Shamrock V was built in 1930 for Sir Thomas Lipton’s fifth and last America’s Cup challenge. Designed by Nicholson, she was the first British yacht to be built to the new J Class Rule and is the only remaining J to have been built in wood. After launch she was continually upgraded with changes to hull shape and rudder. The rig was also modified to create the most effective racing sail plan but she was no match for the faster US design “Enterprise”.
Sir T.O.M. Sopwith (famous for his aeroplane designs in the First World War) had considerable knowledge of yacht racing and purchased the yacht in 1932 to gain experience in J Class racing. He challenged in 1933 and using his experience from Shamrock V, went on to build his challenger “Endeavour”.
Shamrock V was then sold to aviation friend Sir Richard Fairey (Fairey Aviation) who again was a keen yachtsman who campaigned it in company of two new steel J’s built during 1933 – 1934 – Velsheda and Endeavour. After World War II, Italian owner Mario Crespi installed the elegant bird’s-eye maple interior Shamrock V still has today.
Size: 60L x 11W x 76H (cm)
In 1962 Shamrock V was sold to Italian yachtsman Piero Scanu who, in 1967, had the yacht taken back to Camper and Nicholsons in Gosport, England for a complete, three-year rebuild. The hull was stripped back to bare steel frames which were sandblasted, repaired and painted. After this Shamrock V was entirely replanked in 2 inch teak and refastened with bronze. New systems, engines and rig were also installed. During the next twenty years she had a number of owners, and never fell into disrepair, like the other J’s. In 1986 the Lipton Tea Company purchased Shamrock V from Scanu and donated her to The Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1989 classic yacht restorer Elizabeth Meyer undertook another extensive refit. In 1995 the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) of Newport , Rhode Island purchased Shamrock V as part of their classic yacht collection. In 1998, the IYRS sold Shamrock V to the Newport Shamrock V Corporation in order to help finance the restoration of ‘Coronet’. The Newport Shamrock V Corporation intends to continue chartering in New England but will extend her season to include Winter months in the Caribbean.
Following a remarkable and successful regatta in Antigua against Velsheda and Endeavour in 1999, Shamrock V returned to UK waters and has just completed a one year refit at the Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth, England, by her new owners. This comprehensive refit has improved ballast ratio and with the addition of a new rig and sails, performance is dramatically enhanced. Shamrock V is now ready to give many more years of service as one of yachting’s great queens and as one of just three remaining original J’s from the 1930’s.
Shamrock V joined Endeavour and Velsheda for the first J CLASS REGATTA to be held in UK waters after 65 years and then competed in the America’s Cup Jubilee in the Solent, England during August 2001.