Had you been sailing in the vicinity of Newport harbour, USA, yesterday, you would have come across a remarkable sight; two J class yachts, Velsheda and Ranger, in an epic three hour battle around the Harbour.
This was the last race in a private three race series that was a pre-cursor to the Newport Bucket, unfortunately cancelled due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irene. The race started in a 20 knot breeze alongside Fort Williams with a classic slog through the harbour entrance. The yachts turned the top mark almost parallel to power their way back into the harbour under spinnaker, under the central arch of the Newport Bridge, to a bottom turning mark.
The few spectators who, by chance, found themselves watching yacht racing history unfold were totally absorbed by these J Class yachts - dating back to America’s Cup racing in the 1930s. Sheer size, power, tactics, crew work and boat speed kept the boats locked together within a couple of lengths for more than three hours. In this last race it was Vesheda who crossed the line first, leaving us with the thrilling promise of even more enthralling and spectacular sailing when a fleet of J’s race together in the UK in June 2012. J Class Association website