Velsheda returns to birthplace

For refit prior to Round the Island Race

Tuesday June 10th 2003, Author: Fi Brown, Location: United Kingdom
70 years ago the legendary J Class yacht Velsheda was launched from Camper & Nicholsons’ Gosport yard in a ceremony attended by several hundred guests and the entire yard staff. Yesterday morning Velsheda once again slid into Portsmouth Harbour from Camper & Nicholsons following a short visit to prepare her for the 2003 summer regattas. Although the watching crowd was smaller than it had been 70 years ago it was still a very poignant moment as this graceful giant from another era once again left her home yard ready to take on all comers on the international racing circuit.

During her stay the C&N team had completely re-antifouled and race prepared her underwater surfaces, re-varnished her beautiful teak toe rail capping and undertaken a range of maintenance and repair work in preparation for the summer of racing ahead. Timing was of the essence for her visit as she only arrived at the yard on Friday 30 May from a record breaking trans-Atlantic crossing during which the boat set a new personal speed record by covering 295 miles in just 24 hours. With only 10 days in which to turn her round it was all hands on deck for the C&N team, which was delighted to once again be working on one the yard’s most famous yachts.

On Friday 6 June a small reception was held at the yard when Camper & Nicholsons Yachting Ltd’s Vice Chairman Pat Lilley made a presentation to Captain Simon Lacy of Velsheda to mark her 70th Birthday and her return to the yard. Among the guests at the reception was Cmdr Eric Hannen, the godson of the yacht’s designer Charles E Nicholson, who had been present when the boat was originally launched in 1933 and had raced in her regularly in her early years. Cmdr Hannen was delighted to see the boat again and entertained guests with stories of racing aboard her during the heyday of the J Class in the 1930s.

Pat Lilley, Eric Hannen and Velsheda skipper Simon Lacy

Also present at the reception was Camper & Nicholsons Yachting Ltd’s new Managing Director, Giorgio Bendoni, attending his first public event on behalf of the company. As well as meeting members of the press Giorgio was delighted to have an opportunity to see first hand one of the legendary vessels which have helped to make Camper & Nicholsons one of the most famous yacht builders in the World. "Seeing Velsheda right here in the yard is a vivid reminder of just why Camper & Nicholsons Yachting Ltd is such a very special company. The company has already seen an impressive revival in its fortunes since it was acquired by the Nautor Group in 2001 and I look forward to being part of its ongoing development and success in the years to come," commented Giorgio Bendoni.

Velsheda will now return to her UK base at Ocean Village in Southampton from where she will prepare for the Round The Island Race which takes place on 21 June, starting from Cowes, Isle of Wight.

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