ZWARTSLUIS – Vitters Shipyard has completed an extensive refit of the J-Class Ranger. The 41.6m (1367ft.) sailing yacht is ready and eager to compete in the 2021 America’s Cup.
Its original owner – American railroad executive, champion yachtsman and bridge player Harold Vanderbilt (1884-1970) – invested in J Class yachts for the defense of the AC. He successfully defended the Cup thrice: with Enterprise (1930), Rainbow (1934) and Ranger (1937).
Vitters’ refit restored Ranger to prime operational condition and an improved performance level. It included an engine room overhaul, new hydraulics, new nav-com gear, new rigging, a new teak deck, cockpit and helm station and a hull paint job.
Currently under construction at Vitters Shipyard is a 50m (164ft) classic ketch. Next up is a 56m (184ft) project.
Greg Sloat, the owner’s rep, said Ranger has been restored to “the shape ever to prepare her for the America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2021.” Vitters Project Manager Gerrit Jongman says it was an honor to work on “a piece of art. For people like us, with a passion for sailing, the J Class yachts will always be something special.”
The 1930s were the heyday of the towering Jazz Age rigs. Only 10 were ever built – 6 in the USA and 4 in the UK. Most fell victim to neglect and by the 1980s only 3 remained. A revival in the early years of this century led to replica rebuilds from original plans. Today, there are 9 JClass yachts.
Ranger was launched at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, in 1937. The yard is today part of US defense contractor General Dynamics. The current replica of Ranger was built at Danish Yachts Shipyard in Skagen, Denmark in 2002.