Svea (2017): the largest J-class yacht ever built
The magnificent 43.6-metre Svea is the latest and greatest in the line of new yachts built as part of the rebirth of the legendary J-Class yachts. As a ‘super J’ at the upper end of the specifications of the Universal Rule, Svea is an imposing yacht in her own right. The Vitters craftsmen and engineers incorporated a wealth of modern elements and construction methods to create an exceptionally advanced sailing yacht.
Back in time
The original drawings for Svea were made in 1937 by the renowned Swedish designer Tore Holm. They had the greatest waterline length and maximum rating allowed under the Universal Rule which determined eligibility for the America’s Cup. Svea was never built and the plans were lost for decades. Discovered by historian John Lammerts van Bueren, the construction of Svea was commissioned by an avid racer who wished to participate in the 2017 America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta and J-Class Regatta in Bermuda.
And so it was that 80 years after the original drawings were made Svea finally hit the water at the Vitters yard. To ensure maximum competitiveness we kept a close eye on the J-Class rules throughout the construction, with management of the delicate weight balance an essential aspect of the build and finishing process.
Blending the old and the new
Hoek Design was responsible for exterior styling and naval architecture work, retaining the lines plan, including the integrated traditional long keel and long, well-balanced overhangs on the bow and stern. The original structure and sail plan was thoroughly updated and optimised, incorporating many new features. The hull lines were redrawn to make the waterlines, buttocks and verticals fair while the freeboard was raised ten centimetres.
Built in high-tensile aluminium, Svea’s lightweight hull and 53.75-metre carbon fibre main mast give her a displacement of just 182 tonnes. The deck layout is unique to the J-Class fleet, improving crew communication and making for easier and more efficient racing.
Based on the initial layouts from Hoek Design, Dutch designer Pieter Beeldsnijder created a lovely semi-classic interior based primarily on raised and fielded open grain matt-varnished walnut and simple off-white raised panels. Svea has accommodation for six guests in three cabins, including a master and two ensuite twins, while the crew quarters can house up to seven people.
The interior centres on a comfortable combination saloon separated from the galley by a modern dropdown wall panel that constitutes an informal breakfast bar. Hardware detailing in subtle blackened gunmetal closely matches the overall 1930s character of the boat as well as the carbon fibre spars and sails and deep grey pearl of the topsides.
Pieter Beeldsnijder sadly passed away during the project so deVosdeVries design was asked to complete the interior decoration. Working closely with the owner, the agency developed custom interior lighting and switch materials, and finalised all interior hardware, bathroom appliances and soft furnishings.
Svea combines modern and classic technologies to great effect. Vitters had to fit all the major technological elements inside the engine room. The original specifications did not make room for state-of-the-art equipment like the hydraulic system, hydraulic power packs, watermaker or shore converter. Laying this jigsaw puzzle required clever design work and ingenious engineering.
The deckhouse is made from carbon and clad in teak. To show off this hybrid construction, there are carbon details visible between the teak panelling. Svea is the only J-Class yacht with such a structure as the others have deckhouses in aluminium or solid wood. Moreover, the diameter of the wheel has been expanded in order to enable better visibility and other owners have already commented on what an advantage this gives over the other Js.
More high-tech elements include the Intersleek system on the underwater body, which keeps it exceedingly smooth, as well as lots of modern hardware, such as Harken deck equipment and fast-turning Beckmann furlers at the bow. The seats can be taken out of the aft cockpit to transform it into a second winch pit, providing a huge advantage for racing, or a luxury dining area for special moments and events.
A born winner
Svea is a racing yacht first and foremost. Launched in the spring of 2017, she won her second-ever race during the America’s Cup J-Class regatta. As the crew continue their training and gain more experience on how to race the world’s largest J, the major races of coming seasons are bound to see stiff competition from Svea for the top spot.
Svea was a one-of-a-kind project for Vitters Shipyard as we brought to life a true piece of living history. This remarkable project also included lots of innovative elements, many of which were carefully developed, engineered and built at the yard. We are proud of the amazing work of the Vitters craftsmen and grateful to all who took part in this project.
Type: 43,60m J Class S1
Builder: Vitters Shipyard
Hull subcontractor: Bloemsma Holland
Design: Hoek Design Naval Architects
Interior Design: Pieter Beeldsnijder / deVosdeVries design
Owner’s Representative: Taco van Ineveld
Length hull overall: 43,60