Original lines: Burgess/Stephens / Modified lines: Hoek Design & Naval Architects
Lionheart is the first modern replica J Class to be built in aluminium and was launched in July 2010. The original owner who commissioned JH1 was a repeat client of Andre Hoek who had then simply sought to build the fastest J Class yet.
Hoek developed their own VPP (velocity prediction program) software to analyse all the existing J Class designs before CFD and traditional tank testing with 6 metre long models. Hoek identified the J Class Ranger as outstanding from a family of seven Burgess and Stephens designs which were originally submitted to Harold Vanderbilt in 1936, and it was this design that was used for Lionheart.
The design showed exceptional promise as a very good all-rounder, fast on all points of sail in light, medium and heavy winds. Designed at 43.4m she was to be the longest on the waterline at the time.
In terms of deck and rig hardware, Lionheart fully utilised modern superyacht and grand prix race yacht technology where appropriate, significantly moving forwards J Class construction and specification using the most powerful winches and hydraulic systems available to optimise sail handling and trimming, keep all up weight down and to deal with the high rig loads.
Lionheart is the first J Class to have adopted a double cockpit layout with a private owners’ cockpit and deckhouse aft of the wheel and, forward of the wheel, a large guest cockpit leading to the main companionway and deckhouse. This allows the working area of the boat to be separated from the guests, improves communications between the afterguard and allows more of the working crew to work inside a cockpit rather than on the deck.
True to that original promise, Lionheart has been the standout performer on the race course since she was launched. From 2014 when they won in Menorca, Palma and Sardinia until 2017 when she won the seven boat J Class Superyacht Regatta and the J Class America’s Cup in Bermuda, followed by the inaugural J Class World Championship in Newport RI.
Then under the guidance of tactician Bouwe Bekking, the Lionheart project evolved to the highest level thanks to their desire to improve as a team. Each regatta saw Lionheart make comprehensive daily briefings and debriefings, they optimised their performance package and trained hard as a team. And over the years the owner became one of the most accomplished, competitive helms in the fleet. Bekking retained key core crew from the Brunel round the world race programme he skippered.
Lionheart has cruised extensively since 2017 and was expected to return to the race course in 2023 before their plans were put on hold.
2013 Saint Barths Bucket
2013 Superyacht Cup Palma
2013 Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
2014 Menorca Maxi
2014 Superyacht Cup Palma
2014 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
2015 J Class Falmouth Regatta
2015 RYS Bicentenary Regatta Cowes
2016 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Lionheart wins on countback with Velsheda
2016 Les Voiles de Saint Tropez
2017 Saint Barths Bucket
2017 America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta, Bermuda
2017 J Class America’s Cup Regatta
2017 J Class World Championships, Newport