J Class Yachts and Tollesbury

Many members will be aware of the close connections between Tollesbury and the J Class yachts. I will not try here to set out these connections in too much detail as there are many of you who will know the history far better (do feel free to add any history you may know as comments below this post). However, the connections should be clear enough from the fact that the village sign has Endeavour II as a key part of it. As I understand it, the sail lofts were used to store the J Class yacht sails in the winter during the post war period and many of the skippers and crew were Tollesbury sailors. For example, in the 1930 Shamrock V crew were Tom Cudmore, Lemman Cranfield, Cyril, Ted (Senior) and Ted Heard (Junior) and Billy Wilkinson – all from Tollesbury as well as various West Mersea and Wivenhoe sailors.

The J Class yachts are now making a return with two regattas in the UK this summer. The first of these took place in early July at Falmouth and the second takes place in the Solent in mid July. Details of the J Class yachts and events are available on the class website:

There is a range of videos available online about the regattas and the links below take you to a selection of these.

There is also a fascinating article from 2006 on Sopwith’s Endeavour. Follow the link below to see this article:

There is also in Mersea Museum a piece of the tow rope that was used to tow Endeavour back across the Atlantic from the America’s Cup in 1937. The two parted in gale force winds and she had to sail the rest of the way. Follow the link below for further information.

If anyone has any further information on the connections between Tollesbury and the J Class yachts then do email me and I can add it, or simply post a comment using the form below.