A newly launched website is dedicated to bringing back this mid-size Universal Rule Class in the modernised form of the Q Class: elegant, powerful, yet affordable yachts built to the Universal Rule.
One of best known Q Class yachts is Cotton Blossom II originally Leonore, a Q Class sloop built in 1925. She was completely rebuilt by four time America’s Cup winner Dennis Conner over 2003 to 2004, at a cost of over $1 million US. The full history and rebuild here
qclassyachts.com intends to nurture the resurgence of these classic yachts by presenting a new rule that emphasises a modernised approach to design and construction while maintaining the look and feel of this style of yacht.
Nathanael Herreshoff wrote the original Universal Rule in 1903 in an effort to create safer sailing. The New York Yacht Club adopted and adapted the rule to also provide more level racing and, in 1904, established Class Q, followed shortly by others such as the J, M, and R Class yachts.
Yachts designed to the Universal Rule are sleek, with long overhangs and narrow beams. Leading designers would try their hand at developing lines and refining performance. From 1904 until 1937 at least 16 Q yachts were built. In 1930, the similarity between the Q and J Class was very strong.
Racing in the Q Class along with many other classes, essentially ceased after WWII and the boats dispersed with many falling into disrepair. However, interest in these great boats and their unique sailing characteristics was revived in the 1990s and continues to grow.
Below is a representation of what a new construction Q-boat will probably be like.
Boats built to this revised version of the rule will be, in hull form, basically similar to the existing boats: they will continue to be narrow, deep, long-ended boats, and will continue to have the displacement of the older boats.
They will almost certainly have even more driving power due to the combination of displacement with lighter, modern wood construction, and modern carbon and mylar sails. They will have a higher heeled speed from a longer quarter-beam maximum length, and will be more manageable downwind due to fuller stern sections.
They’ll have a taller rig for a more efficient sail plan. Finally, they will have more modern keels and rudders, which provide better maneuvering and downwind control.