The 40th anniversary of X-Yachts - The launch of the X-79

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Thursday 3rd October 2019

X-Yachts as a start-up company in 1979

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of X-Yachts, a number of upcoming stories will give you an insight behind the scenes of how the foundation of X-Yachts was made.

These stories will take you through a journey of a company, which is built on passion, innovation and the hunger to create the eXtraordinary.

#3 Their own project
After the launch of Ravage 36, Lars, Niels, and Birger discussed whether they should “own” their own project.

Before a conclusion was made, Lars, who has just finished his education as boat builder, realizes an old dream of taking a three-month long journey around the Mediterranean with a friend.

How it all began
Niels and Birger, however, could not wait three months. On 10th February 1979, Niels Jeppesen finalised the drawings for a light racing-orientated sailboat 7.8 metres in length. Niels and Birger started building the plug. After all, it would be quite amusing to have it ready when the newly educated boat builder returned from his Mediterranean wanderings.

Along the way, the plug was extended by 10 centimeters. After all, when the boat was 7.9 meters long, the name was self-evident. It had to be something with the number 79 – made in 1979. As they failed to agree on the rest of the name, they gave it an interim denominator, X, representing the unknown.

Nordsø Bådværft
Lars Jeppesen learned about the project in Cairo as he collected a letter at the post office. (This was before mobile telephones, text messages and email).

The letter contained a cutting from a local newspaper stating that Niels, Birger, and Lars had started their own shipyard: ”Nordsø Bådværft ved Jeppesen og Hansens Bådebyggeri”.

When Lars Jeppesen returned to Denmark, he hastened to Marstrup where he saw that the windows of the barn had been covered up. Inside, he met Birger and Niels, who had already finished the plug for the boat. They had made this entirely without the participation of the boat builder!

Launch of the X-79
After several months of intense work, the prototype was ready to set sail. This was happening on 9th May 1979 in Aabenraa at a local boat show. Just a month later, the shipyard entered two X-79’ers into the Round Zealand yacht race. Here, the first vessel built – sailed by Niels and Lars Jeppesen – beated 1,500 participants to claim a convincing first place on the short stretch. The boat crossed the line a whole two hours before the second-placed vessel – a J24 sailed by Lars Ive who would later become Chairman of KDY and a customer of X-Yachts, buying a IMX-38 and an Xp 38.

One of the other beaten competitors was Bent Folke Larsen who had to watch the Jeppesen’s’ aft from his Dehler Sprinta Sport. After seeing how well the X-79 could sail from behind, he just had to have one. Right now. He needed to buy the winning boat here and now.

The first x-79 was sold
As soon as the boats were in the harbor, the two parties rushed up to find a piece of paper, and drew up a hand-written contract. The first X-79 ever built was sold. The three boat builders from Haderslev went back home without a boat.

Watch the founders step on board the first X-79 40 years after the launch

More to come – stay tuned!
The 40th Anniversary paper book is now for sale – Read all about the X-Yacht journey – 150 pages of history, models and pure X-moments.      Click to order