Meet Jim Taylor: naval architect, boat designer, cup competitor, and captain of Jabberwock, a Rhodes 19.

Jim Taylor has been sailing since childhood “messing about in boats” on the Delaware River and on a Rhode Island salt pond. Jim earned a graduate ‘degree’ from the ‘Ted Hood School of Yachting Technology,’ where he worked for five years on a variety of ocean racing, America’s Cup 12-meter, and production cruising designs.  He joined Bill Koch’s America³ design team in 1990. The team’s breakthrough USA 23 design convincingly beat Italy’s Il Moro 4-1 to win the 1992 America’s Cup. Taylor returned with the core of that team for the 1995 Cup. 

He founded Jim Taylor Yacht Designs in 1978. Jim’s designs have won 11 of 12 Mass Bay Season championships, 6 Block Island class wins, 2 New York Yacht Club Herreshoff Trophies, and 6 straight PHRF New England championships (9 in 11 years). His custom, production, racing, and spirit of tradition designs have won Cruising World Boat of the Year multiple times for boat builders such as Colgate, Precision, and Sabre, and a string of successful IOR racers and production cruisers.

Jim developed the production methods and tooling that allowed Stuart Marine to produce its first Rhodes 19s. About its enduring popularity, Jim says, “The boat is really well suited to intergenerational sailing, so that in addition to the husband-and-wife crews, there are lots of parent-child teams, too.”

About 3,500 Rhodes 19s have been built. Available with either a fixed ballast keel (most popular) or with a retractable centerboard, it’s used primarily as a day sailer or for one-design racing.

The R19 has flourished for more than 40 years for three reasons: It’s moderately priced, it’s a terrific family boat, and it’s a competitive racer, supported by strong national and regional class organizations. Fleet 5, home of the Rhodes 19 class in Marblehead, is the largest R19 fleet in the country, and also the largest active one-design fleet in Marblehead. They’re on the water from Memorial Day through September in racing that includes ultra-competitive Saturdays as well as low-pressure, no-spinnaker Thursday nights. About Jim, a Rhodes 19 sailor commented, “Here we have one of the world’s leading naval architects, and what boat does he have for himself? A Rhodes 19.”

Do you have a question for Jim? What do you think about Rhodes 19s? Could you see yourself sailing one? Tell us what you think below. To see Jabberwock, click here