Spending a day racing on board the J Class sloop Velsheda, a 130ft yacht built in 1933 for Charles Nicholson is an experience not many people have and was to say the least amazing! The sheer size of the sails, winches rigging and loads on these yachts are quite daunting. The boat is raced with a crew of about 30. The boat was restored in 1997 and had been maintained in its immaculate condition since then. Velsheda has an overall length of 39.4 m (130ft) and a draft of 4.57 m (15ft) deep. The tip of her mast towers 58 m (190ft) above the water.
There were two J's racing off Newport, RI, Velsheda and Ranger. Ranger a new build to an old design, she is also a little longer then Velsheda. It was close racing for the two boats off Newport. On the second day I was out on my 25 ft tender filming the two boats side by side, ' twas quite a sight, they are so fast and one needs a good steady dry ride to keep up and to capture the action!
The next event where these boats will race again will be at the St.Barts Bucket in March 2012 where there should be 4 J's.