L. Francis Herreshoff

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Lewis Francis Herreshoff
LF Herreshoff.jpg
Born(1890-11-11)November 11, 1890
DiedDecember 1, 1972(1972-12-01) (aged 82)
OccupationShip Designer
Parent(s)Nathanael Greene Herreshoff

L. (Lewis) Francis Herreshoff (November 11, 1890 – December 1972), was a boat designer, naval architect, editor and author of books and magazine articles.[1] Early in his career he worked for the Herreshoff Manufacturing and for naval architect Starling Burgess.


He was born on November 11, 1890 in Bristol, Rhode Island to Clara Anna DeWolf and Nathanael Greene Herreshoff. After naval service and work for Starling Burgess, in 1926 he became self-employed, designing both racing and cruising sailing yachts, plus many canoes, kayaks and other small craft, he died in December 1972.

Notable designs[edit]

Herreshoff's designs included:

  • A series of graceful clipper-bowed ketches: Ticonderoga 72 ft, Tioga/Bounty 57 ft, Mobjack 45 Ft and Nereia 36
  • A shoal-draft leeboarder: Meadowlark
  • Arguably the original "passagemaker"; the inspiration for Beebe's book, and an indirect inspiration for Perry's "container boat": Marco Polo.
  • His answer to Hanna's ideas about the ideal homebuild: H-28
  • The 73-foot (22 m) Merlin, sunk on July 7, 1999 by a humpback whale in Whale Bay, Baranof Island, Alaska.[2]


His books include The Common Sense of Yacht Design, The Compleat Cruiser, Capt. Nat Herreshoff: The Wizard of Bristol, The Writings of L. Francis Herreshoff, Sensible Cruising Designs and An L. Francis Herreshoff Reader. He published numerous magazine articles, notably the 'How To Build' series in the magazine The Rudder. Herreshoff's success as an author is especially impressive in one sense; his dyslexia had led his father to shunt him into agricultural school.


  1. ^ "L. Francis Herreshoff Collection". Mystic Seaport. Retrieved 2011-04-26. Lewis Francis Herreshoff (1890-1972), the son of Nathanael G. Herreshoff, was a naval architect, editor and author of numerous books and articles; as a young man, Mr. Herreshoff had the opportunity to work in each area of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. During World War I, he designed for the U. S. Navy, and he later worked for naval architect W. Starling Burgess. By 1926, he was self-employed, designing racing and cruising yachts, canoes, kayaks and other small craft, his racing yachts include a 1930 Americas Cup contender ...
  2. ^ "Whale baleen found in hull of sunken sailboat". Juneau Empire. August 22, 1999. Retrieved November 24, 2017.