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New Ownership Takes Helm at Sparkman & Stephens

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Sparkman & Stephens (S&S), the naval architecture and brokerage firm founded by Olin Stephens and Drake Sparkman in 1929, announced today that it was acquired by a group of private investors led by Brooke S. Parish and John B. Reuter. The transaction enables S&S to implement expansion strategies in its design and brokerage businesses, for which it sought growth capital. The firm remains privately held and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We feel a tremendous sense of pride and responsibility to assume stewardship of a brand and a company whose legacy in American yachting cannot be overstated,” said Parish, who will serve as S&S’s new Chairman. “We intend to put significant effort and capital into building both the design and brokerage businesses.” Parish, an asset management professional in New York and an experienced yachtsman, owns Mermaid, a 1957 Sparkman & Stephens ketch originally built for Austin Goodyear.

“S&S’s history has been characterized by early adoption of new technology, materials, and engineering techniques for almost a century,” said Reuter, who has been named CEO. “We are enthusiastic about continuing to build on that foundation.” Reuter is a successful entrepreneur and private equity investor and has been involved with yachts for nearly twenty years.

Jason Black, the Company’s COO, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, initiated the transaction and negotiated on behalf of the Company. Black will remain responsible for S&S’s brokerage team, business development and operations. “We intend to maintain the Company’s full design and brokerage staff, as well as add new positions over the coming the months – we’re hiring! A new office in Ft. Lauderdale is also being discussed,” said Black.

S&S’s chief designer, Brendan Abbott, will continue to lead the design studio in Newport, Rhode Island. “We delight in our sailing legacy and will always be active in that category,” said Abbott, “but we are putting increasing effort into building our portfolio in the power yacht arena. There are some fantastic projects already on the boards and the future looks bright.”

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About Sparkman & Stephens:

Since 1929, S&S has produced world-class naval architecture and engineering, working with the finest shipyards globally to build yachts with cutting edge technology, materials, and performance. The Company’s brokerage arm is active worldwide, listing both sail and power yachts of all sizes.


Sparkman & Stephens came to prominence in the 1930’s after Dorade, Olin Stephens’ 52-foot ocean racer – and only his 7th design – won the Trans-Atlantic race by a dramatic two-day margin. In the ensuing years, Drake Sparkman, the senior partner, built one of the premier yacht brokerages in the United States, while Olin and his brother Rod established a reputation for envelope-pushing naval architecture and pioneering new technologies such as tank testing and fluid dynamics. The Company’s first J-Class yacht, the 130 ft. Ranger built for Harold “Mike” Vanderbilt, made America’s Cup history by winning 35 of 37 match races in 1937. Over the next four decades, S&S designed every America’s Cup winner but one – an astonishing achievement unlikely to ever be repeated.


Sparkman & Stephens has worked with high-end production companies and builders around the world, including Abeking & Rasmussen, Baltic, Concordia, Derecktors, Hinckley, Hylas, Lyman Morse, Morris, Nautor Swan, Northwind, Palmer Johnson, Royal Huisman, Shaw, Stellar, Tartan, Queen Long, and others. The Company’s designs have also been commissioned by major figures of the 20th and 21st centuries: among them, Baker, Disney, DuPont, Ford, Heath, Johnson, McGraw, Mosbacher, North, Reynolds, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Schaefer, Scripps, Sears, Turner, Vanderbilt, Watson, and many, many others.


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