Holland Jachtbouw Launch First J-Class with Hybrid Propulsion

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 Burgees 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 bull 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!”


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 prolusion 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 11pm to 7am. 


Other key overall benefits of this innovative propulsion include a dramatic reduction of the ecological footprint, a 30 per cent reduction in the fuel required to generate the hotel load, and a similar reduction in the maintenance cost 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 and yacht and out.


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 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.


For more information please visit Holland Jachtbouw.

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