As the America’s Cup World Series 2011/12 drew to a close in Newport (USA) last week, the UK geared up for the London 2012 Olympic Games with some spectacular sailing of its own at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club in Falmouth.
From 26th to 30th June, four of the most powerful, impressive sailing yachts in the world competed in the bay and along the coastline in Cornwall’s first J-Class Regatta in 75 years. Racing with crews of up to 30, it was Ranger which finally triumphed over Velsheda, Lionheart and Rainbow after 4 races. See the results here.
Falmouth was chosen for its deep water bay, onshore support services and well established Yacht Club. As well as some challenging sailing, the waters around the bay offer the opportunity of great courses and excellent spectator opportunities – something which is becoming increasingly necessary for the sailing community as it competes to attract support and lucrative sponsorship deals. Falmouth is excellent for specators, who can view from the area’s many headlands.
The J-Class is regarded by many the greatest class of yachts ever created. Hyperbole aside, these yachts are certainly impressive and steeped in history. Enormous, at 140 feet, the yachts were originally designed in the 1930s for the America’s Cup. Just 10 were built, six in the USA and four in England and no more than four ever raced together.
Sadly, only three of these behemoths survived WWII. Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda then rotted in mud berths, until their rebuild and rebirth as 21st Century racing superyachts and the revival of a marvellous piece of sailing history. With the formation of the J-Class Association (JCA) in 2000, the gates opened for replicas of the original designs to be built and for the J-Class tradition to be revived. Since then, new yachts like Hanuman have been launched with others under construction and due for launch this year. By the end of 2012, we expect to see the return of a fleet of some of the biggest, finest racing yachts the world has ever seen.
Luxury J-Class sailing yacht Hanuman (a replica of the 1937 Endeavour II) did not compete in the Falmouth regatta but is currently for sale for the first time since her construction in 2009, meaning that one day we could see her sail against the victorious Ranger in a repeat of the 1937 America’s Cup.