Rowdy and the New York Forty Class

Yachting during the 1920s was a glorious and very significant part of American history. It was a time of incredible fortunes and magnificent yachts, a time when high society was the closest thing there was to royalty in America. Such fortunes would diminish in size and number with the introduction of personal income tax in 1917, and the evolution of yachting would wane from larger and faster to smaller and more affordable.

In 1905, Nathanael Herreshoff designed and built eighteen of the one -design class New York 30s for some of the most prominent members of the New York Yacht Club. In 1913, he built and designed nine of the New York 50s.  Measuring 70’ on deck, this was the largest class of sizeable one-design boats the world had ever seen. In 1916, he filled the gap between the two, and designed and built twelve of the one -design class New York 40s. (Two more were built in 1926.)   The New York 30s, 40s and 50s symbolize the peak of the golden age of yachting.  The American Public was enamored with these large yachts, and spectators frequently came out by the hundreds to watch them battle it out for trophies.

The New York 40s (so named because they were built for the New York Yacht Club, and because they measured 40′ at the water line) were 59′ on deck with an additional 6′ of bow sprit, 14’3″ beam and 8′ draft. The 40s were designed to be cruisers with gracious accommodations, and racing was expected to be a secondary consideration. They turned out to be the “hottest racing class of their time called the Fighting Forties because they raced hard all day, and the Roaring Forties for drinking hard all night”(History of the New York Yacht Club, Parkinson, 1975).

86,-Interior-floor-plan“The Herreshoff 40 foot sloops sailed off the Glen Island course yesterday. Hundreds watched the races from the decks of the many steamers and sailing craft which followed the boats over the course “(N.Y. Times, May 31, 1916)

“People have said that only Herreshoff could have developed such speed in a boat as wide and roomy as the New York 40, and certainly this has not been done since” (Rudder Magazine 1951).

“Nat Herreshoff has turned out some surprisingly successful yachts but it is doubtful if he ever created a class which has brought so much downright pleasure to the owners as the dozen New York 40′ sloops which he turned out for the New York and Boston yachtsmen” (Rudder Magazine, 1920)

“In the New York 40-footers Herreshoff has probably reached the limit of the type which he had been developing starting with the 57-footers nine years ago” (“Sailing Craft, Shottle, 1937)

” The New York 30s, 40s and 50s have never been bettered for all around sailing excitement and pleasure” (Herreshoff of Bristol, Maynard Bray & Carlton Pinero, 1989).

“After the war there was great racing in this class, considered a baby of the New York Yacht Club fleet”(Seawanhaka Yacht Club1897-1940, Parkinson, 1965).

“The New York 30s, 40 and 50s dominated the New York Yacht club’s 1916 racing season.”  (The History of the New York Yacht Club, Parkinsons, 1975)

“It is a perfectly fair statement to say that the six Flying Forties lent to the cruise of the Eastern Y.C. that measure of success which made the event one of the most enjoyable at least from a racing standpoint in the history of the Marblehead organization” (Rudder Magazine, August, 1920)

“The New York Yacht Club forty-footer class will again be an important one in a racing sense during the coming season at Long Island Sound. There will be six of the “roaring forties” taking part in the racing and the sport in that class should be of the usual high standard maintained since these fine vessels left the Herreshoff yards at Bristol almost ten years ago” (New York Times, March 15, 1925)

Holland Sackett Duell placed his order for Rowdy on October 14, 1915 for $10,000 plus $280 for the wheel option instead of a tiller. He took possession and began racing in early May 1916. Her sail was alternatively NY49 or NY9. Holland owned her for almost 25 years (the longest original ownership of any of the New York 40s) and, to this day, Rowdy is the only New York 40 to have never had her name changed. In 2006, after a complete rebuild by Chris Madsen (1998-2004) Rowdy was purchased by Graham Walker who relocated her to the Mediterranean. Under his ownership Rowdy has again become a world class champion, winning in excess of 140 races.



Rowdy Ownership:

19161935: Holland Sackett Duell, Milton Point, NY

19361940: Emilie Duell, Larchmont, NY

1941: Frank Linden, City Island, NY

19421947: Kenneth W. Martin, New York, NY

19481950: Frank Zima, Bridgeport, CT (gas engine installed)

19501952: George (Red) Stacy, Detroit, MI

19531955: Dr. Chaignon Brown, Detroit, MI

1955: Donald Major, Detroit, MI

19551963: Aurelian F. Wigle, Detroit, MI (sailed her from Michigan to Florida, accompanied the Winns from Florida to Jamaica)

19631971: Frank Winn, Redondo Beach, CA (sailed her to from Florida to California)

19711973: John Barkhurst, Redondo Beach, CA

19731982: Marvin and Velma C. Stokoe, Oroville, CA

19821992: Gerry Purcell, Marina Del Rey, CA

19921998: Christy Baxter, La Canada, CA

1998: Blue Whale Sailing School, Santa Barbara, CA

19982006: Christopher Madsen, Santa Barbara, CA

2006–2013: Graham Walker, UK

2013–present: Howard Dyer, UK


New York 40s built in 1916:

Black Duck,  Arthur K. Bourne – name changed to: Memory

Dolly Bowen, Alexander S. Cochran – name changed to: Cockatoo, Wizard of Bristol

Jessica, Wilson Marshall  – name changed to: Sally Ann, Vixen III

Katharine, Aurthur F. Luke

Maisie, Henry B. and M.F. Plant – name changed to: Typhoon

Mistral, George M. Pynchon

Pamparo,  James Bishop

Pauline, Oliver G. Jennings – name changed to: Banshee, Chinook

Rowdy, Holland Sackett Duell

Shawara, Harold Wesson (Smith & Wesson guns)

Squaw, John S. Lawrence

Zilph, James E. Hayes, Jr., E. Palmer – name changed to: Marjee


New York 40s built in 1926:

Marilee, Edward L. Cudahy

Rugosa II, R. Grinnell


Surviving New York Forties:

Rowdy (1916) Completely rebuilt and racing actively in the Mediterranean

Chinook (1916) (ex-Pauline) Completely rebuilt and racing actively in the Mediterranean

Vixen  II(ex-Jessica) (1916) Wood hull has been replaced with ferro cement. Greatly altered from original. As of 2009 She was in the Mediterranean.

Wizard of Bristol (ex-Dolle Bowen) (1916) Hawaii.

Marilee (1926) Underwent complete rebuild at Cannell Boatyard, Camden, Maine. Racing actively in the Mediterranean

Rugosa II (1926)  Actively racing and cruising.

Mistral Yacht Broker Jurek Pielk used to sail on Mistral and last saw her sailing off to Europe under the new ownership of a German around 2002


Lost New York Forties:

Katharine was destroyed in Jacobson boatyard in Oyster Bay. Her yawl rigged spars are now on Rugosa II.

Black Duck, (later Memory), Lee Karol who crewed on Memory reports in 1954 she was owned by Seward De Hart and moored at City Island Yacht Club, New York. In Aug 1954 she tried to sail out of the harbor at Woods Hole MA during hurricane Carol. She hit a sea wall and sank. She was later sold, salvaged and repaired but was lost in a storm off Block Island while returning to New York in 1955

Squaw was purchased by Mr. McNeil of Southport, CT in 1953 from Mr. Chubb of Chubb Insurance in New York. Mr. McNeil renamed her Blue Smoke and sold her in 1968. She sank in 1970 off the entrance to Nassau harbor.

Shawara sank in 1933 off Cape May, New Jersey. Returning home from the Gibson Island race, Shawara encountered a gale and took on water faster than her crew could bail. The crew of seven was picked up by the Standard Oil tanker Yorba Linda.

Maisie (Later Typhoon) Francis Branin Jr. called and informed me that his father owned the boat. In 1959 they were sailing from their home port of Atlantic Highlands NJ to the Oxford MD for winter storage. The boat was lost off Hereford Inlet (north of Cape May)

Pamparo. Mark Andrews wrote to me his great Charles Lee Andrews, a specialist on the floor of the NY stock exchange, bought Pamparo in the twenties for his son Richard Snowden Andrews.  He believes that the boat was broken up for lead during WWII.







Please email us any general items you would like to share or communicate about the Rowdy Story or the yacht.













Annie Livingston Best


Annie Livingston Best

Annie Livingston Best

Annie Livingston Best

William Sackett Duell’s second  wife

7/21/1887 – 7/4/1964

7-21-1887: Born to Mary (Tooker) Best and Colonel Clermont Livingston Best in Newport Rhode Island. Annie was educated at the finest schools in France. She was an accomplished linguist and, sharing her mother’s love for piano, became an accomplished and celebrated pianist. After being announced for special attention at Mrs. William Astor’s mid-season ball, Annie caught the eye of the press who regularly covered her in the news, referring to her as “Baby Best.” Annie had two failed marriages before meeting Sackett during her war work.

1-21-1920: Sackett Duell married Annie (Livingston) Carroll. The two lived in Sackett’s estate Hillcroft in MeadowBrook PA along with Sackett’s two sons William Sackett Duell jr.  (15) and Robert Ensor Duell (13).

1923: Sackett and Annie sold Hillcroft and moved to New York.

2-15-1925: Sackett and Annie divorced. 

6-16-1925: Annie married for the fourth time, this time to a businessman by the name of Charles Albert Smylie. The marriage ended in divorce in 1932.

10-1-1932: On October 1, 1932 Annie Livingston Best finally married the man of her dreams. Vladimir A Behr grew up in Moscow where his father was a wealthy cotton broker.


Louise Ensor Child

Louise Ensor Child

(W. Sackett Duell’s first wife) 

The daughter and only child of Louise (Fisher) Child and her deceased husband Mr. Jesse Child, who was a chemist in Richmond and Ashland, VA. She is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful women in Virginia. (I would love a photo of Louise, birthdate, obituary etc.)

William Sackett Duell

William Sackett Duell

William Sackett Duell


William Sackett Duell

(Holland’s brother)

3/28/1882 – 5/23/1926

3-28-1882: William Sackett Duell. Born in Syracuse, NY  and went by his middle name of Sackett.

1902: Sackett Duell attended Yale and left Yale at the end of his freshman year in 1902

1903-1906: Sackett Duell worked for the American Cigar Company in Richmond, Virginia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

4-19-1905 Sackett Duell Married Louise Ensor Child in Ashland, VA, where she was from.

2-5-1906: William Sackett Duell Jr. was born

6-29-1907: Robert Ensor Duell was born

5-5-1908: Sackett became involved in the family business, the Klauder-Weldon Dying Machine Company in Amsterdam, county of Montgomery, New York.

3-31-1916: General manager Sackett Duell and his family departed Amsterdam, NY to move to Yardley Pennsylvania where the new Klauder-Weldon plant is located. Their country estate of “Hillcroft” was one of the oldest colonial homes in Pennsylvania.

7-18-1919: Louise Child Duell died in Pennsylvania and was buried in the Duell plot in the Cortland Rural Cemetery, NY

1-21-1920: Sackett Duell married Annie Livingston (Best) Carroll

1923: Sackett and Annie sold Hillcroft and moved to New York.

2-15-1925: Sackett and Annie divorced.

5-23-1926: Sackett Duell died  in a hospital in New York City from cirrhosis of the liver.