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J-class yachts


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Racing yachts built during the inter-war period to the American Universal Rule. They were 23–6 metres (75–87 ft) on the waterline, and so conformed to the New York Yacht Club's J-class. As a generic term, the J-class also usually includes those yachts which were built to another rule, such as the International Metre Class, but which were altered in 1931 to conform to the J-class rules for Big Class regatta racing in British waters (Astra, Britannia, and Candida).

When Sir Thomas Lipton challenged for the America's Cup in 1929 the New York Yacht Club chose the J-class for the races. None of the six J-class built in the USA—Weetamoe, Whirlwind, Enterprise, Yankee (all built for the 1930 defence), Rainbow (1934), and Ranger (1937)—has survived, though a replica of Ranger has been built. But of the four British ones—Shamrock V (built for the 1930 challenge), Velsheda (never a challenger), Endeavour (1934), and Endeavour II (1937)—only Endeavour II was scrapped, in 1963, though only Shamrock V continued to sail, with a cruising rig. There was a great revival of these elegant reminders of a bygone yachting age during the 1980s and 1990s. The three remaining Js, plus two other yachts converted to the J-class to race with them (Astra, Candida), and one (Cambria) which raced in the Big Class but was never altered to conform to J-class rules, were all restored as closely as possible to their original rig. There is now a possibility of more new Js being built.

Subjects: Maritime History.


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