The J Class Endeavour, Britain’s worthiest America’s Cup challenger to date and often described as the most beautiful J Class ever, is still on the market
Arguably there couldn’t be at a better time to buy one of the most prestigious yachts ever. In recent years the J Class has enjoyed a complete resurgence (see our J Class guide here). The result makes for mesmerising viewing, as these most elegant, timeless classics are raced by the world’s best and regularly finish within seconds of each other. It’s like one-design racing for museum pieces.
We had the chance to sail Endeavour in December 2016 – and get this EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE
We have only seen Endeavour race competitively once in the last decade. It was fresh after her 18-month refit at Yachting Developments in New Zealand, when she stole the show at the St Barths Bucket in 2012. This showed the potential of the yacht with famous sail number JK4 in the modern fleet of carbon-rigged Js. Since then however, little has been seen of Endeavour as her owner favoured private cruising.
The J Class wave shows no sign of slowing however. There are more Js competing now than ever before. The Hoek-reconfigured J Class Topaz (J8) launched from Holland Jachtbouw in spring 2015 and Svea followed two years later.
The J Class yacht Endeavour arguably remains the jewel of the fleet. She is the yacht that has come closest to winning the America’s Cup for Britain. Her story reflects the history of the J Class and has helped shape the modern fleet we know today.
Endeavour was designed by C.E. Nicholson and built by Camper & Nicholsons in steel in 1934 for aircraft manufacturer Sir T.O.M Sopwith. She was the only J to beat the original Rainbow and considered the most dangerous British challenger to the cup ever. On launching, Endeavour was declared ‘the perfect boat’ by someone that really knew his shapes, Nat Herreshoff.
Sopwith took a scientific approach using his aeronautical experience, and the innovations lavished on Endeavour included the likes of four-speed winches, the first windvane linked to a dial by the helm, and a four sided jib with two clews and sheets, dubbed a ‘quad’.
Following a crew strike over pay, Sopwith replaced the 13 pro sailors with amateurs shortly before leaving for the America’s Cup in the states. This, together with taking off more and more ballast during the series, was largely seen as his undoing.
Endeavour sat in her Solent mudberth for three decades following the war, in the hands of a variety of owners. She was once saved from scrap and even sank in the Medina River in the seventies.
Beken’s picture shows the state she reached, a wreck with no rig, keel or interior. But it was when Elizabeth Meyer bought her in 1984, that her resurgence, and in time, that of the J Class, really began. Meyer had Endeavour re-configured by Dykstra Naval Architects, shipped to Royal Huisman and fully restored, before cruising and racing her all around the world.
Endeavour underwent an extensive refit again in 2010/11 at Yachting Developments in New Zealand. Dykstra Naval Architects was responsible for the construction, sail plan and deck layout, and Jon Barret, who oversaw the yacht’s first refit as captain at Royal Huisman in 1989, project managed the refit.
The work involved the removal of 40T of material, including 14 deck winches. The remaining winches, hydraulics, electrics, engine and generators were all replaced over 100,000 man-hours. Endeavour left New Zealand with a new deck structure, new rig and sails, a new deck layout, an engine room upgrade and a new crew interior.
Her €17.5m asking price today is perhaps typical for a J Class. But to become a custodian of a cruise and race ready Endeavour, and at such an exciting time, would be priceless.
There are more details and plenty of pictures on Edmiston’s site here
And more info on J Class here