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Biggest J Class Yacht Ever Launched

Svea, the longest J Class yacht ever, has been completed for a Northern California owner. She is now in Amsterdam about to undergo sea trials. 

© 2017 Vitters

Svea, which at 143 feet is the largest J Class yacht ever built, has been completed by Vitters of Zwartsluis, Netherlands, and has just arrived in Amsterdam, reports SuperYacht Times.

The hull was commissioned by a buyer who dropped out, and was purchased for completion by Northern Californian Tom Siebel. This after negotiations between Siebel and Jim Clark for Clark’s J Class Hanuman fell through. Svea and Hanuman are among the J Class yachts expected to compete in the largest J Class yacht gathering ever this summer in Bermuda.

Hanuman, looking majestic under sail.

© J Class Yachts

It should be spirited racing between Svea and Hanuman, for, after the sale of Hanuman fell through, a reportedly miffed Clark took almost all his team from the 100-ft Comanche to "show Siebel." It’s likely to be tough going for Svea, however, as the Kenny Read- and Stan Honey-led Hanuman has a very experienced crew, and it’s tough to get a new J Class yacht up to speed.

The original lines for Svea were drawn by Tore Holm in 1937. Hoek Design redid the design, including the deck layout for racing, and construction plans. Southern Spars provided the 53.75-meter carbon spar.

Svea’s lovely lines were updated by Hoek Design.

© 2017 Hoek Design

While the Swede Holm isn’t well known in the United States, he was an expert Metre racer from the 1920s to the 1950s, and had 700 boats built to his designs. He won four Olympic medals himself, and his boats won five others. The Hoek Design office says Svea should be very fast upwind.

Vitters, based in the beautiful little town of Zwartsluis, builds boats in an unusual way, using lots of subcontractors. While it might sound like a dicey concept, last year they launched the 279-ft Tripp designed Aquijo, the largest ketch in the world. Previously they’d built the 215-ft Aglaia, and refit the 218-ft Hetairos.

Svea under construction at Vitters.

© J Class Yachts

Siebel, who made his money in the software world and is now in energy and philanthropy, has a passion for sailboats. In recent times he’s owned a high-tech 45-ft carbon cat, the MOD70 trimaran Orion, and several large Swans, and has a Swan 115 under construction. He was nearly killed a few years back when he was charged by an elephant that nearly bit his foot off. The incident became the basis for a National Geographic show. 

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