The legacy of Philip Rhodes - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Contributing Publishers > Good Old Boat
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  #11  
Old 02-12-2010
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btrayfors will become famous soon enough btrayfors will become famous soon enough
Early in 1966 a spectacularly beautiful new teak yawl appeared at the Washington Sailing Marina, directly across the dock from my wooden 35' gaff ketch. Her teak sparkled, her spruce masts shined, and her white hull was flawless.

When her owner showed up, I came to learn that she was a Phil Rhodes design....the Rhodes Reliant 41. The proud owner, a general recently returned from the Far East, saw me ogling the boat and invited me aboard for a tour of his new baby.

I'm afraid my jaw never closed during the tour, nor did my eyes return to their normal size. I'd never seen such a wonderful creation. Her lines were classic and indescribably beautiful. The Cheoy Lee teak work was profuse and masterful. I could only gasp at each new feature I saw. The offset sliding hatches were brilliant!

At the end of the tour, the general finished up with, "And, of course, she's low maintenance!"

"Low maintenance?", I asked. "What do you mean?"

"Why, she's built of fiberglass, you know!"

You could have bowled me over with a feather. I hadn't guessed that she was anything but solid teak, the material Cheoy Lee had used on many other wonderful cruising yachts.

By the way, the new price in Hong Kong was then $29,000.

Immediately, I fell in love. That was the boat of my dreams. I entered the Foreign Service that summer, and took my young family abroad, leaving my gaff ketch behind for sale. Over the years, I visited the Cheoy Lee yard several times during my many trips through Hong Kong. I spent too many meetings doodling drawings of MY Rhodes Reliant that I'd eventually have Cheoy Lee build for me. Mine, though, wasn't to be a yawl. Nor a sloop. I was enamoured then of the cutter design.

Passing thru New York, I visited Phil Rhodes in his office to discuss how the Reliant might be rigged as a cutter. He was pleasant and helpful, but was very upset with Cheoy Lee for ripping off his Reliant design. Indeed, as the OP noted, this was the case. Cheoy Lee was producing an "Offshore 40" which was a Rhodes Reliant with a mirror-image cabin design, a few inches shorter, and an iron vs. a lead keel. The Offshore 40 was 33% less money, i.e., priced just under $20,000.

As time passed and new designs were appearing, my interest in the Reliant dimmed somewhat. She was still about the most beautiful thing afloat -- and still is some 45 years later -- but my lust shifted to a Perry design: the Valiant 40. Not nearly as beautiful, but fat and fast and a terrific voyaging design. Voted "voyaging yacht of the decade". Turns out, I wound up with a beautiful Perry boat...the Golden Wave 42...which pretty much has the Valiant underbody but looks more like a Swan, sails like a witch, and turns heads everywhere she goes.

While I love her to death and haven't seen a boat I'd rather have, the Rhodes Reliant still turns MY head every time I see one. Phil Rhodes was one design genius.

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 02-12-2010 at 10:21 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03-31-2010
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The article at the beginning of the thread states that Bill Dyer's Anchorage built Arion in 1951. She is a Sidney Herreshoff design, not Rhodes', and is for sale by the owner Damian McLaughlin at the website for his boatbuilding business.
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  #13  
Old 03-31-2010
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I am glad this thread resurfaced. The Marian Claire is a Charles Wittholz design. I can see Rhodes influence on her. I am often asked “What type of boat is that?” and now I have a more complete history. Thanks. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 05-16-2010
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I am not sure this forum is the place so for this but my father owns a meridian and is willing to sell but you really have love this model because it needs allot work.In holland the there where 2 companies how made this model one of them was de vries lentch Jr and my father how built 6 of these boats.
If there is anyone interrested please contact me
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Old 05-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voyagerjm View Post
When I was a young 20 years old, I worked the summer in the Phil Rhodes office as a yacht designer. I was a Westlawn graduate and also an engineer.

Phil was a superb gentleman and a great human to work with. I could feel his vibes or karma -- he was a legend of the old school!

He had the eye for the curves of a boat - beautiful balance.

My greatest thrill was to actually be able to pull out the original vellum and mylar drawings of the great masterpieces, 12 meter Weatherly, Carina, Hother, Reliant and others. I was at the hall of fame of yacht designs as a working yacht designer -- Wow - I almost knelt at the design board every morning when I came into the Lexington Ave. office in NYC.

IT WAS THE GREATEST JOB IN MY LIFE and I was getting paid $80/week. LOVED IT!

I left the summer and went back to school in California to finish my engineering - then onto a aerospace career on the space program.

3 years later, I bought and restored a Rhodes Meridian which I sailed down the entire east coast of the United States.

Whenever I pulled into a harbor or marina --- eyes were drawn to the boat.

Phil drew some beautiful boats! HE WAS A MASTER AT HIS CRAFT!
Skipper John, do you happen to be familiar with how the Rhodes Continental 22 came about? I ask, because it was my first boat and when I later became familiar with Phil's other designs, I had trouble believing he actually designed the Rhodes Continental 22. It was not at all like his other designs.
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Old 06-08-2010
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aferlazo

aferlazo,

If you can skippper john to reply you might find that he had part in design of Rhodes Continental... Some of us know history...

Shoaldrafter
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Old 10-21-2010
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I owned one of the early Meridians, single-digit hull number, from the DeVries Lentsch yard in Amsterdam. Wonderful boat that steered herself on just about any heading --- no need to tie the tiller off, either, just let it horse around while the boat tracked straight. Small course adjustments were made by altering sail trim or shifting (human) ballast.
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Old 11-15-2010
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Philip Rhodes

Philip L. Rhodes, born in 1895, was a prolific and versatile boat designer, whose career spanned more than five decades from 1919 until his death in 1974. His range of design was amazing, from 123' motorsailers to 7' dinghies, from hydrofoil racers to giant motor yachts. His clients ranged from Rockefellers to Sears and Roebuck. His 12 Meter Weatherly won the America's Cup in 1962. And, in addition, he designed a wide range of commercial craft.
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Old 06-06-2011
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Anymore information on Rhodes ranger could be very helpful. This one is a really good thread. Keep Posting. All the Best!
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Old 11-01-2011
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Does any one have any info on the Swiftsure #7 built in 1960 at deVries. It was heavily modified around 2000. Any info would be appreciated. Trisha
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