Rainbow II’s curious schooner-to-sloop transformation

AMSTERDAM – It’s not really news from Dutch shipyards. Yet, the fate of Rainbow II – the J-Class sailing yacht the late Dutch entrepreneur Chris Gongriep was building when he died in 2016 – is an interesting one.

A passionate yachtsman, Gongriep set a transatlantic America-to-England record with his 46m (152ft) aluminum Windrose of Amsterdam, a Gerard Dijkstra design.

He was building Rainbow II, another Dykstra design, at his Jachtbouw Holland yard just west of Amsterdam, when he died. His heirs chose not to continue the yard so the aluminum hull of the 51m (167ft) Rainbow II remained there for years as a search for a buyer continued.

51m Rainbow II after its transformation into a single mast design

That search is now over: Turquoise Yachts (Istanbul) has purchased it and had major changes made. Dykstra Naval Architects turned the schooner into a sloop-rigged yacht, going from a two-masted to a one-masted vessel.

Dykstra Naval Architects CEO Thijs Nikkels said the yacht was also given a different bow. It received a new mast in a different position and a new sail plan to retain overall balance. The yacht’s S-frame could not be changed. The yacht is now being finished at the Istanbul yard. Its interior is a deVosdeVries design. It is still called Rainbow II. The yard says it can accommodate 12 guests and a crew of 9.

Rainbow II’s fate is a better one than that of the original Rainbow, which was launched May 15, 1934, at the Herreshoff Yard in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA. Rainbow defended the America’s Cup against “Endeavour” in 1934 and won. The yacht was then refitted and sold, in 1937, to yachtsman Chandler Hovey. It contended for the Defense of the America’s Cup against Harold S. Vanderbilt’s Ranger, but lost.

In 1940, only six years after its launch, Rainbow was sold for scrap.