Netherlands. Holland Jachtbouw launches J-class yacht based on America’s Cup winner

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Holland Jachtbouw has launched the J-class yacht Rainbow at its yard in the Netherlands. Based upon the lines of the original America’s Cup winner in 1934, this spectacular 40-metre J features a high-end superyacht interior and a unique hybrid propulsion and power system inside a racing boat hull, all topped off by a grand prix racing deck and rig. Rainbow is currently being stepped and sea trials will commence in March as she gears up to complete in this summer’s regattas, including the J-class races in England.

For her launch Rainbow was brought outside the ultra-modern main construction hall at Holland Jachtbouw, wheeled onto a barge and lifted by two cranes into the water. This sophisticated operation took full advantage of the yard’s rare capacity to launch vessels with a draught of five metres (Holland Jachtbouw can actually accommodate yachts of up to 5.5 metres draft and 65 metres in length).

“It is such a thrill to be able to fully appreciate a design that was last seen in the open almost eighty years ago,” says the yard’s co-director Tako van Ineveld. “This ‘new’ Rainbow took us over two years to build while her predecessor was completed in just one hundred days. This does not mean we are slower… It is a reflection of the incredible degree of sophistication that is now contained within these timeless lines. The original Rainbow was an empty boat with a deck of sailing gear and a powerful aluminium rig. This Rainbow is a different proposition altogether.”

The project’s naval architects were Dykstra & Partners, and this office also partnered with deVosdeVries design on the interior. The original Rainbow was drawn by William Starling Burgess in the early 1930s and the vessel was scrapped in 1940. This design has now been incorporated into an all-aluminium yacht that meets the J-class Association maximum performance rules.

All modern functional requirements have been integrated with full respect for Rainbow’s heritage, while the decks have been kept as clean and flush as possible featuring only a mahogany doghouse and skylight. The latter offers a quite spectacular contrast with the superb jet black-coloured hull and gold leaf cove stripe. “We believe that Rainbow is the most beautiful J on the water today,” says Van Ineveld. “But more importantly, she is built to win races!”

Gerry Dijkstra and his team have utilised all their vast experience and the very latest computer modelling to optimise Rainbow’s performance via a lightweight construction with a high degree of overall stiffness. The rig includes a Southern Spars high-modulus carbon mast, boom and spinnaker pole, continuous carbon fibre rigging, North Sails 3Di racing sails and Lewmar high-speed hydraulic winches. All are entirely customised to Rainbow’s specific requirements and, like everything metallic on deck, anodised to create a light grey look.

All the new generation of Js need to have a fully functioning interior under JCA rules, and Rainbow’s owner has spared no expense when it comes to luxury accommodation and premium equipment, including full air conditioning. The original Rainbow did not have an engine room so there was obviously not a great deal of space to accommodate one within the lines plan. Holland Jachtbouw’s solution, developed in partnership with WhisperPower, has been to create an ingenious hybrid propulsion and power system especially for this project.

As a result, Rainbow can be operated entirely on her Hy-Store Li-ion batteries, including sailing, navigation and hotel load. This also meets the owner’s request for silent periods onboard, without generators running, from 11 pm to 7 am. And that in turn promises much for those who enjoy cruising and, potentially, chartering Rainbow.

This hybrid solution replaces the conventional main engine and two generator configuration found on other Js, which have a larger engine room than the comparatively lighter Rainbow (170 tonnes). The main engine replaces the second generator, while the remaining generator is a variable speed electric unit. The main engine generator can also act as an electric motor that can also run the propeller. This solution is smaller in size and saves on fuel. The batteries can also be charged while sailing without losing more than 1.5 knots of speed.

Other key overall benefits of this innovative propulsion solution include a dramatic reduction of the ecological footprint, a 30 percent reduction in the fuel required to generate the hotel load, and a similar reduction in the maintenance costs for the power plant in hotel load. Redundancy is built-in with five power sources available: The hybrid battery, the variable speed generator, the variable speed engine generator, the shaft generator (when sailing) and shore power (when available). There is also a substantial reduction in audible noise levels both inside the yacht and out.

In terms of styling, Rainbow’s interior features raised and fielded mahogany panelling with art deco details. The owner’s stateroom is aft and there are two ensuite twin guest cabins, each with a Pullman berth. In addition to offering accommodation to up to eight guests, Rainbow will have a permanent crew of seven led by Captain Nick Haley who has previously skippered two other members of the Holland Jachtbouw fleet, namely Windrose of Amsterdam and Athos.

This April a team of race professionals will join the permanent crew for the first time to embark on seven days of extensive training in the North Sea. All will look very impressive thanks to a sponsorship agreement with Pelle Petterson. This renowned competition yachtsman has taken a keen February 2012 interest in the Rainbow project and offered to supply his trademark Pelle P technical sailing clothes. During the J-class regattas in Falmouth and Cowes, Rainbow will be accompanied by a support vessel to accommodate the larger crew at night.

Rainbow also has a full schedule of engagements to compete in the other major regattas of 2012. The general public will be able to admire her at the Monaco show where Rainbow will be on display close to the Holland Jachtbouw stand.

See Holland Jachtbouw images

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 February 2012 )