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A CHALLENGE ACROSS TIME
We're referring to times of the past when a competition later
became the famous outmost Regatta to compete in, alias the
America's Cup. It was in the year 1851 when the "100 guineas Cup"
was organized for the first time and set during London's worldwide
exhibition. The challenge was open to every nation and cast by the
Royal Yacht Squadron. It foresaw the circumnavigation of the Isle
of White, off the South coast of England.
The fastest English
vessels at the time rose to the bait, in total, seven schooners
and eight cutters duelled against one another and one foreign
boat. The foreign innovative yacht came across the ocean from
America with John Cox Stevens at the helm. "America" won a few
minutes ahead of the English fleet and brought the trophy to the
United States. As of then the regatta became known as the
America's Cup and the trophy has never returned since to England.
Years go by and we're now in 1929 when by then American and
English yachts battle in the seas off New York with magnificent
vessels in compliance to the agreed tonnage. At the outcome of a
conference held in Paris in 1907, the agreement was to adopt the
International Gauge parameters translated into "Metric Class"
which, at the end of the war, became the universally approved "J
Class" with its rulings that foresaw: an L.o.a. in from 73 to 87
feet, a Marconi sail rig, a maximum tonnage between 150 and 160
tons and a sail area of 700 sq. metres upheld by a 46 metre mast.
In short, in 1929 Sir Thomas Lipton, owner of the homonymous tea
brand, decides for the fifth time to be the challenger of the
America' Cup under the vestige of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club in
northern Ireland. "Shamrok V" is hence built by the British to
contrast the Americans' superiority who will field 5 J class
yachts. "Shamrock V" was designed by Charles Nicholson and built
by Camper & Nicholson shipyard in Gosport, Hampshire. Built with a
steel ribbing covered with mahogany wood plies she is still today
the only J class afloat with the same structure. The original
mast, before the last refitting, was hollow in spruce fir wood.
Prior to crossing the Atlantic for the challenge, she had already
won, covering over 700 nautical miles, 15 of the 22 regattas she
had participated in. In the 1930 edition of the America's Cup,
regattas were held in Newport, where the New York Yacht Club took
up its summer residence. "Enterprise" won the races as defender of
the club hosting the challenge thanks to the superior modern
solutions she had practiced defeating Sir Lipton's attempt to
bring the cup home. Sir Lipton died a year later. "Shamrock" was
later bought by Thomas O.M. Sopwith a renown sailor who was,
moreover, an aeronautical industrialist who raced her in many
regattas in the south of England. In forthcoming years all the J
classes were decommissioned, sunk or abandoned but "Shamrock V,"
as by magic, continued to sail. After World War two Shamrock
changed hands again and became the property of an Italian
gentleman called Mario Crespi who sold her, as a family yacht, in
1962 to Pietro Scanu. In 1967 Mr. Scanu decided to restore her at
Camper & Nicholson's shipyard where the teak deck was replaced,
the hull's metal parts were sanded down, new engines and systems
were fitted and work was done also on the wooden areas and
rigging. At about the same time, Camper & Nicholson sold the yard
to Southampton Yacht Service who renamed the main jetty in
Shamrock's honour. In 1986 the Lipton Tea Company purchased the
yacht and gave it to the Newport Yachting Museum in Rhode Island.
In 1989, thanks to Elizabeth Meyer's precious contribution, she
was restored again.
Her last refitting, including adjusting her
ballast and sailing equipment, was carried out by her latest
owners in between 1999 and 2001 at Pendennis' shipyards in
Cornwall. The latest work aimed at improving its performance and
making it more comfortable for guests to enjoy its sailing
history. Shamrock V, today hosts 8 guests in 4 cabins two of which
have double berths and 2 with separate berths. The woodworks still
preserve some of the original panelling as well as other details
dating back to Mr. Crespi's restoration period. The deck has been
completely refurbished in teak and the sailing equipment is brass
coloured. The aluminium mast with four cross trees and boom are
made by Rondal Masts of Holland. The stays are Nitronic-50 in
Kevlar by Navtec. In fact the mast as the stays and shrouds were
specially designed for "Shamrock V" by Navtec. With new sails
made by Doyle she can now sail at 11 knots. Under engine she is
powered by two 205 HP Caterpillar diesel engines with a range of
800 nm at 9 knots thanks to her 4000 litre fuel tank and 6000
litre water tanks. Electricity is supplied by a 26 Kw generator.
Shamrock V's base is in the Mediterranean and offers her clients
exclusive charters in its most fascinating waters.
For further information: Yachting Partners International, 28/29
Richmond Place Brighton, East Sussex BN2 9NA England, Tel. 0044
(0) 1273 571722 - French Office Tel. 0033 (0) 4 93340100.