Story of the J-Class Yachts:

     
 


 

The J-Class was adopted for America's Cup competition in 1928, looking forward to the next regatta in 1930.  The Class itself, though, dated back to the turn of the century when the Universal Rule was adopted though no J-Class yachts had yet been built.

The Rule used a yacht's various dimensions to calculate an equivalent rating in feet.  Boats of equal rated lengths could then race against each other directly without making other allowances for time or distance sailed.  Even though one yacht might have a longer length or another yacht a larger sail area, their overall configurations had to produce a rated length that met the Universal Rule for that class. Boats in Class J, more commonly today termed J-Class yachts, were the largest constructed under the Universal Rule.  The Rule actually includes provisions for an even larger type of boat, the I Class, though none were ever built.  Inquiries made in the 1930s for a Defense in the smaller K Class were rejected.

The J-Class were the first yachts in an America's Cup match to be governed by a formal design rule.  Previous defenders and challengers were only restricted by minimum and maximum lengths set forth in the Deed of Gift.  Sir Thomas Lipton, challenging in 1930 for the fifth time, had held earlier discussions with the New York Yacht Club in hopes of adopting the Universal Rule for the previous America's Cup match, intended for 1914 but delayed until 1920.  Though an agreement to use the rule was not reached for that match, the 1914 US boats, Vanitie and Resolute, still roughly followed J-Class parameters.

Building Program:

There were only 10 J-class yachts designed and built.  Additionally, several yachts of closely related dimensions, mostly 23-Meter International Rule boats, were converted after their construction to meet the rating rules of the J-Class. 

Only the purpose-built Cup yachts, though, could compete in the America's Cup.  The "converted" J-Class yachts, while acceptable for Class racing events, were not admissible for America's Cup competition.  Responding to issues that surfaced in earlier defenses, the America's Cup rules required that all boats had to be sailed to the event on their own bottom.  Some critics pointed out the possibility that the challenger might, as a result, be disadvantaged by  being of heavier construction than the defender.  In order to avoid a situation that could be perceived as an undue advantage, the NYYC eventually agreed that all America's Cup J-Class yachts would be built to Lloyds A1 standards, ensuring that defender and challenger met the same minimum construction specifications (the nautical term is "scantlings").  Most existing yachts were not built to such standards, so the Cup-eligible boats thus ended up heavier than the ineligible J's.

(The issue of challengers having to build heavier boats due to the ocean crossing was a popular, if uncertain, explanation in the British press for the long string of American victories.  In practice, a number of challengers added internal bracing for the crossing, which was then removed before racing.  And on a few occasions defenders subsequently made the crossing in reverse in search of competition following their successful defense.  The rule requiring that the challenger sail to the event on her own bottom was actually instituted in response to a super-lightweight challenger towed to the match through canals and rivers from Canada.

The J-Class Yachts

   
   
 
   
 
                         
         
                         
                       
               
       
               
                         
                       
       
         
         
                         
   
                         
                         
 
.  Mahogany planking over steel frames.  Pine deck.  Spruce original mast replaced with duralumin.  Led J's with double-headsail rig. Electric wind-speed devices. Sold to Pynchon. Whirlwind Syndicate: Landon Thorne, Alfred Loomis, Paul Hammond. Longest J-Class until 1937. Scrapped at City Island, 1935.
 
 
and winning by 17 hours.  Raced in England, took eight first-place finishes in 32 races.  Defense Trials, 1937, tested single-headed rig, mast step moved forward, lowered center of ballast, larger mainsail.  Sold for scrap by Lambert (reportedly for $10,000) in April, 1941, Fall River, MA, with proceeds donated to war effort. Tender:
 
 
also raced in the off-years between defenses.  1930 Tender: .
 
 
 
and (same No. 1 main was used on all three); Vanderbilt's 3 J's all used the tender , which also served the 12M defender candidate in 1958, and challengers (1962) and (1967);  Launched May 11, 1937;  Bath Iron Works Hull # 172; built at cost; funded solely by Vanderbilt; named for US frigate commanded by John Paul Jones; largest displacement J-Class; Hauled at end of 1937 and never sailed again.  Sold for scrap May, 1941, bringing $12,000.
 
 
(spelling uncertain but roughly "Four Leaf" in Italian as a play on her original name); ketch-rigged?; Appeared in movie "Swept Away"; Rebuilt at C&N 1967-70; Sold to Lipton Tea Co. 1986, donated to Newport Museum of Yachting; Restored under Elizabeth Meyer 1989, rig, bulwarks, deckhouse rebuilt to original; sold to Newport Yacht Restoration School 1995; sold to Newport Shamrock V Corp 1998; refit 2000 at Pendennis, under Gerard Dykstra; sold to Marcos de Maraes, Brazil. Lipton had a 23M yacht also named , sometimes confused with his America's Cup boats.  The 23M was broken up in 1933.
 
 
 

 
 
's keel;  Ends modified 1935;  Name combines Stephenson's daughters Velma, Daphne, and Sheila; (laid up 25 years?); Restored Terry Brabant 1983, maintaining very original condition; Sailed as charter;  Sold to Swiss owner, refit stalled for lack of funds;  Laid up Gosport; Sold in 1996, major refit 1996-7 at Southampton Yacht Services under Gerard Dykstra, interior, CF rig, sails, modernized, but less authentic; Current owner Ronald de Waal.  
     
lost to in 1914 trials (defense postponed) and 1920 trials, losing 7-4 in final 1920 selection series. Owned by Alexander Smith Cochran.  Not designed as a J, but altered after construction to rate as a J; not acceptable for AC as a J-Class yacht because lightweight, not Lloyd's A1. Sold to Gerard Lambert, 1928. Trial horse 1930 and 1934 America's Cup defender trials. Laid-up at Herreshoff Mfg. and scrapped there in 1938.
 
 

 
 
     

 
 

 
 
 
by Nicholson for Italian Owner; restored 1989.
 
 
in fleet racing on the Clyde, 1894; Built for HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales; Sold to private owners, 1897;  Bought back in 1902, after the Prince had acceded to the throne as Edward VII; Passed to his son George V after Edward's death in 1910; Rated after construction as 23M; not designed as a J, but altered in 1931, converted to "Marconi" rig, sail area 8,700 sf, triple-headed, and rated as a J; modified to double-headed-rig and Park Avenue boom in 1935; Scuttled off the Isle of Wight by Edward VIII, July 9, 1936, as per wishes of his father, George V, who did not wish to see the yacht live on to a life of decline once he was gone.
 
 
     

Disposition:

Conceived at the height of the affluent 1920's, the J-boats arrived during the Great Depression.  They required enormous crews, and, despite expert attention to their technical details, still broke an astonishing number of masts.  While they were in most regards the most advanced sailing yachts yet built, and they were  indeed powerful sailing thoroughbreds formed in sleek lines that can race the pulse of almost every viewer, the glorious J's proved too extravagant for their own good.  Most had very limited sailing careers outside of America's Cup.  Ranger , whose 1937 cost was upwards of $500,000, was laid-up at the end of her debut season and never sailed again.  All of the American J's were scrapped between 1935 and 1941. Most of the British J's were either abandoned or scrapped.

When NYYC sought to revive the America's Cup in the 1950s, there was a faction that favored returning to the J-Class.  Mike Vanderbilt even stated that not only would he like to see the Cup contested in the large boats, but that if so he would consider rebuilding a new Range r to the design of the original.  Still, another faction hoped for smaller dual-use yachts that could be used in offshore racing when the Cup year was ended.  With cost estimates for a 1958-era J starting around three million dollars, the impulse for a J-Class defense faded away in the face of economic pressures and a compromise was reached to sail the America's Cup in International Rule 12-Meters.

  , the 1930 Challenger, and , the 1934 Challenger.  , distinguished by being the only yacht built as a J-class though not intended for America's Cup, is intact and sailing, too.  Of at least seven other boats that were rated as J's, two remain: , and .  was originally a 23-Meter International Rule yacht, but later altered to rate as a J. The surviving boats have all had extensive restoration and re-building. was rescued from near oblivion, too delicate to move without structural reconstruction.

The J-Class Resurgent

J-Class rigs today are no longer built of wood or dur-alumin, but with modern lightweight composites.  Their sail technology is long past being canvas duck, and many other subtle changes have been made to make the ongoing maintenance and operation of these yachts a realistic proposition.  Still, the J-Class owners have gone to great lengths to insure the integrity of the boats.  The J-Class is self-administered, rather than governed by an outside organization as is the case with almost all other classes.  This allows the members to more easily adapt the rules in order to serve the needs of these uniquely historic yachts.

Most of the surviving J's are available for charter.  Cambria was reportedly for sale in 2000.  Endeavour changed hands in 2006 for a reported $13.1 million USD, though as her former owner Dennis Kozlowski said, "No one truly owns Endeavour .  She's a part of yachting history.''

Recreations, Replicas, and a Tender:

For decades, most yachting fans thought that we would never again see the likes of these boats again, the few survivors would sooner or later fade away, and the whole history would be reserved for books and fading photographs, but following the restoration of the surviving hulls rumors grew throughout the late 1990's and early 2000's about building "new" J's.  In 2001, all of this dock talk began to become reality:

Ranger Wooden Boat magazine, March/April 2001, described a "Dutchman" who had commissioned a new Ranger built to the original's plan.  This incredible rumor came true, and a piece of lost sailing history was brought back to life.  The new version of this "Superboat", as Mike Vanderbilt once called her, was officially launched in October, 2003. 

Designed by Studio Scanu and Reichel-Pugh, and built by Danish Yachts, Skagen, Denmark, she is not an exact replica of the original. Some would term her a re-interpretation, as a number of changes were made including greater freeboard, and Ranger 's original designers did not participate in the project.  The new Ranger first competed head-to-head against other J's in Antigua, Spring, 2004.  It took some additional adjustment after launch by her owners and designers to seek the proper trim that would make her float on her lines, an essential step in the process of being officially rated a J-Class yacht.  Visit the Ranger Website for more info.  J-Class Management is also at work on a restoration of Bystander, tender to the original Ranger .

Endeavour II An Endeavour II replica is being built at Royal Huisman Shipyard, with a planned 2008 launch date.  Gerard Dykstra and Partners is leading the project, which features a lightweight Alustar (aluminum alloy) hull and carbon-fiber mast.  See additional photo at Yachtspotter


 
   

Lionheart Based on an unbuilt alternate design by Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens II that was considered for 1937's America's Cup defender Ranger , this new boat is being built at yards in the Netherlands for an expected 2008 launch.  Lionheart will be the longest J-Class yacht when completed. See more including photos of the completed hull at the Lionheart Website and the story of sailing onboard including photos and videos Cruising J-Class Style Aboard Lionheart at Yachting World Designer:  Hoek Design Builders: Bloemsma Aluminiumbouw and Claasen Jachtbouw BV

Svea Tore Holm's unbuilt 1937 design, said by some to be faster in the test tank than any of the original boats, is being pursued by Hoek Design

Name To Be Announced In late March 2008, reports of another replica about to begin construction appeared on the Classic Boat website .  Whether this is one of the known projects, such as Svea , above, or yet another replica about to become reality, such as Rainbow , below, should become known shortly.

Rainbow In late May, 2008, Dykstra and Partners announced that a new build of the 1934 America's Cup Defender Rainbow was underway, with an expected launch date of 2010.  Read the Press Release

Other projects: Hoek Design is also studying replicas of 1930's Enterprise and another boat from Yankee designer Frank Paine.  Yankee herself has also been rumored as a new project, as well.  Earlier reports of a Ranger alternate-design carrying the name of Seawolf may have been referring to the project that has become Lionheart , see above.  Whirlwind and Weetamoe are the only two designs of the original ten J's that aren't known to be sailing, building, or under serious consideration as of 2008.  The J-Class website points out that there are 10 unbuilt J designs from the 1930's, so the possibilities for more J-Class yachts are intriguing.

Yachting World reported in May, 2003 , that construction was underway on a yacht replicating the famous G.L Watson design Britannia .  Photos showed a nearly completed hull at Solombala Shipyard, in Arkhangel, Russia, and included interviews with the yacht's owner Sigurd Coates of Norway.  The design was adapted by Cesil Stephansen from published plans.  The original designer's modern descendent company, G.L.Watson & Co., Ltd., has no involvement with the Arkhangel boat.  Little was been heard of this ambitious project for years, until the yacht was finally launched only to become subject of a financial dispute, trapping her in Russia until 2009, when she "escaped" to Norway. 

In the Spirit

A similar project to return elegant yachts to competitive racing, the W-class, was set in motion by Donald Tofias, an American enthusiast.  He commissioned naval architect Joel White to design a new class with lines evocative of famous racing yachts like the New York 50's and the J-Class.  The first two boats, Wild Horses and White Wings , were built in Maine of modern cold-molded wood construction and launched in 1998.  It is Tofias' aim that there will eventually be a whole fleet of the beautiful W-class to regularly compete against each other.  The one-design W-76 is actually similar to the New York 50's.  Tofias' long-range plans involve a range of classes including 46, 62, 76, 105, and 130.  The 130's would be nearly identical in basic dimensions to the J-class. See the W-Class Websit e .  

Additional Links: Chris Cameron onboard Ranger at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, 2010: Photo Gallery

Web Sites of Particular Interest: The J-Class Association J-Class Management, Inc.  

Further Notes:

K-Class: The Royal London Yacht Club made and withdrew its inquiry for a K-Class challenge in 1935.  The intent had been to reduce costs, not the least of which was hoped to be a lower velocity of mast replacement, but the K-Class line of thought was rejected for several reasons.  For one, the K-Class wasn't so much smaller than the J-Class as to have clearly led to significant savings.  Additionally, no K-Class yachts existed on either side of the Atlantic while several J's of various pedigree were available for testing, training, and racing in 1935.  Also a factor was that the NYYC was already actively considering another challenge at the time the RLYC began their communication  about the K-Class and it was the NYYC's policy to consider only one challenge at a time, in keeping with the Deed of Gift.

Sailing to the Event on Own Bottom: This provision of the Deed of Gift was at times strictly interpreted to the the degree of making sure that the challenging yacht actually was under her own sail while traveling to the match, not towed by another boat.  Challengers returning across the Atlantic after Cup matches concluded were sometimes towed for convenience. Eventually the NYYC agreed at various times to permit towing the yachts to the match, particularly when conditions were light, and in 1956, for the coming of the 12-meter yachts in 1958, the Deed of Gift was amended to eliminate the requirement.

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A story of decadence: the history of the J Class yacht

Words: Hamish Roy

The story of the J Class yacht is dominated by tycoons, aviators and those who built empires of tea; it is a story of fervent transatlantic competition, in which vast sums of money were spent to both challenge and defend the coveted America’s Cup; and it is the story of some of the most beautiful yachts ever built, which provided some of the most closely-run racing of their day.

Ranger old - getty

Harold Vanderbilt’s Ranger, launched in 1937. Image: Getty

The birth of the J Class

In 1929, Sir Thomas Lipton, the Scotsman who built an empire of grocery shops and tea, commissioned a new sailing yacht in a final effort to wrestle the America’s Cup from its host nation (the race had been won by the Americans every single year). His previous yacht, Shamrock IV , had come closer to winning the race than any other British contender, but had lost to Resolute , the defending yacht competing on behalf of the New York Yacht club. This would be Lipton’s fifth and final attempt to achieve a British win.

Shamrock-V pendennis.com

Lipton’s Shamrock V as she is today. Image: Pendennis.com

Designed by Charles Ernest Nicholson of Camper and Nicholsons, Shamrock V was the first of the J Class yachts. This new category of yacht would come about about as a result of the introduction of the so-called Universal Rule; introduced a year later in 1930, it provided a standardised formula for calculating which yachts could compete with one another. Prior to this, yachts had been growing larger and larger, with the differences between boats making some races unfair. The introduction of the new rules and the formation of the J Class, however, created a category of yacht racing famed for its closeness – one in which competitors sometimes crossed the finish line within seconds of one another. Yet for all this evening of the odds,  Shamrock V  did not bring a change of wind for the ageing Lipton. Having spent a reported $2,000,000 on his final race attempt – an enormous sum at the time – Lipton still lost to Harold Vanderbilt’s  Enterprise. Having failed to claim the victory that he so desired, Lipton retired to his estate, where he died shortly afterwards.

Cutting of Whirlwind - yarrowthorne.blogspot.co.uk

A newspaper cutting showing America’s Whirlwind in action. Image: yarrowthorne.blogspot.co.uk

America fights back

To understand the extent of the rivalry between the British and the Americans is to see the response to Lipton’s 1929 challenge. Pooling together enormous sums of money in a syndicate, the Americans built no fewer than four yachts for the 1930 race: Enterprise, Whirlwind, Yankee  and  Weetamoe , all of which were launched within a month of one another. Whirlwind was the most revolutionary of the four and, at 86 feet long, was built to within an foot of the limits set by the Universal Rule. Clearly, Shamrock V had caused more of an upset than Lipton could have known.

Thomas Sopwith icollector.com

Aviator Thomas Sopwith, whose firm built the Sopwith Camel during WW1. Image: icollector.com

Of the British offerings, it is Endeavour , built in 1934 for aviation pioneer Thomas Sopwith, that is seen to be the worthiest of all the British challengers. Charles Nicholson’s third J Class design, Endeavour showcased innovative technology added by Sopwith himself, much of it influenced by his aviation expertise. Often said to be the most beautiful of all the J Class yachts, Endeavour  was not, however, the fastest. Believed by some to have been hampered by her excessive gadgetry, she too lost out to one of Harold Vanderbilt’s yachts,  Rainbow,  in the 1934 race.

Harold Vanderbilt "Mike" at the wheel of Rainbow during the 1934 America's Cup race. The sailing yacht was the successful defender of the Cup that year. (From the Edwin Levick Collection)

Harold Vanderbilt at the helm of his yacht, Rainbow, in 1934. Image: marinersmuseum.org

An era of American Dominance

The inheritor of a railroad empire, Harold Vanderbilt lived a life of great privelidge. As a boy, he sailed the world with his father, and by early adulthood, was an adept yachtsmen. He would helm  Enterprise, Rainbow and Ranger turn, sailing each of them to victory, thus safeguarding America’s grip on the trophy.  Ranger , with her riveted steel-plated hull, enjoyed particular success, winning 35 from 37 starts during her racing career. She easily saw off the British challenger Endeavour in 1937, winning all four America’s Cup races. The era of the J Class became a story of American dominance – one in of valiant but ultimately failed British challenges. In fact, America retained the America’s Cup trophy from 1870 right the way through to 1987, when they were finally dethroned by an Australian crew.

Decline and Fall

1937 marked the last America’s Cup race for 21 years, and with it the start of a steep decline for the J Class. Weetamoe was scrapped that very year, and others would soon be cannibalised for their steel during the coming war. As Europe slid towards conflict, the J Class faded away with the decadence of the 1930’s. By the 1980’s, only three of the 10 original J Class yachts remained – Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda – two of which had lain derelict for decades. Now unrecognisable, they crouched in muddy inlets, the worn out husks of a golden era.

Velsheda - phil wiston

Velsheda in 1996. Image: Phil Wiston

Resurrection

In the 1990’s, salvation appeared in the form of Elizabeth Meyer, the founder of the International Yacht Restoration School. Meyer oversaw the comprehensive renovation and refitting of both Endeavour and Velsheda . She can, ultimately, be credited with saving these illustrious yachts from being consigned to the history books.

New rainbow

The recreated Rainbow. Image: yachtworld.co.uk

The creation of the J Class Association in 2000 further bolstered this revival, which has since shown no signs of abating. New yachts are now being faithful reconstructed from 1930’s designs; Vanderbilt’s Rainbow , the winner of the 1934 tussle with Sopwith’s Endeavour , was one of those recently recreated. In keeping with the original 1930’s yacht, the replica retains a mahogany interior with Art Deco detailing – making for a tasteful and true recreation that is almost identical to its forefather.

New Rainbow - cfredit yachtworld.co.uk

A wood-panelled bedroom aboard the new rainbow.Image: yachtworld.co.uk

Today, there are 8 J Class yachts in existence – just one short of the total number of original yachts built in the 1930’s. The 3 surviving British yachts have been supplemented by another 5 replicas in recent years, 3 of which have been launched since 2003. A brand new yacht,  Svea , is set for completion some time next year, which will bring the total up to 9. If anything, this rejuvenation demonstrates the continuing pull of a yachting era characterised by drama and romance – a story of industry captains, 1930s glamour and cut-throat competition. That, and the fact that J Class yachts remain some of the most beautiful ever built.

Main image: Boat International, featured image Daniel Forster.

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j class yacht history

Before the J Class yachts came into existence, yachts were designed to be bigger and bigger. The towering rigs of the Big Boat Class such as ‘ Lulworth ’ and ‘ Britannia ’ dwarfed all other yachts. The late 1920s heralded discussion and agreement of the Universal Rule. This new formula controlled the size and displacement of the new yachts, enabling them to be raced as evenly as possible. Almost immediately, designs were being commissioned for the new, massive ‘Bermudan rigs, with no bowsprits’.

The rule was based on ideas proposed by Nat Herreshoff allowing waterline length to be increased without sail area being restricted, as it had been under the International Rule. This was compensated by a larger displacement and so draught was limited to 15ft.

In 1929 Sir Thomas Lipton, owner of Lipton’s famous for his import of Lipton Tea from India, issued his fifth challenge to the Americans for the America’s Cup. He commissioned the build of the first J Class Yacht which signified the start of a new era in design evolution and racing. On each occasion he challenged for the America’s Cup as a member of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club in Northern Ireland.  RUYC  are still involved with The Cup – presenting the Royal Ulster Cup to the Club of the winning challenger.

The Universal Rule came into effect in 1930. The size of a yacht was determined (by waterline length) and this was shown as an alphabetical list. “J” signified yachts with a waterline length of between 75 to 87 feet. The addition of the new design Bermuda mast allowed the yachts to carry a huge sail plan. Nothing so large and ‘awesome’ had been built previously. The Americans had a distinct advantage over Britain in the 1930 America’s Cup. They had the money to build four J’s over Britain’s one, yet the British yacht, Shamrock V  was a hot contender. She was designed by Nicholson and built at the family yard in 1930, and before she crossed the Atlantic to attend the Cup she had notched up more than 700 sea miles (1,296km), won 15 out of the 22 races she had entered and had been tweaked and tested to a high degree.

In answer to Lipton’s challenge of 1929 the Americans designed four J-Class yachts as possible defenders. Enterprise, Whirlwind, Yankee and Weetamoe were launched within a month of each other; Weetamoe and Enterprise from the Herreshoff yard and Yankee and Whirlwind from Lawley & Son’s yard in Bristol.

Whirlwind, the second J, was the most revolutionary of the four. Francis L Herreshoff had moved away from conventional yachts and designed a boat, which took the new rule to its extreme. Whirlwind combined many new ideas and Herreshoff experimented with hull shape and rig. She was the longest of the early J’s at 86ft on the waterline and remained so until Ranger and Endeavour II were built in 1937.

J Class

She was built of semi-composite construction (the other three American Js were built out of the highly expensive Tobin bronze), was double-ended and had a permanent backstay. Uffa Fox described her profile as: “Very pleasing to the eye, the stem sweeping down to the keel in a very sweet line, and to a man who, like myself, believes that a pointed stern is a logical ending for all vessels, her stern is a joy to behold.” He predicted, “If the Yacht Racing Rules govern well and wisely, we shall see Whirlwind racing 50 years hence. If they do not she will probably be cruising then.” But Whirlwind met an early demise. Her building was delayed as she didn’t meet Lloyd’s A1 scantling rules and she wasn’t chosen to be the 1930s defender. She was often out-performed when close hauled, her steering gear making her difficult to steer. She was eventually scrapped along with Enterprise in 1935. However, her unusual double-headsail rig was later adopted by the rest of the Js.

The third American J, Yankee, was the best all-rounder. At 84ft on the waterline and 125ft length overall, she was solidly made of Tobin bronze and was extremely well balanced. Designed by Frank Paine , Yankee had an almost straight sheerline and easy lines. She was a powerful contender for defender, but not fine-tuned enough to succeed. She did, however, take part in the 1934 America’s Cup trials and with alterations to her rig, to carry more sail, and bow, which was lengthened and made more of a V-shape, she then proved more successful, especially in light winds.

The fourth of the American J’s was Weetamoe, which was designed by Clinton Crane and was the narrowest of the early four. Despite claims that Yankee was the best all-rounder, Weetamoe is said to have been the closest rival to Enterprise to be the Cup defender. Charles Nedwick, in Ian Dear’s book Enterprise to Endeavour, describes Weetamoe as having a profile “that is practically a triangle, with a straight line from the after end of the waterline to the bottom of the keel and thence a line which is slightly convex, and then slightly concave to the forward end of the waterline.” In an attempt to better performance and make her less tender, her profile below the water was radically altered in 1934 with a new contour and bulb keel. The alterations failed and not long afterwards were reversed. In common with the other J’s, she had about 43ft of overhang and her hull, Nicholson opined, “was the best of all the US Js”.

When Shamrock V and Enterprise eventually met off Newport, Rhode Island, later that year, the two J’s were well matched in hull profile, but differed significantly in rig. Enterprise’s rigging was lighter, she had the Park Avenue boom, which was so advantageous to windward, and had lots of winches on board. Shamrock V meanwhile, was under-winched and hard work to sail. She has since, however, proved her success in that she is still sailing today.

Velsheda

The sixth J-Class yacht to be built, and the second built on British soil was Velsheda . She was the only J not built as a contender for the America’s Cup. Her owner, WL Stephenson, who previously owned White Heather II, the 23-Metre converted to rate as a J-Class in 1930, had Velsheda built in steel in 1933 at the Camper & Nicholson yard. Velsheda was a great success. In 1935 she was significantly altered, her bow was snubbed around the waterline and her stern improved. The following season she won the King’s Cup at Cowes Week.

The fleet in 1934

In 1934, Sopwith challenged for the America’s Cup. His challenger was Endeavour . She was Charles Nicholson’s third J-Class design and he said of her “She will have quite a normal hull… because I have thought it right to suppress possible experimental form, which would be most interesting to try out, but which I have to leave to American designers.” He did, however, produce the most beautiful J-Class and her rig was innovative.

Sopwith experimented with new running backstay strain gauges, which controlled the trim of the mast and used electronic windspeed and direction indicators. It has since been suggested that part of the reason for her failure in the Cup was due to all the gadgets on board. She was matched 83ft 3in on the waterline against Rainbow ’s 82ft. However, despite being thought to be the best challenger Britain has ever built, she did not win the Cup. Rainbow, which was considered the inferior boat, beat her by four races to two.

Harold Vanderbilt's original Rainbow

Rainbow was designed by W Starling Burgess and launched in 1934 from the Herreshoff yard where she was built in just 100 days. The J stepped a pear-shaped duralumin mast, designed to take the strain of the double-headed jib – first used on Whirlwind – and she was originally rigged with a Park Avenue boom. This was later removed because it was considered too heavy.

The UK Class was depressed with the death of King George V and scuttling of his yacht “Britannia” off the South of the Isle of Wight, in accordance with his will.

Of the American Js, Yankee was the only one to sail in British waters when she was bought by Gerald Lambert and crossed the Atlantic in 1935. She was scrapped in 1941. Enterprise and Whirlwind were both scrapped in America.

1937 saw the building of the last two J’s on both sides of the Atlantic. Both Ranger and Endeavour II took the waterline length to its extreme, measuring 87ft  LWL . Ranger, the American boat, was built at Bath Ironworks in Maine and designed jointly by W Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens . It was a design combination, which produced the greatest J of the fleet – the ‘super J’ as she was later known. She was built, for the cost of the materials only, of flush riveted steel plating and soon after launching had an accident. The upper parts of her rod rigging which stayed her duralumin mast shook loose and her mast snapped “with a report like a cannon”.

Ranger’s success on the water was widespread. Of 37 starts she won 35. Owner-skipper Harold Vanderbilt described her as being “slower to turn and to pick up speed, but (she) held her way longer, and was perfectly balanced on the wind.” The challenger, Endeavour II, was designed by Nicholson again and built at the C&N yard. She too was steel, but flush-plated above and below the waterline. Sopwith towed her and Endeavour, plus an entourage of 100, to America where he worked on tuning her rig. Sadly, Ranger saw off the competition, easily winning four races, and dashing British hopes.

Although they became recognised the most beautiful yacht design in the world, only 10 J Class yachts were ever built – 6 in the  USA  and 4 in the UK. Most of these competed in trials for the America’s Cup, or competed in the Cup itself. Several existing large British yachts, ‘ Astra ’, ‘ Candida ’, ‘White Heather II’ and ‘Britannia’, the King’s yacht, were all converted to comply with the rule and raced alongside the J’s.

After the victory of Ranger over Endeavour II, Vanderbilt wondered whether the boat was so much faster than the competition that it might kill the class. History would show this was not the case as analysis of the Holm design shows that it would likely have been faster than Ranger.

1937 marked the end of an era – it was the last America’s Cup contest for 21 years and marked the end of Big Yacht racing. Shamrock V was sold to Mario Crespi, the Italian Senator and publisher, who converted her to a ketch rig and renamed her ‘Quadrifoglio’, with a literal translation giving her authentic name of ‘4 leaves’ in Italian. This was in accordance with an Italian law, which forbade foreign names.

Weetamoe was scrapped in this year, while at the end of the season Ranger was laid up, prior to being scrapped in 1941.

J Class

HANDLING   THE  J  CLASS   YACHTS  IN  THE  1930’s

The Skippers had to be experienced in racing and their skill on the race circuit became a matter of pride. These mighty craft had no engines and they had to be handled with great precision to get into and out of ports. Often their experience came from sailing all types of small craft, including fishing boats, during the winter months, when the J Class yachts were laid up. The permanent racing crew in the early days was probably around 16 men thou this may have been augmented to around 30 for racing. When not required for sail changes, spare crew were often moved to below decks.

With the incredible loads on the rigging and systems it was a constant concern that J Class masts could collapse in winds above a Force 3.

Sailing small boats in often inhospitable waters gave them the skills to manage their J Class yachts. The same is true today. Skippers have to deliver their yachts across Oceans, and compete around the race course, using their skills and all the technical advantages that are available today.

It is now clear that there was another J Class Yacht under development in 1937. Several years ago, drawings for a J-Class boat by Swedish naval architect Tore Holm were discovered by Fred Meyer, (Société Nautique de Genève – the Defender of the 32nd America’s Cup).

Now known as the Holm Project, this was to be a Swedish yacht with an innovative design. Many of the hull plates were made – and exist to this day. The project was put on hold prior to the outbreak of War in 1939 and was forgotten for more than 60 years. Endeavour and Endeavour II (K6) were laid up at Camper & Nicholson’s yard in Gosport, England.

Rainbow was scrapped.
By the end of 1941, all the US yachts, which had been laid up were scrapped for their metal, with the last two being Yankee and Ranger. None survived. Yankee’s owner Gerard Lambert allegedly donated her scrap money from the yacht to Queen Mary to be used at her discretion in the London Hospital, in memory of the courtesies shown to Yankee by King George and the Queen herself.

Endeavour II was sold for scrap to Charles Kerridge Limited but her hulk remained until the late 1960s. Endeavour and Velsheda became houseboats in a mud berth on the River Hamble. This is where they stayed for more than 30 years, protected by the mud, which they had sunk into. Only Shamrock V was still sailing.

Endeavour II was broken up and scrapped in Southampton. Quadrifoglio (Shamrock V) had been hidden in Italy in a barn throughout the war years and following Crespi’s death in 1962 was sold to Piero Scanu, who saved her just two weeks before she was due to be broken up in Genoa.

Endeavour

During the 1970s Endeavour’s hulk was sold for £10 and restoration was started.

Quadrifoglio (Shamrock V) arrived from Italy and was refitted at Camper & Nicholson’s yard where she had been built, supervised by Paolo Scanu the naval architect, and son of the owner.

The large holes in Endeavour’s hull were plugged and she was towed to the old seaplane base at Calshot Spit on the Solent to start restoration.

Terry Brabant rescued Velsheda from her Hamble mud berth and gave her enough of a refit to get her chartering and, occasionally, racing again in events like the annual Round the Island Race, hosted by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes. Despite being in rather poor condition she still acquitted herself well and looked magnificent from a distance. Swiss plans to restore her came to nought and the old racing yacht was eventually laid up afloat in Gosport. Elizabeth Meyer took on the challenge to continue with the rebuild of Endeavour at Calshot.

Quadrifoglio (Shamrock V) was purchased in 1986 by the Thomas Lipton Company, and given back her original name of Shamrock V, when she became the property of the Newport Museum of Yachting. Endeavour was towed from Calshot, to Cowes on the Isle of Wight to have her fittings and rigging fitted. She was then taken on a barge to the Royal Huisman Shipyard in Holland to continue and complete the rebuild.

Endeavour was relaunched in Holland. Endeavour and Shamrock V match raced each other over the Old America’s Cup course in Newport, Rhode Island in August.

Velsheda was purchased from a bankrupt C&N boatyard and brought to Southampton Yacht Services to start her rebuild. She was relaunched in 1998 and started her programme of racing and cruising around the World.

Velsheda, Shamrock V and Endeavour raced against each other in Antigua Classic Week.

The Owners met in England and formed the J Class Association to protect the interests of the Class, present and future. Class Rules were established for the construction of Replica Rebuilds from original plans. Shamrock V came out of a major refit at Pendennis in Falmouth under the supervision of the Dykstra office.

Velsheda & Ranger

The first J Class Regatta is held in Christchurch Bay on England’s south coast over three days, followed by the Jubilee Regatta in Cowes.

Ranger replica was commissioned and construction started at Danish Yacht Shipyard.

Ranger was launched and started her racing programme.

Replicas of Endeavour II (Hanuman) and Ranger (Lionheart) are commissioned.

Replicas of Rainbow and Paine design (JH7) are commissioned.

Hanuman, replica of Endeavor II launched.

Hanuman

Lionheart launched.

Lionheart - Superyacht Cup 2011

Rainbow launched. Cheveyo commissioned from Sparkman & Stephens / Spirit Yachts.

Anthony-Morris Rainbow at Antigua Classics

Information courtesy of the J Class Association

j class yacht history

Svea, Velsheda and Topaz at the St Barths Bucket, 2018.

j class yacht history

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how to spot the J Class yacht fleet

The ultimate J Class yachtspotter’s guide

The J Class is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and powerful classes of sailing yacht in the world. An original fleet of 10 was constructed in the 1930s for the purpose of competing in the America’s Cup, but in a sad twist of fate, only a few were able to survive the cull for metal during World War II. Some were later salvaged from the scrapheap and rebuilt as modern-day racers while others were constructed as replicas by owners who admired their classic lines and racing credentials. Nine J Class sailing yachts race today but could you tell an original from a replica? Could you identify which J Class yacht is which by its sail number? Here's an essential guide to the J Class fleet... 

Sail number : JK3 Length : 36.5m Year of build : 1929

With more than 80 years under her keel, Shamrock V is one of the most historic sailing yachts still afloat today having been built by Camper & Nicholsons in 1929. Her current owner bought Shamrock V in March 2016 and in the process inherited a legacy. This 36.58 metre is the original J Class yacht and the only one with a wooden hull to have survived to the present day. Her original owner Sir Thomas Lipton is remembered as the lovable loser of the America’s Cup , having unsuccessfully challenged on five separate occasions between 1899 and 1930, taking each defeat with characteristic good grace.

Sail number : JK4 Length : 39.56m Year of build : 1934

Endeavour was launched by Camper & Nicholsons in 1934 and is hailed as one of the most iconic sailing yachts in the world . Commissioned by Sir Thomas Sopwith, this 39.56 metre design was a highly rated contender heading into the 16th America’s Cup, but ended up losing 4-2 to Harold S. Vanderbilt's Rainbow . However, this is widely acknowledged to have been more down to tactics than design or performance. After spending the better part of 50 years languishing in obscurity, she was meticulously restored by Dutch yard Royal Huisman in 1989 and was most recently refitted in 2011 by New Zealand yard Yachting Developments . 

Sail number : JK7 Length : 38.5m Year of build : 1933/2016

Velsheda was built in steel in 1933 for WL Stephenson, the chairman of Woolworths in Britain, and named after his three daughters Velma, Sheila and Daphne. This 38.5 metre yacht is the only original J Class not to have been built for the America's Cup . Between 1937 and 1984 she languished in a mud berth on the Hamble River before scrap-metal merchant Terry Brabant rescued her and chartered her on a shoestring budget with no engine, mostly in the Solent but also in the Caribbean. In 1996 she was purchased by Dutch fashion entrepreneur Ronald de Waal who commissioned Southampton Yacht Services to rebuild her. Since then de Waal has raced her extensively .

Sail number : J5 Length : 41.55m Year of build : 2003

Ranger is a 41.55 metre replica of the J Class yacht of the same name, which was built for the 1937 America’s Cup by a syndicate led by railroad heir Harold Vanderbilt. Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens had been asked to produce eight sets of lines and the one selected as most suitable for the conditions expected off Newport, Rhode Island — design number 77C — was one of Burgess', although Stephens later helped with some refinements. Known as 'The Super J', the original  Ranger comprehensively beat Endeavour II in the Cup and won all but two of the other 33 races in which she competed that year. She never sailed after that and was broken up in 1941. With the design optimised by Reichel-Pugh , the new Ranger was built in steel — true to the original but unlike the subsequent modern Js — by Danish Yachts in 2003 for an American owner. 

Sail number : JK6 Length : 42.1m Year of build : 2009

The reincarnation of the 1937 launch Endeavour II , Hanuman was launched in 2009 by Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman . This 42.1 metre yacht features her predecessor’s original Charles E. Nicholson design, while the underwater geometry is courtesy of Dykstra Naval Architects . After completing the rebuilds of Endeavour , Shamrock V and Velsheda , Hanuman was Dykstra's first J Class new build project. Commissioned by serial yacht owner Jim Clark , Hanuman is named after the son of the Hindu wind god, which it flies on its spinnaker, and her regatta performances have backed up this name. She took first place at the 2017 St Barths Bucket , which saw six J Class yachts battling it out on the high seas.

Sail number : JH1 Length : 43.4m Year of build : 2010

Lionheart is based on Burgess and Stephens design number 77F, which was one of those rejected in favour of 77C for the 1937 America’s Cup. However, after extensive research by Hoek Design Naval Architects , 77F was considered to be the best set of lines for the variety of racing conditions likely to be encountered at regattas around the world today. Lionheart was built in aluminium by Bloemsma and Claasen Jachtbouw in Holland, and was launched in the summer of 2010. Her first owner's business commitments forced him to sell her and she was purchased in mid-2011 by Dutchman Harold Goddijn, the founder of Tom Tom. At 43.4 metres overall and with a stunning 17 metre overhang, she is the second longest J afloat. Lionheart became the first Hoek-designed J to hit the race course and made its debut at the Superyacht Cup in Palma.

Sail number : JH2 Length : 39.96m Year of build : 2012

The original Rainbow was launched in 1934 at the Herreshoff yard in New England after a mere 100 days under construction and went on to win the America’s Cup in the same year. However, she was requisitioned during World War II and eventually scrapped. The modern Rainbow  is an altogether more high-tech affair — built at Holland Jachtbouw in 2012 as the fourth of the new generation Js. She was built for an experienced sailing yacht owner to a design by Dykstra Naval Architects and is the first J to be fitted with a hybrid propulsion and power system. Rainbow is currently listed for sale . When heeled over, its red underside is a dead giveaway for yachtspotters out there.

Sail number: J8 Length : 42.62m Year of build : 2015

Topaz is based on an unbuilt 1938 design by Frank C Paine, the son of the three-time America’s Cup winner General Charles J Paine. Her modern aluminium incarnation measures 42.62 metres and was launched by Dutch yard Holland Jachtbouw  in 2015. Hoek Design Naval Architects, who styled Topaz inside and out, describe her as “a good all-round performer”. She was the longest J by waterline length at the time of her launch but was later dethroned by Svea .

Sail number : JS1 Length : 43.6m Year of build : 2017

The newest and longest member of the J Class fleet, Svea was launched by Dutch yard Vitters in February 2017 measuring 43.6 metres. Her design by Hoek Design Naval Architects incorporates an integrated traditional long keel from the original 1937 drawings by Swedish designer Thore Holm, which were unearthed by yachting historian John Lammerts van Beuren. However, the designers have brought the 75-year-old design right up-to-date with an aluminium hull and 53.75 metre carbon fibre main mast. As a result, Svea displaces just 182 tonnes — two tonnes less than Hanuman and six tonnes less than Ranger .

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j class yacht history

Published on June 26th, 2017 | by Editor

Return of the J Class Yacht

Published on June 26th, 2017 by Editor -->

J Class yachts , which reigned supreme in the 1930s, are making a thrilling comeback, with restorations, new builds and the biggest fleet the class had ever seen at the America’s Cup J Class Regatta . Why wasn’t the event broadcast, people asked. One theory was the fear of higher viewership than the actual America’s Cup.

In this report by Matthew Sheahan , he charts a return to glory for the class.

Only 10 were ever built from just 20 designs and their reign lasted less than a decade. In their day, J Class yachts were the most technically advanced and universally admired yachts in the world. They drew royalty and captains of industry aboard, while regularly pulling big crowds of spectators to vantage points ashore. But the death of a sovereign, who regularly raced one, and the threat of a world war saw them disappear as fast as they had arrived.

Of the 10 that were raced between 1930 and 1937, six were built in America and four in the UK. Three of the British boats survived, but only just, while all the American ones were scrapped.

j class yacht history

Conceived in 1930 as a more affordable alternative to the previous generation of expensive, one-off America’s Cup yachts, now, more than 85 years later, J Class is about to hit a new high. In 2017, seven J Class owners raced their boats in Bermuda – the biggest fleet the class had ever seen ( see photos ).

Of the original examples that still existed, Endeavour was the first to be fully restored back in the 1980s. Velsheda and Shamrock V followed. Since then, all three have been newsworthy sights at some of the most famous yachting venues around the world. From there, fascination with the Js continued, but with no original boats to restore, people started building replicas.

The first was the American yacht Ranger. “When we launched her in 2003 she was the first new-build J Class yacht for 66 years,” says owner John Williams. “I have had a number of large yachts over the years, but owning a J Class is like owning an F1 car, you simply can’t go back.”

The launch of Ranger, combined with Williams’ success on the water, inspired the construction of others, including Hanuman, the modern interpretation of aviation pioneer and yachtsman Thomas Sopwith’s 1936 J Class, Endeavour II.

Indeed, it was the competition between Endeavour II and the original Ranger that rekindled interest in the last J Class battle for the America’s Cup in 1937, when Harold Vanderbilt wiped the floor with Endeavour II in a match that brought down the curtain on prewar J Class activity and the class itself.

Some owners are now even building yachts from original 1930s lines plans that were never actually constructed. Lionheart was the first– one of seven rejected Ranger models from 1936. Svea, which launched earlier in 2017 ( see photos ), is the latest example – based on an original Tore Holm design from 1937, brings the total in the J Class fleet to nine.

Over three decades, J Class fever has taken a hold at a price tag of around $16.5m apiece. They are expensive boats to run too, costing around $1.3m to $2.5m per year for a racing J. The most competitive might even have new sails for each regatta, so with a single genoa priced at around $127,000, campaigning these boats is not for those looking to compete on a modest budget. And herein lies part of the appeal.

A J Class is not simply a type of yacht – it’s a phenomenon and has always attracted the world’s wealthiest individuals. In addition to Sopwith, Vanderbilt, George V and tea magnate Thomas Lipton were among the famous owners on both sides of the Atlantic. As well as satisfying a personal zest for yacht racing, the boats drew attention that often helped develop their global businesses.

Today, many current owners are equally accomplished, whether as captains of industry, technology or the internet, but in contrast to their forebears many prefer anonymity and are discreet about their professional backgrounds. That said, they are just as besotted with what are described as the most beautiful yachts in the world. Such is the legacy of the J that many see their ownership as simply custodial, even if the boats are replicas.

Back in 1984, American writer and businesswoman Elizabeth Meyer kick started the reincarnation of the J Class when she bought the derelict and barely floating hulk of Endeavour. One of the most famous of all the Js, Endeavour is still widely considered to have been Britain’s best chance of winning the America’s Cup in over 160 years. A full restoration programme saw the yacht back afloat in 1989.

“The size and beauty of these boats is a huge draw. It is hard to make a boat look as beautiful as a J does – there is some magic to it,” says Dutch businessman Ronald de Waal. As the owner of Velsheda, he admits to being hooked on the class. “Their history is also an attraction. They all have a big provenance.”

De Waal’s involvement started almost by accident but quickly led to Velsheda’s full restoration from a bare hull and deck. “I had bought a 40m yacht that caught fire during trials, which led to me looking for another boat,” he explains. “Yacht designer Gerard Dykstra found out there was a J Class hull that had been confiscated after the boatyard restoring it ran into financial difficulties. I paid off the shipyard and the bank, bought the hull and set about restoring the boat, and in 1997, she was launched.”

De Waal is the longest-serving J Class owner and remains very active on the racing scene. His enthusiasm and support, along with Dykstra’s design expertise, have been instrumental in the development of the current fleet. Where Meyer was the catalyst, De Waal and Dykstra have created solid foundations for the class. “To own a boat like Velsheda is to own something that is irreplaceable,” says De Waal. “It’s not just about the money, it’s the history and the almost spiritual feeling about the boat and what she stands for. It reminds me of life and living, it’s that strong a connection.”

Dykstra and his design team have been involved in no fewer than six different Js, with another on the drawing board, and remain closely involved with the practical day-to-day aspects of running a J campaign. “When you step aboard a J, you are not just a sailor but a part of yachting history,” says Dykstra. “The sailing is impressive, but it’s impossible not to be affected by the sense of heritage and the part these boats have played. They drew huge crowds in their day, and today’s spectators are equally fascinated.”

While the J Class continues to epitomise all that was grand, elegant and competitive about yacht racing in the 1930s, the reality is that these boats were, and remain, challenging brutes to handle. Not surprisingly, their immense power and complexity attract some of the world’s top professional sailors.

Jeroen de Vos at the Dykstra design office is one of several staff who sail regularly on Js. “Of the 30 or so crew aboard, more than 20 need to be highly experienced sailors,” he says. “You have to work flawlessly as a team because the boats are so powerful that the slightest mistake can result in a serious situation. The level of competition is also extremely high.”

Following the racing in Bermuda, the aim of the fleet is now the 2017 J Class World Championship on August 21-26 in Newport, RI

Sharing the credit for the new wave of Js is designer Andre Hoek who has created five of the modern Js. His work has concentrated on yachts like Lionheart and Topaz, modern builds from original lines.

“The move to aluminum as a construction material has been a big step for the class and one of the key factors in their current appeal,” he says. “Originally the boats were stripped-out racing machines built from steel. Today, owners want full interiors with creature comforts and systems that allow them to cruise the boats as well. A lighter aluminium build means they can have these interiors and still float to their original lines.”

Another key factor has been the clever handicapping system that ensures equitable racing at all the events. The handicap system was originally developed by Dykstra in conjunction with technical experts at the Wolfson Unit at Southampton University, which required detailed performance analysis. Andre Hoek’s team has also spent time assessing the current and future performances of the Js, but for subtly different reasons.

“We conducted a huge amount of research with velocity prediction programs to assess the various performances of the boats, both those that had been built and those that were just designs,” says Hoek. “The result is we now know more about why certain hulls work and others don’t. We can also see which of the original designers were working along the right lines.”

The willingness and enthusiasm of owners to take their elegant yachts to the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda in June 2017 is testament to both the continued pull of the America’s Cup and to the historical significance of the J Class.

“It’s rare for a venue to host more than a few boats, but the Hamilton Princess hotel in the centre of the town provided berthing for all the Js,” says J Class Association secretary and event organiser Louise Morton. “This created an incredible spectacle, right at the heart of the event.”

J Class yachts could not be more different from the modern, lightweight, high-speed, hydrofoiling catamarans that are the current America’s Cup boats.

A J Class has a single 41m hull, a lead keel and over 900sq m of sail. She requires around 30 crew, weighs around 150 tonnes and has a typical maximum speed of 12 knots (14mph). A modern America’s Cup catamaran is 15m long, has two hulls, flies above the water on hydrofoils at speeds approaching 52 knots (60mph) and is powered by an aeroplane-style wing sail. The boat is sailed by just six crew and weighs only 1,320kg.

On the face of it there is no comparison, yet they share the same DNA. Just as current foiling catamarans are defining new limits, the Js of the 1930s represented the leading edge of yacht design and construction, their size and loads pushing at the limits of what was technically possible.

But it wasn’t just the boats and their towering 50m masts and colossal sails that were breaking new ground; systems and technologies developed elsewhere on the boat were also helping to shape the modern era of both racing and cruising yachts. A good example is the development of electronic sailing instrumentation for information on wind strength and direction. First used on Sopwith’s J Class Endeavour II, such instrumentation soon became commonplace.

Even to this day, such technical developments have continued. “In the early 1990s, the winches on these boats were manually powered by the crews winding pedestal grinders,” explains Dykstra. “Now those grinders have been replaced with hydraulically powered winches that allow crews to handle the boats more efficiently. It has changed the game and led to more advanced systems and new sailing techniques.”

So while the enthusiasm for this classic yacht may appear to be driven by nostalgia, the boats are continuing to do exactly what they were originally designed to do – push the boundaries and create the ultimate racing machine. Sometimes history repeats itself in unexpected ways.

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Tags: America's Cup , America's Cup J Class Regatta , J Class , Matthew Sheahan

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j class yacht history

A story of decadence: the history of the J Class yacht

Words: Hamish Roy

The story of the J Class yacht is dominated by tycoons, aviators and those who built empires of tea; it is a story of fervent transatlantic competition, in which vast sums of money were spent to both challenge and defend the coveted America’s Cup; and it is the story of some of the most beautiful yachts ever built, which provided some of the most closely-run racing of their day.

Ranger old - getty

Harold Vanderbilt’s Ranger, launched in 1937. Image: Getty

The birth of the J Class

In 1929, Sir Thomas Lipton, the Scotsman who built an empire of grocery shops and tea, commissioned a new sailing yacht in a final effort to wrestle the America’s Cup from its host nation (the race had been won by the Americans every single year). His previous yacht, Shamrock IV , had come closer to winning the race than any other British contender, but had lost to Resolute , the defending yacht competing on behalf of the New York Yacht club. This would be Lipton’s fifth and final attempt to achieve a British win.

Shamrock-V pendennis.com

Lipton’s Shamrock V as she is today. Image: Pendennis.com

Designed by Charles Ernest Nicholson of Camper and Nicholsons, Shamrock V was the first of the J Class yachts. This new category of yacht would come about about as a result of the introduction of the so-called Universal Rule; introduced a year later in 1930, it provided a standardised formula for calculating which yachts could compete with one another. Prior to this, yachts had been growing larger and larger, with the differences between boats making some races unfair. The introduction of the new rules and the formation of the J Class, however, created a category of yacht racing famed for its closeness – one in which competitors sometimes crossed the finish line within seconds of one another. Yet for all this evening of the odds,  Shamrock V  did not bring a change of wind for the ageing Lipton. Having spent a reported $2,000,000 on his final race attempt – an enormous sum at the time – Lipton still lost to Harold Vanderbilt’s  Enterprise. Having failed to claim the victory that he so desired, Lipton retired to his estate, where he died shortly afterwards.

Cutting of Whirlwind - yarrowthorne.blogspot.co.uk

A newspaper cutting showing America’s Whirlwind in action. Image: yarrowthorne.blogspot.co.uk

America fights back

To understand the extent of the rivalry between the British and the Americans is to see the response to Lipton’s 1929 challenge. Pooling together enormous sums of money in a syndicate, the Americans built no fewer than four yachts for the 1930 race: Enterprise, Whirlwind, Yankee  and  Weetamoe , all of which were launched within a month of one another. Whirlwind was the most revolutionary of the four and, at 86 feet long, was built to within an foot of the limits set by the Universal Rule. Clearly, Shamrock V had caused more of an upset than Lipton could have known.

Thomas Sopwith icollector.com

Aviator Thomas Sopwith, whose firm built the Sopwith Camel during WW1. Image: icollector.com

Of the British offerings, it is Endeavour , built in 1934 for aviation pioneer Thomas Sopwith, that is seen to be the worthiest of all the British challengers. Charles Nicholson’s third J Class design, Endeavour showcased innovative technology added by Sopwith himself, much of it influenced by his aviation expertise. Often said to be the most beautiful of all the J Class yachts, Endeavour  was not, however, the fastest. Believed by some to have been hampered by her excessive gadgetry, she too lost out to one of Harold Vanderbilt’s yachts,  Rainbow,  in the 1934 race.

Harold Vanderbilt "Mike" at the wheel of Rainbow during the 1934 America's Cup race. The sailing yacht was the successful defender of the Cup that year. (From the Edwin Levick Collection)

Harold Vanderbilt at the helm of his yacht, Rainbow, in 1934. Image: marinersmuseum.org

An era of American Dominance

The inheritor of a railroad empire, Harold Vanderbilt lived a life of great privelidge. As a boy, he sailed the world with his father, and by early adulthood, was an adept yachtsmen. He would helm  Enterprise, Rainbow and Ranger turn, sailing each of them to victory, thus safeguarding America’s grip on the trophy.  Ranger , with her riveted steel-plated hull, enjoyed particular success, winning 35 from 37 starts during her racing career. She easily saw off the British challenger Endeavour in 1937, winning all four America’s Cup races. The era of the J Class became a story of American dominance – one in of valiant but ultimately failed British challenges. In fact, America retained the America’s Cup trophy from 1870 right the way through to 1987, when they were finally dethroned by an Australian crew.

Decline and Fall

1937 marked the last America’s Cup race for 21 years, and with it the start of a steep decline for the J Class. Weetamoe was scrapped that very year, and others would soon be cannibalised for their steel during the coming war. As Europe slid towards conflict, the J Class faded away with the decadence of the 1930’s. By the 1980’s, only three of the 10 original J Class yachts remained – Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda – two of which had lain derelict for decades. Now unrecognisable, they crouched in muddy inlets, the worn out husks of a golden era.

Velsheda - phil wiston

Velsheda in 1996. Image: Phil Wiston

Resurrection

In the 1990’s, salvation appeared in the form of Elizabeth Meyer, the founder of the International Yacht Restoration School. Meyer oversaw the comprehensive renovation and refitting of both Endeavour and Velsheda . She can, ultimately, be credited with saving these illustrious yachts from being consigned to the history books.

New rainbow

The recreated Rainbow. Image: yachtworld.co.uk

The creation of the J Class Association in 2000 further bolstered this revival, which has since shown no signs of abating. New yachts are now being faithful reconstructed from 1930’s designs; Vanderbilt’s Rainbow , the winner of the 1934 tussle with Sopwith’s Endeavour , was one of those recently recreated. In keeping with the original 1930’s yacht, the replica retains a mahogany interior with Art Deco detailing – making for a tasteful and true recreation that is almost identical to its forefather.

New Rainbow - cfredit yachtworld.co.uk

A wood-panelled bedroom aboard the new rainbow.Image: yachtworld.co.uk

Today, there are 8 J Class yachts in existence – just one short of the total number of original yachts built in the 1930’s. The 3 surviving British yachts have been supplemented by another 5 replicas in recent years, 3 of which have been launched since 2003. A brand new yacht,  Svea , is set for completion some time next year, which will bring the total up to 9. If anything, this rejuvenation demonstrates the continuing pull of a yachting era characterised by drama and romance – a story of industry captains, 1930s glamour and cut-throat competition. That, and the fact that J Class yachts remain some of the most beautiful ever built.

Main image: Boat International, featured image Daniel Forster.

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The allure of the America’s Cup is set to be enhanced by the majestic presence of the J Class fleet as organizers extend a prestigious invitation for their participation in the upcoming event. Scheduled to take place from October 7th to 11th, 2024, the J Class World Championship in Barcelona promises to be a spectacle of grandeur and nostalgia.

j class yacht history

Comprising three meticulously refitted original yachts and six newly constructed vessels designed to replicate the iconic hull lines of the 1930s, the J Class fleet boasts a total of nine active yachts worldwide. Among them are the renowned Endeavour, Topaz, Ranger, Svea, Velsheda, Shamrock V, Rainbow, Hanuman, and Lionheart, each bearing a storied history dating back to the illustrious America’s Cup races of the 1930s.

Grant Dalton, CEO of America’s Cup Events, expressed his excitement for the inclusion of the J Class in the regatta, emphasizing their integral role in the Cup’s rich heritage. “Seeing those boats being raced just off the Barcelona waterfront will be a spectacle for everyone on the water or watching from the shoreline – we cannot wait to see them in action,” remarked Dalton.

Stuart Childerley, Class Secretary of the J Class, echoed Dalton’s sentiments, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to showcase the fleet’s legacy amidst the prestigious America’s Cup regatta. “The boats will arrive at Port Vell and be situated right in the heart of the superyacht basin, giving spectators a fantastic opportunity to see these historic yachts up close,” noted Childerley.

The Class Association is actively encouraging J Class owners to commit to the 2024 event, with five confirmations received to date. As anticipation builds for this unparalleled gathering of maritime history and contemporary excellence, the J Class World Championship promises to captivate audiences both on and off the water, offering a rare glimpse into the timeless elegance and enduring spirit of these iconic vessels.

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Republican vice presidential nominee JD Vance has gone through numerous changes − from comparing former Donald Trump to Hitler to accepting a place on Trump's ticket, from bestselling author to Silicon Valley to the stage of the Republican National Convention.

It's not just Vance's beliefs or career trajectory that has changed, but his name as well.

Vance was born James Donald Bowman in Middletown, Ohio, a town halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati. Following his parents' divorce, Bowman's middle name was changed David.

James adopted his stepfather's last name for some of his teenage years, with his 2003 senior yearbook identifying him as James Hamel. This was also the name used during James' military service from 2003 to 2007, where he served as a Corporal in the Marines.

Marriage to JD Vance's wife Usha

In 2014, Vance married his wife, Usha , and decided to take on his maternal grandparents' surname. In his bestselling novel Hillbilly Elegy , and in his congressional bio , Vance has repeatedly emphasized their importance in his upbringing, and thanked his grandmother in his Senate victory speech, and in his vice presidential acceptance speech , causing the RNC audience to chant "Mamaw! Mamaw!"

Vance's family history is central to his name change, and equally critical to his selection as vice president.

Vance's association with blue-collar, rust-belt America, a place he characterizes as "cast aside and forgotten by America's ruling class in Washington," could prove pivotal in helping Trump flip back crucial states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Cy Neff reports on Wyoming politics for USA TODAY. You can reach him at [email protected] or on X, formerly known as Twitter,  @CyNeffNews

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All 30 MLB Teams to Wear Special Hall of Fame Caps This Weekend

Brady farkas | jul 17, 2024.

Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton and Joe Mauer (from left) visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame's plaque gallery in Cooperstown, New York, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, as the museum's newest electees. The trio's selection was announced Tuesday by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

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With the National Baseball Hall of Fame set to induct its latest class into Cooperstown this upcoming weekend, all 30 Major League Baseball teams will be wearing special commemorative Cooperstown caps on the field.

The Hall of Fame put out a post on "X" with the announcement and what caps will look like.

Celebrating 85 years of preserving history, honoring excellence and connecting generations in Cooperstown. All 30 @MLB teams will wear caps featuring the Hall of Fame logo this weekend as we induct the Class of 2024. http://ow.ly/fOJ850SEGIN

Celebrating 85 years of preserving history, honoring excellence and connecting generations in Cooperstown. All 30 @MLB teams will wear caps featuring the Hall of Fame logo this weekend as we induct the Class of 2024. https://t.co/MDELF5SHrV pic.twitter.com/poUlGSnGIv — National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ (@baseballhall) July 17, 2024

Getting into the Hall of Fame this year are Joe Mauer, Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton and manager Jim Leyland.

Helton spent 17 years in the big leagues, all with the Colorado Rockies. He was a lifetime .316 hitter with 369 homers and 1,406 RBI. He helped lead the Rockies to an appearance in the 2007 World Series and was a five-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger, a three-time Gold Glover and a batting champion.

Beltre is a member of the 3,000 hit club through his 21 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. He was a four-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger, a five-time Gold Glover and a two-time Platinum Glove winner. He helped the Rangers advance to the World Series in 2011.

One of the best catchers of all-time, Mauer was a 15-year veteran with the Minnesota Twins. He was a six-time All-Star, a five-time Silver Slugger, a three-time batting champion and an MVP.

Leyland managed for 22 years in total, including 11 with the Pirates, which was the longest tenure he had with any organization. While with Pittsburgh, he went 851-863, getting to the playoffs three times. He had an opportunity to manage Barry Bonds early in his career, and helped take the Pirates to the NLCS in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

In addition to Pittsburgh, he managed the Florida Marlins, helping them win the World Series in 1997. He also spent one season with the Colorado Rockies and added eight with the Detroit Tigers. With Detroit, he made the playoffs four times and captured two American League pennants.

Leyland has also served in a managerial capacity for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic

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Brady Farkas

BRADY FARKAS

Brady Farkas is a baseball writer for Fastball on Sports Illustrated/FanNation and the host of 'The Payoff Pitch' podcast which can be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Videos on baseball also posted to YouTube. Brady has spent nearly a decade in sports talk radio and is a graduate of Oswego State University. You can follow him on Twitter @WDEVRadioBrady. 

In total nine J Class yachts are currently active, including three original surviving Js - Velsheda, Shamrock and Endeavour - and six replicas that have been built since 2003; Ranger, Rainbow, Hanuman, Lionheart, Topaz and Svea.

j class yacht history

Endeavour, JK4

j class yacht history

Velsheda, JK7

j class yacht history

Rainbow, JKZ1

j class yacht history

Shamrock V, JK3

j class yacht history

Hanuman JK6

j class yacht history

Lionheart, JH1

j class yacht history

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Fact-Checking Trump’s Speech and More: Day 4 of the Republican National Convention

A team of New York Times reporters followed the developments and fact-checked the speakers, providing context and explanation.

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Former President Donald J. Trump accepted his party’s nomination during the final night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday, delivering a freewheeling, factually challenged and often ad-libbed speech.

Mr. Trump began by describing in detail the assassination attempt that left him with a bandaged ear. Then, he essentially staged a campaign rally, repeating familiar boasts and delving into a cascade of false and misleading claims about his own record and the state of the border, the economy and the world.

Here’s a fact-check of his remarks.

Linda Qiu

“We’ve got Right to Try. They were trying to get that for 52 years.”

— Former President Donald J. Trump

This needs context.

The “right to try” law of 2018 allows terminally ill patients to seek access to experimental medicine that is not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but a similar program has been in place since the 1970s.

Jeanna Smialek

Jeanna Smialek

An inflation crisis “is just simply crushing our people, like never before — they’ve never seen anything like it.”

This is false..

Inflation peaked at 9.1 percent in the summer of 2022, but that is considerably lower than its peak of nearly 15 percent in the early 1980s.

Republicans will sometimes point out that the inflation methodology has changed since then — meaning that we are measuring price increases differently — but even accounting for those tweaks, economists have said that inflation was lower in 2022 than it was four decades earlier. Inflation is not, based on the data, crushing people like never before.

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John Ismay

“Our planet is teetering on the edge of World War III, and this will be a war like no other.”

This lacks evidence..

While there is an active war between Russia and Ukraine, and between Hamas and Israel, and fighting in Sudan, Myanmar and other countries, there is no evidence that a third world war is imminent.

In terms of previous world wars, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, an estimated 8.5 million soldiers were killed in World War I and an estimated 35 million to 60 million people died during World War II.

The concept of World War III has traditionally referred to a potential war between the United States and Russia, which is not imminent. President Biden has often said he is actively trying to avoid such a conflict even as he arms Kyiv in its war with Moscow.

Brad Plumer

Brad Plumer

“We will drill, baby, drill, and by doing that we will lead to a large-scale decline in prices.”

More drilling doesn’t always cause gasoline prices to plunge. Case in point: The United States is actually producing significantly more crude oil today under the Biden administration than it did under the Trump administration, yet gasoline prices are still higher than they were four years ago.

That’s because gasoline costs are also influenced by broader market forces that can cause the global price of crude oil to rise or fall. For instance, a big reason prices increased in 2022 was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted the flow of crude across the globe. All else equal, an increase in U.S. oil drilling should put downward pressure on prices, but those other global factors also play a considerable role.

Angelo Fichera

Angelo Fichera

“If you look at the arrow at the bottom, that’s the lowest level — the one on the bottom, heavy red arrow — that’s the lowest level of illegal immigrants ever to come into our country in recorded history right there, right there. And that was my last week in office.”

Mr. Trump presented an immigration graphic that he credited with saving his life during an assassination attempt at a rally in Pennsylvania days earlier.

Moments before a gunman opened fire at the rally, Mr. Trump turned to gesture at the chart, a move that he said prevented him from being shot in the head . The shooting left his ear bloodied, killed one spectator and seriously injured two others.

In his acceptance speech on Thursday, he referred to a thick red arrow on the chart, titled “Illegal Immigration Into the U.S.,” that points to a significant drop in migrant crossings at the southern border during his presidency.

But despite text on the chart and Mr. Trump’s description at the convention, the arrow is actually pointing to a dip in early 2020 — when migration slowed globally during the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that followed — not during his last week in office. And that low did not last.

In March 2020, there were about 30,000 encounters at the southern border recorded by Border Patrol, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics . That dropped in April 2020 by almost half, to about 16,000.

In the months that followed, however, the number of migrants encountered at the border then climbed back up. During Mr. Trump’s last month in office, there were about 75,000 encounters by Border Patrol.

And contrary to Mr. Trump’s claim, even the low in 2020 was not the lowest “in recorded history.” Earlier in Mr. Trump’s presidency, the number of apprehensions at the border had dipped to about 11,000 in April 2017 , before the flow increased again.

Also, since 1925, total annual apprehensions nationwide by Border Patrol have often been lower than they were under Mr. Trump’s presidency, noted Michelle Mittelstadt, a spokeswoman for the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

There is no arguing that the situation at the southern border grew worse during the Biden administration: In December, there were around 250,000 encounters .

In an effort to reverse course, President Biden recently announced severe restrictions on asylum, and illegal crossings have since significantly dropped . Border Patrol reported about 83,500 encounters in June.

“We gave you the largest tax cuts.”

The $1.5 trillion tax cut, enacted in December 2017, ranks below at least half a dozen other tax cuts by several metrics. The 1981 Reagan tax cut was the largest as a percentage of the economy and by its reduction to federal revenue. The 2012 Obama tax cut amounted to the largest reduction in inflation-adjusted dollars: $321 billion a year.

“We built most of the wall.”

During Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, he promised to build a wall spanning at least 1,000 miles along the southern border and have Mexico pay for it. That did not happen. Overall, the Trump administration constructed 458 miles of border barriers — most of which upgraded or replaced existing structures. Officials put up new primary barriers where none previously existed along only 47 miles.

“I will end every single international crisis that the current administration has created — including the horrible war with Russia and Ukraine, which would have never happened if I was president, and the war caused by the attack on Israel, which never would have happened if I were president.”

There is no evidence that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if Donald J. Trump had been president of the United States in February 2022, when Russian forces began a full-scale war on Ukraine.

In fact, Mr. Trump supported one of Mr. Putin’s greatest desires — weakening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018 Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from NATO . And Mr. Trump was impeached for withholding Javelin missiles from Ukraine in 2019. Those missiles proved effective in blunting Russian armor advances into Ukraine in 2022.

“And then we had that horrible, horrible result that we’ll never let happen again. The election result. We’re never going to let that happen again. They used Covid to cheat.”

Mr. Trump has continued to falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. His assertions about widespread cheating are unsubstantiated. Since the election, the former president has used claims mischaracterizing the voting and counting process, cited baseless examples of fraud and peddled conspiracy theories.

“Just a few short years ago under my presidency, we had the most secure border and the best economy in the history of the world.”

This is exaggerated..

Apprehensions of unauthorized crossings along the southwest border in the 2017 fiscal year, which includes several months of the Obama administration, fell to the lowest point since the 1970s.

But they increased in subsequent years. In the 2019 fiscal year, apprehensions topped 800,000 and were the highest in a decade. And in the 2020 fiscal year, even as the coronavirus pandemic ground global movement to a halt, apprehensions were higher than in 2011, 2012 and 2015.

And when Mr. Trump left office, the coronavirus pandemic had decimated the economy with an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent in January 2021 and gross domestic product had not yet rebounded to pre-Covid levels. But even before all of that, annual average growth was lower under Mr. Trump than under Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

“We had no inflation.”

The rate of inflation was indeed low under Mr. Trump, but it was not completely nonexistent.

Under Mr. Trump, the rate of inflation measured by the overall Consumer Price Index largely gravitated around 2 percent — with the rate slightly lower and higher some months — according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics . That dropped at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and inflation reached a low of 0.1 percent in May 2020 before trending upward.

“By the way, you know who’s taking the jobs? The jobs that are created? 107 percent of those jobs are taken by illegal aliens”

Official estimates of employment do not support Mr. Trump’s statement, which makes little sense. And estimates from various groups show that the population of unauthorized immigrants has grown in recent years, but not nearly enough to take all the jobs created during Mr. Biden’s presidency.

The economy has added more than 15 million jobs since January 2021. Two groups that advocate for lower levels of migration and stricter border security have estimated that there are 2.3 million to 2.5 million more unauthorized immigrants in 2023 than in 2020.

Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 29.9 million foreign-born workers — both authorized and unauthorized — and 131.1 million native-born workers were employed in 2023. That is an increase of 5.1 million in employed foreign-born workers and 8.1 million native-born workers since 2020 .

“Our current administration, groceries are up 57 percent, gasoline is up 60 and 70 percent.”

Grocery prices are up substantially since Joseph R. Biden Jr. took office in early 2021, but not by 57 percent: The Consumer Price Index’s food-at-home index is up about 21 percent . Gas prices are up about 35 percent , depending upon the measure used.

Lisa Friedman

Lisa Friedman

“Under the Trump administration, just three and a half years ago, we were energy independent. But soon we will actually be better than that. We will be energy dominant and supply not only ourselves, but we supply the rest of the world, with numbers that nobody has ever seen.”

This is misleading..

Under the Trump administration, the United States for the first time began to export more oil than it imported. Energy experts say that is not because of Trump’s policies, but because of the fracking boom that began during the George W. Bush administration and soared under President Barack Obama. It’s still happening.

In fact, under President Biden, the United States has become the biggest oil producer in the world and is producing more natural gas than ever before. The phrases “energy independence” and “energy dominance” also fail to take into account wind, solar and other renewable energy, which is growing at a rapid pace.

Alan Rappeport

Alan Rappeport

“We will reduce our debt, $36 trillion, and we will reduce your taxes still further.”

Mr. Trump suggested that the national debt would be paid down by jump-starting economic growth. He made this promise during his first term, promising that $2 trillion of tax cuts would pay for themselves, and ended up approving more than $8 trillion of borrowing. The Republican platform this year makes no mention of debt or deficits but does call for cutting wasteful spending.

Also, the national debt currently stands at $34.9 trillion, not $36 trillion.

“They want to raise your taxes four times.”

Many elements of the 2017 tax cut Mr. Trump signed into law will expire in 2025, and Mr. Biden has proposed some tax increases on high-income earners and corporations. But this does not amount to a quadrupling of taxes.

The 2017 tax cuts are expected to reduce the average tax rate by 1.4 percent in 2025, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a left-leaning Washington think tank. Most in the top 5 percent of income would see the greatest change, by 2.4 percent. Mr. Biden has also consistently said he does not support raising taxes on people making under $400,000 a year and, in his latest budget, proposed extending tax cuts for those making under that threshold.

Mr. Biden’s proposals would increase the average tax rate by about 1.9 percent, according to a Tax Policy Center analysis . The top 0.1 percent would see the biggest increase of about 13.9 percent, while the low income filers would see a reduction in taxes. That is no nowhere near the 300 percent increase Mr. Trump warned of.

“I will end the electric vehicle mandate on Day 1, thereby saving the U.S. auto industry from complete obliteration, which is happening right now, and saving U.S. customers thousands and thousands per car.”

There is no electric vehicle mandate. The Biden administration has imposed rules requiring carmakers to meet new average emissions limits across their entire product line. It is up to auto manufacturers how to comply. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that the rule would mean that by 2032, about 56 percent of new passenger vehicles sold would be electric and another 16 percent would be hybrids. Autoworkers do fear job losses because electric vehicles could require less than half the number of workers to assemble than cars with internal combustion engines do.

There is also no evidence that the rule or other policies aimed at encouraging electric vehicles are leading the automobile industry toward “obliteration.” Many automakers have, in fact, embraced electric vehicle production. General Motors, for example, has been talking about preparing for an “all-electric future” since 2017. The Biden administration has argued that its policies are aimed at moving electric vehicle jobs from China to the United States.

“We’re going to bring back car manufacturing.”

The American auto industry lost jobs under the Trump administration, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler all closed factories during Mr. Trump’s presidency.

“Probably the best trade deal was the deal I made with China, where they buy $50 billion worth of our product.”

The trade agreement that Mr. Trump signed with China in 2020 was quickly derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, and China never fulfilled its obligations to purchase American goods. And Mr. Trump gave an incorrect total for how much American product China was supposed to buy. A 2022 analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that China had bought none of the extra $200 billion of U.S. exports in the trade pact.

“Democrats are going to destroy Social Security and Medicare.”

President Biden has pledged not to make any cuts to America’s social safety net programs. Mr. Trump suggested this year that he was open to scaling back the programs when he said there was “a lot you can do in terms of entitlements in terms of cutting.” He later walked back those comments and pledged to protect the programs. But if changes to the programs are not made, the programs’ benefits will automatically be reduced eventually. Government reports released earlier this year projected that the Social Security and disability insurance programs, if combined, would not have enough money to pay all of their obligations in 2035. Medicare will be unable to pay all its hospital bills starting in 2036.

Hamed Aleaziz

Hamed Aleaziz

The Biden administration “demolished Title 42.”

The Biden administration kept in place the Trump-era policy, known as Title 42, which allowed border agents to quickly turn back migrants and cut off access to asylum protections for more than a year.

The Biden administration did not move to get rid of Title 42 until spring 2022. The move was later blocked by a federal judge, which forced the administration to keep the policy in place.

During that time, the Biden administration expanded the use of the policy and began expelling Venezuelans to Mexico. It was later rolled back in 2023 by the Biden administration.

“In Venezuela, crime is down 72 percent.”

Mr. Trump claimed that crime had fallen drastically in Venezuela because the country had sent “their murderers” and prisoners to the United States. Annual reports from the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a research organization based in Caracas, shows a 25 percent decline in the country’s homicide rate from 2022 to 2023 , and a 41 percent decline since 2020 . In comparison, the homicide rate declined even more precipitously while Mr. Trump was president, by almost 50 percent from 2016 .

The Venezuelan Prison Observatory told Univision in 2022, when Mr. Trump first made the claim, that the prisons in the country had not been emptied and rather were at 170 percent capacity. According to the group’s latest annual report, Venezuela’s prison population stood at 33,558 in 2022, about level with its 2021 population of 33,710. Immigration experts have said they could not corroborate Mr. Trump’s claims that other countries were “dumping” their criminal and prison populations into the United States.

“I was the first president in modern times to start no new wars.”

Depending on the definition of “modern times,” President Jimmy Carter started no new wars during his time in office between 1977 and 1981.

“The whole world was at peace. And now the whole world is blowing up around us. Under President Bush, Russia invaded Georgia. Under President Obama, Russia took Crimea. Under the current administration, Russia is after all of Ukraine. Under President Trump, Russia took nothing.”

Under Mr. Trump’s presidency, there was not global peace. While Mr. Trump was in the Oval Office, there was an active war in eastern Ukraine between the Russian and Ukrainian armies, he authorized airstrikes and ground combat operations against fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and he ordered the assassination of an Iranian military leader in Iraq.

“We defeated 100 percent of ISIS in Syria, something that was going to take five years — ‘It’ll take five years, sir’ — and I did it in two months.”

The American-led coalition campaign against the Islamic State began in 2014 . The research firm IHS Markit estimated that the Islamic State lost about a third of its territory from January 2015 to January 2017. Mr. Trump has largely stuck with, and taken advantage of, a strategy that Mr. Obama began , and the Islamic State lost its final territories in March 2019 , two years after Mr. Trump took office, not two months.

“I stopped the missile launches from North Korea.”

North Korea continued to test missiles during Mr. Trump’s time in the White House, a fact that the former president continually dismissed at the time .

“Our opponents inherited a planet at peace and turned it into a planet at war.”

While Russia had not invaded Ukraine and the war between Israel and Hamas had not broken out, it is a stretch to claim that the world was entirely peaceful under the Trump administration.

Average peacefulness declined in 2018 and 2020 , according to the Global Peace Index, an annual measure of violence around the world compiled by the Institute for Economics & Peace. During the Trump administration, the United States was also engaged in military conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan and more than 60 American soldiers died in hostile action . When Mr. Trump left office, there were 2,500 troops remaining in Afghanistan.

“We also left $85 billion worth of military equipment” in Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump was once again referring to the total amount that the United States spent on security in Afghanistan over the course of 20 years — not the value of equipment left behind in the 2021 withdrawal.

The United States provided $88.6 billion for security in Afghanistan from October 2001 to July 2021, and disbursed about $75 billion, according to Pentagon figures .

That figure includes the amount spent on training, antidrug trafficking efforts and infrastructure, as well as $18 billion for equipment. CNN previously reported that about $7 billion worth of military equipment that the United States transferred to the Afghan government was left behind during the withdrawal.

“We will replenish our military and build an Iron Dome missile defense system to ensure that no enemy can strike our homeland. And this great Iron Dome will be built entirely in the U.S.A. and Wisconsin.”

The U.S. military’s budget continues to grow year by year, and the Iron Dome missile defense system is effective only against relatively short-range rockets and missiles. Installing an Iron Dome across the country would in no way ensure that an enemy could not strike the United States.

“They spent $9 billion on eight chargers.”

— Former President Donald J. Trump.

This is false .

This is an inflated claim of another false statement Mr. Trump has made on the campaign trail about electric vehicle charging stations. (He recently said that the Biden administration had “opened seven chargers for $8 billion.”)

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which President Biden signed in 2021, allocated $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, with the goal of installing 500,000 across the country.

So far, only seven chargers have been installed — not a great pace. But the suggestion that the entire amount was used on seven chargers is not accurate. The Biden administration has argued that the pace is the result of wanting to get a complex new national program done right.

“He decided to leave behind the comforts of an unbelievable business empire. To leave behind everything he had ever built. To answer the call to serve our nation. Unlike his predecessor, it was not a decision born out of necessity. Unlike the current president, it was not a decision that would enrich his family.”

— Eric Trump, a son of Donald J. Trump

Former President Donald J. Trump did not divest from his businesses when he assumed the presidency, and his critics argue that his companies did benefit from his being in public office. Mr. Trump’s businesses received nearly $8 million from 20 foreign governments during his time in office, according to documents released by House Democrats this year. Much of that was from China. The nonprofit OpenSecrets has also tracked millions of dollars flowing to Trump properties from political entities and groups in recent years, suggesting that those seeking favor with Mr. Trump may do so through his properties.

“He slashed regulations.”

This needs context ..

As president, Donald J. Trump indeed slashed regulations, rolling back more than 100 environmental protections alone. The bulk of those were aimed at keeping the air and water clean, and cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and power plants.

However, the Trump administration’s attempt to deregulate was also often thwarted by the courts. All told, the Trump administration lost 57 percent of cases challenging its environmental policies, a much higher rate of loss than previous administrations, according to a database maintained by New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity .

“The U.S. dollar has been diminished.”

The value of the U.S. dollar is stronger than it has been in decades . This year, the dollar index, which measures the strength of the currency against the currencies of six major trading partners, has been hovering at levels last seen in the early 2000s.

Eric Trump’s suggestion that the dollar has been diminished is actually at odds with his father’s recent suggestion that the dollar is too strong, making American exports too expensive abroad.

Former President Donald J. Trump and Senator J.D. Vance, his running mate, have both argued that a weaker dollar would be better for the U.S. economy and have suggested that steps should be taken to depreciate the currency.

“In 2019, I was with him at the United Nations when the first president of history of this country stood there to advocate for religious liberty worldwide.”

— Franklin Graham, the evangelical leader

President Donald J. Trump hosted a United Nations event on religious freedom in 2019 in New York. At the time, he characterized it as the first time a U.S. president had hosted such a meeting. But aside from specific meetings, Mr. Trump’s appearance was certainly not the first time that an American president had championed religious freedom before the United Nations. President Barack Obama did so in a 2012 address to the General Assembly . President George W. Bush pressed the importance of religious liberty in a 2008 interfaith event.

“We’ve lost more Americans from drugs in the past four years than we lost in World War II. Yeah. Our bloodiest war. More than we lost in World War II. Does anybody care? It is pathetic. It is pathetic. And do you hear a single word from Washington about doing anything about it?”

— Tucker Carlson, Trump ally and former Fox News host

Mr. Carlson can certainly argue that lawmakers have not done enough to address the opioid crisis in the United States, but his suggestion that they have done nothing is wrong. The Congressional Research Service listed several major legislative efforts in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

These laws, according to the research service, “addressed overprescribing and misuse of opioids, expanded substance use disorder prevention and treatment capacities, bolstered drug diversion capabilities, and enhanced international drug interdiction, counternarcotics cooperation and sanctions efforts.”

Annual funding for border security and the Drug Enforcement Administration has tried to directly address drug trafficking. The bipartisan border bill that failed this past spring would have also included increased funding for enforcement efforts and new technology to detect drug smuggling. Former President Donald J. Trump lobbied against its passage.

Yachting World

  • Digital Edition

Yachting World cover

Inside J Class yacht Svea – what it’s really like to race on board the newest member of the fleet

  • Toby Hodges
  • June 16, 2017

Toby Hodges sails the newest J Class yacht, Svea, and finds an elegant J crossed with a modern maxi grand prix yacht. Photos by Carlo Borlenghi

j class yacht history

Svea , the newest addition to the now nine-strong J Class fleet, is one of the most outstanding new yachts of modern times – a harmonious meeting of historic and modern design; a blend of J Class lines and maxi grand prix yacht technology.

What follows will hopefully explain why she is the ultimate modern J; why her design and engineering had to be fast-tracked yet still produced such formidable results, and, crucially, why the other six Js and their 200 professional crewmembers racing in Bermuda this June were right to be worried about their new competition.

Svea ’s build programme has been unrelenting since her American owner bought the bare aluminium hull two years ago. A serial yacht owner and experienced racer, his sights were firmly set on the J Class regatta in Bermuda.

This is the biggest year for the J Class since they raced for the America’s Cup in the 1930s .

The first time six Js raced together was in St Barth in March , but when Svea joins the fleet in Bermuda, it will be the first time seven have lined up. But for that to happen Svea had to take shape fast.

It was just 17 months from signing the contract to her delivery – a race-ready superyacht prepared to sail across the Atlantic to her first race, just as the original Js were designed to do.

Svea arrived in Palma in March to start sea trials and race training. I was invited aboard in late April for what turned out to be the last day of race training – and a day I shall never forget.

1930s lines, modern layout

All Js dazzle on the water, but Svea simply stops you in your tracks. Her lines and deck are kept spectacularly clean, thanks to the compact wheelhouse, sunken wheel and wonderfully low boom.

Her dark metallic grey hull and black and red sail wardrobe lend her timeless lines a slightly menacing appearance – a purposeful racing look that belies the luxurious interior below decks. The aggressive aesthetics are in keeping with her name, a Viking word (it means Swede).

j class yacht history

The lines for Svea are from a Tore Holm design from 1937, the last J drawn but one that was never built. Holm was one of the most gifted Metre Class designers.

Andre Hoek reworked the design to make it competitive for modern day racing. This is his third J project in recent years following Lionheart and Topaz .

Continues below…

j class yacht history

Brand new J S1 Svea stars in a record J Class racing fleet at America’s Cup

We expected her to be fast, but would the new J Class Svea be competitive too? It is a tall…

j class yacht history

Svea rules the day and Lionheart wins the J Class Superyacht Regatta in Bermuda

If Svea’s third place in her first race yesterday was impressive for the debutante J Class member, her victory over…

Even compared to these ‘Super Js’, Svea is big. She is, by 15cm, the longest J overall at 43.6m /143.1ft LOA.

Think of classic J Class pictures from the 1930s and you picture a helmsman in a blazer and tie standing high on the aft deck battling a traditional wooden wheel. One of Svea ’s striking features is her extra large wheel, nearly half of which vanishes into a well below decks.

Hoek encouraged the extra wide, sunken wheel, a feature that Frers favoured in the 1980s because it allowed the helmsman to sit out and see the telltales. Here it allows the helmsman, trimmers and afterguard to remain in close communication.

Svea ’s deck layout is optimised for modern racing thanks to a large cockpit directly in front of the wheel from which the main, genoa and running backstays are all controlled. This means crew dealing with the runners and their fearsome loads are not on the aft deck and can safely operate the winches from a standing position.

The cockpit also doubles as a guest area when the yacht is in cruise mode, and there is removable seating and table.

I observed the action from the aft deck, in the company of Andre Hoek and the owner’s representatives and project managers Tako van Ineveld and Katie Beringer from Ineveld & Co. With its long overhangs a J’s ends are prone to pitching and as they are raced with no guardrails you need to be vigilant when the yacht is heeling.

Maxi grand-prix set-up with walnut interior

“Be careful on deck – we’re running big loads – up to 36 tonnes on the forestay,” Svea ’s captain Paul ‘PK’ Kelly told us as we left Palma’s STP shipyard. That’s the weight of a 60ft cruising yacht, I thought!

“It’s a maxi grand prix set-up in every detail,” said Tako van Ineveld. “We will race it as a grand prix boat. The owner loves that, but he also loves his walnut interior.”

And that, I thought, in a nutshell, is what today’s J Class yacht is all about.

j class yacht history

When I joined, the 24-strong race crew and six permanent crewmembers had been practising multiple pre-starts and two or three windward-leeward races a day. Granted, they had no competition, but I soon appreciated how getting the timing for the manoeuvres down and, crucially, knowing exactly how long each will take, is invaluable preparation.

As in a regatta, it takes a couple of hours between the time a J leaves the dock to the point at which it is fully prepared for the start. But when we were, and fully heeled over in full trim, sailing at 9.5 knots upwind in 9-9.5 TWS, the feeling was euphoric.

Svea ’s immense black North 3Di RAW mainsail was allowed a little body to match the lighter conditions that morning. The sails are obviously big business on Js and Tom Whidden, North Sails’s CEO, was aboard for the day assisting the afterguard.

Furling headsails are a new addition this year for some of the newer Js. A crewmember needs to go aloft to attach the lashing to the head during the hoist, so it takes longer to swap headsails, but the advantage is a marked improvement in sail handling time.

The decision was taken early during Svea ’s build to incorporate furling headsails, for which a Reckmann torque tube is installed on deck. “It’s a big help not having to drag headsails out of the water,” van Ineveld remarked.

A glance aloft shows a particularly aggressive Southern Spars rig design. Every bit of weight and windage was minimised, with no staysail halyard and only a single VHF aerial permitted from the mast top for example.

The Southern Spars boom is tapered at each end and the spinnaker pole is a novel triangular shape – which is promised to be lighter than an equivalent tube, if more vulnerable to impact.

During a couple of the upwind legs I sat forward of the wheelhouse, watching the choreography of the pit and foredeck. While the main and trimmers may be in better contact with the afterguard in their aft cockpit setup, it’s still a separate camp up here.

The wide, shallow pit serves a useful area to tidy the vast amount of tail ends for spinnaker sheets, inhaulers, barbers, etc and for storing sails or snaking the spinnaker when zipping it up.

When the wind died down to 8 knots there was talk of whether to lead the sheets for inside gybing on the downwind leg. It’s amazing to think that a 950sq m kite can be gybed inside these days, but it’s a call that needs to be made relatively early as it involves changing the tack strop and sheet leads.

It’s almost impossible to take in the flurry of activity that two thirds of the crew are involved with around the mast and foredeck during a hoist – that was governed by Team New Zealand veteran sailor Andrew ‘Meat’ Taylor, a crew boss whose physical presence immediately ensures respect.

The spectacular bright red kite went fizzing up and ballooned into life, filling out a symbol depicting an ancient Nordic compass rose.

When the wind increased to 12 knots for the second practice race that afternoon, everything felt a little more intense on board. The headstay load pin readout was up to 30 tonnes. There was more water coming over the deck, the stiff carbon sails snapped into place with a bang, when the runner was eased, the blocks sounded like a shotgun going off, shuddering a vibration through the aluminium deck.

We were making up to 10.2 knots upwind now. Francesco de Angelis, the ex- Luna Rossa skipper hired as owner’s coach, calmly steered sitting to windward, alongside the likes of Peter Isler navigating and the owner’s long-standing tactician and fleet manager Charlie Ogletree (an Olympic Tornado sailor).

We crossed the line within a second of the gun and Svea stepped out into her full graceful stride on another long leg.

As we rounded the top mark into the short reaching leg a late call is made for an ‘Indian’ – or gybe-set. It’s a test designed to time the crew response.

We gybed and the kite was hoisted in little more than a boatlength – I counted five seconds. There is a nod of approval from Tom Whidden, who comments: “That’ll allow you to go either way round the top mark – a pretty nice exit manoeuvre to have, especially if you’re in a train.”

I was astonished at the speed of the gybes. The boom is sheeted to two winches, both capable of spitting line out at 220m per minute. So even with the boom fully out when sailing downwind, it is centred in a couple of seconds.

The speed of the manoeuvres, especially after only three weeks’ training, was seriously impressive. I later learned that this was their best training day. Even so, it was remarkably quiet and well drilled.

Van Ineveld told me the crew was very pleased with how reliable all the systems have been, especially the hydraulics. He pointed out that Js have habitually suffered from hydraulic power failure, which is why they put the Power Take Off (PTO) on the main engine. “So far we’ve had no lack of hydraulic power and we’re only running at 70 per cent”.

The hydraulic pressure for Js is normally 220bar, but Svea has larger diameter pipes allowing more flow at 300bar. “ Svea comes out of the box where others want to be,” says van Ineveld. “It’s where all the recent work to Lionheart and Hanuman has led – it’s the advantage of starting from scratch.”

Sailing Svea – the newest member of a revered class

During our final upwind leg, something happened that has changed my appreciation of sailing a J forever. Ogletree beckoned me to the wheel, mocking de Angelis by telling the elite helmsman: “You’re fired.”

My heart rate rocketed. I told myself to focus – I would only get a few taster seconds of the owner’s experience on the wheel. Sailing a J in race mode with race crew? More people have been to the moon.

But that ‘time’s up’ pat on the shoulder never came. The gargantuan wheel was entrusted to me for the rest of the upwind leg, the mark roundings, the spinnaker hoist and the downwind gybes all the way to the finish.

j class yacht history

Focus, Toby! I asked de Angelis what sort of numbers we should be doing. “Just sail it to the telltales” was his refreshing answer – although in fact the genoa is professionally trimmed before I could even correct the wheel. The subsequent “9.8 knots target speed at 45º…” certainly helped.

Standing to leeward I was struck by the force of the wind slot between the sails and how hard it becomes to hear anything. As we tacked I bent for support to hand-over-hand the 8ft diameter carbon and teak wheel. Svea was back up to full speed. “You got the mark?” Ogletree asked. I nodded. “Over to you.”

Panic. Keep calm and don’t hit the buoy. I was aware of a flurry of activity on a foredeck far, far away. It helped make me appreciate just how focused the crew have to be on their role during a race. You have to be able to trust that everyone’s on it – I found it almost impossible to concentrate on anything other than pointing the boat from behind the wheel.

Turn the wheel and it’s still some moments (and distance) before the boat responds. It shows the value of anticipation.

We powered through a reach and bore away into a spinnaker set, at which point I went into a giddy trance, trying to mentally distill the moment while gybing Svea downwind. To drive the latest, most high-tech yacht in the most revered class in the world, with a full complement of rock stars and one of the world’s foremost sailors alongside coaching me through it… no, superlatives will never suffice.

“Well done everyone, that was a great day today,” said Ogletree in the debrief back on the dock, as my pulse began to settle. “The best we’ve sailed the boat and the best it’s gone.”

No room for delay

Svea ’s deck is kept wonderfully clean. The original lines didn’t even have a deckhouse, something the class insisted upon, says Hoek, but Svea ’s is kept low.

The furler and tensioner for the inner forestay are hidden under the deck. The anchor arm (removed for racing) rotates out of a locker and extends over the port bows. The chainplates with integrated turnbuckles are underdeck leaving just the ECsix rigging exposed.

It was eye-opening to see just how well Svea is finished below, particularly after visiting her in build at Vitters in December – at which time no cabin had yet been completed. Austrian company List pre-fabricated the interior entirely off site – a feat of 3D modelling and engineering.

The late Pieter Beeldsnijder (who worked on Athena , Hyperion , Hanuman , and Ethereal ) designed an elegant interior that is timelessly finished by Michiel de Vos.

Raised and fielded panels are used together with both decorative and practical features such as curved handrails built into panels. These reflect the owner’s taste for millwork carpentry. His preference for an open grain to the Claro walnut helped produce a tactile finish.

The intricate design details and the complex build skills required are particularly impressive when you consider the time frame in which Svea was completed. Normally an interior is built in parallel with the hull, but in this case it was built and fitted during the 14-month Vitters yard period.

“There was no room for delays with the race programme for Bermuda,” said Tako van Ineveld.

A traditional skylight floods the saloon in natural light. A sliding hatch in the bulkhead between the saloon and the galley further forward helps open out this space and allows the owner to incorporate the compact galley into his living space. It’s a clever arrangement that also keeps the teak-finished crew area forward private.

The layout elsewhere is traditional for a J, with guest en-suite cabins (twin and double) each side of the companionway and the master stateroom aft. The saloon and cabins lacked a personal touch during our visit – the bulkheads were still bare – however 16 marquetry pieces inspired by classic Beken pictures were imminently due to be hung.

Beeldsnijder succeeded in pushing accommodation space to the maximum inside. This is evident in the aft cabin, where the longitudinal frames rise up towards the transom through the berth and sofas. The low wheelhouse squeezes the accommodation in the passageway aft, but this has been cleverly sculpted out at shoulder height.

The engine room, accessed from the passageway opposite the compact navstation or via the saloon sole, is particularly well laid out offering easy access to all the systems.

j class yacht history

One to watch

The flurry of new Js and competitive regattas in the last decade has brought with it a chase to upgrade to the latest equipment. This is particularly the case with Hanuman and Lionheart . Svea , however, is today’s true answer to a race-ready J class.

“What an accomplishment it will be to make the start line at Bermuda, a year after going into Vitters,” said captain Paul Kelly. When I left, I was bowled over by this yacht, build and crew work and results so far have been very encouraging .

I am also now that bit closer to understanding the charms of the mercurial J from an owner’s point of view. To buy and helm a J Class yacht in a competitive race is the ultimate money-can-buy experience in sailing – and, arguably, in any sport.

COMMENTS

  1. J Class (yacht)

    J Class yachts Velsheda, Topaz and Svea downwind legs. The J Class is one of several classes deriving from the Universal Rule for racing boats. The rule was established in 1903 and rates double-masted racers (classes A through H) and single-masted racers (classes I through S). From 1914 to 1937, the rule was used to determine eligibility for ...

  2. 1851

    The J Class has its roots in the oldest international yacht race in the world, The America's Cup. This International Event was born from a race around the Isle of Wight, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron and called the R.Y.S. £100 Cup (a.k.a. One Hundred Sovereigns Cup). 1851 - 1928. 1929 - 1937.

  3. The history of the J class

    With the exception of Velsheda, all the original Js were built for the purpose of America's Cup racing. From 1929 to 1937, 20 J Class yachts were designed. Ten of these were built, and six raced ...

  4. A pocket guide to the J Class yachts

    The history of the J-Class The Js are inextricably linked with the America's Cup as, barring Velsheda , all were built for the purpose of America's Cup racing. From 1929 to 1937, 20 J Class ...

  5. America's Cup

    Endeavour in Newport, 2004 Photo ©2004 CupInfo: Out of nine America's Cup J's, only two survive today: Shamrock V, the 1930 Challenger, and Endeavour, the 1934 Challenger.Velsheda, distinguished by being the only yacht built as a J-class though not intended for America's Cup, is intact and sailing, too.Of at least seven other boats that were rated as J's, two remain: Cambria, and Astra.

  6. The Rise of the J Class Sailing Yacht

    The tide turned fair again for the J Class only as recently as 1984, when American sailor Elizabeth Meyer bought the hulk of Endeavour and set about restoring her. "Elizabeth is very much the catalyst for the revival of the J Class with the renovation of Endeavour in 1984," Philip Lotz, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, said in 2017. "Her vision and inspiration… got restoration ...

  7. A story of decadence: the history of the J Class yacht

    As Europe slid towards conflict, the J Class faded away with the decadence of the 1930's. By the 1980's, only three of the 10 original J Class yachts remained - Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda - two of which had lain derelict for decades. Now unrecognisable, they crouched in muddy inlets, the worn out husks of a golden era.

  8. J Class: the enduring appeal of the world's most majestic yachts

    The J Class - so named because it was the letter allocated to its particular size by the Universal Rule to which the yachts were built (K and M Class yachts were, for example, shorter on the ...

  9. 1929

    History. The J Class has its roots in the oldest international yacht race in the world, The America's Cup. This International Event was born from a race around the Isle of Wight, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron and called the R.Y.S. £100 Cup (a.k.a. One Hundred Sovereigns Cup). 1851 - 1928.

  10. Home

    The J Class Association was founded in 2000 to protect the interests of the Class, present and future, and organises an annual calendar of racing for these magnificent yachts. 2024 Calendar 19-22 June

  11. J-Class

    The sixth J-Class yacht to be built, and the second built on British soil was Velsheda. She was the only J not built as a contender for the America's Cup. Her owner, WL Stephenson, who previously owned White Heather II, the 23-Metre converted to rate as a J-Class in 1930, had Velsheda built in steel in 1933 at the Camper & Nicholson yard.

  12. The ultimate J Class yachtspotter's guide

    Ranger is a 41.55 metre replica of the J Class yacht of the same name, which was built for the 1937 America's Cup by a syndicate led by railroad heir Harold Vanderbilt. Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens had been asked to produce eight sets of lines and the one selected as most suitable for the conditions expected off Newport, Rhode Island — design number 77C — was one of Burgess ...

  13. America's Cup: the fabulous J Class epic, between excess and innovation

    The first regattas of the Cup in real time Upwind crossing between two class J . For the 1930 edition, the unions decided to adopt the "Class J", whose rating was to be fixed. For the first time in the history of the Cup, the competitors no longer ran in compensated time, but in real time. The first to cross the line is declared the winner! The Class J are defined according to the Universal ...

  14. Return of the J Class Yacht

    Return of the J Class Yacht. Published on June 26th, 2017. J Class yachts, which reigned supreme in the 1930s, are making a thrilling comeback, with restorations, new builds and the biggest fleet ...

  15. A story of decadence: the history of the J Class yacht

    As Europe slid towards conflict, the J Class faded away with the decadence of the 1930's. By the 1980's, only three of the 10 original J Class yachts remained - Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda - two of which had lain derelict for decades. Now unrecognisable, they crouched in muddy inlets, the worn out husks of a golden era.

  16. Endeavour (yacht)

    Endeavour is a J-class yacht built for the 1934 America's Cup by Camper and Nicholson in Gosport, England.She was built for Thomas Sopwith who used his aviation design expertise to ensure the yacht was the most advanced of its day with a steel hull and mast. She was 130-foot (40 m) and launched in 1934 and won many races in her first season including against the J's Velsheda and Shamrock V.

  17. Countdown to History: J Class Yachts at 37th America's Cup

    The Class Association is actively encouraging J Class owners to commit to the 2024 event, with five confirmations received to date. As anticipation builds for this unparalleled gathering of maritime history and contemporary excellence, the J Class World Championship promises to captivate audiences both on and off the water, offering a rare ...

  18. Lionheart, the new J-Class Yacht

    In 2000 the owners decided to preserve the history and integrity of the Js and formed the J Class Association. Their passion inspired a few more knowledgeable yacht owners to begin commissioning replica racers—specifically, "super Js," as they're commonly called, bearing the maximum waterline length permitted under the J Class rules.

  19. 1930

    Lipton commissioned Charles Nicholson to design his contender. Shamrock V became the first J Class yacht. She was designed by Nicholson and built at the family yard in 1930, and before she crossed the Atlantic to attend the Cup she had notched up more than 700 sea miles (1,296km), won 15 out of the 22 races she had entered and had been tweaked and tested to a high degree.

  20. J.D. Vance Was Not Always His Name. But It's the One That Felt Closest

    At birth, Mr. Vance was named James Donald Bowman, after his father, Donald Bowman. Mr. Bowman was Mr. Vance's mother's second husband — Mr. Vance wrote that they split up when he was a ...

  21. 27 Facts About J.D. Vance, Trump's Pick for V.P

    Follow the latest news from the Republican National Convention.. J.D. Vance, Donald J. Trump's choice for vice president, has not lived an unexamined life. Here are 27 things to know about him ...

  22. The purist's America's Cup

    The largest J fleet to ever assemble in the 88-year history of the class put on a true yachting spectacle - sailing at its finest. The America's Cup catamarans divide opinion sharply among ...

  23. JD Vance name changes have roots in family background

    Vance's family history is central to his name change, and equally critical to his selection as vice president. Vance's association with blue-collar, rust-belt America, a place he characterizes as ...

  24. All 30 MLB Teams to Wear Special Hall of Fame Caps This Weekend

    Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton and Joe Mauer (from left) visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame's plaque gallery in Cooperstown, New York, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, as the museum's newest electees.

  25. What to Know About J.D. Vance, Trump's Running Mate

    Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, the newly announced running mate to former President Donald J. Trump, has gone on a rapid journey over the past eight years from best-selling author and outspoken Trump ...

  26. Yachts

    About Yachts History News Events Gallery Partners. Next event: 19-22 June. The Superyacht Cup Palma. Yachts. In total nine J Class yachts are currently active, including three original surviving Js - Velsheda, Shamrock and Endeavour - and six replicas that have been built since 2003; Ranger, Rainbow, Hanuman, Lionheart, Topaz and Svea. ...

  27. Why the J Class yachts are more popular than ever

    The launch of the latest J Class yacht Svea this January takes the current fleet up to nine. That's a collective weight of around 1,600 tonnes, with a sail area over 8,360m2 (90,000ft2). Stack ...

  28. A Brief History of JD Vance and His Populist Politics

    Above all else, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's selection of JD Vance as his running mate for the 2024 election signals how powerful populism remains in US politics. Vance, a 39 ...

  29. Fact-Checking Trump's Speech and More on RNC Day 4

    — Former President Donald J. Trump. This is false. Inflation peaked at 9.1 percent in the summer of 2022, but that is considerably lower than its peak of nearly 15 percent in the early 1980s ...

  30. Inside J Class yacht Svea

    A serial yacht owner and experienced racer, his sights were firmly set on the J Class regatta in Bermuda. This is the biggest year for the J Class since they raced for the America's Cup in the ...