It’s amazing what comes up when you write a weblog like this… I thought someone might be interested in acquiring this little piece of J Class history.
Peter Davies was for many years sales director for Southampton Yacht Services, and was involved in rescuing many fine old classic yachts for refitting by the yard – and along the way accumulated a few interesting items.
Here’s one that’s for sale – legendary J class racing yacht Velsheda’s original hatch, replaced in her major refit a few years ago.
Velsheda was designed by Charles Ernest Nicholson and built in 1933 by Camper and Nicholsons at Gosport, Hampshire for businessman William Lawrence Stephenson. Between 1933 and 1936, she won many races and competed with other great yachts including Britannia, Endeavour and Shamrock V. She was laid up in 1937.
Velsheda was later rescued from her Hamble mud berth in 1984 and economically refitted for charter work with a new steel mast and
In 1996 she was sold to a new owner and relaunched after a complete rebuild in 1997 by Southampton Yacht Services
When her hull was delivered to SYS in 1996 it came with a shipping container containing deck furniture removed from her by a previous owner and partly restored by his crew at the time. However, during the 1997 restoration new hatches and a new deckhouse were constructed by SYS, so the old hatch was no longer needed…
I don’t follow racing by choice – I’m interested in the technology but can’t bring myself to care who wins. But even I know that the America’s Cup seems to be endlessly controversial and often seriously troubled.
And in Belfast in the last years of the 19th century it may have done more harm than good, or so this piece argues. And there’s some nice news about a restoration of a grand old boat too…
My thanks go to boat designer and home boat building guru and sailmaker Mik Storer.
Here’s the publisher’s introduction:
‘The 35th America’s Cup series will be staged in Bermuda in 2017, and already the first team – Ben Ainslie Racing – is starting to settle into its base in the islands at the beginning of a developing process which, it is hoped by locals, will contribute significantly and sustainably to an economy which is by no means as prosperous as the popular image of Bermuda would suggest.
‘Yet past experience of being involved with the America’s Cup circus suggests that while there are definitely immediate and highly visible benefits, they’re ephemeral and are more than offset by a hidden but very definite downside. And the pace of the event at its peak is at such a level that almost immediately afterwards there’s a sense of anti-climax and recrimination which can poison a sailing centre’s atmosphere for years. W M Nixon considers how sailing’s most stellar event affected Irish sailing, looks at a more recent continuation of this story, and then takes up the tale of an old boat whose class’s health suffered collateral damage from America’s Cup fallout.’
‘The schooner, fittingly named America, was modeled on the highly successful pilot boats that navigated New York’s busy harbor. A stark contrast to the “cod’s head and mackerel tail” shape that typified British yachts, America had a long, sharp bow and a blunted stern.
‘Her masts were sharply raked and rigged with taut cotton duck sailcloth, which stretched less than the flax sails used by the British, providing more power in varying wind conditions.
‘Upon crossing the Atlantic, America’s unusual appearance made an immediate impression, with one British sailor declaring, “If she’s all right, then we’re all wrong.”‘
The story of America is a great tale and a dire warning to anyone who might be just a little too comfortable in their nice cosy paradigm. It is told at the SFO Museum website.