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Credit: Waterline Media

Legendary 36m J Class sailing yacht Shamrock V relaunched

20 May 2024 • Written by Dea Jusufi

The 1930s America's Cup challenger Shamrock V – also known as "The Queen of the J Class" – was relaunched today at Saxon Wharf in Southampton, UK (20 May). This follows the most comprehensive restoration and rebuild in her 94-year history. 

The 36.4-metre sailing yacht sustained significant structural damage and was laid up ashore while racing at the America's Cup in 2017. Following a change of owner and a strip down "literally to the last bolt", the sailing yacht has been restored to concours condition after seven years.

The yacht hit the water at Camper & Nicholsons’ Gosport shipyard in 1930 as the first ever J Class, commissioned by Sir Thomas Lipton as his fifth and final challenge for the America's Cup. She remains the only one built in wood and the only one to have never fallen into dereliction since her launch – the other two remaining members of the J Class fleet, the 38.5-metre Velsheda and the 39.6-metre Endeavour, had to be reconstructed entirely.

Shamrock V will now be re-masted and undergo sea trials, commissioning, sail testing and race training. She is scheduled to move to the Mediterranean in July, when she will take part in some "informal events" in preparation for the America's Cup in October.

Read More/The top superyacht regattas to add to your 2024 calendar
Credit: Waterline Media
Credit: Waterline Media

In modern race configuration, Shamrock carries over 743.2 square metres of sail and suits from North and Doyle. She will have a permanent crew of nine and will race with up to 45 crew dependent on wind and conditions.

Paul Spooner, who led the project team alongside Feargus Bryan, said: "It has been a massive undertaking and a huge privilege to unite extraordinary talents across the classic and superyacht communities. We were very fortunate to have a committed and knowledgeable owner who enabled us to fully and correctly restore this vital part of yachting history and prepare her for her next 100 years."

Credit: Waterline Media
Credit: Waterline Media

Chief shipwright, Giles Brotherton added: "It is very rare to be able to work on a revival of this scale and ambition. Some of our artisans were using hand tools that were used on Shamrock’s original build.  It is without doubt the biggest and arguably the most important yacht restoration in the world today."

Last year, BOAT International was invited to Southampton to see the refit in action.

Read More/Shamrock V: How an original J Class is being restored to win back her glory

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