The naval architect and brokerage firm has been acquired by private investors led by Brooke S Parish and John B Reuter.


Commissioned by Harold Vanderbuilt to defend for the America’s Cup in 1927, 41m Ranger was born of a collaboration between Sparkman & Stephens and Starling Burgess

Sparkman & Stephens (S&S), the naval architect and brokerage firm, has been sold. Terms were not disclosed.

S&S was founded by Olin Stephens and Drake Sparkman in 1929. The firm has been acquired by private investors led by Brooke S Parish and John B Reuter.

A statement said that the acquisition will allow S&S to “implement expansion strategies” across both businesses. “We intend to put significant effort and capital into building both the design and brokerage businesses,” said Parish, who will serve as S&S’s new chairman.

Parish added: “We feel a tremendous sense of pride and responsibility to assume stewardship of a brand and a company whose legacy in American yachting cannot be overstated.” Parish owns Mermaid, a 1957 Sparkman & Stephens ketch.

New management

Reuter, an entrepreneur who has 20 years of experience with yachts, has been named CEO. “We are enthusiastic about continuing to build on the foundation,” said Reuter in the statement.

Jason Black, S&S chief operations officer, initiated the transaction. He will remain responsible for S&S’s brokerage team, business development and operations.

Black said the company intends to retain its brokerage and design staff as well as adding new positions in the coming months. He said a new office in Ft Lauderdale is “being discussed”.

Brendan Abbott, chief designer, will continue to lead the operations at its design studio in Newport, Rhode Island. “We delight in our sailing legacy and will always be active in that category,” said Abbott, “but we are putting increasing effort into building our portfolio in the power yacht arena. There are some fantastic projects already on the boards.”