Brian Pope client. A major, keel-up restoration began, completed in 2006 when TOMAHAWK debuted at the British Classic Yacht Club regatta at Cowes, followed by Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez after a rapid passage to the Mediterranean.

A late 2006 Atlantic passage, coming 5th in 'ARC' Racing Division B, was followed by participation in Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2007 among other Caribbean classics events, and a return passage to her new home at Saint-Tropez.

TOMAHAWK found her present owners in 2012, since when she's been raced - including a 2013-2014 return to the Panerai/ CIM classic regattas of the Mediterranean - especially 'Yawlba' at Elba - and the 2014 Rolex Middle Sea Race.

She has also cruised extensively and adventurously. During the summers of 2017 and 2018 TOMAHAWK voyaged deep into the Baltic, circumnavigating Finland and Scandinavia via Saint Petersburg, east by the river canal and lake systems to the White Sea, Barents Sea, and the North Cape, 71°N. An epic voyage for any yacht let alone an 80-year-old classic.

As might be expected, the 2018 homeward voyage from north west Norway to the Solent wasn’t direct. True to her distance racing roots, TOMAHAWK entered the first running of the Pantaenius Shetland Race & Viking Offshore Race: Bergen – Shetland - Faroe Islands – Iceland, placing 2nd for the Shetland to Faroe Islands leg, and 2nd Overall.

Since 2019, TOMAHAWK has been racing and cruising waters closer to her home base on the Solent; a regular participant in the Classics Division of The Round The Island Race and at British Classic Week, Cowes.

©2024 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd.


Patrick Matthiesen (S & S Association) on Aage Nielsen's drawings for TOMAHAWK

"I have had the occasion to possess a set of plans for TOMAHAWK, one of the vessels [Aage] Nielsen designed for S & S in Boston... They give a very profound insight into the way Nielsen thought. First and foremost he was concerned with structural integrity and strength and the quality of the materials going into a vessel. In this he shared characteristics with Rod and also Olin. As far as I am aware none of the vessels he designed has suffered a fatal mishap. The plans show this almost manic attention to detail and specification and are far more detailed than a normal set of design plans from S & S itself which left many decisions to a reputable builder himself. Nielsen’s plans specify every scantling, every fastening, every material. They are beautifully executed and scripted meticulously and are almost works of art in their own right just as the plans of Frank Lloyd Wright, or other great architects, have been."



- Mahogany single carvel planking on oak
- All laminated oak frames
- Silicone bronze fastened
- Bronze floors and diagonal strapping
- Bronze knees in way of mast
- Teak laid deck on marine plywood substrate
- Mahogany superstructures



Wide swept teak side decks ease sail handling

The superstructure consists of a well proportioned coach roof / trunk cabin, mahogany planked with a varnish finish on the sides and a white painted finish on the roof.

On the coach roof there are ventilators including conventional hatches, dorade vents, and butterfly skylights. The pin rail around the base of the main mast is the original.

The cockpit is deep, and the side seats are located at the same level as the main decking. They are wide and form the bridge deck at the forward end, with the companionway offset to starboard, similar to the New York 32. The cockpit is very workable, with a large or small crew, and is divided into a helmsman’s area aft, by the main traveller. TOMAHAWK is wheel steered and she has her original compass binnacle.

All winches are bronze - this vessel has a mixture of her original Merriman hardware and very complimentary Lewmar gear (deck mounted sheet winches and mast mounted halyard winches); bronze sheet tracks; Harken blocks sympathetically sheathed in ash.

- 25 kg Rocna bower anchor (2013)
- 40 m G7 Chain with 110 m plait rope (2013)
- 10 m Galvanised chain with 50 m plait rope
- Aluminium Fortress anchor
- Muir VCR3500 windlass; wireless hand-held control
- Detachable Bronze bow plate with anchor roller and keep for Rocna



The accommodation was totally rebuilt in 2006, retaining the original light New England-style of white painted wood and varnished detail - similar to the NY32. The cabin sole is teak and holly.

The main cabin is open plan and contains a large chart table at the bottom of the companionway
- Navigation and communications interfaces
- Chart stowage under

Moving forward: 2 x settee berths (port and starboard) with pilot berths outboard and the galley forward (amidships).

The galley is very large for a boat of this size, with a sink and faucet for washing dishes on the starboard side and to port, a gimballed microwave and single plate induction hob, both fitted in 2021. There is also a fridge (2017) and a deep freeze. Plenty of surfaces on both sides for preparing food are a bonus on a classic yacht!

Forward of the galley is the forepeak and anchor locker in the bow. This area can be used as a conventional vee berth or for sail storage.

The aft cabin is made up of two single berths, many storage lockers and because of the white bulkheads, deck heads and skylight feels roomy. There are reading lights and spotlights.

Adjacent to the door for the aft cabin is the door for the WC/ shower compartment, which is a wet room style, fitted with a Baby Blake marine toilet, shower and sink. It is well lit and well ventilated.



- Sitka spruce main mast by Collars (2016)
- An Ed Burnett- designed modification from the original
- Laminated spruce spreaders to original S & S length (2022)
- Articulated spreader roots design by Theo Rye (2016)
- Main boom by Collars to original design (2013)
- Sitka spruce mizzen mast and boom
- Spruce staysail boom
- Spruce whisker pole (Collars 2015)
- Spruce spinnaker pole (Collars 2013)
- All mast and spar fittings are bronze
- Roller furler at masthead forestay
- Alternative wire forestay for racing under CIM Rule

- A number of the headsails are hanked as well as for the furler
- Full length battens fitted to 2015 Mainsail (Doyle 2019)
- (for cruising/ racing under IRC rules)
- CIM compliant 3 x reef 1+4 battened Dacron Main, classic finish (Doyle 2015)
- 1 x Reef mizzen (Doyle 2015)
- No 3 Jib (Doyle 2015),
- 140% Radial genoa (Doyle 2015)
- Code 0 (Doyle 2015)
- Spinnaker in Superkote 75 (Doyle 2014)
- 145% Genoa (Doyle design, made Sailtech 2009)
- Storm trisail (orange 2006)
- Storm staysail orange (2006)
- Working yankee (2006)
- Med Yankee (2006)
- Working staysail (2006)
- Mizzen staysail (2006)
- Mainsail (Doyle NZ design, made Sailtech 2011)
- Mizzen (Doyle NZ design, made Sailtech 2011)

- Full winter cover; stanchions to fit blue poly supports; wooden ring beam (2020)
- Summer cover (2013)
- Bimini (2013)



- Yanmar 4-cyl JH series 100 hp turbo diesel (2006)
- Single hydraulic pump on engine drives 2 x independent drive shafts
- Control via 2 x levers in cockpit
- 2 x Gori self-pitching propellers driven independently
- Shafts are P-bracket supported

Simple and effective electrical system
- Alternator off main engine powers starting battery
- Mastervolt Electrical system for the house battery (2012)
- A 2nd Alternator, 90 Amp Alpha Control
- charges a 320 Ah Lithium-ion Battery
- Mastervolt Mass Combi inverter/charger 12/.2200-100 (2022)

- All tanks in stainless steel
- Water tanks (2 x capacity unknown) under saloon settees
- Fuel tanks (2 x 120 L/ 26 Gal) under owner cabin berths
- Very accurate pressure level gauge system



On Deck:
- Raymarine - Yacht heading and pilot status
- Raymarine - Wind direction and speed
- Raymarine- Speed, log and echo sounder read out
- AIS Class A transponder (2014)
- (Radar radome presently stored ashore)

At Chart table:
- Icom ICM601 – VHF
- Raymarine – E80 radar
- Digital Yacht Nav System GPS/plotter



- 2 x 2 kg Fire extinguishers
- Flares
- EPIRB – located next to chart table
- 6-Person life raft
- Danbuoy
- Radar reflector
- Jordans drogue (2013)


These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as a general guide. The purchaser should confirm details of concern to them by survey or engineers inspection. The purchaser should also ensure that the purchase contract properly reflects their concerns and specifies details on which they wish to rely.


Sandeman Yacht Company

Brokerage Of Classic & Vintage Yachts