(Capt) Nat Herreshoff (1848-1938) was certainly the most influential designer and builder of sailing vessels of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Together with his (blind) brother John Herreshoff he ran the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co.
which built and powered some 2500 sailing and power craft
over a span of 82 years.
Herreshoff was responsible for the design and construction of 5 America's
Cup defenders, numerous popular one-design craft and cruising and racing
vessels, many of which are still in use today. Both before and during WWII
The Herreshoff yard also constructed military craft for the US and other
Herreshoff's designs ranged from skiffs to 200 foot racing yachts. Many of
his 12 ½ foot one-design sloops are lovingly maintained today. He was
an innovator, producing (and patenting) a racing catamaran in 1876 which was
quickly outlawed from competition. The results of it's appearance in a race
on Long Island sound were reported as follows:
Nobody protested against entering her for the race yesterday, for the reason probably that everybody expected to beat her, but everybody seems to have objected to being beaten by her. Next time we advise our yachtsmen to ponder the words of MILTON, And think twice ere they venture to "Sport with Amaryllis in the shade."