The resurgence of the J Class has delivered
of a bygone era to present day competition. Each yacht's historic appearance is tightly controlled by restrictions, a condition that perhaps should be extended to their modern tenders. Tripp Estabrook explains.
The J Class yachts of the thirties had purpose built tenders... one of which still exists today: Bystander.
) was built in 1930 as tender and towboat for the NYYC’s America’s Cup Defense Syndicate under the direction of Commodore Harold S. (Mike) Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt wrote, “This boat, the Bystander, proved not only to be a great success, but absolutely indispensable. When Enterprise was underway it was Bystander’s duty to live up to her name and be ready to pass a line or to be useful in some other way,” such as towing a J Class yacht at 8 knots.
Subsequently, Bystander was a tender for seven America’s Cup Syndicates during her 40-year Cup career. Three for the American J Class defenses (Enterprise, Rainbow, and Ranger) and four more for one American and three Australian 12 Metre challenges.
In 2002, Elizabeth Meyer purchased and meticulously restored Bystander to her historically accurate 1930’s ...