A magnificent part of sailing history, the J Class of sailing yacht originated in the 1930s, and competed for three America's Cups in that decade.

Just 10 yachts were constructed, six in the USA and four in England. Other designs were produced but not built. During this period there were never more than four J Class yachts racing together.

Only three originals survived the Second World War - Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda - but the latter two were left to go derelict, for years laid up, rotting in mud berths, until their rebuild and rebirth as 21st Century racing superyachts.

With the formation of the J Class Association (JCA) in 2000, the possibility existed for replicas from history to be built and race again. New yachts have been launched and some are under construction. Most of these projects are expected to be completed by 2012, creating a fleet of the biggest, finest racing yachts the world has ever seen.





Endeavour sailing yacht
Endeavour is one of the original J Class yachts left, but having been laid up, sold for scrap and victim of several failed rescue attempts, her survival is an epic tale with a happy ending


Hanuman yacht
A replica of the 1937 racing yacht Endeavour II, the 2009 built Hanuman is a masterful marriage of the best of the style and majesty of the 1930s J Class era with 21st century technology


One of the more recent additions to the J Class fleet Lionheart is based on an early Sparkman & Stephens design for Ranger and features an unusual two-cockpit layout


The latest scion of the J Class fleet Rainbow is the eponymous replica of the successful defender of the 1934 America’s Cup, but alumimium to her steel, and built by Holland Jachtbouw


Ranger is a replica of the yacht of the same name built for the 1937 America’s Cup - known as 'super J' - and was the first J Class yacht to be built since the heydey of the Class in the 1930s


One of the original Js launched in 1930 as Sir Thomas Lipton’s fifth and final America’s Cup challenger Shamrock V is the only one built in timber and never to have been out of commission


Built in 1933 Velsheda is the only original J Class yacht not built for the America's Cup and after being rescued from dereliction was rebuilt and is unique among Js for sailing round the world


Based on one of the designs rejected for the 1937 America's Cup Cheveyo will be the largest ever wooden J Class yacht built by a Spirit Yachts and Sparkman & Stephens collaboration


The design for Svea came from Swedish yacht designer Tore Holm in 1937, now owned by Claasen Jachtbouw's Jan Hart, with Hoek Design development, but as yet not commissioned



J Class regattas in the UK, Summer 2012
J Class yachts return to English shores for a special classic racing series in June and July 2012: Lionheart, Ranger, Rainbow and Velsheda will compete for line honours in Falmouth Bay and the Solent, concluding with a round-the-island race for the Hundred Guinea Cup
J Class yacht race spectacle at St Barth's
The J Class yacht exhibition race at the 2012 St Barth's Bucket saw Endeavour, Hanuman, Ranger and Velsheda racing against each other
Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous 2012
The breezes were down, but the competition was as intense as ever on Day 3, which saw J Class yacht and Hanuman and sailing yacht Indio vying for top spot. Read on to find out who ultimately triumphed...

J Class yachts St Barths

J Class yachts at the exhibition race, St Barth's Bucket | photo by Jeff Brown / Superyacht Media

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