In 1930 Harold Vanderbilt achieved the pinnacle of yacht racing success by defending the America’s Cup in the J-class ‘Enterprise’. His victory put him on the cover of the September 15 1930, issue of Time magazine. In 1934 he faced a dangerous challenger in Endeavour that he actually challenged with Rainbow.
Vanderbilt contacted Sparkman & Stephens to discuss the possibility of a new J Yacht under the Universal Rule. It was agreed that Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens would each present four designs and Vanderbilt funded the operation. The project that would eventually produce ‘Ranger’ and ‘Lionheart’ had started.
Starling Burgess and Olin Stephens produced four designs for Vanderbilt; Models 77 A to F and two combinations. Models were built on a scale 1/24 and for the first time those models were tested in towing-tanks. When the trials were finished, the team concluded that 77-C either outperformed its rivals or came very close to the best.
The selected model 77-C was used to built ‘Ranger’, the first ‘Super-J’. The achievements of ‘Ranger’ have been exceptional. She sailed thirty-four times and won thirty-two times.
‘Ranger’ was scrapped in 1941 but was reborn in the form of a replica in summer 2003
Fast forward to 2005 and Andre Hoek of Hoek Design got involved analysing the potential of the seven remaining hulls designed by Burgess and Stephens for the Vanderbilt syndicate. Using both state of the art computer models and now traditional water tank testing, Hoek advised to use hull 77-F as the one with the biggest potential. It is hull 77-F that has now been built as Lionheart, 75 years after she was conceived on the drawing boards.
The hull was eventually build by Freddie Bloemsma and Claassen Jachtbouw was responsible for building the yacht. She was launched 5 years after the project started, in the summer of 2010. She arrived at the racing scene in 2012 and showed great potential by winning the Kings 100 Guineas Cup in Cowes.
2012 – competed at the J Class Falmouth Regatta
2012 – competed at J Class Solent Regatta
2012 – won the 100 Guinea Cup Round the Island Race, UK
2013 – competed at St Barths Bucket
2013 – competed and won one race at Superyacht Cup, Palma and won the Kings Corinthian Cup (for the first Owner Driver)
2013 – competed and won one race at Les Voiles de St Tropez
2014 – competed at Menorca Maxi Regatta, winning J Class overall
2014 – competed at Superyacht Cup, Palma winning J Class overall. Tied with Hanuman for the Kings Hundred Guinea Cup. Won the Corinthian Kings Cup (for Owner Driver)
2014 – competed at Maxi Rolex Cup, Porto Cervo, winning J Class overall.
2014 – competed at Les Voiles de St Tropez.
2015 – competed and won the J Class Falmouth Regatta and won the Corinthian Kings Cup (for the first Owner Driver)
2015 – competed and came second in the RYS International Bicentenary Regatta
2016 – competed and won her Class in Palma Vela
2016 – competed in Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, winning the J Class and the Corinthian Kings Cup (for the first Owner Driver)
2016 – competed in Les Voiles de St Tropez
2017 – competed in St Barths Bucket
2017 – Won the overall prize at the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta and the J Class.
2017 – Won the America’s Cup J Class Regatta.
2017 – Won the inaugural J Class World Championship, Newport RI
Lionheart is designed for cruising as well as racing, and was therefore built to MCA classification. Her deck layout shows two small deckhouses with sleek and low profiles as well as two cockpit areas.
Lionheart offers an owner’s stateroom with a private deckhouse and private cockpit, three guest suites, four crew cabins and a lounge area.
The Alustar hull construction was done by Freddie Bloemsma’s specialist hull yard and was finished by Claasen Jachtbouw in 2011.
Construction management was in the hands of Nigel Ingram of Marine Construction Management in Newport, USA.