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Explosion of interest in J Class Yachts

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Following the busy racing schedule of both Ranger and Velsheda during the last few seasons, there has been an explosion of interest in the J Class. With two new replicas under construction, the J Class Association (JCA) has issued a definitive list of J yachts from history which can be built as replica new builds under their rules. This provides a listing of interesting historical data and details of yachts currently sailing, under construction and reserved for build (see list below).

New handicap system
The Class has also commissioned a new handicap system, developed by the Wolfson Unit at Southampton University. This new JCA system is based on VPP calculations and will be validated from towing tank results from the 1930s prepared initially in a report for Harold S Vanderbilt, who went on to commission the build of the 1937 Ranger. This comprehensive document has been made available by the Sparkman and Stephens USA office to the JCA.

Bruce Johnson, Chief Designer at the S&S office, stated, “We are pleased to be working with the J Class Association and Wolfson Unit for this research project and we are happy to share this report of tank test results, to further validate the rating process for the J Class.”

This information, from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, has provided the vital cross check for the Wolfson Unit to complete the figures for accurate handicapping of the Js, in the interests of fair racing and good sportsmanship on the race course. It is intended that races will be won on the water with this new system, minimising discrepancies in handicap ratings.

John Robinson from the Wolfson Unit stated, “Development of this custom system based on historic design information, specific to the J Class and the results of tank testing from 1930s, gives us a fairer system than that based on the regression data from more modern hull forms already held within the VPP.”

New yachts under construction

Endeavour II was one of the largest J yacht hulls ever built and the replica is now well on its way towards completion at Royal Huisman Shipyard in Holland. The yacht is due to launch in late 2008. Gerard Dijkstra & Partners are design consultants for this project. It will feature a one-piece carbon mast, advanced deck layout and interior design by Pieter Beeldsnijder Design.

Lionheart is based on accurate lines plans from the Ranger 77F model which was never built. Andre Hoek is the design consultant for this project, based from their offices in Edam, Holland. Designed for cruising as well as racing, she is being built to MCA classification. Her deck layout shows two small deck houses with sleek and low profiles, as well as two small cockpit areas.

Lionheart is well ahead of schedule and her aluminium hull was turned just recently in preparation for the fitting out process. She is being built at Claasen Shipyard in Holland.

With these two new yachts likely to launch in the coming year, the JCA fleet is set to double in size. With the sheer size, sail area, crew, complexity, cost and commitment, this is certainly the most exciting class of thoroughbred yachts in the world. Further build projects are under discussion for design and build.

J Class Racing
Both Velsheda and Ranger will be competing in Antigua Classic Regatta, April 18th to 22nd 2008. They are closely matched in performance, both in speed and on handicap, so it is likely to provide exciting racing for both yachts and spectators. Nelson’s old lookout position at Shirley Heights, above the windward mark, will be the place to watch the yachts.

Both yachts are also expected to compete at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, 1st to 6th September where the racing through the many islands will again prove a test of nerves for these yachts which draw 4.7 metres (16 feet).

J Class Association Yacht Sail Number Country Original Owner Original Designer Year Replica Status Designed as J Class Whirlwind J3 USA Syndicate L. Francis Herreshof 1930 Yankee J2 USA Syndicate Frank C. Paine 1930 Weetamoe J4 USA Syndicate Clinton Crane 1930 Enterprise J1 USA Harold S. Vanderbilt W. Starling Burgess 1930 JCA - Build Slot Reserved Shamrock V JK3 UK Sir Thomas Lipton Charles Nicholson 1930 Original - Sailing Velsheda JK7 UK W. Stephenson Charles Nicholson 1933 Original - Sailing Endeavour JK4 UK T.O.M. Sopwith Charles Nicholson 1934 Original - Sailing Rainbow USA Harold S. Vanderbilt W. Starling Burgess 1934 Endeavour II JK6 Hanuman UK T.O.M. Sopwith Charles Nicholson 1937 2008 Replica - Under Construction Ranger 77C-20 J5 USA Harold S. Vanderbilt Burgess/Stephens 1937 2002 Replica - Sailing Ranger 77C-E Model Front of C-Aft of E Not Built Burgess/Stephens Ranger 77A Model Not Built Burgess/Stephens Ranger 77B Model Not Built Burgess/Stephens Ranger 77D Model Not Built Burgess/Stephens Ranger 77E Model Not Built Burgess/Stephens Ranger 77F Model (J-H1) Lionheart H Not Built Burgess/Stephens 2008 Replica - Under Construction Svea S1 Sweden Started - Not Finished Tore Holm 1938 Frank C Paine A USA Not Built Frank C Paine JCA - Build Slot Reserved Frank C Paine B USA Not Built Frank C Paine Yachts Converted to J Class Britannia K1 UK King George V George L. Watson 1893 Scuttled 1936 Resolute H2 USA Harold S. Vanderbilt Nathanial G. Herreshof 1914 Katoura J1 USA Robert E Tod W. Starling Burgess 1914 Cambria K4 UK Sir William Berry William Fife 1928 Original - Sailing Astra K2 UK Sir Mortimer Singer Charles Nicholson 1928 Original - Sailing Candida K8 UK Herman Andrea Charles Nicholson 1932 Original - Sailing Copyright J Class Association
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