Chuck Paine is a force of nature; an American yacht designer who is both a traditionalist and bang up to the moment. He is worth listening to, so, rather than witter on about him, here is a recent quote taken directly from his website and blog. I think he is spot on.
"I have just returned from London Boat Show. My primary purpose was to meet with the editor of ClassicBoat magazine, which will be publishing a series of articles about my classic designs. The show followed the recent trend of being smaller each year, though what was missing were the plethora of massive powerboats chasing the maybe two customers left in the world who would want such a thing. The ClassicBoat stand was once again the best part of the show… remember, everyone, that I predicted in my memoir that the world of boating would go full circle and that what will be left in the end will be traditionally shaped, aesthetically derived, small raceable sailboats made of a material that grows on trees. The other thing that was really fun was the huge new aquasport pool where I leaned against the railing and watched improbably tiny kids trying to get their floating windsurfers to the northern end of the pool against a fan-generated wind. This, and anything shorter than fifteen feet that doesn’t consume fuel, is the future of boating!"
Here's a taste of the kind of boat he's talking about, the Paine 26. Personally, at 26ft, I prefer our British models. Those hollow bow sections are a bit too Herreshoff for me, but she's beamy enough to carry her sail well, and ballasted to half her displacement in lead. Shallow draught too, at 3ft 6in or so.
Now look at something from Ed Burnett, who takes his cues from Harrison Butler, S&S, Robert Clark and Laurent Giles (among many inspirations). Here's a little 23ft cutter which clearly owes something to Eric Hiscock's Wanderer II.
And here's another 26-footer, guess...
This is where it all began: Andrillot, lower by a strake, no doghouse, just a 5-tonner from the late 1930s, and drawing heavily on French fishing boats, small pilot boats and other healthy designs.