Wednesday, 14 March 2012


SPIRIT YACHTS Ltd is proud to announce an historic collaboration with SPARKMAN & STEPHENS Inc to build a new J-Class yacht. This iconic new ‘J’ will be named ‘CHEVEYO’ (pronounced shu-Vay-o), a native American word meaning “spirit warrior.” Registered in the United States, the yacht will carry sail number J1.

CHEVEYO will be steeped in rich history, built to the RANGER 77B design. This is one of the original series of six designs submitted by Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens to Harold Vanderbilt for the 1937 America’s Cup defence.

In 1936, each of the six RANGER designs was extensively tank tested by Burgess and Stephens to select the optimum hull-form to defend the America’s Cup against the challenger ENDEAVOUR II, designed by Charles Nicholson.

Vanderbilt selected the ‘C’ version because it was found to have the best potential for racing solely in the sheltered waters off Newport RI. The ‘Super J’ RANGER was thus born, and went on to triumph decisively over ENDEAVOUR II in the 1937 series.

For 2012, S&S and Spirit Yachts have further evaluated the RANGER design series. The prestigious US-based design house conducted an in-depth survey of all of the original Burgess/Stephens J-Class lines in their library. These designs were optimized for two variables: Spirit Yachts’ advanced wood/composite construction techniques as well as for the more exposed conditions of today’s Classic regattas.

The RANGER 77B version was identified as the clear star.

CHEVEYO will marry the classic design of yachting’s golden era with modern build techniques of the 21st century. Spirit Yachts – the world’s foremost expert in sophisticated wood/epoxy construction – will build the ‘J’ using this sophisticated technique mated to laser cut stainless steel ring frames to create an exceptionally stiff yet lightweight hull. Spirit and S&S are currently finalising construction drawings suited to this superb wood/composite build system.

Bruce Johnson, President and Chief Designer of Sparkman & Stephens, observes:
“By utilizing the wood composite construction technique that Spirit Yachts has perfected over the years, CHEVEYO will break from the current norm of modern J’s aluminum construction and return to a more historically accurate construction method, albeit with the use of modern epoxies and laminating techniques to maintain a light-weight structure. As a further nod to historical accuracy, she will float on her lines as designed in 1936, not requiring the J-Class Association’s additional freeboard allowance, thus resulting in less wetted surface area.”

On deck, this new ‘Super-J’ will remain true to the beauty and grace of the original design. The authentic low-profile deckhouse has been retained, resulting in a clean, unobstructed working deck and an exquisitely beautiful sheerline. Complementing this heritage will be high-modulus carbon spars, carbon rigging, state of the art sails and all the modern sophistication of a contemporary performance yacht that will allow her to be raced competitively against any modern yacht and, most importantly, in the spectacular growing J-Class fleet. Authenticity continues below deck with a beautiful 1930’s-inspired interior that will offer excellent accommodation for up to ten guests in five handsomely appointed and comfortable cabins. There will also be excellent facilities for eight crew able to offer exceptional service from modern and well equipped 'hotel' facilities.

For nearly twenty years, Spirit Yachts has designed and built unparalleled modern classic yachts. Exquisite handcrafted wooden ships with simple elegance, exceptional performance and impeccable quality are the hallmarks of the firm, all of which will be exemplified by CHEVEYO.

Sean McMillan, Managing Director and Chief Designer at Spirit Yachts, notes:
“From the dawn of history, wood has been the finest material in which to build a boat and it remains so to this day. With modern advances in laminar wood technology, many of which have been pioneered by Spirit Yachts, we are now able to build complex sophisticated yachts with a strength-to-weight ratio earlier designers could only dream of. Imagine what Herreshoff would have achieved!”

“But beyond the very considerable structural advantages of wood, there is a 'soul' to a wooden yacht that cannot be replicated in steel or aluminium or carbon. Wood is a breathing organic material that creates an ambience of quiet comfortable calm with superb insulating qualities, both thermal and sound.”

“Because the hull structure of CHEVEYO will be built in wood/composite, the natural beauty of the wood will be celebrated below and there will be no need for heavy linings or insulation. The weight savings from this, and in the hull itself, translate directly into an increased ballast ratio resulting in further improved performance.”

The yacht has been commissioned by a US-based syndicate of investors and sailing enthusiasts. A driving force behind the project is the desire to experience the thrill and elegance of yesteryear’s yacht racing on a modern vessel with the essence of tradition.

Kevin Felix, Chairman of Spirit Yachts, commented:
“CHEVEYO will capture imaginations and evoke the romance and excitement of the finest expression of yacht design as epitomized by the J-Class. She blends contrasting elements of the old with the new, historic design with modern construction, and classic aesthetics with superior performance. There are no two firms better suited to realize CHEVEYO than Sparkman & Stephens and Spirit Yachts. We could not be happier with this partnership and relish the opportunity for Spirit Yachts to place its imprint on this classic J.”

“The yacht is reminiscent of the historic America’s Cup competition between England and the United States. From design through construction to eventual competition with her peers, CHEVEYO will espouse this history. Imagine: US sailors commissioning a British company to build a classic yacht from designs by an American firm that were originally created to compete against England in the America’s Cup – that is an impressive and somewhat ironic dynamic.”

The Spirit Yachts/Sparkman & Stephens ‘Super-J’ CHEVEYO will be the truest interpretation of the splendour of the J-Class for the modern age. Any yachting connoisseur will appreciate the care, effort and respect that has been demonstrated toward a yacht that is a jewel of the America’s Cup culture and reflects the very close history of competition between the US and the UK during the heyday of the J-Class era, which is once again flourishing in today’s modern age.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Holland Jachtbouw launches Rainbow

First J-class yacht with hybrid propulsion

Holland Jachtbouw has launched the J-class yacht Rainbow at its yard in the Netherlands. Based upon the lines of the original America’s Cup winner in 1934, this spectacular 40-metre J features a high-end superyacht interior and a unique hybrid propulsion and power system inside a racing boat hull, all topped off by a grand prix racing deck and rig. Rainbow is currently being stepped and sea trials will commence in March as she gears up to complete in this summer’s regattas, including the J-class races in England.

For her launch Rainbow was brought outside the ultra-modern main construction hall at Holland Jachtbouw, wheeled onto a barge and lifted by two cranes into the water. This sophisticated operation took full advantage of the yard’s rare capacity to launch vessels with a draught of five metres (Holland Jachtbouw can actually accommodate yachts of up to 5.5 metres draft and 65 metres in length).

“It is such a thrill to be able to fully appreciate a design that was last seen in the open almost eighty years ago,” says the yard’s co-director Tako van Ineveld. “This ‘new’ Rainbow took us over two years to build while her predecessor was completed in just one hundred days. This does not mean we are slower… It is a reflection of the incredible degree of sophistication that is now contained within these timeless lines. The original Rainbow was an empty boat with a deck of sailing gear and a powerful aluminium rig. This Rainbow is a different proposition altogether.”

The project’s naval architects were Dykstra & Partners, and this office also partnered with deVosdeVries design on the interior. The original Rainbow was drawn by William Starling Burgess in the early 1930s and the vessel was scrapped in 1940. This design has now been incorporated into an all-aluminium yacht that meets the J-class Association maximum performance rules.

All modern functional requirements have been integrated with full respect for Rainbow’s heritage, while the decks have been kept as clean and flush as possible featuring only a mahogany doghouse and skylight. The latter offers a quite spectacular contrast with the superb jet black-coloured hull and gold leaf cove stripe. “We believe that Rainbow is the most beautiful J on the water today,” says Van Ineveld. “But more importantly, she is built to win races!”

Gerry Dijkstra and his team have utilised all their vast experience and the very latest computer modelling to optimise Rainbow’s performance via a lightweight construction with a high degree of overall stiffness. The rig includes a Southern Spars high-modulus carbon mast, boom and spinnaker pole, continuous carbon fibre rigging, North Sails 3Di racing sails and Lewmar high-speed hydraulic winches. All are entirely customised to Rainbow’s specific requirements and, like everything metallic on deck, anodised to create a light grey look.

All the new generation of Js need to have a fully functioning interior under JCA rules, and Rainbow’s owner has spared no expense when it comes to luxury accommodation and premium equipment, including full air conditioning. The original Rainbow did not have an engine room so there was obviously not a great deal of space to accommodate one within the lines plan. Holland Jachtbouw’s solution, developed in partnership with WhisperPower, has been to create an ingenious  hybrid propulsion  and power system especially for this project.
As a result, Rainbow can be operated entirely on her Hy-Store Li-ion batteries, including sailing, navigation and hotel load. This also meets the owner’s request for silent periods onboard, without generators running, from 11 pm to 7 am. And that in turn promises much for those who enjoy cruising and, potentially, chartering Rainbow.

 This hybrid solution replaces the conventional main engine and two generator configuration found on other Js, which have a larger engine room than the comparatively lighter Rainbow (170 tonnes). The main engine replaces the second generator, while the remaining generator is a variable speed electric unit. The main engine generator can also act as an electric motor that can also run the propeller. This solution is smaller in size and saves on fuel. The batteries can also be charged while sailing without losing more than 1.5 knots of speed.

Other key overall benefits of this innovative propulsion solution include a dramatic reduction of the ecological footprint, a 30 percent reduction in the fuel required to generate the hotel load, and a similar reduction in the maintenance costs for the power plant in hotel load. Redundancy is built-in with five power sources available: The hybrid battery, the variable speed generator, the variable speed engine generator, the shaft generator (when sailing) and shore power (when available). There is also a substantial reduction in audible noise levels both inside the yacht and out.

In terms of styling, Rainbow’s interior features raised and fielded mahogany panelling with art deco details. The owner’s stateroom is aft and there are two ensuite twin guest cabins, each with a Pullman berth. In addition to offering accommodation to up to eight guests, Rainbow will have a permanent crew of seven led by Captain Nick Haley who has previously skippered two other members of the Holland Jachtbouw fleet, namely Windrose of Amsterdam and Athos.

This April a team of race professionals will join the permanent crew for the first time to embark on seven days of extensive training in the North Sea. All will look very impressive thanks to a sponsorship agreement with Pelle Petterson. This renowned competition yachtsman has taken a keen interest in the Rainbow project and offered to supply his trademark Pelle P technical sailing clothes. During the J-class regattas in Falmouth and Cowes, Rainbow will be accompanied by a support vessel to accommodate the larger crew at night.

Rainbow also has a full schedule of engagements to compete in the other major regattas of 2012. The general public will be able to admire her at the Monaco show where Rainbow will be on display close to the Holland Jachtbouw stand.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Endeavour JK4 Launched



Yachting Developments proudly launched the iconic J Boat Endeavour on Saturday 8th October 2011, the launching marks the completion of an extensive 18 month refit at Yachting Developments yard based in Hobsonville, Auckland.

Endeavour touched the water at 8am, onboard systems were commissioned and checked, the new mast was stepped at 11am, the boom was fitted at 1.00pm, Endeavour then moved to her berth at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour on schedule at 2.30pm.

Absolute care has been taken throughout the refit to preserve as much of the vessel as practical while taking advantage of twenty first century sailing systems, enhanced performance and improved functionality.

The comprehensive refit includes removal and replacement of the complete weather deck including all deck equipment. Steel deck framing has also been relocated to accommodate the new load paths of the new deck layout.

There has been a long term philosophy of longevity and serviceability throughout the refit ensuring Endeavour will remain the historic Icon she is today for future generations.

Dykstra & Partners, Naval Architects, have been instrumental in the design of the new sail plan, deck layout, and structural engineering.

The main engine, generators, hydraulic systems, winches, electrical system, electronics, bow thruster and air conditioning have been replaced or upgraded.

The new carbon fibre mast was built by Southern Spars Auckland, the mast features carbon standing rigging.

Accommodation forward of the mast has been reconfigured by John Munford and Adam Lay, the new interior has been built in-house by Yachting Developments tradesmen.

The owner’s project management is by Jon Barrett Associates whom have had over 25 years experience in this role with Endeavour.

Yachting Developments Managing Director Ian Cook describes working on Endeavour as “an honor, she is something special, everyone involved has put their heart and soul into the refit, I think the care, and passion is very evident in the end result”.

Yachting Developments, Jon Barrett Associates, Dykstra & Partners will be attending this years Fort Lauderdale International Boat show.

Monday, 20 June 2011


The last race was held in light northerly breezes, and the Race officer bravely issued a course with a downwind start, passing the crowded spectator fleet off Fort Adams and Castle Hill.

Both yachts got away cleanly but Velsheda elected the pin end, closer to the next gate and gained a quick advantage. A gybing duel followed, but after a few inside gybes, Ranger caught her spinnaker high in the rigging and it quickly split, loosing them more ground for the recovery.

At the bottom mark Velsheda had gained a 2 minute lead, enough for them to command the windward berth on the long slow upwind leg back to the shortened course finish line, right in front of the many spectators at Castle Hill.

The exciting tactical race was a fitting end to a great regatta,  where many thousands of spectators were enthralled by these great yachts.  Just a few of the comments included
" It was wonderful to see these boats from a pas era"
"we could not believe the size and power of the se yachts"
"and the teamwork on these boats is astounding"
"we can't believe that they were designed and built in the 1930's

CORUM WATCHES  presented a wonderful perpetual trophy to Ranger, the overal winner, who also won a unique timepiece - a CORUM TIDE WATCH

The legend lives on and the J's will be back in Newport in the future!


With Friday's race postponed, two were held on Saturday, in bright sky's with a strong 15 know South Easterly into the Newport harbour entrance.

the first race got away with Ranger holding a short, five boat length lead and the distance never really changed on the subsequent top spinnaker reach, and run to the finish. With a small time correction factor , RANGER won by 25 seconds, and winning the event overall at that point with a 3:0 score.

The start of race four saw a repeat of the first start where RANGER managed to push VELSHEDA above the committee boat, then bear away to cross on time, leaving VELSHEDA to complete a slow gybe before crossing the line.

RANGER had pulled out a massive 4 minute lead by the top mark. The two yachts headed off with spinnakers pulling, into a bank of famous Newport fog before piping out later on the downwind leg, past the Castle Hill headland and New York Yacht Club, packed with spectators.

VELSHEDA slowly ground down the distance but was never to be in contention, finishing a creditable 2 minutes 40 seconds behind.

One more race completes the series, already now won by RANGER.