A New But Familiar Face Takes the Helm as J Class Appoints John Craig as New Class Secretary
John Craig is taking over the helm from Louise Morton.
Internationally renowned John Craig has been announced as new secretary of the J Class Association and has started in the role in early March. Previously Mr. Craig served as Principal Race Office for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco as well as Race Officer at the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Between 2013 and 2015 he also served the Olympic sailing classes as Director of the Sailing World Cup.
As the new secretary of the J Class John Craig describes his excitement and hopes for the future of the J Class. "I was very fortunate to run one exhibition race for the J Class on Bermuda's Great Sound last year and it was truly breath taking. At that point I had done a lot of 'flying' events and race management and it was just so cool to be involved with the J Class. That was the catalyst which made me want to be a part of this great and historic class."
He confirms, "Right now for me this is about continuing the great work Louise Morton did and managing a smooth transition this year. I want to continue to grow the Class by adding a few more boats on the water. On the technical side of a 'rating' class I want to make sure we have some of the best experts in their field looking after the rule, and making sure the owners, the afterguards, and the teams are happy after racing."
Velsheda's owner comments "As a Class we are proud to appoint such highly regarded, experienced, and respected person as John as the new Secretary of the Class."
He pays a tribute to the outgoing Secretary: "On behalf of the Class I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Louise Morton for her dedication to the J Class organization over the last six years. The J Class would not be where it is today without her."
The J Class yachts were originally built in the 1930's to compete for the America Cup. Only three original boats survived, Endeavour, Shamrock and Velsheda.
After the founding of the J Class Association in 2000 the Class has enjoyed a revival and grown steadily with nine boats on the water today. With the addition of aluminium the Class got an extra boost. Although the boats must be built according to the original lines plans the replacement of steel with aluminium for the hull construction is allowed.
The J Class has grown from the three original boats to the historic record fleet of eight J Class Yachts mustered in Bermuda. Endeavour was not present during the America's Cup event in June last year where seven boats participated in the J Class regatta as part of the America's Cup events. Then the fleet travelled to Newport, Rhode Island to participate in the first J Class World Championship event, where thousands of spectators watched these historic and majestic boats compete.
As the J Class yachts meet up in St. Barths for their first 2018 regatta Louise Morton remarked, "I have enjoyed working for the J Class for these six years and after last season's regattas in Bermuda and an inaugural World Championship in Newport, RI, I have decided the time has come to step down. I am pleased to leave the Class in such good health and will enjoy watching from the side lines as the fleet grows."
"My most enjoyable memories are of being on the committee boat for all the regattas especially in Bermuda and Newport last year, and enjoying the occasional sails with different crews, always a pleasing reminder of what it is all about and how magnificent and powerful the yachts are. I really hope that we will see these numbers on the race course in the future."
The owner of the newest J Class J-S1 Svea welcomed Craig on board, "John Craig's experience in managing world class racing programs is second to none. We are very fortunate to have such a distinguished and experienced professional managing the J Class Association and racing venues."
And the owner of Ranger added "I am excited to have John as the new Class Secretary, he certainly has the qualifications to be a great shepherd of our wonderful J Boats."
The first J Class regatta is this week in St Barths March 15-18, 2018, as part of the St. Barths Bucket, where three boats will be competing.
Photograph © J Class/Carlo Borlenghi
2018 J Class Regatta Dates
15 - 18 March 2018 | St. Barths Bucket
20 - 23 June 2018 | Superyacht Cup Palma
02 - 08 September 2018 | Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Sardinia
29 September - 06 October 2018 | Les Voiles de St. Tropez