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“Last But Not Least: J-Boat WHIRLWIND, 1930”

“Last But Not Least: J-Boat WHIRLWIND, 1930”

By Russ Kramer
Oil on linen, 28″ x 48″

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Helmed by owner Landon Thorne, the J-Boat WHIRLWIND beats upwind during the 1930 trials to choose a defender of the America’s Cup. Striking with an Art Deco flair and wildly innovative, hand-made down to the smallest detail, she was nonetheless a disapointment — winning only one race in twenty five tries. She was broken up a mere five years later.

History

In answer to Lipton’s challenge of 1929 the Americans designed four J-Class yachts as possible defenders. Enterprise, Whirlwind, Yankee and Weetamoe were launched within a month of each other; Weetamoe and Enterprise from the Herreshoff yard and Yankee and Whirlwind from Lawley & Son’s yard in Bristol.

Whirlwind, the second J, was the most revolutionary of the four. Francis L Herreshoff had moved away from conventional yachts and designed a boat, which took the new rule to its extreme. Whirlwind combined many new ideas and Herreshoff experimented with hull shape and rig. She was the longest of the early J’s at 86ft on the waterline and remained so until Ranger and Endeavour II were built in 1937.
Launched May 7, 1930. Name: “Whirlwind” was also the name of a clipper ship owned by syndicate member Landon Thorne’s family. Double-ended, inspired by Herreshoff’s M-Class Istalena, Mahogany planking over steel frames. Pine deck. Spruce original mast replaced with duralumin. Led J’s with double-headsail rig. Electric wind-speed devices. Sold to Pynchon. Whirlwind Syndicate: Landon Thorne, Alfred Loomis, Paul Hammond. Longest J-Class until 1937. Scrapped at City Island, 1935.

This original painting won the Yachting Award at the 2013 Mystic International Marine Art Exhibition and later sold into private collection.

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