With news that the J Class will return to race in the America’s Cup in a parallel regatta in 2017, Holland Jachtbouw (HJB) presents designs for a replica of Yankee, the J Class yacht that took part in the Defender Series for the America’s Cup in 1930. The optimisation study by Dykstra Naval Architects is a development of a syndicate project first announced in 2010 that was never built.

Broken up in 1941 as part of the war effort, the original Yankee was designed by Frank Paine with an almost straight sheerline and aesthetic lines. Dykstra Naval Architects has retained the same clean design and flush deck layout and focused their efforts on optimising performance within the new JCA rating system using their own VPP programs and CFD and FEM analyses derived from over 30 years’ experience in rebuilding, refitting and building new replicas of seven J Class yachts.

“These boats were designed to race and that is the idea behind the new Yankee,” says designer Jeroen de Vos, who has sailed on seven of the eight Js launched to date. “Our experience of sailing on very different boats has taught us that bigger is not necessarily better. It’s all about waterline length, not length overall. So rather like Rainbow or Endeavour, the new Yankee will be quite small and light and very nimble.”

Predicted performance gains are not always directly comparable with gains on the water, and herein lies another important lesson that the Dykstra team has learnt through hands-on experience: the importance of keeping the deck layout as simple and efficient as possible.

“We’ve seen that it’s crews that win races,” explains Jeroen de Vos. “If you mess up the start, the race is almost over before it’s begun, so the crew has to be able to handle the sails and deck gear quickly and efficiently.”

Holland Jachtbouw has exclusive ownership of the rights to build the Yankee designs and, following the latest refinements, is now ready to begin construction. With Rainbow launched in 2012 and Topaz launched in the Summer of 2015, the shipyard already has a proven track record in building these thoroughbred racers. The original Yankee was a powerful contender for the Defence in 1930, but she was not as fine-tuned as her rivals. She took part in the 1934 America’s Cup trials with modifications to her rig and bow and proved more competitive.

Following the latest optimisation study by Dykstra Naval Architects, no doubt she would prove even swifter on the water.


TypeJ-Class Sloop
Length overall 39.12 m
Length waterline27.09 m
Beam6.88 m
Draft4.71 m
Displacementapprox. 175 ton
Hull materialAluminium
BuilderHolland Jachtbouw
DesignFrank Paine 1930
Naval Architects/Exterior DesignDykstra Naval Architects
Interior DesignDykstra Naval Architects


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