SMA-09 Velsheda (1933) Model Yacht by Abordage:
Museum Quality History of the Velsheda:
Designed by Charles Nicholson and built by Camper & Nicholson in 1933 for Mr. W. L. Stephenson, Owner of Woolworth chain of shops, the Velsheda was built in 1933 at Gosport. She was Nicholson's second design for a J Class and Stephenson's second big yacht. Velsheda was named after Stephenson's three daughters, Velma, Sheila and Daphne. She raced with the greatest names in classic yachting including Britannia, Endeavour and Shamrock between 1933 and 1936. In her second season she won more than 40 races and achieved an outstanding record of success at Regatta's from Southend to Dartmouth. Other venues included Torbay, Swanage and of course the Solent, all under the control of the very famous Captain Mountfield. The permanent racing crew at that time was probably around 16 men and this would have been augmented to around 30 for racing. When not required for sail changes, spare crew were moved to below decks. In her day - around the late 1930's - she represented the most advanced technical design for spars, rigging, sails, deck gear and ropes. Her masts were aluminum, made by bending plates and riveting them together. Sails were made from the new Terylene threads and deck gear now included winches for easier handling of sheets. The standing rigging was solid rod, even in the 30's, but with so much stretch in the rigging and systems it was inevitable that J Class masts could not be held in column and would collapse in stronger winds. In anything above a Force 3, there was serious concern about holding the rig in place without collapse. Below decks accommodation was limited to just the main saloon, owners’ quarters aft, and storage for sails and equipment forward. Stephenson also had a motor yacht named “Bystander” built to support her racing program and to offer accommodation for guests. This unique yacht was rescued from a Hamble mud berth in 1984 by Terry Brabant, who economically refitted her for charter work with a new steel mast and limited interior. Still without an engine she sailed regularly along the UK South Coast on Charter Work and occasionally ventured to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Occasionally she raced in the annual Round the Island Race She was later sold to a Swiss owner who started a refit program but was unable to complete much work due to funding problems. Occasionally she raced in the annual Round the Island Race and although in poor condition, she was still an impressive site, competing the 60-mile course in quick time. She was later sold to a Swiss owner who started a refit program but was unable to complete the work program due to funding problems. She was then laid up and moored at Gosport until 1996 when the sale to the present owner was completed. Velsheda was purchased in 1996 as a bare hull and following a comprehensive rebuild was re-launched in November 1997.