Sails : April May 2010
JThe Solent is a temperamental body of water that lies between Hampshire on the south coast of the English mainland and the Isle of Wight. If you ask anyone who grew up on its shores about the J-Class, don’t be surprised if they get a little misty-eyed. To their devoted fans around the world, the heyday of these majestic sloops was also the high-water mark of large yacht racing. These days it’s hard to fnd anyone who might have served aboard the likes of Shamrock V, Velsheda and Endeavour in the 1930s, or helped build them at Camper & Nicholson’s in Gosport. Sadly most – if not all – of these men will have crossed the proverbial bar by now. But if you grew up on the Hamble and Medina rivers during the 1960s, you may recall the melancholy spectacle of Velsheda and Endeavour lying dismasted in their mud berths. On the Hamble the 127-foot Velsheda, once owned by Woolworths magnate William Lawrence Stephenson and named after his three daughters Velma, Sheila and Daphne, was being used as a houseboat and therefore in relatively good shape. The 129-foot Endeavour, which lay up the Medina River upstream from Cowes and the Royal Yacht Squadron (under whose burgee she had challenged the American J-Class Rainbow for the J CLASS 089 MARC HEUPERS; CORY SILKEN, COURTESY OF RO YA L HUISMAN; HOEK DESIGN AND DYKSTRA NAVA L ARCHITECTS. THE MIGHTY J-CLASS CUTTERS SHINE LIKE DIAMONDS IN THE TREASURE CHEST THAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICA' S CUP. JOHN JULIAN DELVES INTO THE HISTORY OF THE CLASSIC J'S AND THE REPLICAS THEY HAVE INSPIRED.
June July 2010