Building the Yankee One Design Sailboat

Complex Simplicity

The Yankee One Design sailboat looks deceptively simple. It’s small for a 30′ boat, and lacks electrical and plumbing systems. There is also a simple elegance to Burgess’ design. It’s lovely to see the bones of a Yankee, as when the delicate stem is exposed.

John Linderman’s Y42 FLOTSAM under construction. Stone Boatyard, 1963


This Weighs More Than the Rest

A Yankee’s lead ballast weighs 2550 lbs, which is more than half of the boat’s 4,775 lbs of displacement.

Weighing the lead ballast. Quincy Adams Boatyard, circa 1946


This piece of lead is one of the keys to the Yankee’s great stability.  It’s through-bolted onto the bottom of the oak keel, and from there applies a great righting force: the more the boat heels, the higher it must lift its ballast, with the whole weight of the ballast pulling downward, as on a lever.

This lead ballast is among the most valuable parts of a Yankee. Not all sailboats can be restored, and when a Yankee is scrapped, the lead keel can be used to build another Yankee. This was done with Y36 VENTURE and Y43 GEMINI.

Documented YOD Construction Projects

Y43 GEMINI (2010) and all three of John Linderman’s Yankees, Y36 VENTURE (1949), Y40 TARFON (1956), and Y42 FLOTSAM (1963), were extensively photographed during contstruction, and quite a few Yankee restorations have been well documented.

We are now creating slideshows and galleries to display these images here on this site — check the list of posts below to see what’s been added lately.

To Purchase Plans

The Yankee One Design plans are available through the Mystic Museum Nautical Library.

Experienced Builders Have Been Known to Fall in Love with this Boat

Master boat builder John Linderman built two Yankees for his job at the Stone Boatyard, and in his spare time he built three more Yankees for his family. Each successive Linderman Yankee improved over the last in materials and design tweaks.

The Novice and Expert Mix

Y43 GEMINI  was built at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. Two cohorts of students lofted and built GEMINI during 2009 – 2010, under the guidance of instructor Tim Lee. The design lends itself well to a school setting, and blossoms in the hands of an experienced boat builder.

Y43 GEMINI under construction. The lead keel from Y36 VENTURE is visible behind instructor Tim Lee. The Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, 2009


Not a Great First Boat Project

The hull is a delicate construction of 3/4″ thick mahogany planks over 1″ oak frames.

And unfortunately, there are some tricks to the the garboard and some complex curves along the hull that can make the restoration of a Yankee One Design less than an ideal project for a beginning boat builder. 

More about Yankee One Design Construction

Yankee One Design Specifications

Specifications revised to May 1st, 1947   Length overall, about 30′-6″ Length design waterline, about 24′ Beam 6′-6″ Draft design 4′-6″ Sail Area 312 sq. ft.       CONSTRUCTION  PLANKING: Single Philippine and Honduras mahogany, finished 3/4″...

Yankee One Design Plans

Plans from the 1953 YOD Association yearbook   The limited overhang of the bow is key to the YOD’s success as a light displacement boat designed for rough water.       Length overall, about 30′-6″ Length design waterline, about 24′ Beam 6′-6″ Draft...