by Ben Stack
The yachts, their entourage of support boats, containers and Crew have been arriving over the last few weeks in preparation for this event: bringing the famous J Class yachts back to sail on Newport waters.
Both yachts have been practising on the proposed course around the harbour and under the famous Newport Harbour bridge. With 175 feet of mast above the deck there is little clearance for these yachts, making sailing under the bridge truly spectacular. Racing is due to start at 1.00pm local time on a start line near Fort Adams, allowing spectators stunning views of these wonderful classic yachts.
Velsheda dates back to 1933 when she was owned and built by Mr Stephenson, to spar against the UK yacht Endeavour. Ranger is a replica build of the famous original, launched in 2002. The original successfully defended the America's Cup against Endeavour II in 1937.
This has been a big commitment by the J Class Association to bring these wonderful yachts back to the home waters of the 1930s era of America's Cup sailing. It had been hoped that more would be competing, but Shamrock V could not make the Atlantic crossing due to European commitments and Hanuman (a replica of the 1937 Endeavour II) declined to race.
This event starts the run-in to the 2012 series of J Class regattas in the UK planned for Falmouth, June 2012, The Solent, July 2012, and the final 'Hundred Guinea Cup Race' around the Isle of Wight on the original 1851 America's Cup course.
Results and reports will be posted at www.jclassyachts.com