Photographer's Note

The J-Class yachts "Velsheda" and, nearer the camera, "Ranger", racing in the West Solent a couple of years ago.

The J-class was used for the America's Cup races from 1930 to 1937. Only 10 were built then, 4 in the UK and 6 in the US. "Velsheda" was the only one not built expressly to race for the Cup. She was designed by Charles Nicholson, and built at his yard in my home town of Gosport. W.F. Stephenson was her owner, and he named her after his three daughters, Velma, Sheila and Daphne. She was quite successful racing in the Big Class in home waters, but was laid up during the War, and was thereafter left to rot in a mud berth, until she was rescued in the early '80s and refitted for sailing. In 1997, after being bought by a new owner who gave her a complete rebuild, she was again a state of the art racer.

The original "Ranger", often known as the "Super J", successfully defended the America's Cup for the US in 1937 against the British challenger "Endeavour II". Sadly, like all the other American Js, she was broken up in 1941.

But the class was reborn in the new century on the back of three surviving British Js, "Velsheda", "Endeavour I" and "Shamrock V", all of whom were rebuilt and refitted for racing. Today, several "new" Js are out there racing as well. All are built to existing 1930s plans, as the J Class Association decided that a modern design to the J Class rule would out-class existing boats, and in any case, the classic look of the boats was an important element of their appeal. So "Ranger" is a replica of the 1937 Cup defender and built in 2003. Of course, modern materials are allowed, as you can see from the carbon spars and the kevlar/carbon sails.

By the way, "Velsheda" won the race against "Ranger", "Lionheart" (launched 2010, another 1934 design by the American Starling Burgess) and "Rainbow", a replica of the successful Cup defender of 1934.

This one's for Lisa, as she said she was looking forward to my sailing photographs...

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Viewed: 1920
Points: 32
Additional Photos by Will Perrett (willperrett) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1070 W: 301 N: 3089] (14105)
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