Wednesday, December 9, 2015

J-Class yachts Rainbow and Velsheda  racing source

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 the Americas Cup. In the late 1920s the trend was towards smaller boats and so agreement among American yacht clubs led to rule changes such that after 1937 the International Rule would be used for 12-metre class boats.

 Crossing Tack Ocean Race

Classic Yacht source 
 Scaled Sailboat Model Rainbow
On May the 15th 1934, the William Starling Burgess Design J Class Rainbow was launched at the Herreshoff Yard in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA. She was built to defend the America’s Cup against “Endeavour” in 1934. The first 2 races were tough for Rainbow but the last 4 races she beat the Challenger Endeavour. Owner Vanderbilt laid Rainbow up in a dry dock and then refitted her. In 1937 she was sold to Chandler Hovey and contended for Defence of the Cup. Sadly for her, Ranger won and became the new defender for the next Cup. In 1940 Rainbow was sold for scrap.

 Classic Sailboats Race

Classic Sailboats Racing 

Yacht Velsheda Under Sails 

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. (source)

 Velsheda Woden Sailboat Model

Designed by Charles Nicholson and built by Camper & Nicholson in 1933 for Mr W.L. Stephenson, Owner of Woolworth chain of shops, she was built in 1933 at Gosport. She was Nicholson’s second design for a J Class and Stephenson’s second big yacht. “Velsheda” was named after Stephenson’s three daughters, Velma, Sheila and Daphne. Stephenson never planned to compete for the America’s Cup but rather her raced with the greatest names in classic yachting including “Britannia”, “Endeavour” and “Shamrock” between 1933 and 1936

Yacht Velsheda Racing 

J Class Sail Boat Shamrock   photo by Michael Kahn 

 Shamrock Wooden Sailboat Model

Shamrock was originally owned by Sir Thomas Lipton, the owner of the English grocery chain ‘LIPTON’, and famous for his import of Lipton Tea from India.
Shamrock V was built in 1930 for Sir Thomas’s fifth and last America’s Cup challenge. Designed by Nicholson, she was the first British yacht to be built to the new J Class Rule and is the only remaining J to have been built in wood. After launch she was continually upgraded with changes to hull shape and rudder. The rig was also modified to create the most effective racing sail plan but she was no match for the faster US design “Enterprise”.
Sir Thomas made all five of his America’s Cup challenges as a member of Royal Ulster Yacht Club, a club that continues to this day to have a strong involvement with The Cup.
Shamrock V was sold in 1933 to Sir Richard Fairey (Fairey Aviation) who again was a keen yachtsman who campaigned it in company of two new steel J’s built during 1933 – 1934, Velsheda and Endeavour. After World War II, Italian owner Mario Crespi installed the elegant bird’s-eye maple interior.

 Endeavor, Ranger, Hanuman & Velsheda, St Barth’s Bucket 2012 © Peter McNaughton source 

1937 Yacht Ranger Racing 

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”.
 J Class Ranger Wooden Sailboat Decoration

1921 Schooner Bluenose source 

Bluenose was launched at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on March 26, 1921, as both a working cod-fishing schooner and a racing ship. This was in response to a Nova Scotian ship's defeat in a race for working schooners established by the Halifax Herald newspaper in 1920. After a season fishing on the Grand Banks, Bluenose defeated the ship Elsie from Gloucester, Massachusetts, returning the trophy to Nova Scotia. During the next 17 years of racing no challenger, American or Canadian, could wrest the trophy from her.
 1921 Schooner Bluenose

1893 Vigilant Yacht Racing source 

Vigilant was the victorious defender of the eighth America's Cup in 1893 against British challenger Valkyrie II. It was designed by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and built in 1893 by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company of Bristol, RI. According to
"Vigilant was the first victorious defender designed and built by the ingenious American designer, nicknamed the Wizard of Bristol, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff. Nat Herreshoff repeated this success in 1895, 1899, 1901, 1903 and in 1920. Vigilant won the 1893 American selection trials for the Cup defence and had beaten ColoniaJubilee and Pilgrim.
 Scaled Sailboat Model Vigilant

 1893 America's Cup Vigilant Scaled Sailboat Model (1:49 Scale)

J Class Yacht Lionheart 

 Lionheart J Class Yacht Model Replica

America's Cup J Class Yacht Model Lionheart 

Vanderbilt contacted Sparkman & Stephens to discuss the possibility of a new J Yacht under the Universal Rule. It was agreed that Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens would each present four designs and Vanderbilt funded the operation. The project that would eventually produce ‘Ranger’ and ‘Lionheart’ had started.


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