No history of the America’s Cup is complete without mention of the J Class, the magnificent sloops that competed for the trophy in three editions between 1930 and 1937. Their grace and beauty reflected a time where a booming global economy brought some of the most colourful tycoons to compete for the oldest international sports trophy in the world. Names like Sir Thomas Lipton, Harold S Vanderbilt and Sir Thomas Sopwith graced a period that is known as the ‘Golden Age’ of the America’s Cup before the realities of the aftermath of the Second World War, saw the smaller, more affordable 12 Metre Class replace the J Class.
In modern times the J Class has thrived with owners either restoring or building new to old lines drawn but never constructed and to see one of the yachts in person is to witness sailing and racing at its very finest. With the America’s Cup in Barcelona in October 2024, the class have been welcomed by America’s Cup Events to host their World Championships between 7-11th October 2024 with a practice regatta on the 3-4th October 2024. The magnificent fleet have been allocated space in the Port Vell Harbour and will be a welcome sight for spectators and enthusiasts of the America’s Cup.
Speaking about the J Class coming to Barcelona, Grant Dalton, CEO of America’s Cup Events commented: “When the idea was first suggested, it was one of the easiest decisions ever to make. The J-Class are integral to the history, legend and fascination of the America’s Cup and we are very grateful to the Class Association and the Owners for taking the opportunity to host their World Championship in Barcelona at the time of the 37th Match. Seeing those boats being raced just off the Barcelona waterfront will be a spectacle for everyone on the water or watching from the shoreline – we cannot wait to see them in action.”
The J Class fleet has grown in popularity in recent years and the fleet includes Topaz (J8), Ranger (J5), Svea (JS1), Velsheda (JK7), Shamrock V (JK3), Rainbow (JKZ1), Hanuman (JK6) and Lionheart (JH1). The Class Association is seeking a commitment from as many owners as possible with five confirmed to date and others working the America’s Cup into their busy global schedules.
Hosted by the Real Club Nàutic de Barcelona, situated right in the heart of the Port Vell, the club is looking forward to a fabulous J Class regatta in the city, with Jordi Puig, President of the Yacht Club saying: “The opportunity to host the historic J Class for their World Championships in 2024 is something that myself and all the members of RCNB are immensely looking forward to. These yachts with their remarkable history both in the America’s Cup and into the modern era are one of the true wonders of the sailing world and will draw much attention when they arrive in Barcelona whilst acting as an integral part of the America’s Cup celebrations.”
Stuart Childerley, Class Secretary of the J Class, is delighted to be in the heart of the America’s Cup event in Barcelona 2024 saying: “We are extremely grateful to Grant and his team for smoothing the passage to be included in the America’s Cup regatta where the DNA of our fleet essentially lies, and we look forward to playing a central part in the programme both on and off the water. The Owners and Class Association are excited to hold our World Championships in Barcelona which will be the highlight of our season after the Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo during September 2024 and the Mahon regatta in May 2024. The boats will arrive to the Port Vell and be situated right in the heart of the superyacht basin giving spectators a fantastic opportunity to see these historic yachts up close.”
Details of the 2024 World Championships in Barcelona will shortly be available on the J-Class Association website www.jclassyachts.com and circulated to Owners and Owner’s Representatives in due course.
Image: Photo: © Studio Borlenghi / Francesco Ferri.