The 2022 season represents a strong foundation for the J Class future

The 2022 season represents a strong foundation for the J Class future

November 1, 2022

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The 2022 season has seen the J Class gather considerable momentum. After five years marked by limited and sporadic racing at mixed fleet regattas, this season followed a consolidated, popular programme of class racing at three great events in the Caribbean and Europe. In many senses this season has been the perfect first steps on the course to 2024 when a very strong fleet of J Class yachts look set to muster in Barcelona to take centre stage at J Class World Championship during the 37 th America's Cup period.

New owners breathed new life into two J Class campaigns and were rewarded with regatta wins on their respective debuts. As class racing returned to the Saint Barth's Bucket in March where three boats enjoyed classic Caribbean trade winds conditions, Ranger, took the top award ahead of Hanuman and Velsheda.

For the new, younger generation owner of Ranger, for whom their first ever racing sailboat is the 2003 built J Class, a debut win might have been unexpected. It was, however, a well-earned result for a team which is full of talent, with offshore and ocean racing experience fired by great enthusiasm with America's Cup winners Ed Baird on the helm and John Kostecki as tactician.

The theme of debutant winners continued in June at the Superyacht Cup Palma where the J Class returned in numbers for the first time since 2014. During last winter a trio of well-known Swedish entrepreneurs - who are all accomplished and passionate sailors - acquired the Swedish designed Svea from the USA, looking to enjoy racing with the class under the Swedish flag for the first time.

Under J Class world champion tactician and round the world racing ace Bouwe Bekking, a Svea team comprising a mix of experienced offshore racers as well as young, inshore 40-footer racers - most of whom had never been on board a J Class yacht quickly transformed into a regatta winning outfit. In mainly light winds on the Bay of Palma, all the competing J Class teams Svea, Topaz, Ranger and Velsheda - won races, but the Swedish flagged crew prevailed.

All four J Class teams, Svea, Topaz, Ranger and Velsheda sought to raise their game and peak at September's weeklong Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, widely known as the 'maxi worlds'. The annual Porto Cervo, Sardinia showcase saw a glittering, diverse turnout of top maxis and crews and all were delighted to see the J Class back racing as a group, with their own starts, on the beautiful Costa Smeralda waters. There was a good mix of light to fresh conditions over the course of the event, the highlights, as ever, being close, boat on boat racing in the La Maddalena archipelago and up and down 'bomb alley'.

With one of the owners steering, Svea proved a cut above. They won four races from the five starts, Velsheda winning the other, to clinch their second major regatta title of the season and lay down a marker for the 2023 season and beyond.

In Porto Cervo one of Svea's owners a past Maxi World Championship winner - enthused, "The word is majestic. These boats are 180 tons, and it is tight racing. It is so different. You need to get used to the anticipation and a few more turns on the wheel, you really have to work hard. We did not have expectations, this year was a learning curve, we just wanted to learn to sail the boat and so here we have overachieved."

Svea also won the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club Corinthian Cup for the top owner-driver in the J Class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

By taking second place in Porto Cervo and winning the Saint Barth's Bucket Ranger lift the 2022 season title, the Kohler Cup, topping off an auspicious debut. The delighted Ranger owner remarked "It is an amazing accomplishment for a boat which I don't think people expected to do so well. It is really gratifying. And that is entirely down to the team."

The season of class racing was contested under the latest version of the updated J Class rule which has reached a proven level of reliability, in no small part because of the comprehensive number of races sailed and the volume of data processed and analysed by J Class Technical Director Chris Todter, who has worked hard to refine the rule to take account as many of the speed and stability inducing factors as possible.

Appointed in April, J Class Secretary Stuart Childerley quickly appraised the position of the class and got to know the owners and teams and their respective objectives for the short, medium and long term. He has taken on the initiative to develop a sustainable, long-term programme of events, taking account of the downturn after a peak at the 2017 J Class World Championships in Newport USA.

Childerley, an international race officer, two times Olympian, (Volvo) Ocean Race sailor and international keelboat champion, is positive about the future of the class, which is set to see more boats racing in 2023 and beyond. "We are pleased to know Rainbow is starting an extensive refit in Palma, likely ready to race in late summer 2023, while Svea is planning to continue cruising and racing in 2023. Lionheart and Velsheda have recently commenced deck replacement projects and hope to sail in June 2023. Hanuman is expected to continue cruising on the NE coast of the USA. Endeavour, based in Palma, is sailed regularly, Shamrock continues her refurbishment programme in the UK and owner Hugh Morrison is looking forward to racing her in 2024. "

Rainbow has been bought by passionate New Zealand racer Neville Crichton, and boat captain Matthew Sweetman reports, "We aim to have the boat out of the water at the end of November and do a full refit to bring her up to 2023 J Class racing standards. That will involve new teak decks, new paint, some work on the hydraulics. We aim to be on the water next year and we will see how we go before brining some new sails online. We want to do some training with some of the other boats before we go racing."

Sweetman expects Rainbow to be back in the water in July next year and reports that Erle Williams, who has a strong J Class track record previously on the helm of Ranger, will play a key role.

"We are looking forwards to getting the boat back racing, it is what they were designed to do. Everyone tells us Rainbow is a quick boat, but we will see. She has not really raced since Porto Cervo 2014 and we are eight, soon to be nine years down the line. Things have changed dramatically with the class since then, so we will see how we go when we are back in the water next year to see what else we need to do. We have a decent understanding of the class. Everyone is doing the same to make the boats faster and we need to see. With the America's Cup in Barcelona and Neville Crichton being a proud New Zealander, he wants to be there in a good position to compete at the front end of the fleet and Neville wants to fly the New Zealand flag."

The J Class programme for 2023 looks set to focus on the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, September 2023, and the Ibiza JoySail regatta, 28 September 1 October.

j class yachts plans

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Andrei Dragos

After a 2021 season which comprised only mixed fleet racing under various handicap rules, the J Class have made provisional plans to convene at  three key events this season  as activity and interest ramps up and key owners and teams return to the racetracks.

Now in new ownership, J5 Ranger has undergone a substantial refit and is currently in the Caribbean, set to compete for the first time since the passing in 2018 of long-time owner and J Class enthusiast John Williams.

A new crew has been hand-picked including double America’s Cup winner Ed Baird as helmsman. Together they will set out to enjoy the first ever racing season for a newcomer owner whose first racing boat is the 2003 built, steel hulled Ranger replica.

j class yachts plans

The recent J Class AGM signalled an upturn in interest and the intention is to look to develop a longer-term racing programme for two or three years. The 2022 calendar will include  Saint Barth’s Bucket  (17 – 20 March),  Superyacht Cup Palma,  Mallorca (29 June – 2 July) and the  Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup  (4 – 10 September).

The fleet will race under the new J Class rule, which was written, and purpose developed to best account for the features of the modern, active class boats and was first used at the last class racing event, the Antigua Superyacht Challenge in 2020.

Three J Class teams are already signed up for Saint Barth’s Bucket: JK6 Hanuman, J5 Ranger and JK7 Velsheda. All three are expected to race at the European regattas joined by J8 Topaz.

j class yachts plans

Louise Morton, acting J Class Secretary commented: “ We are proceeding relatively cautiously but it is great to report that owners and their teams seem keen to go J Class racing together again and so we are responding with a series of well-known and popular regattas which are very much a dependable, known quantity where we can be guaranteed good, proactive race management, where the safety and enjoyment of our teams will always be top priority given the circumstances which have prevailed since 2020. “

Ranger has completed a major refit and has shed a significant amount of weight, including removing all equipment from the engine room and modernising much of it before reinstallation. The hydraulics have been updated to deliver a very competitive system for racing. The displacement has been reduced whilst maintaining the same righting moment.

“We did a full paint job and new teak decks as well as simplifying the deck layout. We built a new cockpit and can store life rafts below so not just mounted on deck anymore. Overall, the changes should improve the performance but to what degree we won’t really know until we line up against other boats and so we are really looking forwards to that, “ explained Greg Sloat, the owner’s representative. “ Not a single boat really knows this new rule and so this new cycle is going to be very interesting.”

Around two thirds of the Ranger crew mustered in Newport RI in the Autumn to do some sail and system trials and they plan to complete four days of intensive training before the Saint Barth’s event starts.

The Saint Barth’s Bucket will be the first regatta for the new owner who first saw and fell in love with Ranger at the NYYC America’s Cup World Series event in 2016 and so this will fulfil the first part of his dream.

Among the new Ranger crew will be navigator Jules Salter, Mainsail Trimmer Dirk De Ridder, tactician John Kostecki and trimmers Ross Halcrow, Warwick Fleury, Mo Gray and Jordi Calafat.

j class yachts plans

Hanuman also have some new crew and are fired up to go racing, with the team planning is to do the full season after warming up at the Antigua Superyacht Challenge. Kenny Read will sail as tactician with Gavin Brady driving, Stan Honey is navigating, Richard Clarke strategist, Chris Hosking on main trim, Tony Mutter and Phil Harmer on jib and spinnaker trim respectively, Greg Gendell on the bow, and Tom Burnham is Hanuman’s Coach.

“It is pleasing to have these plans in place and teams committing. It is great too to hear there is also still some solid activity in the J Class market with boats changing hands. So, we are hopeful that we will see other boats returning to join the racing in 2002,”  concludes Morton.

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Andrei Dragos

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The purist’s America’s Cup – the story of the seven-strong J Class Regatta in Bermuda

  • Toby Hodges
  • August 11, 2017

A record fleet of seven J Class yachts in Bermuda represented the purer form of the sport for many America’s Cup fans. Toby Hodges reports.

j class yachts plans

Inviting the J Class fleet to sail in Bermuda during the America’s Cup finals was one of the smartest decisions made by Russell Coutts and the organisers of the event. 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 long-term sailing fans. For all those who love the high speed, high adrenaline format, it appears to repel at least an equal number. Hosting the J Class in Bermuda proved the ultimate foil to the foilers. It was an exhibition of timeless design and sail handling skill that the modern Cup lacked.

When five Js raced for the first time in 2012, it signalled the true renaissance of this incomparable class. But the sight of seven Js on a startline, racing over the calm, turquoise waters of Bermuda was sensational. It was the picture-perfect showcase for these graceful 1930s designs and a demonstration of the precise choreography of the large teams of skilled hands needed to get them safely and speedily around a race course.

All nine existing Js are in prime condition, upgraded and optimised to the nth degree (although both Rainbow and Endeavour are for sale and were not competing). The seven-strong racing fleet carries carbon sails, for example, as used by grand prix race yachts. The sight of these black sails on classic yachts made for a strange sight as they cast dark shadows over the clear water.

Lionheart , a 2010-built Hoek design that is taken from one of the lines plans made for the Ranger syndicate in 1936, proved the star performer. She won both the Superyacht Regatta, which comprised six Js and 14 superyachts, and the seven-strong J Class Regatta.

But the latter was only decided in the final stages of the final race (more on that later). As with most J Class racing in recent years, places were often separated by mere seconds on the water.

JK3 Shamrock V , the oldest J and the first built for the America’s Cup in 1929, changed hands last year and underwent a refit to get her race-ready for this season. Her teak planked construction means she can’t take the high rig loads of the other steel and aluminium Js. She is shorter and around ten per cent slower so can only compete on handicap.

JS1 Svea , the newest and longest J, is the polar opposite. Her blend of J Class lines and maxi class technology makes her one of the most exceptional new yachts of modern times. Impressively, she got a 3rd place on her first ever race, and a 1st on the second – a phenomenal achievement for a virtually brand new yacht.

Ultimate exhibition of sail

The Js held their own regatta either side of the first weekend of the America’s Cup finals and an armada of local and visiting boats followed the fleet out to the racecourse.

Those ashore were given the chance to see the fleet in action too. The shallow waters of the Great Sound are too restrictive to set proper courses for the J Class, hence the races were held off the north coast of the island. On the day of the first America’s Cup match, however, the Js performed an exhibition race that saw them set off at 30-second intervals on the Cup course on the Great Sound.

The footage and live commentary was beamed to the big screens and watched by thousands of fans assembled in the America’s Cup village. It created a carnival atmosphere and a tangible link to the history of sport’s oldest trophy.

The J Class were originally designed and raced for the America’s Cup during the 1930s. Sir Thomas Lipton commissioned the first J Class yacht, Shamrock V , for his fifth challenge for the Auld Mug. The Js signalled the change from the big boat class, to one where the size and displacement of the yachts were controlled for more even racing. Fittingly, it was the adoption of the Bermudan rig that enabled Js to carry their vast sail plans.

Just three of the ten J Class yachts originally built survive today – the rest are replicas or new builds of original designs. It still requires around 30 race crew to get these 180-tonne yachts around the marks, just as it did during the 1930s.

“You only have to look at the start sequence, with everyone within a second of the gun, it’s very close,” said Shamrock’s skipper Simon Lacey. “It’s vital to have the skill set to sail these boats safely at this level.”

j class yachts plans

Photo J Class/Carlo Borlenghi

j class yachts plans

Lionheart leading the fleet.

j class yachts plans

The green hull of Shamrock V. The the oldest J in the fleet is in great condition but her smaller size and sailplan mean she can only compete on handicap. Photo J Class/Carlo Borlenghi.

Cup sailors on ex-Cup yachts

The huge pool of decorated sailing talent aboard the J Class yachts in Bermuda made for a stark contrast to the modern America’s Cup format, where sailing roles are limited. The Js need the pros and the pros increasingly need the Js.

The pit and forward ends feature serious muscle power, ex-grinders with nicknames like ‘Meat’, ‘Animal’ and ‘the Tractor’. A glance at the afterguards shows that this class holds the cream of collective experience and provides longevity to the careers of some of the sport’s greatest sailors.

The crew of Ranger , for example, under long-term helmsman Erle Williams, included four times America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth calling tactics. Tony Rae, manning the mainsheet, is a seven-time Cup veteran who sailed in every Team New Zealand line-up from 1987 until 2013.

“For me there is no sailing role now for a 55-year-old,” Rae explained. “It has all changed and that is one of the reasons we have so many ex-America’s Cup sailors on these J Class yachts. “

Hanuman is helmed by ex-Puma skipper Ken Read, who is supported by his Volvo Ocean Race navigator Stan Honey and eight-time America’s Cup sailor Warwick Fleury trimming.

Svea ’s strategist is North Sails CEO Tom Whidden, a three-time Cup winner, sailing with navigator Peter Isler, his fellow crewmember from Stars & Stripes . Andrew Taylor is the crew boss, a powerhouse who has won the America’s Cup three times – twice for Team New Zealand and in 2010 with Oracle Team USA.

The pros are used in pivotal positions on Js and the other crew and permanent hands absorb their knowledge and experience. Lionheart ’s Bouwe Bekking, a seven-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran, stressed that although the pros are vital, every hand is really important. “One of the strong points of Lionheart is that we have been sailing together for four years.”

Velsheda ’s crew has sailed together for a decade and includes top Kiwi pros such as Tom Dodson as tactician, Campbell Field navigating and Carsten Schon trimming. Mainsheet trimmer Don Cowie made the point that it is actually difficult to find younger crew these days who are used to racing on yachts with such phenomenal loads.

Stu Bannatyne, Shamrock ’s helmsman and a three-time winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, doesn’t think that there is a danger of these skilled roles dying out however. “Who knows what will happen with the next round of the AC? It may revert to boats that do require a little bit of sail handling – I think that would be nice.”

Shamrock ’s crew included Olympic and Volvo sailor Chris Nicholson on tactics and four crew from three current Cup teams.

j class yachts plans

Olympic Tornado sailor Pim Nieuwenhuis mans the huge Harken primary aboard Svea. Charlie Ogletree and Francesco de Angelis flank her owner-driver. Photo J Class/Studio Borlenghi/Butto’.

j class yachts plans

Hanuman’s long-term helmsman is ex-Puma skipper and America’s Cup television commentator Ken Read. Photo ACEA 2017/Studio Borlenghi.

j class yachts plans

Hanuman’s owner, Australian model Kristy Hinze-Clark, takes the helm. Photo J Class/Carlo Borlenghi.

j class yachts plans

Olympic Finn sailor Peter Holmberg at the helm of Topaz, with double Olympic medal winner Ross MacDonald on tactics. Photo Studio Borlenghi.

Seven J Class yachts race

On the first day that all seven Js actually raced, Shamrock ’s skipper Simon Lacey, the only person to have skippered all three original Js, invited me to join Shamrock ’s crew.

At the start, we were the only boat to cross the line on port tack – a tactical decision to take the transoms of the fleet and keep out of their dirty air. Shamrock is smaller than the other Js and restricted by her older systems and rig, so has to sail her own race. “We have 30 per cent less stability and 200sq m less sail area for the same weight as Hanuman ,” says Jeroen de Vos of Dykstra Naval Architects, who was trimming.

De Vos has worked on the design and optimisation of six of the Js over the last 20 years, including Hanuman , Ranger and Shamrock last year. Hanuman and Lionheart in particular underwent extensive work that specifically targeted the light winds of Bermuda.

De Vos said that ten tonnes was stripped out of Hanuman and that the forestay was moved forward – a rigging change that was also made to Ranger . Hanuman also has a furling forestay and is the only J to use a snuffer on the kite to allow for late drops and quicker mark roundings.

Shamrock ’s size difference is certainly noticeable on deck and below. While she was clearly slower and less agile around the track – the upside of which, for me at least, was a prime view of the mark roundings of six other Js ahead – Shamrock was still expertly handled during the windward-leeward races that day.

During the first beat our crew boss Andy McLean, a Kiwi sailor who worked on the control systems for Land Rover BAR , admitted that he hadn’t sailed with a spinnaker pole since the 2007 Cup.

As we approached the top mark, however, the bear-away set he oversaw was a lesson in clockwork efficiency. Eight crew manhandled the spinnaker pole into place, while two more set the jockey pole. As we powered around the offset buoy, the sheets were eased, before the spinnaker rocketed aloft and burst open. Crew then scurried to the foredeck to grapple down the genoa, the kite was trimmed and calm restored.

Unfortunately the sight of all seven Js racing together only lasted for one and a half races. While coming into the top mark during the second race, the top fitting of Svea ’s headstay furler parted with a frightening bang. The genoa dropped instantly to the water and, were it not for quick crew work, they could have dismasted.

The runners and sheet were immediately eased and halyards cranked onto the foredeck. No one was hurt and Svea made it back to dock safely for her official christening party that evening. But it was a crushing blow for Svea ’s crew, who had worked so hard over the last two years to get her ready for this summer’s J events.

Svea is a remarkably stiff yacht with carbon sails and rigging that directly transmit the wind’s force through the boat. An astonishing 35 tonnes of load can be cranked onto the forestay. That this failure happened in 11 knots of wind and flat water, at less than half the safe working load of the fitting (55 tonnes), is highly concerning. Captain Paul Kelly says the rig will be inspected in Newport and that they hope to be back racing in time for the inaugural J Class Worlds in August.

The Js may sail at a pedestrian pace compared to the America’s Cup foiling catamarans, but as this fleet increases in size, so too does the potential for drama and position changes. One bad layline call, one poor gybe, or a mistimed entry to the windward mark – even by a few seconds – and the race positions get shaken up.

This was proven during the final races, when Hanuman and Ranger went into the last day sharing the lead but finished 3rd and 4th. Lionheart had a poor final start and was in last place going up the first beat – it looked like Hanuman ’s regatta was sealed.

But when a penalty was issued to Hanuman for a rule infringement on a port approach to the last windward mark and Lionheart then managed to pass Topaz on the downwind leg, Lionheart snatched the regatta win in the final moments.

The crew were ecstatic. On receiving the trophy, Lionheart ’s owner said the crew had been gearing up for this event for over two years. That both Lionheart and 2nd-placed Velsheda have owner-drivers is also good for the future appeal of the class.

j class yachts plans

The crew of Lionheart celebrate their victory.

j class yachts plans

All spare hands grapple with the 950m2 spinnaker aboard Svea, the latest addition to the J Class fleet. Photo J Class/Studio Borlenghi/Butto’.

The future of the J Class and the Cup

Might such an event happen again or was it a once in a lifetime? And will the Js continue this formal link to the America’s Cup?

The Js are all private yachts used for racing and cruising, so such a decision lies squarely with each owner. But would the owners be keen on going to New Zealand for the next Cup for example?

“Yes, I would say so,” says J Class Association secretary Louise Morton. “Certainly the invitation was there.”

It is very unusual (and expensive) for the class to do standalone events – yet recently they have competed in Falmouth, Bermuda and their first worlds will be in Newport in August. Next year the class plans to attend the St Barths Bucket and three key Med superyacht regattas.

The success of this Bermuda event also begs the question of whether we will ever see more than seven Js race? If Endeavour and Rainbow change hands it is certainly possible. And there are still a number of original lines plans that could be commissioned as new builds.

“It’s in the hands of the owners to maintain the longevity of the class,” says Dykstra designer Jeroen de Vos. “Now the class is growing it will only appeal more to potential owners.”

Whatever becomes of the America’s Cup racing class in the next edition of the Cup, it would be a prudent decision for the new defenders to get an early invitation in to the J Class fleet to join in. That’s how to guarantee a spectacle.

j class yachts plans

J Class Hulls

J Class radio controlled model yachts

Hello fellow enthusiast. My name is Alan and welcome to my new, updated website.

Those of you who have visited this site before will have observed that nothing much has changed for a number of years and even I have started to feel a bit guilty about my digital inertia. I make no apologies as I assume that you will appreciate that when faced with the option of spending a day in the workshop or spending the day in front of a computer screen, the workshop wins every time. The guilt has now got the better of me and hence this new site.

j class yachts plans

As a hobby I initially set out to develop and create a kit of parts for the Canterbury J and similar Nottingham J which will enable both the novice model builder, and the experienced builder alike, to create an attractive model with good sailing manners which is also competitive and fun to race. This package, and especially the Nottingham version, has proved popular both for racing and also social sailing but since then I have developed the Nottingham 48 model further and also added the Nottingham 60 to the model range.

j class yachts plans

I've also made some changes to the kit to reflect how I now make the models for myself. I can't call these "improvements" as the behaviour of the model on the water is unchanged but I think they improve the aesthetic look of the model. They also involve a bit more "modelling" which maybe be something you are looking for...or maybe not! The model can still be built in the original way for those looking for a simpler and quicker completion of their model.

j class yachts plans

The king plank and outer plank have deeper etching allowing the model builder to use a contrasting stain along the outer plank and king plank. I now also cut the shorter channel for the jib attachment point into the deck for a flush finish and use a different mast ram but the longer channel is likely to offer the racing skipper more tuning possibilities.

j class yachts plans

The loose sheeting to both the jib and the mainsail is below the deck and the mainsail sheet uses a post between the hatches. The hatches include a bit more detail and I also offer a "lifty" to aid launch and retrieval at the lake. This fits on the deck but is secured to the ballast to avoid stressing the deck when used.

Also on this site is the new International Dragon, a logical extension to the model range and a development of the 60-inch hull. This model contains a number of innovations to model yachting and is designed from outset to carry a Genoa rig.

I've also included on the site (it's becoming more of a "blog" than a web site!) some of the J Class projects I'm working on or will be working on in the future.

The side bar to the left will navigate you to the various sections of the site and clicking on the arrows will open new pages with more detail. There is information on all the models and the various rigs together with the build manuals, racing rules (Canterbury) and a host of additional information designed primarily to help you arrive at the conclusion that your life is incomplete without a model J Class yacht…!!

Feel free to contact me on [email protected] if you have any questions. You can also phone on 07969 538626 but I'm often out of the country and calling can be expensive.

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j class yachts plans

Legendary 36m J Class sailing yacht Shamrock V relaunched

The 1930s America's Cup challenger Shamrock V – also known as "The Queen of the J Class" – was relaunched today at Saxon Wharf in Southampton, UK (20 May). This follows the most comprehensive restoration and rebuild in her 94-year history. 

The 36.4-metre sailing yacht sustained significant structural damage and was laid up ashore while racing at the America's Cup in 2017. Following a change of owner and a strip down "literally to the last bolt", the sailing yacht has been restored to concours condition after seven years.

The yacht hit the water at Camper & Nicholsons’ Gosport shipyard in 1930 as the first ever J Class, commissioned by Sir Thomas Lipton as his fifth and final challenge for the America's Cup. She remains the only one built in wood and the only one to have never fallen into dereliction since her launch – the other two remaining members of the J Class fleet, the 38.5-metre Velsheda and the 39.6-metre Endeavour , had to be reconstructed entirely.

Shamrock V will now be re-masted and undergo sea trials, commissioning, sail testing and race training. She is scheduled to move to the Mediterranean in July, when she will take part in some "informal events" in preparation for the America's Cup in October.

In modern race configuration, Shamrock carries over 743.2 square metres of sail and suits from North and Doyle. She will have a permanent crew of nine and will race with up to 45 crew dependent on wind and conditions.

Paul Spooner, who led the project team alongside Feargus Bryan, said: "It has been a massive undertaking and a huge privilege to unite extraordinary talents across the classic and superyacht communities. We were very fortunate to have a committed and knowledgeable owner who enabled us to fully and correctly restore this vital part of yachting history and prepare her for her next 100 years."

Chief shipwright, Giles Brotherton added: "It is very rare to be able to work on a revival of this scale and ambition. Some of our artisans were using hand tools that were used on Shamrock’s original build.  It is without doubt the biggest and arguably the most important yacht restoration in the world today."

Last year, BOAT International was invited to Southampton to see the refit in action.

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2023 J Boat Down the River Race Aug 25th Info CPM is now producing the Shamrock V Original Plug and mold by Dave Brawner and Ranger mold and plug by Gary Mueler

Shamrock V and Range Fiberglass hulls, Rudders, Mast fittings.

Current prices for the Shamrock V are as follows Hull - $625.00 Rudder w/Shoe - $175.00 Ballast (3 Piece) - $200.00

Current prices for the Ranger are as follows

Hull - $700.00 Rudder w/Shoe - $175.00

SHAMROCK V BUILD SITE  

Fully Built Ready to sail Shamrock V J boat cost estimate.

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Are you  interested in building a J Boat?

Take a look the Shamrock V Build Web site for all aspects of building a J Boat

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To be placed into the CPM Build Queue a min deposit of $100 is required. Due to the custom nature of building fiberglass hulls and components this deposit is NON refundable.

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CPM's David Ramos 2013 J-Boat National Champion sailing the Shamrock V

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CPM's David Ramos 2016 J-Boat National Champion sailing the Shamrock V

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Building a J Class Model

By john hanks iii.

Now you may be wondering what is involved in building a model of a J Class yacht. I will give you an idea of what is involved in getting your J model in the water.

To begin with, let me say that you will need to do some scratch building to get your J model completed, regardless which yacht you choose to model. The scratch building will involve the deck, the rig, and probably the hardware associated with the mast, boom and rigging. With that said, you will need to decide which yacht you would like to model. In the full size J Yachts there was a definite advantage associated with which hull was in the water, but with the models, it appears that any of the J designs will make a good fast sailing model, if it is built correctly. So your decision should be driven by your personal preference for a particular boat. Once you decide which yacht you would like to model you will need to either buy a fiberglass hull or get the drawings for your chosen hull.  There are hull line drawings available in the proper scale for all of the J's as well as some deck plans. You can get line drawings from several of the maritime museums, such as the Mystic Seaport Museum.

The amount of time that you will spend on building your model will vary with your building ability, whether you start with a fiberglass hull and how much detail you want to put on your model. Should you decide to scratch build the entire model with a lot of detail, you should plan on spending about 500 to 550 hours building your model. If you begin with a fiberglass hull, subtract about 150 hours, if you do not want to detail your model, deduct about another 100 hours. The cost of materials will be about $800 to $900 if you decide to completely scratch build your model.

I will begin the actual building process with a plank-on-frame hull. You can skip these steps if you start with a fiberglass hull. The process for completing the remainder of the model will be the same from that point on.

To begin the building process, you will need to get your drawings ready by extending each frame to a “waterline” that is above the deck line on the drawing. This new “waterline” will be the part of the frame that rests on the building board. The new “waterline” gives you a flat plane so that all of the frames are referenced to the building board surface, while allowing the arc of the sheer at the deck line to maintain its shape. Your modified drawing should show the hull shape, the shape of the deck beams, and the building board surface.

You will begin the building process by building a building board. The easiest way that I have found to do this is to buy an 8 foot long 4”x6” and mount it at a convenient building height on 2”x4” legs. You will need to make sure that the 4”x6” plank is straight and true and that it will stay that way through out the building process, as this will determine the trueness of your model.

Mark a centerline on your building board and then mark all of the station locations on the centerline. You will then need to draw a line perpendicular to the centerline at each of the station locations. You will next attach small blocks (approximately 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 x ¾  inch) to the building board on the centerline and aligned with the perpendicular station lines. The blocks need to be placed so that the frames that will be glued to these blocks will be centered on the perpendiculars.

The next step will be to cut out the frames that will form the hull. For this step you will need to keep in mind the difference between the line drawings for a metal hull versus a wooden hull. The drawings for a metal hull show the frames to the outside of the plating and for a wooden hull, they are to the outside of the framing, not the hull planking. This will make a difference in your model, as all of the Js were metal boats, and if you draw your frames to the lines, your model will be oversized by the thickness of your planking.

I use 1/8 inch Luan plywood for the frames. The plywood comes in a 4’x8’ sheet and I can get all 28 to 30 frames from one sheet of plywood. The frame patterns are cut from your drawing, and each frame pattern is traced on the wood. With careful placement you should have no trouble getting all of the frames traced onto the plywood. You will need to draw the cutouts for the keel, inwales and king plank in the frame tracings. The centers of the framed are also cut out so that you end up with a ring of wood that is about ¾ inch from the outside to the inside of the frame. 

When I cut my frames I do not try to cut on the line that I have drawn; I am not that good with the saw. I leave a little wood, about a 1/16 inch next to the line and sand the frame to the final shape. I find that this makes it much easier to control the accuracy of the frame shape. Once all of the frames are cut and notched for the keel and inwales, they are glued to the blocks on the building board. At this point you should be able to sight down the frames and get a good idea of the shape of your hull.

With the frames glued in place, you are now ready to install the keel and the inwales. I like to use ¼ inch birch plywood for the keel and 1/4x1/4 inch square for the inwales. The inwales can be cut from the same material that you will use for the planking. The hull framing is very limber at this point but it becomes very ridged once the keel and inwales are in place.

The hull is now ready for planking. I have used pine, bass, aspen, spruce and alder for planking. All work well. The availability and price of the material is what determines which material I use. When I built my first J some 30 years ago, clear pine in 8 foot lengths was plentiful and inexpensive. Since then, it has become hard to find and very expensive. As a result I have used other woods that were available, hence the bass, aspen, spruce and alder. The planking material is cut into strips that are about 5/32 inch thick and 3/8 inch wide. This is a nice working size, as the planks are limber enough to form to the hull without the need for spiling (tapering), wetting, or steaming them. You will start the planking at the first frame and end at the last. The 2 to 3 inches of hull that remain at the ends will be filled with solid wood blocks shaped to the dimensions of the hull. Begin planking your hull at the sheer and work to the keel. Each side of the hull will require about 50 to 60 planks. Remember that you will need to alternate sides of the hull as you plank so that you keep the stresses equal on both sides of the hull, thus preventing distortion in the hull. 

You will need to change direction of the planking when you get to the bilge area of the hull. The planking will take on an increased twist towards the stern that will prevent the planks from laying fair. The planks will tell you when you have reached this point, usually about 15 to 20 planks up on the hull. To overcome this you will need to lay a plank in a straight line along the hull so that it lays flat between the areas where the existing planking meets the keel. This will leave a lens shaped gap of about 4 or 5 inches between this plank and the existing planking at the middle of the hull. Fill this area by planking from the new plank that you laid down to the existing planking. Once you have completed that step, then continue to plank the rest of the hull. When you have finished your planking, you are ready to attach the bow and stern blocks, shape them, and sand the entire hull to get it ready for fiber glassing.

I like to build the rudder next and fit it to the hull. I build the rudder as I would build an airplane control surface, with a leading edge spar, three ribs, and a trailing edge. The framework is then covered with 1/32 inch plywood. The square tube that accepts the 5/32 inch brass rod rudder shaft is installed in the leading edge as well as the pivot pin at the bottom of the rudder. The hull is drilled and the rudder log is installed and the rudder is fitted in place. Once the rudder is fitted and works well, the hull is fiber glassed using a single layer of 6 ounce cloth and three to four coats of resin. Each coat of resin is sanded before the next coat is applied. When the sanding is complete you will have a smooth and fair hull that will look great when it is painted. The hull is now ready to be removed form the building board. At this time, you should also have a stand built and ready to accept the hull. 

Once the hull is off of the building board, it is time to seal the inside with epoxy and install the mechanical workings in the hull as well as install any reinforcements that are needed, such as at the chain plates, mast step, and sheet exits. From this point on, the building process is the same for the fiberglass hulls once you have the deck beams in place. This is also the time to lay out the hatch openings. When laying out the hatch openings you want to keep them as small as possible and still be able to do any work inside the hull that is necessary. Nothing is more frustrating than to find out that you cannot reach some part of your equipment once the deck is in place, so be sure that you can work on and remove and replace all of the fittings, winches, ballast, etc., through the hatch(s) that you have framed in your deck. 

Building the deck is the next big step in getting your J ready to sail. There are several different ways to build your deck, and your decision on how much scale detail you want on your model will drive part of that process. If you want a slick deck with no scale detail, then a simple plywood deck will do. The 1/8 inch plywood will be more than adequate for the job and can be finished so that you have a very good looking wooden deck on your model. 

Another option is to build a plank deck that represents the deck on the full size yacht. If this is your preference, then you begin by cutting the deck planking to the same dimensions as the hull planking. I cut my planks to a length of 15 inches so that I have scale 20 foot planks. To simulate the deck caulking, I use black construction paper glued between the planks. Once you have the planking cut, you will need to lay the king plank down the center of the deck and the water way planks down each side of the hull. All of the Js had the planking run parallel  to the edge of the hull, so you will need to begin laying your deck from the edge of the hull, and work to the center. The paper between the planks helps the glue, thin CA, flow and form a good bond at the seam. From this point on you just continue your planking until the deck is completely covered. As you build your deck you will need to cut your planking at the hatches so you will have access to the inside of the hull when you have finished your planking.

When the deck planking is complete, you will sand the whole deck and get it ready for finishing. At this point, you should have a great looking model. 

Again your decision on the amount of detail that you want on your model will determine your next step. If you opt for a scale appearance, by this time you will need to make the cabins, deckhouses, winches, cleats, and anything else that goes on the deck.

The hull is now ready for finishing. I use non-water-based, clear gloss, polyurethane on the deck, cabins, and spars and automotive acrylic enamel for the color on the hull. These make very nice durable finishes which should last many years on your model. I chose to use polyurethane because it does not yellow like varnish does as it ages. This is a personal choice driven by how you would like your deck to look as it ages.

At this point you will have to ballast your model. I have found that the easiest time to do this is after the model is painted and has the scale waterline in place. Place your model in a swimming pool or other suitable tank, and place the lead in the hull until the hull sits on the waterline that is painted on the hull. You will need about 60+ pounds of lead in a manageable form, about 5 pound pigs, for this exercise. Once the lead has been placed in the hull and the proper trim established, you will need to note where the lead is in the hull and the amount at each location. You can then remove the lead from the hull and using your notes, make molds for the ballast so that it fits into the hull cavities. 

The next step is building your rig. The masts for the J models will be anywhere from 8 to 91/2 feet tall, depending on which boat you are building and how you lay out the sail plan. For support, the mast will need at least two sets of spreaders with accompanying side stays, and a diamond stay. I have used both aluminum and wood to make J masts. The last mast that I built was made from spruce and was 109 inches tall, with a tear drop cross section that measured about 1-1/4 x ¾ inches. The mast was tapered in its top 3 feet and had a bolt rope slot cut in it used to attach the main sail to the mast. The mast was made from two pieces of spruce that were glued together on the centerline with the grain in each piece set so that any warps canceled each other out. The result was a stiff spar that weighed about 1-1/2 pounds ready to step on the deck Extruded aluminum masts are also available in lengths up to 10 feet, from Ludwig Manufacturing. These masts have a bolt rope slot molded in them and are both light, about 1 pound for a 10 foot piece, and stiff.

The main boom and jib club were both made from spruce. The jib club was about 33 inches long and 1x1/2 inch in cross section and tapered to 1/2 x1/2 inch at both ends. The main boom was about 45 inches long and was about 1 inch from top to bottom with a scale cross section that resembled an old wine jug. These shapes were made for a model of Rainbow.

The gooseneck attachment was made for a piece of ¼ inch thick aluminum plate and secured in a slot cut into the base of the mast. The gooseneck and boom vang pivot on a single stainless-steel rod, (welding rod) about 3 inches long. The boom can be removed from the mast by simply pulling the pivot pin; then the gooseneck and vang are released. The sail can then be slid down out of the bolt-rope slot and rolled for storage.

This is a quick overview of the building process that is needed to build a model J boat. 

Below is a list of most of the materials that were used.

2 – 1”x8”x8’ pine, aspen, bass or other suitable wood that can be cut into 5/32”x3/8” strips for hull and deck planking

1 – 4’x8’x18” plywood used for hull framing, 2 if you are using one for the deck

1 – 1’x4’x1/4” five ply birch plywood for the keel

1 – 1’x2’x1/32” plywood used for the rudder sheeting

1 – 1”x4”x8’ spruce for the mast and booms (optional if you are using an aluminum mast)

4 – ¼”x12”x.030” brass strap used for chain plates, mast, and boom fittings

1 – 1/8”x3’ stainless steel welding rod used for gooseneck pivot and spreader stubs in the mast

1 – 1’x6”x1/4” aluminum plate used for the gooseneck and vang fitting (use only if you are scratch building the fittings

1 – 5/32”x12” brass round tube used for spreader bases

1 – 3/16”x12” brass rod used for the rudder shaft

1 – 7/32”x12” brass round tube used for rudder log

1 – 3/16’x12’ square brass tube used for the rudder shaft socket in the rudder

60+ pounds of lead used for ballast

4 – 8oz bottles of thin CA used for planking the hull and deck as well as general construction

 1 – 2oz bottle of medium CA for general construction

32oz of 30 minute or longer set epoxy used to seal the hull interior

1 – 10’x50” 6 oz fiberglass cloth used to cover the outside of the hull

2 – Quart cans of polyester resin with catalyst used with the fiberglass cloth

6 to 8 – 2” disposable brushes used to apply polyester resin

8 – Turnbuckles used for the side stays, boom vang and diamond stay

36 – 1-72x 1” stainless steel machine screws with nuts and washers used for various attachments

90’ – 60 pound test nylon coated stainless steel fishing leader with swages used for the standing rigging

8 – Single blocks used for back stay, winch arm, up haul and rudder control

1 – Spool of 40 to 60 pound test braided Dacron line for the sheets

12 – Bowsies for various rigging adjustments

Reference Information

Reference book: Enterprise to Endeavour by Ian Dear, ISBN 1-57409-091-7

This covers most of what you would need to build your J model. I did not mention the wood or brass that I used to make the scale detail, as most of it was obtained as scrap from a cabinet shop and salvage yard. Some additional things that you will need are a radio (at least 2 channels), a quarter scale servo for the rudder, and a sail winch, either arm or drum with about 3,000 inch ounces of pulling power. You would also need to order your sails from your favorite sail maker.

I hope that this answers most of your questions about what it takes to build a model of a J Class yacht. By the way the process described above applies to scratch building any R/C model sail boat, the only difference is the scale of the project. Good luck with your building project

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COMMENTS

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    The recent J Class AGM signalled an upturn in interest and the intention is to look to develop a longer-term racing programme for two or three years. The 2022 calendar will include Saint Barth's Bucket (17 - 20 March), Superyacht Cup Palma, Mallorca (29 June - 2 July) and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (4 - 10 September).

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    Feel free to contact me on [email protected] if you have any questions. You can also phone on 07969 538626 but I'm often out of the country and calling can be expensive.

  13. Legendary J Class sailing yacht Shamrock V relaunched

    The 1930s America's Cup challenger Shamrock V - also known as "The Queen of the J Class" - was relaunched today at Saxon Wharf in Southampton, UK (20 May). This follows the most comprehensive restoration and rebuild in her 94-year history. The 36.4-metre sailing yacht sustained significant structural damage and was laid up ashore while racing at the America's Cup in 2017.

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  15. Building a J Class Model

    This is a quick overview of the building process that is needed to build a model J boat. Below is a list of most of the materials that were used. WOOD. 2 - 1"x8"x8' pine, aspen, bass or other suitable wood that can be cut into 5/32"x3/8" strips for hull and deck planking.

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