Tribute to Bill Luders
In Fond Memory
by Ted Brewer
Good old boat sailors will be forever in the debt of designer Alfred E. "Bill" Luders
I worked for Bill Luders as his design assistant from 1960-1967, seven memorable years. During that time Bill taught me a great deal about yacht design, encouraged me in my own projects and, when I moved to Maine after the yard closed, helped me get started in my own design business by sending work up to me for years afterwards.
It was an exciting time to be working at Luders Marine; we were involved in modifying the 12-meter yacht Weatherly for the š62 Americašs Cup races and then designing and building the American Eagle for the š64 series. At the same time we were designing 5.5-metre yachts (about 50 in the time I was with Bill), several CCA ocean racers, fiberglass production yachts and even a powerboat or two.
Bill was always a great designer to work for. He would give me a project, let me figure out how to draw it up, and then trust my decisions. As a result, I learned to do things on my own, and I was careful not to let him down. Being in the shipyard was also a superb teaching experience, as part of my job was to tour the shops every morning where I would speak with craftsmen in wood and metal and discuss their suggestions or improvements on the work in progress. Then, after the yard closed for the day, Bill and I would sit in his office, have a smoke (always my cigarettes!) and talk things over: both design and construction work and, often, a design of mine that I wanted his advice on.
I also raced with Bill on his 39-foot sloop Storm (see photo below) during those years almost every weekend from May to September, and my wife and I would sail with him for a week on the annual New York Yacht Club cruise. Bill was a superb sailor, and I have several trophies that bring Stormšs victories fresh to my mind when I look at them. These are grand memories of a wonderful skipper and a wonderful boat.
Bill Luders will be missed. Yachting has lost one of the true greats, and I have lost a true gentleman who was my employer, teacher, and friend.
Alfred Edward "Bill" Luders Jr., an innovative boat designer and racer, died Jan. 31 at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 89. Luders Marine Construction Co. in Stamford Harbor, a major builder of custom yachts, was founded by his father in 1908 and was closed by Bill 60 years later.
Coincidentally, Billšs name appears in several places in this issue of Good Old Boat. See the articles by Ted Brewer on Page 34 and Dennis Boese on Page 39. His boats are sprinkled about the associations page also, beginning on Page 70. This is fitting, since his influence on our good old boats has been so pervasive.
The above article appeared in the May/June 1999 issue of Good Old Boat and was written by Ted Brewer. It is reprinted here with permission from Mr. Brewer and from Karen and Jerry, publishers of Good Old Boat Magazine. Thanks for sharing this with the Cheoy Lee Association's website. james...
Mr. Luders designed several of the Cheoy Lee models including the Clipper series, the Cheoy Lee 30, Offshore 28 & 47, and the Midshipman 36 & 40.