Monday, 20 July 2009

Newport Bucket Regatta - Race Summary

History was made today when the replicas of both Ranger and Endeavour II (Hanuman) lined up together, 72 years after these designs first raced each other in the America’s Cup, Newport, R.I. in 1937. In that event, the British challenger Endeavour II lost to the US Cup defender, Ranger.

Today’s historic sail in the waters just off Newport, home for the America’s Cup throughout the J Class era, confirms the promise of breathtaking sailing in what are acknowledged to be the most beautiful yachts in the world.

With a soft 10mph wind and difficult sloppy sea conditions, Hanuman lined up with Ranger for a first beat to weather. Hanuman started with around a 300 metre lead and hung on to it for around one hour, suggesting that the two yachts were very evenly matched, although Hanuman is just ‘out of the box’ and Ranger is now fully race prepared.

Both yachts agreed to the same sail configuration - double headsail, cruising mainsail and asymmetric spinnaker with no pole; Ranger’s cruising mainsail was clearly well used.

Hanuman also showed great promise downwind. Whilst she had some difficulty through the gybes, she was able to stay in contact with the polished downwind performance from Ranger. This historic meeting of the two yachts takes the J Class fleet into an exciting new era with the boats evenly matched in performance, offering competitors and spectators the promise of great fleet racing.

Hanuman was built at the Royal Huisman shipyard to the original lines of Endeavour II and is a maximum size ‘Super J’, along with Ranger and the Swedish design Svea (also designed in 1937 and yet to be built).

Whilst legal battles between America’s Cup syndicates continue to exasperate onlookers, the rebirth of the great J Class yachts slowly continues.