Deceased , Historic

Alfred E.


1909 - 1999

Alfred E. (Bill) Luders was a sailboat designer and racer responsible for building many custom yachts, perhaps most notable, the 12-metre Weatherly, which successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1962.

Luders was an American naval architect and director of Luders Marine Construction Company, founded by his father in 1908.  During World War II, the company built more than 100 vessels for the military including minesweepers, patrol craft and submarine chasers.

When it came to racing, Mr. Luders’ early successes (1930s) came in the International 6-metre class of his own design and equipped on tight budgets imposed by his father. ”Briggs Cunningham was kind,” Mr. Luders said of a well-financed competitor. ”He would give me his discarded mainsails and jibs.”

In 1946, Luders was one of a committee of five boat designers (including George HInman, Arthur Knapp, Bus Mosbacher, and Cornelius Shileds) who codified and regulated the International One Design Class of Yachts.

In 1958, the yard built the America’s Cup boat Weatherly to the design of Philip Rhodes. Weatherly was not a successful campaigner in that series, but after a redesign by Mr. Luders, she successfully defended the cup in 1964.

Among the many famous yachts Mr. Luders designed was the sloop American Eagle, built originally for the America’s Cup competition but most successful as an ocean racer under the helm of media mogul, Ted Turner.

Mr. Luders designed, and his shipyard built, many others yachts for owners such as King Olaf V of Norway, actor Yul Brenner, Nelson Rockefeller and the Pulitzer family.

The Luders yard closed in 1968. The last racing yachts designed and built by him were a number of 5.5-metre sloops, a class used in Olympic and international competition.
Some of his better known yachts, built in series, are listed below.



A Partial List of Boats Designed and/or Built by Bill Luders


ALC 46 (Le Compte)

Annapolis 44

Clipper 33 (Cheoy Lee)

Clipper 36 (Cheoy Lee)

Clipper 42 (Cheoy Lee)

Clipper 48 Ketch (Cheoy Lee)

Clipper 48 schooner (Cheoy Lee)

Cruisaire 30 Clipper (Cheoy Lee)

Cruisemaster 37

Fastnet 45 (Le Compte)

Luders 16

Luders 21

Luders 24

Luders 27 (1955)

Luders 27 (1960)

Luders 30 (Cheoy Lee)

Luders 33 (Allied)

Luders 36 (Cheoy Lee)

Luders 44

Midshipman 36 (Cheoy Lee)

Midshipman 40 (Cheoy Lee)

Offshore 28 (Luders)

Offshore 47 (Cheoy Lee)

Sea Sprite 27/28

Sea Sprite 30

Sea Sprite 34

Viking 31 (Luders)

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