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Spirit Yachts and Sparkman & Stephens collaborate on largest wooden J Class yacht

The largest ever wooden J Class yacht is to be built in a collaboration between UK builder Spirit Yachts and US design firm Sparkman & Stephens, Boat International can exclusively reveal.

The 42.4m Cheveyo will be based on the Ranger 77B design, which is one of the six original designs submitted by Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens to Harold Vanderbilt for the US’s 1937 America’s Cup defence.

While Vanderbilt selected the ‘C’ version for the calm conditions of Newport, Rhode Island, the modern designers found that the ‘B’ version was a better choice for today’s J Class racing conditions.

‘In the areas where the J Class regattas now tend to take place, off Antigua, the Med and even the Solent, there are much more exposed conditions,’ says Sean McMillan, director and chief designer at Spirit Yachts.

The yacht will be built with multi-layer lamina wood technology, giving her a light, string hull. The deck will feature the low-profile deckhouse of the original design, high modulus carbon spars, carbon rigging and state-of-the-art sails that Spirit Yachts believes will make her a match for any boat in the J Class fleet.

The yacht was commissioned by a US-based syndicate of investors and sailing enthusiasts – she will be registered in the USA and carry the sail number J1. Spirit Yachts have completed all outline design work with Sparkman & Stephens and much of the detailed structural and systems design is well under way. Construction is due to start this autumn, with an official launch schedule for early Spring 2015 (although she may enter the water in late 2014 for a final fit-out).

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