Plans to build J class replicas Endeavour II, Yankee and a 1939 Swedish project are revealed 5/6/06

Plans to build three new J Class yachts have been revealed by the J Class Association which has also announced changes to the J Class Rule to introduce a maximum rating and do away with the current waterline length limitation.

The American J Yankee, the British yacht Endeavour II and a Tore Holm design for a Swedish challenge started in 1938 but thwarted by World War II, have all been submitted to the J Class Association with a view to building replicas.
To control the development of the class which currently includes Endeavour, Velsheda, Ranger and Shamrock V, new builds have to be based on a design from history.

Comprehensive design projects for Yankee and Endeavour II are underway at Gerard Dijkstra and Partners, the specialist naval architects based in Holland. Both yachts are thought to be for Dutch owners. The Tore Holm project has be re-started by a Swedish-Dutch syndicate.

Yankee was of particular interest to UK yachting enthusiasts because she crossed the Atlantic and raced on the UK circuit before World War II competing in regattas in Southend, Cowes, Fowey and Falmouth.

Endeavour II was built in 1936 to take on the might of the so-called Super-J Ranger, but was completely out-performed in the 1937 America’s Cup. Endeavour II was 10ft longer than Endeavour, the latter being the first of the Js to be completely restored late last century.

The Holm design was also of Super-J proportions and if she is finished in 2008 as proposed it will have taken 70 years to complete the project!

The decision to re-write the J Class Rule and do away with the waterline restriction will be music to the ears of John Williams and the Ranger crew who have struggled in vain to reach the 91ft requirement. Instead Js will be bound by overall length (as dictated by the length of the yacht they are replicating) and mast height and a TCF based on the new rule will be calculated accordingly. The main restriction will be an upper rating limit.

If these three new Js do come to fruition, and the prospects are extremely promising according to secretary of the J Class Association David Pitman, there would be the prospect of seven Js lining up on startlines at some of the great regatta venues in the world. And we could even see a re-match of the America’s Cup contenders of 1937, the Super-Js Ranger and Endeavour II, the last Js to compete for the Cup.

For more details read the next (August) issue of Yachting World, out in early July.