Endeavour JK4 (original)

Designed by: C.E. Nicholson, re-configured by Dykstra & Partners

Build: Camper & Nicholsons, in steel, in 1934.

Skipper: Simon Lacey

Identifying features: Navy blue hull, Breton-striped crew shirts, red cross on white spinnaker.

Odds: Good in light airs, but proved she has all-round pace in St Barths in 2012

Rockstar rating: Torben Grael helming – enough said.

Endeavour is often described as the most beautiful J Class, and Britain’s worthiest America’s Cup challenger. We have only seen her 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. Since then however, little has been seen of Endeavour as her current owner favours private cruising.


Endeavour is the yacht that came closest to winning the America’s Cup for Britain. Designed by Charles 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. Her build took 146 days, and on launching she was declared ‘the perfect boat’ by someone that really knew his shapes, Nat Herreshoff.

Sopwith took a scientific approach, using his aeronautical experience. The innovations lavished on her included the likes of four-speed and ‘rowing bar’ winches, the first windvane linked to a dial by the helm, and a double-clewed jib. But following a crew strike over pay, Sopwith replaced 13 pros with amateurs shortly before leaving for the US. This, together with taking off more and more ballast during the series – meaning the boat lost her stiffness, while Rainbow added to hers – was largely seen as his undoing.

Endeavour sat in a Hamble mudberth for over three decades before her restoration began slowly in the mid 70’s. But it was when Elizabeth Meyer took over the mantle in 1984, that her resurgence, and that of today’s J Class fleet, really began. Meyer had Endeavour re-configured by Dykstra & Partners, shipped to Royal Huisman and fully restored, before cruising and racing her all round the world.

Recent developments

Endeavour’s latest 18-month refit at Yachting Developments in New Zealand, again under Dyskstra & Partners transformed her once again. Forty tonnes of material was removed, including 14 deck winches while the remaining winches, hydraulics, electrics, engine and generators were all replaced during100,000 man-hours of work.

She remains in mint condition today and is being sold through Edmiston – see here: https://www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/toby-hodges-blog/j-class-endeavour-sale-rare-chance-buy-one-iconic-yachts-ever-built-61761

Essential figures:

Specs: LOA 39.56m

Beam:  6.72m

Built in steel

Draught: 4.76m

Manufacturer: Camper & Nicholson/Royal Huisman