At the age of 19 Olin J Stephens joined a working yacht design company and it was a decision he would never regret. When Olin was just 21, in 1929 he joined forces with the yacht broking Sparkman family and James MURRAY with his brother Rod to form Sparkman & Stephens. Within a year they had designed the ocean racer Dorade that won the 1936 Trans-pacific race. It was the calling card that brought the design team to the attention of the big players in the America's Cup and by 1937 Sparkman & Stephens were drawing the elegant J-Class designs which culminated in Ranger, the defender of the 1937 America's Cup.
Ranger successfully defended and began a Sparkman & Stephens association with the America's Cup that was to last until the early 80s, though the J-Class giants and on into the new 12-Metre class, with famous names like Columbia, Constellation, Freedom, Intrepid and Courageous.
Olin STEPHENS lived his passion for yacht design through one of the most exciting eras in the sport of sailing. From yachts as ships to yachts as hi-tech machines embracing space technology, from the days of paper and pencil to the advent of computer technology and velocity prediction programs, Sparkman & Stephens straddled the gap over science and art.
And as the legend to whom many current yacht designers pay tribute as an innovator and original thinker, Olin J STEPEHNS, who celebrates his 100th birthday, still has a passion for a sport he took up as a child.
STEPHENS has been honoured with awards throughout his career which recognize the incredible contributions he has made to sailing. In 1992 he was awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy in recognition of his outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing and in 2007, during the Centenary Year of the he was named as one of six inductees to the inaugural ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame.
ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame - www.sailing.org/halloffame