Colin Archer, naval architect and yard owner.

Colin Archer (22 July 1832 – 8 February 1921) was a Norwegian naval architect from Larvik on the south east coast of Norway. He was known for building seaworthy and fast double ended pilot boats, yachts and rescue boats. He also designed and built sailing ships for commercial trade and polar expeditions. He is most famous for the rescue boats and the polar ship FRAM used in both Fridtjof Nansen's and Roald Amundsen's polar expeditions.

Personal life

Colin Archer was born at Tollerodden in Larvik, the twelfth of thirteen children born to parents who had immigrated to Norway from Scotland in 1825.
After school and 1.5 year as ship builder apprentice, he went to Queensland, Australia and joined six of his elder brothers doing sheep farming. Colin there became the administrator and were in charge of transporting cargo to the coast on and up and down the Fitzroy River. Read more on Gracemere Homestead here:
In 1861, Archer returned home to Larvik for an 18 months "service" to look after his old parents. Under this stay he took up boat building and studied international shipbuilding and decided to stay in Norway. In 1869 he was married to Karen Sophie Wiborg (1838-1908) with whom he had five children. In 1872 he had built a house for his family next to his parent's house.

Naval studies

The first years after his return, he built some rowing boats and spent a lot time studying the latest international ship and yacht design developments. This included Fredrik Henrik af Chapman (1721 - 1808) and John Scott Russell (1808 - 1882). Archer was especially interested in the mathematic theories from these two.
Chapman is regarded as the first naval architect and developed calculations for displacement, stability and a lot more. He was the first one to make the displacement curve and after a lot model testing, concluded that most of the curve should follow a parabola. However, his conclusion of the overall hull shape, was confirming the shape of the time; "Cod's head, Mackerel tail" and thus did not make any controversy. The "Cod's head-" shape is characterised by having the midship section (point of widest beam) well forward of amidships, ideally said to be 1/3 (33%) from the bow.
John Scott Russell's wave-line theory, however, was double controversy. Firstly he, also after a lot of model testing, concluded that the midship section, should be placed 60 % from the bow. Secondly, he as a mathematic lecturer, put out the theory that the waterlines should follow mathematical curves, the sine curve forward and the trochoid curve aft. Scott Russell was a well know engineer having designed successful steam engines for canal boats, carriages and ships. Turning the line back to front and introducing extremely hollow lines where they should be full, did not get any applause. However, Scott Russell managed to get a yacht and a few ferries in his home town Glasgow to adopt his lines. Not surprising to us today, the sharp bow made the ships faster with less fuel consumption. His design was used on Royal Mail ships and gradually also the trans-Atlantic passenger ships adopted his lines. In the states the lines were transferred to sailing ships which was the start of the famous extreme Clippers. The lines were also tried on a New York yacht that got a lengthened foreship. This led to two pilot cutters, one of them being the famous AMERICA that beat all the English boats in 1851.
Archer thought Scott Russell's theories was very interesting, but the extreme hollow lines were not suitable for small boats. However, he put the midship section well aft of amidships and made the lines as hollow as he thought advisable. The displacement curve was made with Chapman's parabola.
Clinker built boats at the day, was built by the eye of the boatbuilder. Colin Archer however, being a naval architect before he started building, also designed his clinker-built boats and calculated displacement, sail areas etc. This gave him a great advantage over the traditional builders to develop new and better boats.
Archer's first sailing boats.
Archer's first sailing boat MAGGIE was built in 1866/67 and was clinker built and only 26 feet. The rig was 2-masted schooner with heavily raking masts and just one large foresail; a true copy of the famous AMERICA at ¼ the size.
MAGGIE replaced the family's old boat of traditional design and was noted for her speed sailing in the Larvik fjord. Archer built another 26-foot cutter for sale and in 1869 got an order to the customs on a 40-foot clinker-built gaff rigged cutter. This was too big for his small shed and was built outdoor as normal for larger boats of the time.
The customs were very satisfied and followed up with an order on two more, this time carvel built, 36 and 42 feet, very strong and heavily built. With these large orders, Archer had a large workforce employed and himself being administrator and designer. Archer now advertised that he could take orders on all type of boats.
1st revolution of the pilot boats.
In 1800 all pilot boats were still open boats and capsizing happened frequently. Pilots were rarely buried ashore. Peder Norden Sølling (1758-1827) a Norwegian in the navy, thought the pilots should have deck on the boats and more ballast to make them safer. But heavier boats meant slower boats, so it did not seem wise to invest in something that would put you out of business. Sølling then got the government to sponsor boats built with deck. To market this he visited the pilots wifes on stormy days and told about the new design that would bring her husband safe home in any weather. By 1850, decked pilot boats were the normal.
However, the heavily ballasting that Sølling prescribed, 4.5 tons, had been abandoned. The boats were fairly flat bottomed, so such an amount of ballast had to be in a large box which took up valuable space under deck in the 26-28 feet boats.
The decked boats could sail in more wind than the open boats, which meant the risk was higher, and not much was actually gained in security.
So, when Archer started his boatbuilding, capsizing was still a huge problem.
Archer's first pilot boats built in new shed.
Archer tried to introduce the English hull type with counter stern and plumb stem to the pilots and fishermen with a boat launched in 1870, but without luck.
In 1871 he sailed to Gothenburg in Sweden with his double ended yacht MAGGIE, re-rigged to cutter (from schooner), and took part in a big international race with 81 yachts and 61 workboats. This was a spectacular event with over 6000 spectators on steamships and on land. Archer got 3rd in a yacht class which gave him a lot publicity in Norwegian newspapers. This should make it easier to sell his boats. In the Gothenburg race, the Norwegian pilot boats from Hvaler (next to Swedish border, right across the Skagerrak from Larvik) took all the prices in their classes. Hvaler pilot boats were also common in the Larvik area.
Back home, he designed his first double ended pilot boat 33 feet on deck, clinker built.
To make building in winter more efficient, he put up a larger shed at the north west of Tollerodden.
All traditional pilot boats were still the "Cod's head"-type, but Archer applied Scott Russell's midship position which gave a sharp bow. However, he kept a fairly full deck-line, so the appearance of the boat was not too radical, and the boat shape were familiar to the pilots. Draft was increased, and more ballast used than his competitors and the boats became both faster, manoeuvrable and more seaworthy.
The rig was, also to get into the marked, converted from gaff to sprit as this was the normal in this area, and it was cheaper. Helped by the publicity of his price in the Gothenburg race, Archer got his first pilot customer.
Pilots in Norway were not allowed to corporate, so especially where there were many pilots, it was important to have fast boats to get to the ships first. This first pilot customer sailed in the outer Oslo fjord where there were dozens of pilots. He called the boat for PILEN ("Arrow") and noted for its speed, it gave Archer more customers.
This was the start of the 2nd revolution of the Norwegian pilot boats.
Naval architect and publishing theories
While his first pilot boat was built in 1872, Archer wanted to share his knowledge on the new design theories. This could also be good advertising for him. In a series of articles in a magazine, he published a 29-page lecture in boat design. He explained in detail Chapman's displacement curve and all the mathematics for the parabola curve for this. He also noted Scott Russell's recommendation of the midship section well aft amidships but thought the wave-line theory had to be modified for "smaller" boats. In table form, he listed all famous yachts and sailing ships and calculated many figures for comparison. He also presented several lines plans, mostly of American pilot boats, as he saw as ideal shapes.
He also published the lines plan for his first pilot boat just built and recommended other boatbuilders also to change their hull shapes. This well meant advise, worked against its purpose, being put forward even before his boat had been tested.
Archer's second pilot boat won a pilot boat race in 1873 and he got more orders, but not as many as he hoped. Archer's boats were also in the upper price region. It cost to build a garboard plank deeper and he did not build himself as his competitors. When all workers were paid, it was not much left for him. Many boats were also built by farmers in the winter to very cheap prices. In 1873 he thought there would be more money in building ships than boats, so he got in
Sailing ships
In 1873 he thought there would be more money in building ships than boats, so he got in contact with investors and in 1874 they founded the shipyard "Laurvig Strandeværft", at Rekkevik in the Larvik fjord, with Archer as a 30% part owner. Rekkevik lies 3 km from the inner harbour of Larvik where his boatyard  were at Tollerodden. One of the investors were ship owners and ordered the first ship, in which Archer was also a part owner; a good garantie for the ship owner that good work was done. in 1886 Archer became sole owner of the shipyard.
Archer built four ships to his design.
1875: Schooner ARIES, 86 feet
1880: Brigantine LEON, 108 feet
1892: Polar ship FRAM, 140 feet
1900: Auxiliary steam Yacht INGEBORG, 94 feet
Colin Archer made a dozen designs for sailing ships, mostly three masted barks, that were built at other yards on the south coast, the most in Arendal. Close to 20 were built as several were built from the same drawing.
Archer's shipyard also did a lot repair work and especially conversion and outfitting for polar expeditions. Some pilot and rescue boats were also built at Rekkevik when it was too busy at Tollerodden.
The plans for the 1880 brigantine LEON has been reproduced by Harold A. Underhill in his book "Plank-On-Frame Models and Scale Masting and Rigging, vol. I" and such a large number of LEON models exists around the world, including one at Royal Museums Greenwich. LEON was built to Herlofsen in Arendal. Herlofsens were a sailor and ship owner family and LEON stayed in the family until 1894. LEON then shifted hands several times, but all Norwegian owners. In 1897 she had the rig changed to schooner. Late autumn in 1915 she got a serious leak in the North Sea on a voyage from Granton to Porsgrunn with coal, and was abandoned.
The shipyard Laurvig Strandværft was laid down in 1907, two years before Archer retired and his boatyard also was laid down.
Polar ships
The most notable single ship built by Colin Archer was the FRAM, which participated in Fridtjof Nansen's expeditions to the North Pole 1893-96 and in 1911 in Roald Amundsen's historic first expedition to the South Pole. «Fram» is now preserved in the Fram Museum on BygdøyOslo, Norway.
In 1886 the 3-masted bark «Pollux» was built to Colin Archer's design in Arendal for catching seals and whales. In 1897 she was bought by Carsten Borchgrevink and taken to Archer's yard and fitted out for polar expeditions. Renamed «Southern Cross» she sailed to Antarctica 1898-1900 and did important discoveries later used by Roald Amundsen for his expedition to the south pole.
In 1898 the Italian prince and explorer Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi wanted to do polar expeditions. He travelled to Norway and consulted the famous polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen. In 1899 Amedo bought Jason, renamed her Stella Polare and took her to Colin Archer's shipyard. The interior was stripped out and new beams, diagonals and knees heavily strengthened the ship. Amedo sett of in June 1899 and Stella Polare had hard time in Amedo's expedition but survived thanks to Archer work.
In 1899, Archer also fitted out Zarya for the Russian polar expedition of 1900–02. So the two ships lay side by side at the yard. «Zarya» was also strengthened heavily with internal frames and beams, and deckhouses were added and modified. The rig was changed to barkentine (square sail on foremast only). In October 1899 the ship was certified by Norwegian authorities for a three-year expedition in the Arctic.
As mentioned, Archer's first yacht MAGGIE was successful. In 1873 he had built himself a new 36 feet yacht, counter stern and plumb stem. It was clinker built, fairly beamy and with inside ballast. After doing well in races, he put it out fore sale and built himself another one in 1876, also put out fore sale after some races. More orders came in and built next to the pilot boats. However, at this time, his shipyard was busy building sailing ships so the production of boats at Tollerodden was limited to 4-5 boats a year.
Ballast keels.
The first boat with ballast keel in Norway was an 18 feet transom boat built in 1870. Double enders were the normal, so this was probably influenced from abroad or just a slightly enlarged dinghy, cheap to experiment with. In the years to follow, larger versions were built by different boatbuilders. After some trial and error, these became very successful, which led to them being put in separate racing classes.
Archer at the time, made his boats deep with inside ballast cast to fit the hull shape. He also built several flat bottom transom boats, with steel plate centreboards.
In an autumn race in 1877, the owners of ballast keel boats, refused to start in separate classes, and this practice came to an end.
Archer then designed his first yacht with a large ballast keel, cast in lead. This was a 35 feet narrow boat of the English type, counter stern and plumb stem. This was very successful and after this, all yachts were built with ballast keels.
Archer built about 125 boats with ballast keels and another 50 were built to his design at other yards in his time.
Ballast keels on carvel-built pilot boats.
After 10 yachts with ballast keels in 1883, Archer thought it was time to introduce this to the pilots as well. Archers persuaded his customs contact in the north to order one to promote safe boots and it was financed by a foundation. Archer also the same year, persuaded 3 Norwegian pilots that wanted new boats to have them to his new design.
With the improved stability generated by the ballast keel, Archer reduced the beam to 33% as opposed to the traditional 38-40%. The pilots were sceptical, but the 35-37 feet boats proved to be outstanding in their performance; speed under all conditions, manoeuvrability and resisted capsizing.
Archer had built several yachts to a sailing club in Gothenburg in Sweden, and they also ordered one for different pilots to try out.
In 1886 in Arendal on the south east coast, Archers pilot boats, totally outclassed all others in a pilot race with 1,2,3,4,6 and 7th place of 12 participants. Thereafter he was made a Knight of the Order of St. Olav.
After some years trying, the Swedish pilots were very satisfied with Archer's new type, and a designer made his Archer-type that were built at many yards. In Norway, however, other boatbuilders kept building the old type with poor windward abilities.
Rescue boats
Norway's coast with all the skerries and fjords and deep water, makes it easy to sail for shelter as long as visibility and local knowledge are good. At night, in bad weather and poor visibility, navigating is dangerous. Many ships ended up in the rocks. Another problem was fishing boats, all open at the time, that either were water filled, capsized or were blow to sea in in wither storms.
The European with rescue stations with rowing boats being launched on beaches, was impossible here. Building large rescue boats, steamships were suggested, was too expensive in the numbers needed.
Pilots had traditionally been those who sailed out rescue, but many pilots were lost every year, so that did not either seem like a good solution. Although Archers new pilot boats the last 10 years had got good reputation, it was not fully understood how seaworthy these boats really were.
In a severe off shore gale on the southeast coast in February 1892, several of Archer's pilot boats rescued many fishing boats. This got great publicity and now the idea with pilots being the rescue service, was launched, and 3 boats ordered by local societies at 38, 41 and 42 feet in length. The newly founded rescue company wanted all boatbuilders to make as safe pilot boats as Archer's and put out a design competition for building of two boats.
The competition was no success as all other pilot boatbuilders were still building the old type.  However, the sailor Stephansen had delivered a design on a 47 feet boat, narrow with large displacement and very high freeboard. It had a small sail area on two masts, more a rescue boat design than a pilot boat that needed one mast and large sail area for pilot competition in the daily normal winds. It was decided to build Stephansen's design in a modified version.
Archer was given the other order and his boat was also more a rescue boat than pilot boat. With 3 pilot boats already being built, a larger boat for the north with hard conditions and large fishing fleets, seemed sensible although it was against was the rescue initially company wanted. The pilots could probably not afford such a large boat, especially up north with less ship traffic.
Archer based his design on his newest pilot boat. The lines plan was scaled to 46 feet and slightly stretched so beam ratio became 33.5%. Freeboard height was increased with approx. 20 cm. The keel was widened so the ballast keel became considerably heavier, 6,5 tons. Inside ballast is approx. the same, 6-7 tons. The boat was launched July 1893 and became RS 1 COLIN ARCHER.
Rescue-boats in service.
In service, it was soon realised, that to be of any use to the fishing men, the rescue boats had to sail out with the fishing fleet every day. There were no weather forecasts and no distress signals, so the rescue boats had to be at the scene when the storm arrived. As wind increased, the smallest boats first, several at a time, towed to safety. The rescue boat returned out and towed more until all were in safety.
The pilots could off course not do this patrol service all day every day and withdrew from the daily rescue service.
so rescue company had to take all the costs of crew and investing in new boats.
In the morning of May 20, 1894, a hurricane storm hit astonishingly on the coast all the way north. RS 1 COLIN ARCHER who had patrolled Lofoten during winter had arrived Vardø the night before. The harbourmaster received a telegram from the fishing village Hamningberg with a prayer for steamship aid for fishermen who were aboard anchored boats that could not sail out of the harbour due to the storm. In the open and vulnerable harbour, the boats were wrecked in the surf as the boats broke off the anchor lines.
RS 1 was shown the telegram, but no one expected a sailing vessel to do anything in such weather. The surprise was great when RS 1 immediately set sail and sailed out in the rough sea; no one expected to see it again. The only steamship that ventured out when it had gotten up the steam pressure, had to return right outside the harbour and barely made it back to safely.
Skipper on RS 1 was 37 years old Nikolai Anthonisen from Nevlunghavn. He had been mate on the Archer pilot boat GARIBALDI, which saved fishermen during the Langesund storm two years earlier, so he knew what a boat with iron ballast keel was good for. But when he saw Hamningberg harbour, he realized that this was a dangerous task. The waters were shallow, and the waves were breaking all over the place. He could not guarantee that this would be safe, but he got the crew's consent and at risk for their own lives, they sailed in.
The people in Hamningberg who waited for a steamship, saw something white like a sail, but thought it would be a ghost as nobody could sail in such weather.
But RS 1 sailed into the harbour, tacked and jibed as they wanted between all the boats. After taking onboard 22 people, they sailed out of the harbour - again against the wind.
Something like this no one thought was possible. This was not only seen by the fishermen in the boats; on land everyone's families stood fearing for their loved ones.
On the way out, RS1 was buried by a breaking sea with the mast horizontal and the sails filled with water. Underneath the deck it became dark and water was sprayed down through hatches and chain holes. The rescued people were thrown on top of each other and thought this was the end They panicked and wanted to get out before the boat sank. But before they got out, the iron keel and ballast made sure that the boat righted herself again. The dinghy on deck was smashed, but otherwise RS1 was undamaged and tight.
For the saved, this was magic. Well back in Vardø harbour, a new telegram was waiting as more fishermen, after seeing what RS 1 could accomplish, signalled after rescue. RS 1 went back and saved another 14.
Better PR for the rescue boat could not be obtained.
If a storm arrived when the rescue boat was in harbour, they sailed out to look for boats in distress and did not return until they were sure no other boats were out.
the 3 pilot boats were given to the rescue company within half a year.
Only one rescue boat was lost at sea with the crew lost.
The rescue boats did not only sail out to rescue,
33 ketch rigged rescue boats were built from 1893 to 1924. 28 of the ketches were Archer’s design and 13 built by Archer. From 1909 – 1924 the last 13 were built in Risør area (35 n.m. SW of Larvik).
the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning). This 47-foot boat proved so seaworthy that 33 were built, building Archer and his shipyard a reputation for building durable and safe ships.
Archer made 2 new plans. Mk II in 1897 has more overhang in the bow profile and thus more flare in the bow sections and a slightly fuller waterline in the bow. Length over deck became 47 feet and the boat had a bit more stability for better towing power. Mk. III came in 1908 with 20 cm more beam (34.4%) and a considerably fuller bow, but a finer stern. All versions have the midship section approx. 53% from bow, but mk. III’s lines are more symmetrically shaped than Archer normally used. The mk. III rescue boat was considered the best boat in strong winds and most towing abilities. This is mainly because the fuller bow gave more stability and easier motions, so it could be driven harder with less reefing. It was obviously slower in light airs, but that was off course of no importance for a rescue boat.
Framing is kept relatively light with frame spacing 60–66 cm c-c with a thin stem bent oak rib in between. Planking was 38 mm oak and the inside of the frames was also planked (ceiling) with 50 mm pine. This was caulked watertight to the watertight cabin sole (floor) and thus, they had a double hull and stayed floated when the planking was holed or got a leak.
To minimized pitching, ballast was concentrated amidships, and anchor windlass and chain placed aft of the mast.
The rig was ketch (two mast) with relatively short mast and very small mizzen. In strong wind, they normally sailed with main and staysail only, often reefed. With boats in tow, the mizzen was used to point higher to the wind and help tacking. The rig was basically the same for all boats, but the spars became heavier for each upgrade.
The last sailing rescue boat was built in 1924. Next generation boats, the Bjarne Aas design with engine but also full rig, did not come until 1932. A dozen of Archer's design served without an engine until 1940. With engine installed, they served until 1960.
Famous for his yachts.
Colin Archer built about 60 yachts, each to unique drawing, half being double enders and the other half with counter sterns. Many of both double enders and the counter stern yachts, have plum stem (almost vertical, straight stem). All yachts have more undercut forefoot than the workboats, especially after 1897 and then with the known Colin Archer curved stem profile.
Beam is 22-30% of length over deck. (As opposed to 33-36% for the pilot boats and the rescue boats).
NANNA built 1898 by Colin Archer. The cutter rig is typical for his yachts.
All yachts, even the larger ones at 60 feet, except one (Asgard), and all pilot boats, are cutter rigged (one mast). The yachts have their main boom extending the stern with several feet which together with a relatively tall mast, gives very good performance on all points of sailing. (The pilot boats' boom normally extends the sternpost by one foot. Only the rescue boats and a few fishing boats, are ketch rigged (two masts)). Sail area for the yachts are in the range 100-125% of waterline length squared, pilot boats 85-90% and the rescue boats 70%.
On almost all boats, Archer spaced of grown pine frames 2 feet c-c with a thin steam bent oak rib in between. This, together with thin, canvassed decks, made the yachts fairly light. (The rescue boats have heavy ceiling (planking inside the frames) that made them strong and unsinkable, but heavier.)
The yachts have large ballast keels and normally no inside ballast, except a little for trim. (Pilot and rescue boats have equal keel weight and ballast weight.)
Archer's Wave Form Theory
Archer spent much time calculating how an efficient hull should be designed. He started with Chapman's displacement parabola curve, but with Scott Russell's positioning of the midship section; well aft of amidships and thus with sharp bow waterlines.
In 1876 he swapped Chapman's parabola for the displacement curve, with Scott Russell's wave curves; the sine curve forward and the trochoid curve aft. This sounded very logic and gave designers more freedom in shaping the hull than Scott Russell's theory. Many used his theory, either directly or as a guide.
We know now that the theory is not correct at all, but it did away with the old Cod's Head-Mackerel Tail-type. However, unless a well undercut forefoot, the bow line became very sharp with a tendency to make the boats "pitchy" and wet. The theory did not change Colin Archer's early lines as they were already sharp in the bow; it more confirmed them. With more undercut forefoot and the displacement curve extending the designed waterline, the lines became fuller and Archer's boats became the seaworthy boats he is known for.
Even to this day, people consult his work when designing new boats.
Knight of the Order of St. Olav -1886
Commander of Order of St. Olav -1896
Fram-medaljen - 1896
The Archer-type
Archer's boats, deep and with heavy ballast keels and sharp bow, had a seaworthiness no one believed could have been possible. Archer's type double enders therefore became referred to as a Colin Archer or Colin Archer-type no matter who designed or built them. Boats are still (2018) being built and labelled Colin Archer-type. Archer built about 120 double enders, but thousands, in all materials, have been built worldwide.
Colin Archer built about 200 boats. 125 of them had ballast keels. His designs were also built at other yards, about 50 in his lifetime.
Today, 25 of his boats are still sailing plus about 10 of those built at other yards in his time.
Archer closed his business in 1909, at 78 years old.
Colin Archer sold several boats to Sweden in the early 1880s and Swedish designers soon adapted the Archer type for pilot boats and yachts. Norwegian pilot- and fishingboat builders converted to the Archer type after the rescue boat had shown its seaworthiness in 1894.
Archer also had customers in Denmark, Germany, Holland and England. In 1904, he built a boat for the writer Robert Erskine Childers named the Asgard.[13][14]
Outside Scandinavia, the rescue boat lines have been the most popular design to copy or modify. Thus, the Archer-type outside Norway, has a lot more beam and smaller rig than Archer's actual yachts.
In 1908 the 47 feet OEGER was designed by Archer but built in Porsgrunn. The customer was the English sailor Haig that had already sailed in north Norway and wanted to have a more seaworthy boat to go to Spitsbergen. The lines were narrower version (32% beam) of the mk. III rescue boat. The rig, however, was cutter with large sail area. The boat was sold to Ralph Stock in 1919 that undertook a cruise around the world with her.
In 1921 the book The Cruise of the Dream Ship was published. This was Ralph Stock’s cruise with OEGER. The book became extremely popular with many reprints.
In the early 1920s, a 47 feet yacht was built in China. The lines were based on Colin Archer’s 1908 mk. III rescue boat plans. The boat was named SHANGHAI and sailed to Denmark in 1923/24 by the Danish owners and put out for sale.[15]
In June 1923, plans for SHANGHAI were published in the American magazine MotorBoat. SHANGHAI was sold to the American judge F. DeWitt Wells to undertake a voyage in the wake of the Vikings to America.[15]
In 1924 William Atkin was contacted by W.W. Nutting, editor[16] of the American magazine MotorBoat and previous Atkin customer.[17] He wanted a yacht based on Colin Archer’s rescue boats. Atkin designed a 32 feet yacht with lines basically a scaled down version of Colin Archer’s mk. III rescue boat,[16] slightly sharper bow lines and with a cutter[18] rig. The project was called ERIC and was published in the Motorboat. Nutting, however, heard that boats were cheaper in Norway, cancelled the building and went to Norway.[15] There he bought a 40 feet second-hand double ender. Although built as yacht, the lines were basically of a fishing boat design with great beam (by 14,5 feet – 36%) and without a ballast keel. It had high bulwarks and the large cockpit were not self-draining for access to the engine beneath.[19] Nutting wanted to sail the northerly route to America, called the boat LEIV ERIKSSON and left Norway at same time as SHANGHAI. Unfortunately, Nutting and his crew were lost without traces off Greenland in September. SHANGHAI also got into trouble; their sails parted, and they blew ashore on Nova Scotia, but the crew were rescued under dramatic circumstances.[20]
William Atkins plans for ERIC, published in MotorBoat arose immediate interest. Plans were modified with new interior, ketch rig and three boats were built and launched in 1925. Atkin got more orders and more Archer-type were designed. The INGRID in 1934 is 37,5 feet and a stretched version (beam 30%) with well undercut forefoot and hollow waterlines.[15] The lines thus resemble Archer’s yachts except Archer had greatest beam further aft. Archer, on his later yachts, used fuller lines, especially aft.
The Eric went on to become very influential in ocean sailing, with boats such as Vito Dumas's Lehg II and Robin Knox-Johnston's Suhaili making notable circumnavigations, the latter becoming the first boat to be sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in the 1968 Golden Globe RaceSuhaili was very under canvassed and definitely the slowest boat in the race, but as the only of the nine starting boats to complete the race, she took both first prices, the first and the fastest boat!
Another Colin Archer type boat to become very famous in the 1968 Golden Globe Race, was the French sailor and author Bernard Moitessier in his custom-built 39 foot steel ketch Joshua. She has a tall rig and was catching up on Suhaili, but instead of passing the finishing line, Moitessier continued around the world to Tahiti, thus sailing 1,5 times around the globe, non-stop, single handed.
In the 1970s, Atkin's ERIC design was adapted to glass-reinforced plastic by William Crealock, and became the Westsail 32; this famous cruising boat has, in turn, inspired many imitations, so that the "Archer double-ender" style of boat continues to be popular to the present day.[21][22]
The Argentinian naval architect Manuel M. Campos based his designs on Archer/Atkin and built Vito Dumas's Lehg II in 1934 in Argentina. Other of Campos designs have less draught that the typical Archer-type.
Tahiti ketch is clearly derived from the Archer-type. Tahiti ketch are characterised by a straight sternpost, less draught and their small rig. The straight sternpost and hull shape make them easier to build.