The first J Class yacht
The first J Class yacht to be built in Britain since before World War 2 has been commissioned by an American consortium ho have chosen Spirit Yachts in Ipswich to build the yacht.The new J will be named ‘CHEVEYO,
a native American word meaning spirit warrior. Registered in the United States, the yacht will carry sail number J1.
CHEVEYO will be 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 US-based design house conducted an in-depth survey of all the original Burgess/Stephens J-Class lines in their library. These 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 best design.
CHEVEYO will marry the classic design of yachting's golden era with modern build techniques of the 21st century. Spirit Yachts, experts in wood/epoxy construction will build the ‘J' using this 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 composite build system.
Bruce Johnson, President and Chief Designer of Sparkman & Stephens, said:
"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 original design. The authentic low-profile deckhouse has been retained, resulting in a clean, unobstructed working deck and a 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 1930s-inspired interior that will offer excellent accommodation for up to ten guests in five cabins. There will also be facilities for eight crew able to offer service from modern and well equipped 'hotel' facilities.
Sean McMillan, Managing Director and Chief Designer at Spirit Yachts, said:
"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.
"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. 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."
It is hoped timber for the new yacht will be cut this autumn and that the yacht could launch in late 2014 or early 2015.