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Sail back in time: J Class yachts in vintage video

Take a sail back in time: this vintage video captures the action of a duel between J Class yachts circa 1935, when these now beautiful classic yachts were brand new.

We are accustomed to spotting J Class yachts in archived black-and-white photos – or today in brilliant colour – so it’s a rare treat to see these iconic J Class yachts cut across the screen in this historic newscast film.

The scene is Cowes week 1935, and Endeavour is poised to win the Cayley Memorial Cup. But first, we see the British Royal family departing their yacht… watch all the old-timey action in the vintage J Class yachts video below.

Vintage video of J Class yachts in 1935

As the video voiceover describes, the King, Queen and other members at of the British Royal family – some of our favourite Royals at sea – are “enjoying really fine weather for their holiday afloat at Cowes.”

The King and Queen and Duke and Duchess of York are spotted departing the Victoria and Albert to head ashore. Then there is the bang of cannons, and the “big race” begins.

As seen in the video, the Royal London Yacht Club Regatta hosts many of the sailing yachts we’d consider classic beauties today – some that have survived the test of time and some that haven’t been so fortunate.

Britannia is in the foreground, then we see the iconic J Class yacht Endeavour, built by Camper & Nicholsons and launched in 1934, just a year before this video was filmed. After a refit in 2014, Endeavour is currently for sale.

As the reporter tells it, “There is very little wind, but Endeavour is clearly first away with Astra, Yankee and Velsheda close behind.

"Further back still in the bunch are Candida, Shamrock and Westwood. Endeavour quickens her lead, but as the wind freshens Astra puts on speed and passes Velsheda.”

But the others prove no match to Endeavour. Her lead is “so great that no one can possibly steal her victory.” Astra takes a humble second.

This exciting racing action is just one of the top reasons to buy a J Class yacht. Whilst this vintage J Class video captures the early days of these yachts, they certainly aren’t stuck in the pages of history. Many still sail today, such as 1930 launch J Class yacht Shamrock V, which is also for sale, and new J Class yachts and replicas are being built off old designs. Take, for instance, the chance to build a new replica of J Class yacht Yankee designed by Dykstra with Dutch yard HJB.

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