Philip L. Rhodes (1895-1974) was a prolific, lifetime designer of all types of vessels from small recreational dinghies to large yachts, commercial cargo and military vessels. He designed in power and sail, for construction in wood, metals, and fiberglass. He wrote articles and published his designs in many periodicals, including Yachting, Rudder, Motor Boat, and Motor Boating. He was a 1918 graduate of MIT in naval architecture and marine engineering and during World War I he worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. He later was employed by several firms including the American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, Ohio, and the Union Shipbuilding Company, Baltimore, Maryland. He was also self-employed in New York City by 1925. In 1934 he joined with Cox & Stevens, Inc., New York City, and in 1947 the firm became Philip L. Rhodes, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. Mr. Rhodes was an active designer until his death at age 79.
Designed by Phillip Rhodes and built by Cheoy Lee Shipyard in Hong Kong from 1963 to 1976, the Rhodes Reliant 41, and Offshore 40 with her abundance of teak and polished bronze, is eye candy to classic yacht lovers.
But beyond her good looks, this full-keel, narrow-beam, heavily built beauty can sail. And she can handle those fresh offshore conditions that have many of today’s boats seeking the nearest harbor.
Although her sublime aesthetics, punctuated by generous overhangs, will turn heads — she has a waterline length of just 28 feet — it is her easy motion at sea and surprisingly accommodating three-cabin layout that make these aging fiberglass yachts good candidates for upgrades, if not total restorations. They were designed as yawls or sloops, but most were built as yawls.
Soon after the success of the Reliant 41, Cheoy Lee started building its own modified version, the Offshore 40, which had the same hull form but slightly shorter overhangs. One can only wonder why Cheoy Lee decided to build a “modified” version. One suspects Cheoy Lee wanted to reduce cost of construction and reduce Royalty Design Fees to Rhodes.