Yachting Developments proudly launched the iconic J Boat Endeavour on Saturday 8th October 2011, the launching marks the completion of an extensive 18 month refit at Yachting Developments yard based in Hobsonville, Auckland.
Endeavour touched the water at 8am, onboard systems were commissioned and checked, the new mast was stepped at 11am, the boom was fitted at 1.00pm, Endeavour then moved to her berth at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour on schedule at 2.30pm.
Absolute care has been taken throughout the refit to preserve as much of the vessel as practical while taking advantage of twenty first century sailing systems, enhanced performance and improved functionality.
The comprehensive refit includes removal and replacement of the complete weather deck including all deck equipment. Steel deck framing has also been relocated to accommodate the new load paths of the new deck layout.
There has been a long term philosophy of longevity and serviceability throughout the refit ensuring Endeavour will remain the historic Icon she is today for future generations.
Dykstra & Partners, Naval Architects, have been instrumental in the design of the new sail plan, deck layout, and structural engineering.
The main engine, generators, hydraulic systems, winches, electrical system, electronics, bow thruster and air conditioning have been replaced or upgraded.
The new carbon fibre mast was built by Southern Spars Auckland, the mast features carbon standing rigging.
Accommodation forward of the mast has been reconfigured by John Munford and Adam Lay, the new interior has been built in-house by Yachting Developments tradesmen.
The owner’s project management is by Jon Barrett Associates whom have had over 25 years experience in this role with Endeavour.
Yachting Developments Managing Director Ian Cook describes working on Endeavour as “an honor, she is something special, everyone involved has put their heart and soul into the refit, I think the care, and passion is very evident in the end result”.
Yachting Developments, Jon Barrett Associates, Dykstra & Partners will be attending this years Fort Lauderdale International Boat show.
Endeavour, a 130-foot J Class sloop, was commissioned by Sir T.O.M. Sopwith and built by Camper & Nicholson at Gosport England to challenge for the America’s Cup in 1934. Having prepared his campaign in Shamrock V, Sopwith was keen to ensure that this yacht was the most advanced design possible. With his experience designing aircraft Sopwith applied aviation technology to Endeavour’s rig and winches and spared nothing to make her the finest vessel of her day. From launching in 1934 shecontinued her preparation by competing against Shamrock V (then owned by Sir Richard Fairey) and the newly launched Velsheda (owned by W.L Stephenson). She swept through the British racing fleet and into the hearts of yachtsmen the world around, winning many races in her first season. Like many before her, Endeavour did not win the Cup but she came closer to doing so than any other challenger.
Endeavour pioneered the development of the Quadrilateral genoa, a two clewed headsail offering immense sail area and power, and still used on J Class yachts racing today. She also had a larger and better designed spinnaker but Sopwith was let down by poor crewing. Just prior to departure for the USA, his professional crew went on strike for more money and Sopwith was forced to round up keen amateur sailors, who had the enthusiasm but not the experience. Afterwards, she returned to England to dominate the British racing scene until 1938 when she was laid up prior to the war.
Over the next 46 years, Endeavour passed through many hands, her fate often hanging by a thread. Among other indignities, she was sold to a scrap merchant in 1947 only to be saved by another buyer hours before her demolition was due to begin. In the seventies, she sank in the Medina River in Cowes. Again at the eleventh hour, she was bought for ten pounds sterling by two carpenters who patched the holes in her hull with plastic bags and got her afloat again. In the early eighties, Endeavour sat in an abandoned seaplane base in southern England. She was a complete wreck, a rusting and forlorn hulk with no keel, rudder, ballast or interior.
In 1984 American yachtswoman Elizabeth Meyer bought Endeavour and undertook a five year rebuild. Since the hull was too fragile to be moved and was miles away from any boatyard, Meyer had a building constructed over the boat and hired welders to restore the hull. Endeavour’s missing keel and ballast were rebuilt, the steel frames and hull plating repaired and replaced where necessary, and a new rudder fabricated. The newly seaworthy hull was launched and towed to Holland where it was put on a barge and transported to the Royal Huisman Shipyard. There, the mast, boom and rigging were designed and built, the engine, generator and mechanical systems installed and the interior joinery completed. All told, an inconceivable amount of work, love and agony went into achieving Endeavour’s present level of perfection. Endeavour sailed again, on June 22, 1989, for the first time in 52 years.
In September of 1989, a match racing series between the two J Class yachts Endeavour and Shamrock V was held in Newport USA. Endeavour and had just completed her five year restoration and Shamrock V, a two year restoration.
The first “Return of the Legends” Regatta series was a three race event in Newport’s Narragansett Bay. The boats were skippered by Ted Turner and Gary Jobson. There were more than 3,000 spectator vessels in the bay and crowds of more than 10,000 spectators watched from shore.
In early October of 1989, Gary Jobson and Ted Turner skippered the boats in a regatta in Manhattan with at least 100,000 spectators watching from the Hudson River shore.
In 1990, J Class Management Inc. ran four J Class regattas: in Annapolis Maryland with skippers Buddy Melges and Gary Jobson, in Boston with skippers Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy,in Marblehead, with skippers Gary Jobson and David Vietor; and in Newport with skippers Gary Jobson and Ted Hood.
Between 1989 and 1999 Endeavour cruised extensively and competed in numerous races, creating a wonderful spectacle. In April 1999, history repeated itself when she was joined by Shamrock V and Velsheda to compete in the Antigua Classics Regatta, bringing in a new era of J Class sailing.