Neff Yacht Sales / Used 53 foot SPARKMAN & STEPHENS Sparkman & Stephens 53 Semi-Custom CC, Davie Norris, Builder Cruising Sailboat - DOVETAIL

SPARKMAN & STEPHENS Sparkman & Stephens 53 Semi-Custom CC, Davie Norris, Builder


2004 • 53' (16.15 m) • Cruising Sailboat
United States

$279,000 USD

Sparkman & Stephens pedigree, built in New Zealand. Award-winning raised pilothouse design. Modern construction yields lighter, stronger offshore hull with increased performance.


Vessel Information

Model: Sparkman & Stephens 53 Semi-Custom CC, Davie Norris, Builder
Model Year: 2004
Type: Sailboat
Category: Cruising Sailboat
Sub Category: Center Cockpit
Condition: Used

LOA: 53' (16.15 m)
Beam Feet: 15' (4.67 m)
Draft Feet: 7' (2.13 m)
Engine Info: 100 HP, Single, Inboard, Diesel, Yanmar
Sleeps: 6
Staterooms: 3

Location: Charleston, S. Carolina United States
City: Charleston
Country: United States


Unique offering for sale by her original owners, DOVETAIL is a world class bluewater cruising yacht. Originally marketed as the Stellar 53, DOVETAIL is a semi-custom Sparkman & Stephens center cockpit design built by Davie Norris Boatbuilders in New Zealand. DOVETAIL was engineered and fitted with the finest available components to be a world-cruising yacht of unparalleled beauty and strength. And gorgeous she is, from every angle with sailing performance aplenty to match.

DOVETAIL summered over in Grenada for a couple of years, and in the fall of 2017, extensive refinishing of her teak decks was undertaken, with all new caulking installed followed by a fresh sanding. We inspected this work while it was being completed under cover in November of 2017, and can report it was a first rate job. DOVETAIL has been well maintained since new and upgraded along the way, with details in the listing. DOVETAIL is truly a first-class build and compares quite favorably, for example, to the likes of Hallberg Rassey and Oyster. Anyone looking for a high quality bluewater design and build in this size range will want to know more about this sailing yacht.

Now back in the States, she is seriously for sale and realistically priced.


"When Stellar Yachts decided it was going to move its production from Taiwan to New Zealand, Sparkman & Stephens was given the opportunity to make a good design, the Stellar 52 Center Cockpit (CC) even better. The Stellar 52 CC won Cruising World's 2002 "Boat of the Year" award for Best Raised Deck Saloon/Pilothouse, which is hard to beat...but there is always room for improvement. These improvements can be seen in the new Stellar 53 CC.

The Stellar 53 CC has an all-new hull, as well as new appendages and a new rig, providing improved performance. The new hull has a longer waterline for higher speeds. The hull features a fine entry forward and an easy run aft, and provides stellar performance in all conditions and seas. The hull's displacement is balanced to provide maximum offshore comfort and easy work at the helm in a sea, S&S trademarks and the hallmark of Rod Stephens himself.

The new keel features an improved vertical foil with less drag than its predecessor, and the latest cruising bulb design to lower the ballast's center of gravity and improve stability. The new rudder has less drag and improved handling and feel. The emergency steering system has also been improved, with direct access on deck. With additional stability from the new keel, additional sail area has been added to the rig, improving performance, especially in light air.

It is hard to find a better place to build a sailing yacht than in New Zealand, with its highly-skilled labor force and its population's fondness of sailing, and therefore familiarity with boats and their operation. Construction at Davie Norris Boatbuilders allows for the new Stellar 53 CC hull and deck to be stronger and lighter through the use of improved materials and manufacturing techniques. The weight savings further improves performance.

The exterior of the new Stellar 53 CC is similar to the 52 CC with slight refinements to the deck, such as the larger cockpit. The overhangs of the new hull also better complement the deck styling. Inside, the general layout remains much the same, with additional volume added in key areas such as the owner's stateroom and head, galley and forward staterooms. The top-notch interior construction and finish of the 52 CC will be maintained on the new Stellar 53 CC.

It can be a challenge to improve a good thing, but in the Stellar 53, that is exactly what has been done."

Greg Matzat; Chief Naval Architect Sparkman and Stephens


The interior features handsome cherry joinery with a satin finish and teak and holly soles throughout. The raised salon deck house windows provide ample light and a spacious feel.

Starting forward is the sail locker accessed through a large flush deck hatch.

The VIP Guest Cabin is next aft, featuring a centerline island berth. Ventilation is provided by a large overhead hatch. Additional natural light comes by way of two fixed hull ports. There is AC and reverse-cycle heat as well. Storage is provided by several lockers port and starboard, a hanging locker on the aft bulkhead as well as larger drawers beneath the berth.

The second Guest Cabin is further aft and to port and features one-over-one berths with solid cherry hull sheathing. An overhead hatch and large dorade vent on deck provide air. There is a hanging locker, storage beneath the lower berth and a vent for AC/heat.

The Forward Head is across from the guest cabin and to starboard and features a separate stall shower, sink and vanity, with overhead opening hatch, dorade vent and opening port for plenty of natural light and ventilation. The marine toilet is an economical and easy-to-use fresh water VacuFlush model with separate tank level gauge.

The spacious Salon is next aft with a slightly curved L-settee outboard to port, fixed table for six, and slightly-curved double settee inboard. Across and to starboard is a curved settee with storage beneath and outboard. Four large opening hatches, two of which are protected by the dodger, provide ample ventilation at rest and underway. The forward-facing deck house windows have exterior sun covers made of Textilene mesh.

Just aft of the salon table and to port is the outboard-facing Navigation Station. There is a good sized nav table with lifting top, locker beneath and a swivel chair. Nav instruments are mounted outboard on a cherry panel, which is hinged along the bottom for easy access to wiring etc. Instruments include a large flat-panel, which acts as a repeater for the Raymarine E80 installed at the helm; VHF and SSB radios both with external speakers (VHF also has remote speaker mounted in cockpit above companionway) and Raymarine sailing gauges. The custom Mastervolt electrical panels are on the aft bulkhead along with a tall, narrow locker and a couple of built-in storage ‘cubbies'.

The "Alley" Galley is aft and to starboard of the companionway, with proper sea-going stainless sinks inboard with single-lever faucet with sprayer, manual foot pump and tap; under-counter soap dispenser; opening port inboard to cockpit and Corian counters and backsplashes. Force 10 three-burner gimbaled stove/oven is outboard with Maytag microwave oven above. Aft and outboard are large stand-up / built-in Frigoboat refrigerator/freezer boxes with dual compressors and keel coolers. This system was overhauled with new components (Fall, 2016).
From the galley one walks aft into the Master Stateroom, which features a centerline island queen berth with an L-settee to starboard and numerous lockers, shelves and drawers for storage. The forward bulkhead has a large mirror with a gorgeous cherry frame, with shelf and lockers below. The en-suite head is to port with separate and spacious stall shower just forward with clear door. Light and ventilation in the cabin are provided by a large overhead hatch and two hull ports, opening deck house ports and dorade vents. The layout of this cabin is just right, creating a very comfortable yet practical space for extended live-aboard cruising and offshore work.


Hull and decks are constructed from the very highest quality materials, hand laid with biaxial-stitched E-glass skins over closed cell PVC cores backed with epoxy Vinylester resin. The hull was then vacuum-bagged and heat-cured for added strength and stiffness, all performed in a climate-controlled facility. Side decks, cockpit seats and sole are teak, along with a teak pad at the base of the mast; all glued. The deck house top and cabin top forward and aft along the winches and behind the cockpit are sprayed non-skid in light grey.

  • Isophthalic Gelcoats, backed with Vinylester resin-stitched E-glass skins
  • Closed-cell PVC foam core vacuumed into place
  • Watertight bulkheads both fore and aft
  • All areas of deck with thru-bolted fittings are solid laminate with backing plates
  • Complete hull interior painted with epoxy finish
  • (4) Lewmar port lights in hull
  • All interior bulkheads completely bonded to the hull


  • (5) Opening Lewmar port lights
  • (8) Opening Lewmar hatches
  • Stainless stemhead with dual anchor rollers
  • Lewmar Ocean 3 windlass (24V) with dual controls; new motor and gearbox (2016)
  • 60 lb. Anchor with 200' of 5/16" hi-test chain rode
  • Flush-mounted hatch to access external anchor and sail locker
  • Double stainless steel lifelines with amidships gates and stern gate
  • Lewmar racing-type genoa track, cars and blocks
  • (6) Stainless steel mooring cleats
  • (8) Stainless steel chocks cut into teak cap rail
  • (2) Flush-mounted lazarette hatches
  • Dedicated life raft storage nook built into aft deck house
  • Teak cap rail
  • Teak seats installed on aft pushpit
  • Stainless davits
  • Outboard motor mount aft pushpit
  • Single (wide) blue boot stripe and matching cove stripe
  • White gelcoat topsides with blue bottom
  • Four stainless dorade vents with stainless guards
  • Deck fitting for emergency tiller


  • Whitlock Constellation steering system
  • Whitlock "mono column" pedestal with integral instrument mounting
  • Whitlock "Fastnet" model wheel, 36" diameter, with elkhide cover
  • Balanced spade rudder with stainless steel post and internal bracing
  • Raytheon autopilot with dual ST6000 controls
  • Whitlock 24V autopilot drive motor
  • Raymarine Lewmar Mamba drive (2014)


  • ICOM SSB at nav station with backstay tuner
  • Raytheon 230 dual station VHF radio
  • Raytheon ST60 tridata (speed, depth and temperature)
  • Raytheon ST60 multiview at navigation station
  • Whitlock 6" steering compass
  • Raytheon ST60 apparent wind indicator
  • Raytheon ST60 close hauled wind indicator
  • Raymarine E80 at helm
  • Repeater flat screen with keyboard at nav station


  • (2) Lewmar 66cest 2-speed electric primary winches
  • (2) Lewmar 54cst 2-speed secondary winches
  • Lewmar 48cest 2-speed electric main sheet winch
  • (2) Lewmar 48cst halyard winches
  • (2) Lewmar 48cst traveler control winches
  • Lewmar 48cst reefing winch on mast


  • Selden anodized, three-spreader masthead rig
  • Selden RCB car system for mainsail
  • Single-line reefing system with (3) reef points
  • (4) Halyards with boom topping lift and pole lift
  • Removable inner forestay with Wichard quick-release adjustable tensioner
  • Selden headstay furling unit
  • Masthead-mounted running lights and anchor light
  • Steaming light and foredeck light
  • Navtec hydraulic vang and backstay with cockpit control panel
  • Radar scanner on fixed mount on mast
  • Fully-battened mainsail with lazy jacks and boom top sail cover


  • Doyle mainsail 11.2 oz. Dacron (new November, 2016)
  • 135% Tri Radial Dacron genoa (new, June 2021)
  • Asymmetrical spinnaker and forestaysail


  • Sailcover (new, 2014)
  • Cockpit bimini (new, 2016)
  • Dodger (new, 2016) with leather trim and athwartship stainless grab bar. Stainless handles port and starboard outboard and front roll up opening window on centerline
  • Sun covers for deck house windows out of Textilene mesh. All other covers are off-white Sunbrella



  • The main engine is a Yanmar diesel, model 4J3-HTBE, 100 hp (1,915 hrs. July, 2018). Access to the engine compartment is gained by lifting the salon settee and inboard sole board which are both on gas struts

Bow Thruster:

  • Electric with joystick at helm with separate AGM battery bank


  • Onan/Cummins 7.5kw Genset (new, fall, 2016) (49 hours, July, 2018)
  • Electric oil change pump for engine and transmission
  • Racor Dual 500-series fuel filter/water separators
  • Electric fuel transfer pump
  • Engine room extractor fan
  • 1-1/2" Stainless steel propeller shaft
  • 21" MaxProp feathering 3-blade propeller
  • PYI shaft seal
  • Python constant velocity joint
  • Emergency crossover starting switch
  • Dedicated 105 amp starting battery (12V)
  • 200 gal. fuel capacity
  • Automatic fire system suppression in engine compartment


  • Pressure water system, 220 gallon tank
  • Forespar Marelon thru-hull fitting valves and vented loops that do not require bonding and are corrosion-free
  • Isotemp 110V water heater with engine heat assist, (11) gallon capacity
  • Grohe plumbing fixtures throughout
  • (2) Vacuflush electric toilets
  • (2) GRP holding tanks with macerator pumps
  • (3) Electric bilge pumps with high water alarms for engine room and lazarette
  • Cockpit-mounted emergency manual pump
  • SeaWater washdown pump
  • Transom-mounted fresh water shower
  • Manual fresh water foot pump in galley


  • (4) AGM 4D batteries
  • 440-amp house battery bank at 24V
  • AGM-type batteries for both house bank, engine and generator batteries
  • 50-amp / 110V shore power system
  • Mastervolt 24V house battery bank charger, 100-amp capacity
  • Mastervolt inverter/charger
  • 150-amp Balmar auxiliary alternator belted to engine (new, 2014)
  • Mastervolt custom DC electrical panel with (40) breakers
  • Mastervolt custom AC electrical panel with (15) breakers
  • Mastervolt 24V to 12V converter for stereo, and 12V outlets
  • 24v DC breaker
  • High water alarm
  • Interior red night lighting
  • Complete bonding system
  • Cantalupi yacht lighting used throughout interior
  • Masthead and deck-mounted running lights (updated with LED bulbs, 2016)
  • Masthead-mounted anchor light
  • Spreader lights
  • Cockpit lighting


  • Corian counters throughout
  • Leather upholstery, dark blue, in salon and aft cabin
  • Alpine stereo CD/FM radio with CD changer and (4) speakers
  • Frigoboat refrigeration and freezer system with dual compressors and digital temperature readouts/controls
  • Teak and holly sole
  • Self-draining wet locker
  • Lee cloths on all bunks


  • Avon 3.5 dinghy with 9.9 hp outboard
  • Viking 4-man liferaft
  • Spare parts
  • Folding cockpit table
  • (4) Fenders and dock lines
  • Comprehensive owner's manual
  • Screens for all opening hatches and ports


The owner's personal effects are excluded from the sale.

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