From sail numbers to deck gear, discover interesting facts about the J Class and how this regatta has left a lasting mark on sailing
1. The J’s original measurement was to the Universal Rule: 76-87ft LWL, 120ft plus LOA and displacing over 160 tons.
2. In 1934 J Class regatta organisers in the UK asked owners to paint their hulls different colours to make it easier for spectators to tell them apart – hence Endeavour was painted dark blue.
3. Sail number: the Americans came up with the J classification, so have J followed by a number. The UK is JK followed by the number (ie JK4 Endeavour). Holland is JH, etc.
4. Velsheda hasn’t always looked so pristine. She spent nearly 50 years laid up in a mud berth in the Hamble. Between 1937 and 1984 she lay derelict, before steel merchant Terry Brabant took possession and economically refitted her for charter work. During that time she was fitted with a new steel mast, stripped back interior and concrete put in her keel.
5. Js need plenty of manpower when racing…. they were and still are raced by around 30 crew.
6. The 15th Challenge for the America’s Cup by Sopwith’s Endeavour was the closest Britain ever came to lifting the trophy – 2: 4 to Rainbow.
7. Many deck gear ideas were invented for the original Js and are still used on yachts today – deck winches, rod rigging, halyards running up hollow aluminium masts and removable forestays to fly a large genoa.
8. Js were always the plaything of the rich. Sir Thomas Lipton amassed his fortune from tea; Velsheda’s W.L. Stephenson ran Woolworths retail chain; and Sir Thomas Sopwith built aircraft – nearly 6,000 Sopwith Camels reached for the skies in World War I.
9. Ranger has a smiley face illustration on her anti-fouling, making her easy to identify when racing.
10. Velsheda has recently celebrated her 82nd birthday. She was launched on 29th April 1933 at hightide from Gosport. Her birthday was spent at sea, enroute to Falmouth UK where she will race in the J Class regatta Falmouth in June.