John Williams, Owner of J-Class yacht J/5 Ranger. (Photo © George Bekris)

John Williams, Owner of J-Class yacht J/5 Ranger. (Photo © George Bekris)

 

The sailing world is saddened by the sudden passing of  John  Williams, owner of the J-Class yacht Ranger. Mr. Williams passed away on Monday, 16th April.

 J-Class yacht J/5 Ranger. J-Class Regatta 2017 Newport, RI (Photo © George Bekris)

J-Class yacht J/5 Ranger. J-Class Regatta 2017 Newport, RI (Photo © George Bekris)

John, a prominent property developer in Atlanta, Georgia, was a leading light in the J Class for many years. His vision and passion for Ranger, the J Class and its long history was instrumental in the formation of the J Class Association and the consequent renaissance the class is enjoying presently.

After being inspired by seeing Velsehda and Endeavour racing in the Caribbean in the late 1990s, he chartered Endeavour to race in Antigua. That was the catalyst for his decision to commission the build of Ranger, the first J Class yacht to be built since the 1930s. Construction started at the Danish Yacht Boatyard in early 2002.

He raced and cruised Ranger extensively in the Caribbean, Europe and all around the world with considerable success.

His boat Ranger won the 2011 J-Class Regatta in Newport, RI. His boat was an often seen racer in the Newport area.

Crew of Ranger in 2011 after winning the Newport J-Class Regatta (Photo by George Bekris)

Crew of Ranger in 2011 after winning the Newport J-Class Regatta (Photo by George Bekris)

John Williams is survived by his wife Nancy, three children; Jay, Sarah Brook and Parker, and two grandchildren; Jack and Harrison. The thoughts and condolences of the wider J Class community are extended to his family and to all of the Ranger family.

John’s long serving ‘admiral of the fleet’ Dan Jackson notes: “As far as yachting goes, John started about 30 years ago and worked his way up from a 50ft sloop to building “Atlanta”, “Georgia” and then “Ranger”, which we launched in 2003.

“He was never happier than when on the boat with a full race crew mixing it up with other J boats. As far as significant wins, he was always proud of the wins in Sardinia at the Rolex Maxi Cup and the “clean sweep” that we had in St Tropez in 2014, winning all of the races. He loved having his family and the race crew (his second family) around him, enjoying the boat.”

 J-Class yacht J/5 Ranger. J-Class Regatta 2017 Newport, RI (Photo © George Bekris)

J-Class yacht J/5 Ranger. J-Class Regatta 2017 Newport, RI (Photo © George Bekris)

Ranger, Winner of the J-Class Regatta Newport 2011

Ranger, Winner of the J-Class Regatta Newport 2011 (Photo by George Bekris)

The last race was held in light northerly breezes, and the Race officer bravely issued a course with a downwind start, passing the crowded spectator fleet off Fort Adams and Castle Hill.

Spectator fleet during last day of J-Class racing (Photo by George Bekris)

Spectator fleet during last day of J-Class racing (Photo by George Bekris)

Both yachts got away cleanly but Velsheda elected the pin end, closer to the next gate and gained a quick advantage. A gybing duel followed, but after a few inside gybes, Ranger caught her spinnaker high in the rigging and it quickly split, loosing them more ground for the recovery.

Ranger looses a spinnaker (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger looses a spinnaker (Photo by George Bekris)

At the bottom mark Velsheda had gained a 2 minute lead, enough for them to command the windward berth on the long slow upwind leg back to the shortened course finish line, right in front of the many spectators at Castle Hill.

Velsheda and Ranger upwind battle (Photo by George Bekris)

Velsheda and Ranger upwind battle (Photo by George Bekris)

The exciting tactical race was a fitting end to a great regatta,  where many thousands of spectators were enthralled by these great yachts.  Just a few of the comments included
” It was wonderful to see these boats from a past era”
“we could not believe the size and power of these yachts”
“and the teamwork on these boats is astounding”
“we can’t believe that they were designed and built in the 1930’s

Corum  Watches  presented a wonderful perpetual trophy to Ranger, the overall winner, who also won a unique timepiece – a Corum Tide Watch

Trophy being presented to John Williams by Brad Read (Photo by George Bekris)

Perpetual Trophy being presented to John Williams by Brad Read of Sail Newport (Photo by George Bekris)

Challenge and Adventure would like to thank Jock West and David Pittman for coordinating a spectacular event.  Special thanks go out to Brian Rochelle and Vicki Bray for making it happen smoothly.  Nick Innacone we thank you for going above and beyond helping us out.  We look forward to the next J-Class Regatta.

For more images of the action from all five races by George Bekris click HERE

Crew of Velsheda (Photo by George Bekris)

Crew of Velsheda (Photo by George Bekris)

 

Crew of Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

Crew of Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

 

Crew from Ranger admire trophy (Photo by George Bekris)

Crew from Ranger admire trophy (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Regatta Perpetual Trophy Unveiling (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger Winner of J-Class Regatta Newport (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger Winner of J-Class Regatta Newport (Photo by George Bekris)

More Images of the J-Class regatta are available on our Photo Gallery Page.

J-Class Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

A simply stunning day of racing was experienced by the thousands of spectators who took to the waters to see Ranger and Velsheda battle in the near perfect conditions of Newport Harbour – 16 knots southerly with sunshine.

J-Class  Velsheda (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Velsheda (Photo by George Bekris)

The two yachts circled and manouvred for best position to cross the start line , laid across the bay from Fort Adams. Both got away cleanly, but Ranger quickly got the advantage and covered Velsheda most of the way up to the first mark, laid well out into the bay. nly several boat lenghts seperated them along the next four mile power reach with their massive spinnakers driving them at around 16 knots.

J-Class Velsheda (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Velsheda (Photo by George Bekris)

Downwind the yachts had to pass a gate at Fort Adams, where many spectators had lined the shore to see these yachts glide past with more than 16,000 square feet of area in the mainsail and spinnaker. Sailing through the gate, the gap was down to half a boat length. Both gybed simultaneously in true America’s Cup style and trimmed sails for every inch of advantage, continuing alongside each other under the Newport bridge and down to the leeward turning mark.

Ranger and Velsheda in the J-Class Regatta (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger and Velsheda in the J-Class Regatta (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger, just managed to turn the leeward island one boatlength ahead, giving them the advantage to hold a cover up to the finish. Ranger, the bgger boay, gives Velsheda a small handicap in these conditions, but won by 27 seconds on corrected time. Ranger now has a 2:0 win with three races to go in the series.

There is plenty more to see this weekend as the J-Classes take to the waters off Newport this weekend for racing.  The racing starts at 1:00 pm Saturday and Sunday off Fort Adams.

For More Images by George Bekris of the J-Class action click HERE

.

Velsheda battles to catch Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

Velsheda battles to catch Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

 

 

Ranger Taking A Practice Sail In Newport (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger Taking A Practice Sail In Newport (Photo by George Bekris)

The J Class yachts Velsheda and Ranger will be participating in the J Class  Newport Regatta, the first of a series of global J Class events, cultimating in the Hundred Guinea Cup race, Cowes 2012.

In 1930, Newport was the venue for the start of the remarkable J Class era. Between 1930 and 1937 there were just 10 of these stunning yachts constructed for the purpose of winning the America’s Cup.

A series of 5 races will be run from June 15th to 19th, 2011 with starts and finishes off of Fort Adams. Viewing stands will be set up on the Northwestern corner of Fort Adams and other excellent viewing options will be at Castle Hill Inn and various spots in Jamestown.

Working with the US Coast Guard, Sail Newport will establish safe water viewing areas along the entire course.

J-Class Velsheda Practicing In Newport (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Velsheda Practicing In Newport (Photo by George Bekris)

This will be the first competitive J Class regatta in the USA since the America’s Cup event of 1937 between the Defender Ranger, and the Challenger Endeavour II.”?:7

Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger Upwind Sailing (Photo By George Bekris)

Ranger Upwind Sailing (Photo By George Bekris)

After all was said and done, it was the J-Class Ranger  that took the 2010 Bucket.  John Williams and his crew raced consistently and well, earning a well-deserved victory.   Second place belonged to the the Perini Navi Andromeda la Dea, with the Perini Navi P2 in third place overall.

The third and final race of the 2010 St. Barths Bucket (the “Wrong Way Around” course) was sailed in conditions very similar to the previous days: fluky winds in the 10 to 15 knot range.  The usual noon start was preceded by a couple of Bucket Scholarship holders, thus spoiling Gloria’s virtual deadlock on the Escargot Cup, which was awarded to the consistently sailed Toto.  P2 and Unfurled earned second and third place in the Gazelle fleet, while Axia and Hetairos were runners up in the Grande Dames contingent. 

It would be a mere redundancy to add that the sailing and the shore side activities were of the customary caliber, with Visione a hands-down winner of the yacht open house on Friday night — after all the rest of the fleet had closed she kept the party going until midnight!  We expected marvelous sailing (this is, after all, the Caribbean) and indeed we got it.  The combination of St. Barths, 39 megayachts, and the blue skies and waters worked their usual magic!

As Tony Hambrook, Managing Director of Alloy Yacht stated, “This was the best regatta ever, anywhere!”

Results: Race 3 

 
Race 3
Points
Finish Time
Time Delta
   
ANDROMEDA LA DEA
1
3:21:25 PM
0:00:00
RIELA
2
3:24:27 PM
0:03:02
HELIOS
3
3:25:10 PM
0:03:45
METEOR
4
3:26:06 PM
0:04:41
ANTARA
5
3:28:03 PM
0:06:38
AVALON
6
3:29:38 PM
0:08:13
GEORGIA
7
3:30:50 PM
0:09:25
GLORIA
8
3:33:16 PM
0:11:51
DSK
9
3:37:26 PM
0:16:01
RANGER
10
3:37:42 PM
0:16:17
REBECCA
11
3:38:49 PM
0:17:24
LIARA
12
3:39:29 PM
0:18:04
UNFURLED
13
3:39:43 PM
0:18:18
SALUTE
14
3:40:22 PM
0:18:57
HIGHLAND BREEZE
15
3:40:45 PM
0:19:20
P2
16
3:41:15 PM
0:19:50
VARSOVIE
17
3:41:16 PM
0:19:51
SALPERTON IV
18
3:42:01 PM
0:20:36
WHITE WINGS
19
3:42:11 PM
0:20:46
AXIA
20
3:43:18 PM
0:21:53
SOJANA
21
3:44:56 PM
0:23:31
WHISPER
22
3:46:17 PM
0:24:52
GANESHA
23
3:47:35 PM
0:26:10
VISIONE
24
3:47:58 PM
0:26:33
GHOST
25
3:48:31 PM
0:27:06
ADELA
26
3:48:43 PM
0:27:18
HANUMAN
27
3:48:44 PM
0:27:19
SAUDADE
28
3:48:56 PM
0:27:31
MYSTERY**
29
3:49:04 PM
0:27:39
ARTEMIS
30
3:49:39 PM
0:28:14
WINDCREST
31
3:50:33 PM
0:29:08
HETAIROS
32
3:52:05 PM
0:30:40
SHAMOUN
33
3:52:26 PM
0:31:01
HYPERION
34
3:53:45 PM
0:32:20
DESTINATION
35
3:53:50 PM
0:32:25
HAMILTON II
36
3:53:59 PM
0:32:34
SYMMETRY
37
4:01:29 PM
0:40:04
TOTO
38
4:33:55 PM
1:12:30
BARACUDA
39
DNF
 

* Safety Penalty: 5 Minute
** Over Early Penalty: 5 Minute

Results: Cumulative

 
Race 1
Points
Race 2
Points
Race 3
Points
Total
Points
 Rank
RANGER
13
1
10
24
1
ANDROMEDA LA DEA
4
26
1
31
2
P2
10
5
16
31
3
AXIA
3
11
20
34
4
UNFURLED
19
4
13
36
5
GANESHA
7
10
23
40
6
GEORGIA
9
25
7
41
7
AVALON
5
31
6
42
8
REBECCA
30
2
11
43
9
SAUDADE
8
8
28
44
10
DSK
20
15
9
44
11
SALUTE
2
29
14
45
12
GHOST
17
3
25
45
13
HANUMAN
12
6
27
45
14
WHITE WINGS
6
20
19
45
15
HETAIROS
1
13
32
46
16
HELIOS
24
23
3
50
17
ANTARA
11
34
5
50
18
RIELA
16
35
2
53
19
WINDCREST
14
9
31
54
20
LIARA
28
14
12
54
21
VISIONE
26
7
24
57
22
SOJANA
29
12
21
62
23
ADELA
18
19
26
63
24
HAMILTON II
15
16
36
67
25
WHISPER
23
22
22
67
26
VARSOVIE
34
17
17
68
27
METEOR
36
33
4
73
28
SALPERTON IV
27
28
18
73
29
HIGHLAND BREEZE
32
27
15
74
30
HYPERION
22
18
34
74
31
MYSTERY
25
21
29
75
32
BARACUDA
21
24
40
85
33
GLORIA
39
39
8
86
34
ARTEMIS
33
32
30
95
35
SHAMOUN
35
30
33
98
36
DESTINATION
31
36
35
102
37
SYMMETRY
37
38
37
112
38
TOTO
38
37
38
113
39

 

A full recap of the St. Barths Bucket and Race Information about the Upcoming Newport Bucket Regatta is available at  www.bucketregattas.com

  
Ranger Head On (Photo by George Bekris)

Ranger Head On (Photo by George Bekris)