She runs with the Gods of Wind, the Spirit of Tradition and the Forces of Change.

Like a true championship thoroughbred, the yacht Zemphira has had its share of highs and lows over the course of a dramatic 18-year career, and what keeps her sprinting into the winner’s circle is a seamless coordinated effort of owner and crew, designer and boatbuilder.

A 2022 class win at Maine’s Camden Classics Cup is among many fresh triumphs. Outperforming nine other Spirit of Tradition steeds designed after 1980, Zemphira’s victory in a tight July race secured her stature front and center in classic yacht regatta circuits.

By season’s end, Zemphira matched fellow Spirit of Tradition trophy-getter Blackfish in sailing the most races — 15 out of 20 — in the 2022 Classic Yachts Challenge Series season. She finished first in the Spirit of Tradition (SoT) division for her district, Maine, also earning a second place overall SoT ranking for the CYCS 2022 season.

After an upcoming third winter of care and upgrade at Lyman-Morse, look for an even further optimized Zemphira — and her completely new rig — at the starting line in summer 2023.

Built to Race in Style: 


A favorite in the classic yacht racing world, the 76-foot wood/composite sloop was called Goshawk when built by Brooklin Boat Yard and Rockport Marine in 2005. The design brief by Bob Stephens and Paul Waring, then Brooklin’s in-house team, called for an ocean racer with a long, narrow hull and classic overhangs, a deep fin keel with bulb and a spade rudder. The stiletto-like sailboat was sleek and easy to maneuver, with speed and power to spare.

Goshawk completed the 2005 and 2007 Marblehead to Halifax Races, the 2006 Newport to Bermuda Race and the classic yacht SoT race circuit in New England. Her owners also cruised her in Maine and Nova Scotia. A change in ownership left Goshawk inactive for a decade. When purchased by her current owner in October 2020, Stephens Waring Yacht Design and Lyman-Morse were brought in to collaborate on a major refit, one that would also involve the advanced systems integration capabilities of the Lyman-Morse Technologies division.

Much was accomplished over the winter of 2021. A below-deck hydraulic jib-roller furling system was designed and installed; the anchor roller and stem were modified; a carbon-fiber side-boarding platform and an enclosable dodger/bimini system were designed and built; new stern rails with owners’ seats of teak veneer over composite material added; refinements were made to the belowdecks saloon and sleeping staterooms. Lyman-Morse also undertook systems revisions, including a larger generator, a full hydraulic system to provide push-button sailing, new lithium batteries, and a full paint job in black. Plans for a low-resistance carbon-fiber keel were put on hold to finish in time for the 2021 summer sailing and racing season.

It wasn’t meant to be. After Zemphira ran aground during the maiden voyage in spring 2021, she was sent back to the barn. The opportunity Fate provided allowed Stephens Waring and Lyman-Morse to expand and improve upon the delayed plans for a new keel.

A new carbon hull replacement part and keel socket called for the old and heavy bronze grid work to be removed and replaced with carbon fiber grid work bonded to a new carbon fiber skin/socket and socketed keel. Mars Metal of Ontario, Canada, fabricated the new keel, a steel structural strut cast in place on a lead lower fin and large bulb. The new keel is the same draft as the original — 10’- 9”— but narrower longitudinally and skinnier in thickness, with a bigger bulb and about 1,000 pounds less overall weight.


Collaborating with the owner and designers to carry out the winter 2022 renovation were Lyman-Morse onsite teams: engineers, designers, carpenters, composites workers, machinists, painters, installers, supervisors.   

The capabilities of the Lyman-Morse Technologies division were well suited to the demands of the project. CNC milling machines along with 3D modeling software were used to create precisely shaped tooling over which the carbon composite parts were built, particularly the keel socket. It was another opportunity for the skilled technicians at Lyman-Morse Technologies to demonstrate their versatility — transitioning smoothly from providing custom capabilities to meet the needs of architectural, industrial, and government clients, back to their boatbuilding roots for sailing customers.

“We spent a lot of time opening up the work area,” says Matthew Graham, LM chief operating officer. “A good amount of interior was removed, including the floor/sole system and some cabinetry. We also had to clean the area and make sure the measurements were perfect. We made the keel socket in our composites shop in Thomaston.”

In his capacity as COO, Graham monitors project costs as well as changes in the scope of the work; he’s also responsible for quality control. As the upgrade enters a third year, the breadth of his responsibilities over Zemphira lends perspective.

“While we’re accustomed to big efforts, this is a pretty unique project,” he says. “This is the first time in my six years here that we’ve retrofitted a boat to have multiple keels and make them interchangeable. The idea of that socket is exciting. There are two elements – if the boat runs aground, the socket has a crush box aft, and the keel will actually pivot on bolts but won’t break away and cause damage, thanks to two sacrificial bolts up forward. So, if the boat hits a rock, it tilts and keeps doing its job of keeping the boat upright. The other exciting element of the keel socket is that theoretically, you can change keels easily. It’s a cool option for a boat racing and cruising in different parts of the world.”

One more thing, Graham adds. “It was cool to see the fusion of traditional and modern. The wood and bronze structure felt very traditional, whereas the carbon structure is a modern element. So to combine modern elements with a traditional look is cool. And even though no one really sees the grid structure on the hull, it’s a reflection of that. Another example is the aft seat on the stern: It’s a carbon fiber seat with teak veneer over it. It’s a stunning piece of work. You look at it and you see both the modern and traditional.”


  • loa 76'3"
  • lwl 53'5"
  • beam 14'6"
  • designed by Stephens Waring & White Yacht Design
  • builder Brooklin Boat Yard
  • model Spirit of Tradition Ocean Racing/Cruising Sloop
  • year 2005
  • construction Cold-Molded
  • boat engine Yanmar
  • horsepower 125


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