The J-class yacht Lionheart has won the historic Kings Hundred Guinea Cup and came within a whisker of winning the Corinthian Kings Cup during the Solent regatta around the Isle of Wight. It was an exceptional performance for a yacht in her first racing season and a testimony to the years spent optimising Lionheart’s design by Andre Hoek and his team of naval architects in the Netherlands.
The third weekend of July 2012 will go down as one of the greatest in yachting history. For the first time ever, four J-class assembled on the starting line to compete in a spectacle the likes of which has not been seen since the golden days of the America's Cup races decades ago. Lionheart was joined by Velsheda, Ranger and Rainbow for a series of hugely exciting races that showed how competitive the new generation of J-class yachts are.
With her owner at the helm as the J-class Association encourages, and with Bouwe Bekking as tactician, Lionheart sailed exceptionally well and won the two-feet tall solid silver cup for the Kings Hundred Guinea race (first presented in 1937 by King George VI). Lionheart also came first on line honours in the Corinthian Kings Cup for amateur helmsman, only losing pole position – and therefore overall champion status - by just five seconds on handicap.
“These phenomenal results are a testament to the owner and his crew,” says Andre Hoek, who was also onboard. “It also proves beyond doubt that the designers can make a difference in optimising a J-class yacht within the parameters of the handicap system. We spent three years preparing this project before she was built by Claasen, and invested a year of research into her hull lines. Further analysis optimised the mast position, sail area, displacement, ballast ratios, rig design and structural design of the hull".
“Now, all this hard work has paid off in terms of boat speed and overall performance. Lionheart has proven that she is very fast and a real winner in both light and heavy winds. Moreover, the competitive nature of the next generation of J’s has been clearly demonstrated. We would like to also congratulate our friendly rivals on the course and look further to seeing whether the other two J-class yachts on which Hoek Design is currently working will also be able to achieve such sensational performance.”
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