The legacy of Philip Rhodes - Page 2 - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #11 of 33 Old 02-12-2010
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,889
Thanks: 0
Thanked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 15
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.


Last edited by btrayfors; 02-12-2010 at 10:21 AM.
btrayfors is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #12 of 33 Old 03-31-2010
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
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.
rbgarr is offline  
post #13 of 33 Old 03-31-2010
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 203
Thanks: 1
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 10
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
dianaofburlington likes this.
marianclaire is offline  
post #14 of 33 Old 05-16-2010
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
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
jurgen975 is offline  
post #15 of 33 Old 05-18-2010
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 30
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
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.
aferlazzo is offline  
post #16 of 33 Old 06-08-2010
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 6
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0


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 is offline  
post #17 of 33 Old 10-21-2010
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 6
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
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.
ByrSac is offline  
post #18 of 33 Old 11-15-2010
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
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.

Janethanderson is offline  
post #19 of 33 Old 06-06-2011
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cardiff
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Anymore information on Rhodes ranger could be very helpful. This one is a really good thread. Keep Posting. All the Best!

Sailing Equipment Purveyor
libertysridhar is offline  
post #20 of 33 Old 11-01-2011
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
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
No720s is offline  

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Yachting's lasting legacy: The scene today - VillageSoup Belfast (blog) NewsReader News Feeds 0 07-23-2011 12:50 AM
"Socialism's Legacy", Alan Charles Kors RAGNAR Politics, Current Affairs, Guns & HOT Topics 1 04-09-2011 12:17 PM
Tartan 41 "Legacy" Boaat Watch camaraderie General Discussion (sailing related) 2 07-01-2008 06:34 PM
Legacy is free!!! seabreeze_97 General Discussion (sailing related) 7 04-18-2008 06:11 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome