The Inimitable J Class

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Fast, speedy and elegant, J Class sailing yachts were the pinnacle of yachting technology in the 1920s and ’30s. With masts towering 165 feet above the deck, hulls over 100 feet in length and 7,500-square-foot sail plans, J Class yachts required sizeable crews to sail them. A total of 10 J Class yachts were built, and of those, only three survive: Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda.

Starting in 2004, they were joined by new sister ships. In total, six new J Class yachts have been built: RangerHanuman, Lionheart, RainbowTopaz and Svea. Built to the same measurements of the originals, this new generation of J Class yachts is equipped with carbon-fiber masts, aluminum hulls and the latest in electronic navigation and onboard creature comforts.

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One of the three remaining originals, Shamrock V was the first British J Class yacht ever built. She was commissioned by Sir Thomas Lipton in 1929 and constructed by Camper & Nicholsons. Lipton campaigned her in his last challenge for the America’s Cup where she lost 4-0 to Harold S. Vanderbilt’s J Class Enterprise. You can read more about Shamrock V in SoundingsNovember 2017 issue