18 June 2017
J Class Yachts Open The Show
The seven J Class yachts which are in Bermuda to compete in the America's Cup J Class Regatta provided the perfect, spectacular curtain raiser to a picture postcard first day of the 35th America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton as they staged an exhibition on the Great Sound, on the same race course.
The compact, two leg course used for the exhibition set by Race Officer Iain Murray, was flanked on both sides by hundreds of spectator boats. The carefully choreographed event saw the yachts set off at thirty second intervals, the 'youngest' JS1 Svea, launched early this year and making her race debut here, followed by J8 Topaz, JH1 Lionheart, JK6 Hanuman which was helmed by owner Kristy Hinze Clark,J5 Ranger, JK7 Velsheda and JK3 Shamrock, the only original J to have actually raced at the America's Cup.
Bermuda's Great Sound turned on perfect winds, 7-10kts of E'ly breeze which, under beautiful blue skies studded with a few stray cotton wool clouds, allowed the crews to put on a mesmerising showcase of their grace and beauty whilst sailing safely and prudently.
The event was relayed to the America's Cup Village where the legendary Tom Schnackenberg provided guest commentary with BAR crewman Freddie Carr and Simon Shaw.
"It was great fun and a very realistic display of how normal racing goes." Commented Bouwe Bekking, tactician on Lionheart.
From on board Velsheda, Tom Dodson added, "Our foredeck crew had a good day today - we enjoyed some tight sailing without having too much on the line. Our owner enjoyed the boat on boat tune up against Lionheart and Svea."
And reporting from Hanuman, Captain Greg Sloat said "Kirsty had a blast helming Hanuman. As it was her first day ever driving Hanuman in very tight situations it made it even more exciting"
Peter Holmberg, sailing Topaz said "It was a wonderful demonstration of the current resurgence in the J Class, in the same waters as being used in today's futuristic foiling Cup. We truly enjoyed having a gentleman's race on the J's, and then watching the exciting first two races of the Cup."
Chris Nicholson sailing Shamrock V said "It was a unique experience for all onboard Shamrock V . Big smiles all day to be part of such a special event in these majestic boats. We are loving our time here in Bermuda."
After the exhibition race was over the J Class fleet were accorded pride of place on the sideline of the America's Cup racecourse. The J Class yachts and their crew were then featured regularly during the live global broadcast of the first two races of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton.