J/97

J/97

The prize of “IRC Boat of the Year” in France is awarded to the builder of a series production boat that has distinguished itself in international IRC competitions throughout Europe. It is presented annually during the “Evening of Ocean Racing” held in conjunction with the Salon Nautique de Paris (Paris Sailboat Show).  This year’s winner is the J/97 built by JB Composites in  Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

Didier LeMoal, CEO of JB Composites commented, “The J/97 ultimately demonstrated its pedigree and potential performance in 2011 with several strong campaigns in France and England. J/97 was winner of the Trophy Atlantic UNCL IRC 4 with victories in Spi Ouest France-Intermarché and Grand Prix Crouesty, and a second place in Brest and the Course of Three Islands.  Internationally, the J/97 won 2010 Cowes Week in IRC Class and won the 2011 Garmin Hamble Winter Series by a huge margin in IRC 3 Class against stiff competition.”

Read more about J/97′s IRC BOTY Selection here.

NEW J/70 SPEEDSTER
The new “baby J” is generating huge enthusiasm for a next-generation ramp-launchable keelboat.  Fleet discussions are underway around the world, J/70 is on-track to take the world by storm in 2012.

J/70 introduces a new dimension of fun, fast sailing in a stable, easy to own boat. The J/70′s 22-foot long waterline with high aspect, all carbon rig provides spirited performance and stability that feels like a much larger boat upwind. Off-the-wind, J/70 will simply light-up the crew with a smile!  Set the masthead a-sail and plane away in moderate breezes.

About Us

The story of J/Boats is a classic entrepreneurial tale: With a $20,000 investment, and a speedy 24-foot sailboat that Rod Johnstone built in his garage, Rod & his brother Bob Johnstone went into business. That was 1977. Now, that boat (the J/24), has become the most popular recreational offshore keelboat in the world.

The Johnstone family has made an undeniable mark on the sailing world. In addition to the 5,400 J/24s cruising the waves, there are over 7,000 more J/Boats, ranging from the International J/22 to the J/65, that sailing enthusiasts have bought at prices ranging from $10,000 to $2,000,000.

While other manufacturers may sell more boats, the Johnstones have won the high-end, performance-oriented segment of the market. Theirs is the so-called racer/cruiser category: boats that perform well on the race course but which are comfortable and easy enough for the family to day-sail and cruise. It is with knowledgeable, experienced sailors that the Johnstones have done best.

The story begins in 1975. Rod, then an ad salesman for the sailing trade magazine, Soundings, and an active one-design sailor decided to build a sailboat he had been designing since completing a Westlawn School of Yacht Design correspondence course in the 60′s. With $400-worth of fiberglass and wood, some rigging and hardware left over from a Soling of Bob’s, he built the 24′ x 9′ wide RAGTIME on weekends in his 3 car garage at his home in Stonington, Connecticut. During the summer of 1976, with an all family crew aboard, RAGTIME beat everything in sight. Rod realized he had created something special.

Enter Everett Pearson, the owner of Tillotson Pearson, Inc, a highly respected boat builder in Warren Rhode Island. He was quite taken with Rod’s design and agreed to produce the boat on spec in return for the U.S. building rights. Display ads in Soundings got the word out. That winter they set up a makeshift factory in an old textile mill in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts, and began producing J/24s.

Enter the marketing experience of brother Bob, a vice president of marketing at AMF/Alcort (the makers of Sunfish sailboats at the time). He saw the potential in the boat Rod had designed. From 1975 to 1977, Bob had helped to take Alcort from the red into the black, and then began trying to convince AMF to start producing a boat similar to the J/24. But, he says, in spite of overwhelming market research results showing 50% purchase intent in a boat like the J/24 , AMF really didn’t care anything about gaining share of market or investing any more in sailing. So, in February of 1977, at age 43, Bob left AMF and threw in his lot with J/Boats.

With Rod contributing the design and his prototype ‘Ragtime’ and Bob investing $20,000 to cover start-up costs, office space, and advertising, their 50-50 partnership was launched. Hoping to sell 50 J/24s that first year, they sold 75 in 1977.  The business has grown significantly since; each successive year marks unique achievements in the sport and industry.

The next generation of Johnstones has been at the helm since 1988, while founders Rod and Bob continue to contribute in the areas of their strength, design and marketing. Since 1992, Jeff (President) & Alan (Chief Designer) have managed company operations & sales from J/Boats Headquarters in Newport, RI while a total of four of Bob & Rod’s sons (Jeff, Alan, Stu and Drake) serve on J/Boats, Inc. Board of Directors.

2010 –
If the previous two years were pre-occupied with economic news, 2010 for the first time saw more sailors across America, Europe and Asia/Pacific not just buying boats, but jumping back into regattas in greater numbers again.  The big industry news was the launch of the new J/111 speedster- with over 50 boats on order, the first boat in J/Boats history to “launch” and go “global” on four continents in less than twelve months.  The 111 did not disappoint- winning its first event in Chicago’s Tri-Sate Race. J/111 also won SAIL’s Best Boat and SAILING WORLD’s Boat of the Year- Best One-Design Keelboat Awards.  The year also marked the launch of the J/95′s bigger sister– the J/108 that debuted at the Paris Boatshow in France.  On the sailing side, as one might expect, Key West Race Week again was gorgeous with enthusiastic sailors and more participants sailing the J/80 and J/105 Midwinters.  The J/24s sailed their first Copa Mexico in Puerto Vallarta on gorgeous Banderas Bay with 50+ boats sailing!  As a fleet, the J/125s crushed the Cabo Race, placing 1-2-3 in class, with famous radio psyche host Dr. Laura winning with WARRIOR.  The J/22 were picked as St. Francis YC’s match/team-race fleet and started sailing in the summer.  J/80s were selected by Hong Kong YC as their match/ team-race fleet and started sailing in the fall.  The J/80 Worlds in Newport, RI again saw the Spanish dominate the top five, but the American’s were learning fast.  And, the J/80s were “the class” of the Asian Sailing Games 2010 held in Guangzhou, China.  The Dutch again eclipsed the J/22 Worlds sailing in The Hague, Netherlands and the American teams led the J/24 Worlds sailed in Malmo, Sweden.  The J/122s had a remarkable track record, again, winning the Chicago-Mac Race both Double-handed and ORR Overall, Great Lakes IRC Champs, US IRC Champs, US IRC East Coasts, Marseilles Week, Stamford-Vineyard Race, Block Island Race, New York YC Annual Regatta, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Australia’s Sydney Offshore Points Series, just to name a few. The J/109s were again the largest one-design racer-cruiser fleet sailing at England’s famous Cowes Sailing Week, with 38 boats on the line!

2009
The year started out with hope and the first glimmers of the world slowly coming out of its economic slowdown.  On the business front, it was going to be a challenging year to ramp up sales across the world, but it marked the introduction of three NEW J designs- the J/97 cruiser-racer; the J/95 shoal-performance cruiser and the J/111 speedster.  The J/97 was introduced at the London Boatshow and continued to receive accolades in the media and on the water- winning its class in the Warsash Spring Series and Cowes Week.  The J/95 was introduced at the Newport and Annapolis Sailboat shows– between the two boats, they won SAIL Best Boat, SAILING WORLD Best Performance and CRUISING WORLD’s Boat of the Year Awards– the first time the “triple-crown” of sailing awards has ever been won by one boat.  And, the J/111 was announced at the Annapolis Boatshow- quickly growing to 2 dozen orders by year-end!  On the sailing front, it was yet another gorgeous year at Key West Race Week for the J/80 and J/105 Midwinters. Scott Piper received the Cruising Club of America’s prestigious “Blue Water Medal” sailing his J/160 PIPE DREAM around the world– for 12 years!  The J/125 won the Cabo Race and the J/100 and J/122 won class in St Maarten Heineken Regatta.  The J/122s continued to demonstrate their versatility, especially in the short-handed sailing world– winning the OSTAR Singlehanded Race in class and 2nd overall and winning the Chicago-Mackinac Race Double! 122s also won the Stamford-Vineyard Race and the Voile de St Tropex, France. The J/22 Worlds on Lake Garda, Italy saw the Netherlands sailors dominate in a windy regatta!  And, the J/80 Worlds in Santander, Spain set a new record for the class (maybe ANY ISAF keelboat class) with 133 J/80 teams participating– again the Spanish dominated the top five.  The J/97 was introduced to America in September and promptly won its first three races on the Great Lakes.  The J/109s continued their successes in Europe and the USA, and one based in Hong Kong, China won IRC in the China Cup!  The introduction of the first J/Sailing Calendar was met with critical success.  The Rolex Women’s Worlds held in J/22s at Rochester, NY with Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year- Anna Tunnicliffe winning.

2008
Despite the economy slowing down, it was another great year of sailing for J owners.  Starting with Key West, good turnouts for the J/80, J/105 and J/109s all hosting their Midwinters. Of the six handicap divisions that included at least one J Boat (5 PHRF divisions and 1 IRC division), J owners dominated the leader board, winning 44% of the top three class trophies.  Experienced offshore sailor Ned Cabot recently published a story of the latest adventure aboard his J/46 ‘Cielita’ in Ocean Navigator magazine (Jan/Feb ’08 issue).  The J/24 celebrated its 30th birthday at the J/24 Midwinters with 42 teams sailing a tough 11 race, no throw-out series- brothers Waldek and Chris Zaleski aboard TWINS won– they also won the J/24 Nationals later in the year! US Watercraft officially started building the J/105. J/109 Owner, and retired vet Dr. Bob Riggle from Seattle and his companion Phyllis MaCay have embarked on the ultimate around the world cruising adventure aboard the J/109 Gaia www.gaiaworldtour.net.  32 J/109s had a fun time sailing the J/UK J/109 Nationals. For the STC Bermuda Race, J owners turned out in record numbers and represented 22% of the 210 boat fleet – the first time J has surpassed Swan (14%) for the most popular brand/design in a Bermuda Race. And, J owners made the most of it. 52% of the top 25 overall finishers sailing IRC were J’s, and owners collected 26% of the top three places in all divisions and overall combined. Andrea Casale of Italy won the J/24 World Championship with 76 boats and an incredible 17 countries represented. Philippe Delaporte’s J/122 PEN AZEN was named the 2008 Yacht of the Year by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, dominating the IRC Classes in most all events. This success in IRC was repeated by the J/122 TKO winning Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco. Greg Fisher of Annapolis, MD won the J/22 World Championship in Rochester, NY over a record 103 sailing teams. Over in the Mediterranean, the J/133 CHESTRESS won IRC Class 3 and a 2nd Overall in the 2008 Rolex Middle Sea Race.  8 teams from 8 countries sailed the first International J/80 Invitational Regatta in Xiamen, China– the first ever J/80 one-design event in the Pacific Rim

2007
A record year for J/Boat owners with major offshore racing wins across the US and Europe. The introduction of the new J/122 built by J/Europe taking the IRC circuit in France, the UK, the Netherlands and the USA by storm achieving several overall wins both inshore and offshore. J/Boat owners are class and overall champions of numerous offshore events including Ft. Lauderdale-Key West Race, Pineapple Cup, Bayview Mac Race, Annapolis-Newport Race, Charleston Bermuda Race, Transpac, Chicago Mac, and several RORC offshore races. J/133 is awarded “Best Series Produced Yacht” and J/122 wins IRC 1 class overall for the entire season in the 2007 RORC series. J/80 production races by the 1,000 hull milestone with over 1050 boats built. A record 120 J/80s sail at the World Championships in La Trinite France. The J/105 Class sets attendance records on both US coasts culminating in a 69 boat fleet at the North American Champs in Annapolis. J/105 also wins RORC 2-handed season trophy. J/109 class activity thrives in the US and UK. Clay Burkhalter successfully sails his Rod Johnstone designed Mini 6.5 ‘Acadia’ across the Atlantic from France to Brazil finishing 12th overall out of 89 entries. The J/80 debuts at the Asian Sportboat Championship placing 1st and 2nd overall. J/Europe increases factory capacity by 40% thanks to increasing demand worldwide for new J/Boats. Several J/Owners actively engaged cruising their boats through the oceans of the world. Congratulations to J/Owners for an incredible year!

2006
The J/92S makes its USA debut. The J/100 reaches 100 boat milestone and production begins in Europe. New 40’ J/122 development begins with J/Europe. J/ owners win 12 trophies in the Centennial Newport to Bermuda Race with the J/44 and J/42 classes the largest in the fleet. Glenn Darden captures the J/80 World title in Galveston Bay, TX, while fellow Texan Jon Halbert wins the inaugural J/109 North American Championships at New York Yacht Club. J/109 and double-handed J/105 finish 1-2 in Rolex Middle Sea Race. The York family completes a circumnavigation aboard their J/46 Aragorn. The J/22 North Americans returns to Fleet #1 Lake Minnetonka, MN with Terry Flynn crowned champion. The J/80 reaches 900 boat milestone and new fleets are established in Spain & Italy. The J/105 is awarded the Serendip Trophy for the Best Series-Produced Yacht in IRC by RORC for 2006 and Shaun Murphy’s Slingshot is named RORC 2006 Yacht of the Year and wins the Somerset Memorial Trophy for outstanding achievement of a 2-handed yacht. The J/122 is introduced and displayed at the Paris Show to rave reviews with a December launch in Hamble, UK and successful sea-trials.

2005
The new J/65 launches in San Diego. Scotsman Ruairidh Scott wins the Silva J/80 Worlds in Falmouth, UK. The J/105 class sets new milestones with a 40 boat fleet at Key West and the first Canadian hosting of a North American Championship. The J/100 rolls out of the factory at nearly 2 boats per week to meet the high demand. The J/133 notches impressive IRC class wins at Spi Ouest and Block Island Race Week. The rapidly growing J/109 class sees one-design starts at Spi Ouest, Block Island and Cowes Week. Anthony Kotoun of Newport, RI wins the J/24 Worlds in Weymouth, England and the J/24 North Americans in Marblehead, MA. The new J/92S, a family-friendly sprit boat with large cockpit and non-overlapping headsail launches in Europe. J/125 ‘Rienrag’ takes class honors again in the Transpac. Sally Barkow wins the Rolex Int’l Women’s Keelboat Champs in J/22s in Annapolis, and the Women’s Match Racing Worlds in J/24′s in Bermuda. Henry Morgan, sailing his J/42 ‘Dolphin’, wins the Annapolis-Bermuda Race fleet. Short-handed J-sailors celebrate as Pascal Loison wins the 2-Handed Rolex Fastnet Race in his J/105 and Sam and Gordon Vineyard win Marion- to Bermuda Race in their J/46. The new J/124, a 41’ follow-up sensation to the J/100, launches in Rhode Island.

2004
The J/133 Raincloud wins its debut regatta at Key West and production begins in both the US and France. J109s sweep IRC 4 at Spi Ouest, the UK J/109 Jeronimo is on the winning team of the Rolex Commodore’s Cup, and the J/109 class gets underway with 11 fleets formed, a class website and several class events held. Alec Cutler wins the J/22 Worlds in Annapolis over a fleet of 130 boats, an all-time J attendance record! Three J’s (J/35, J/46 and J/160) set sail in the 2004 Blue Water World Rally. The new J/100 (33’) is launched in Newport to rave reviews, is named Sailing World Magazine’s Overall Boat of the Year, and quickly reaches a six month backlog. J/145s enjoy class wins in the Newport to Bermuda and Port Huron-Mackinac races. Dave McConaughy wins the 25th Anniversary J/30 North Americans in Barrington, RI. Glen Darden of TX wins both the J/80 North Americans in Sag Harbor, NY and the 52 boat J/105 North Americans in Marion, MA. Wow! Jens Hookanson outduels Jeff Johnstone on the last leg of the final race to win the J/24 Worlds in Noroton, CT. The new J/65 (65‘) is announced as J Boats’ entry into the luxury performance sailing market with a custom bay set up at Pearson Composites and a highly anticipated 05 launching.

2003
The J/24 class celebrates its Silver 25th Anniversary in Newport, while the J/35 class has its 20th in Toronto with 27 boats racing for the North American Championship. The J/105 class continues to set attendance records and is the only class present at all 9 NOOD Regattas. Dr. Mike Finn’s J/160 ‘Kativa’ wins the Charleston to Bermuda Race; J/125 ‘Rienrag’ that takes line and class honors for Division 3 in the Tranpac. J/42 owners create a new owner association. J/Boats continue to thrive under IRC with J/145 winning the Overall IRC Season Championship in UK (1-2 in class at Fastnet), and the J/109 winning its class at Fastnet as well as at Cowes and Spi Ouest. J/Europe is formed as new European builder (France). Jay Lutz wins J/80 Worlds in Fort Worth Texas as class breaks the hull #600 barrier. Sally Barkow wins the Rolex Women’s Keelboat Champs in J/22s in Annapolis. J/133 is awarded the Overall Boat of the Year award by Sailing World Magazine and Best Performance Cruiser by Cruising World.

2002
J/109 results roll in all year with wins at Spi-Ouest, Cowes Week, Breskens Race Week, Double-handed Round Britain Race and the prestigious Atlantic Trophy. J/109 plugs are shipped to the US and TPI begins production. ISAF selects the J/22 (women’s keelboat division) and J/80 (men’s keelboat division) for the World Sailing Games in Marseilles. J/105 explosion continues with 50 boats at the North Americans in Chicago, hull #600 built, and selected for UBS Challenge Pro Match-Racing. J/80 earns class start at Kiel Week and J/80 Worlds are held in La Rochelle, France. The J/Fest Regatta Series goes national with sponsors and five great events. Brad Read wins J/24 Worlds on its return to Newport. J/109 and J/105 are 1st and 2nd overall in Rolex Middle Sea Race. Terry Flynn wins 60-boat J/22 Worlds in Texas.

2001
J/145 is selected as a Sail Magazine Top 10 winner and wins class at Key West. J/80 class hosts its first World Championships in Newport. J Boats introduces the 35’ J/109 in Europe. US Watercraft begins building J/22s, helping to revitalize J/22 class growth. J/130 BONKERS is overall winner in the Pineapple Cup race to Jamaica. J/160s win in Newport-Ensenada, Puerto-Vallarta, Marblehead-Halifax and Swiftsure races. J/125 wins overall at Middle Sea Race in Malta. The Rolex Int’l Women’s Keelboat Champs is held in J22s in Annapolis, with Cory Sertl’s team crowned champion.

2000
J/46 earns double honors, first as a Sail Magazine Top 10 winner; and as a category winner in Sailing World Magazine’s Boat of the Year Awards. New carbon fiber J/145 (48′) is launched. 92 boats attend the J/22 Worlds in Holland. J/105 production accelerates with hull #400 launched and European production underway. US Watercraft becomes new US builder for J/24 and the World Championship returns to Newport for its 22nd running. New “L” version (L for liveaboard) is introduced for the popular J/42.

1999
J/35 inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame ceremonies in Atlantic City. J/125 wins “Sportboat of the Year” from Sailing World. J/120 J BIRD clean sweeps the Puerta-Vallarta race with 1st to finish, 1st in class and 1st overall- only the 3rd boat in history to do so (other two were 70′ sleds). J/46 performance-cruising yacht is launched. J/22 featured in Santa-Maria Cup (women’s match racing) and for the ISAF Women’s Match Racing Worlds. J/30 and J/35 classes combine efforts to run their 20th and 15th North American Championships in Annapolis. 25 J/105s sail one design at Block Island. Over 275 J/105s now sailing in 15 fleets worldwide. The Rolex Int’l Women’s Keelboat Champs return to Newport in J/24s.

1998
J/160 PIPEDREAM wins Round-the-World Rally (American division) with a crew of five. Owner Scott Piper departs on cruise around the world in opposite direction! High tech built J/90 and J/125 usher in new wave of technology – carbon composite construction with 50% ballast/displacement ratios. J/90 wins “Sportboat of the Year” from Sailing World. J/125 wins at Block Island Race Week and St. Francis Big Boat Series. J/120s sweep top 3 spots in Newport to Ensenada Race. J/22 featured in ISAF World Championship in Dubai for women’s match-racing and fleet disciplines. US Master’s Championship held in J/105s in San Francisco. J/80 becomes fastest growing one-design in Sweden with 20 boats sailing. J/120 reaches hull #100, with 28 boats sailing in Southern California.

1997
100 J/24s attend the 20th anniversary J/24 Midwinters in Key West, Florida. Johnstone Family receives The Industry Leadership Award from SAIL Magazine. Harry Smith wins 1100nm Marina Del Rey to Puerto-Vallarta Race on his J/160 ‘Bushwacker’ and J/160 Hull #3 PIPEDREAM begins the ‘Round the World Rally’. The Moorings Company purchases a fleet of J/120s for an innovative “race weeks” charter program in Tortola.

1996
The first two of six J/160s are launched in early May. These deluxe flagships go on to win several offshore point-to-point races including a course record from Annapolis to Bermuda! J/44 Class returns for the 1996 Bermuda Race in force with 11 starters. J/105 reaches critical mass for class racing throughout the US with over 165 boats numerous regional events and a successful North American Championship. The new production J/32 Cruiser, designed by Alan Johnstone, is launched in July with over 20 sold in the first six months. J/Boats web site is expanded with a growing on-line class association presence, owner forums and monthly updates.

1995
J/120 named Cruising World Magazine’s Overall Boat-of-the-Year and Best Value in a Full-Size Cruiser. J/24 is first of five inductees into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame. J/130 STARLIGHT EXPRESS takes line honors in Newport-Ensenada Race. New J/42 Cruiser is introduced. Hull #1 GANNET wins two New York Yacht Club events and Class A Downeast Racing Circuit with a cruising asymmetric spinnaker and short-handed crew. J/35 class rebounds in participation with 35 entries at its North American Championship. J/105s are featured on ESPN in the Brut Cup professional match-racing circuit. J Composite of France begins European production of the J/80 and J/92.

1994
J/130 named Sailing World’s Boat-of-the-Year among Racer-Cruisers. J/22 & J/24 selected for inaugural IYRU World Sailing Championships, J/44 is first one-design class ever given start in Bermuda Race. J/120 introduced at SAIL EXPO with carbon mast and wins New England Solo-Twin. J/110 introduced at Annapolis Boat Show.

1993
J/92 is Sailing World’s Overall Boat-of-the-Year. J/80 One-Design is launched- the first J model to be built with TPI’s patented SCRIMP molding technology. J/22 celebrates its 10th anniversary by becoming an IYRU International Class with 1200 boats. J/33 DAYBREAK overall winner of Chicago-Mackinac. Newly launched J/130 and J92 sweep Andaman Sea Race in Asia.

1992
J/105 becomes Sailing World’s Boat-of-the-Year among racer-cruisers, and ushers in the sport boat revolution. J/92 is introduced and destined for the 1992 Readers Choice Award from Sailing World. J/24 #5000 and J/35 #300 are launched. Rod Johnstone is inducted into the Sailing World Hall of Fame.

1991
Nick Brown’s J/44 IONA wins Fastnet in IMS. Fortune Magazine names J Boats as one of the world’s 100 best American made products. J/39s and J/35s sweep top 4 positions in CHS at Cowes Week. J Boats pioneers carbon-fiber retractable bowsprits and asymmetric spinnakers on offshore boats, introducing the first of its new “sprit” series, the J/105.

1990
J/35c named Sailing World’s Boat-of-the-Year among 30-35 footers. J/44 wins NYYC Cruise. Motor Boating & Sailing names J/24 as 1 of 2 best sailboats of all time. New J/39 wins MBYC Fall Series. J/35 wins class in Sydney-Hobart Race. J/44 J-HAWK wins CHS class at Cowes Week.

1989
New J/44 wins New York Yacht Club Queen’s Cup and Cowes Week on way to becoming Sailing World’s Overall Boat-of-the-Year.

1988
J/34c named Sailing World’s Boat-of-the-Year. New J/33 wins Class at Block Island Race Week. Jeff, Stuart, Drake, & Alan Johnstone commence management of company operations at J/Boat office in Newport, RI. TPI (J Builder) introduces industry-leading 10 year blister warranty.

1987
J/35 becomes America’s fastest growing big-boat one-design with 24 sailing in Class at Block Island. J/37s win Class in 3 major race weeks.

1986
J/40 named Sailing World’s Boat-of-the-Year among US designs. J/35 is lst Overall in Miami-Montego Bay and New England Solo-Twin. J/28 and J/37 Cruisers introduced.

1985
Charley Scott’s J/41 SMILES wins SORC Overall. J boats introduces it’s first purpose built cruising boat, the J/40, that then goes on to win Class in Chicago -Mackinac. J/34 becomes best selling IOR design in America.

1984
New J/27 is overall winner of MORC Internationals with J/29 winning Class A. J/35 is 1st Overall MHS in Chicago – Mackinac. J/41 has 1-2-3 sweep of One Ton North Americans and Bermuda Race class.

1983
J/22 and J/35 introduced. J/22 wins Class at MORC Internationals.

1982
New J/29s finish 1-2-3 to sweep Class in Block Island Race Week

1981
Stu, Drake & Jeff Johnstone start J/World Performance Sailing School. J/36 Wins Class A in Antigua.

1980
Nissan Motors becomes Japanese builder. J/24 wins Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit, becomes IYRU International Class and named by SAIL (10th Anniversary) as “best keelboat in 30 years.”

1979
J/30 #1 WARHOOP finishes 3rd in SORC Class. First J/24 Worlds in Newport with 78 boats.

1978
20 boats attend first J/24 one-design event at Key West. 68 boats attend North Americans in Newport. 1000 boats are sold with builders set up in UK, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and US West Coast where Trask family joins Johnstones to build J/24′s.

1977
Brothers Bob and Rod Johnstone finish 1-2 in J/24s in MORC Division at Block Island Week. J/24s go on to dominate the MORC Internationals in Annapolis.

J/Difference

Now it’s possible to sail fast with just a friend or two as crew. After all, isn’t this how we sail most of the time on a day’s sail or when cruising? Rarely is the gang aboard to hold the boat down or fly a spinnaker.

The measure of a good sailboat is how well it sails upwind and downwind with only 2-3 people aboard. The goal is VMG, Velocity-Made-Good, straight into the wind or away from the wind, considering both speed and sailing angle. Many of the modern integrated instrumentation systems can display this data, or you can use a set way-point to windward on a GPS to come up with the number.

Good short-handed VMGs are when a “50-something” husband & wife jibe a J/105 (34.5 ft.) with asymmetrical through Woods Hole against the current, while others motor. Or, if you can beat upwind in steep waves doing 6.8 knots with a VMG of 5 knots in 18 knots of wind!

Safe, Fast & Easy
Flying an asymmetrical spinnaker from a retractable, carbon-fiber bow sprit is a one person job. By using a cockpit-operated snuffer, no one has to be on deck when the spinnaker is flying, being jibed or doused. To jibe, simply let off one sheet and pull in the other. Downwind VMG is doubled. Result? Less motoring and more sailing.

It’s safer. One corner of the spinnaker (the “tack”) is always secured to the bowsprit, eliminating wild oscillations. The sail has more slope to its leading edge with a center-of-effort located further forward and lower. Wind gusts lift the bow, propelling the boat forward with finger-tip control. No more “white-knuckled” round-up broaches.

Speed from the asymmetrical’s greater power pushes the apparent wind 30-50 degrees forward of the true wind direction. In light air and lumpy seas, the sail’s added power steadies the boat. Deep sailing angles (160-170 degrees True Wind Angle) are achieved in a breeze. The luff, which is 8% longer than the straight line distance from tip of the sprit to halyard exit on the mast, rotates to windward as the sheet is eased – projecting area to the wind like a conventional spinnaker when pulled back by a pole.

That Feel
The new Js instill a sense of confidence, freeing one from anxieties. Even when planing at 10+ knots, one feels in total control. There’s less work. Guests aren’t pressured into unfamiliar tasks. Fewer orders are needed. It’s more fun…like a good sports-car, turning as if it were part of you. Not with sluggish delay. But with a smooth, even response – around crests, down waves and through crowded harbors.

Mainsail Only
J’s sail well flying any sail combination you feel comfortable with. For harbor-cruising or heavy winds, an unreefed main is the answer. If the boat sails 6+ knots under main alone, why bother with large overlapping jibs? Visibility is improved. The big main is a bonus for “cruising canvas” races. And, it takes one person to sail the boat. High wind mode is a flattened mainsail with open leech, achieved by tightening backstay, cunningham, vang and outhaul. These adjustments are quicker and easier than reefing. The jib can be rolled up and forgotten.

34% Upwind VMG Gain?
Hull design, rig, sailing length and weight location greatly affect VMG. You see many cruising boats motoring upwind in both light and heavy air. Why? Not enough sailpower for light air or stability for a breeze. For example, the J/109 (35 ft.), sailing upwind at 7.2 knots, 38 degrees from the true wind (25 degrees apparent) will have a VMG of 5.7 knots. This is 15% faster than boat X sailing 7 degrees further from the wind at 7 knots with a VMG of 4.7 knots. And, it’s 34% faster than a classic cruiser doing 6 knots with an upwind VMG of only 4.2 knots. These differences are inescapably locked in by design and construction.

Low Center of Gravity
Good upwind VMGs are only possible with a low, vertical center of gravity (VCG). Top-heavy boats roll and pitch. This motion disturbs water flow around the boat and airflow past the sails, not to mention equilibrium of the crew on deck. The lower the weight of the boat relative to its waterplane, the greater the stability, the more sail that can be carried and the smoother the motion. This explains a J’s smooth, stable ride through waves. The VCG is well below the waterplane.

Resin Infusion Process
You get what you pay for. Low VCG is achieved by light, strong construction of what’s above the water.  Since 1994 most J models benefit from the innovative SCRIMP resin-infusion process. End-grained, aircraft-grade balsa-core laminates have structural GRP skins with 65-70% glass content, or the equivalent of custom high-tech, oven-baked pre-pregs.

High Performance Rigs
The best place to reduce weight is aloft. All spars are custom-designed for J Boats, race-tested and abused to insure reliability with a good safety margin built-in. Running backstays aren’t required. For models like the J/122 and J/133, a carbon-fiber mast is specified to further optimize upwind stability and VMG for short-handed cruising. These custom-engineered, one-piece, autoclaved spars by Hall Spars have a luff track designed for low-profile and low-friction slides. The 120-130 pound weight saving aloft is equivalent to having two invisible 200 pound genies sitting on the weather rail to improve performance.

Ballast & Shoal Draft
The best place to add weight is in the keel. A lead keel, fixed under a structural molded sump, having much of the weight in a bulb at the bottom, serves to optimize a boat’s stability without adding excess draft.  J’s combine low VCG ballast with quality construction – especially important when opting for a shoal draft keel. Cruising “J’s” with shoal draft keel routinely outperform longer, deeper draft cruising boats. Before deciding on this option, consider that the need for shoal draft may be a function of speed. A fast boat, that easily sails 50 miles in a day, puts more deep harbors in range than can be visited in a year.

Horsepower
Sails are the horses. A light boat with clean lines and good stability can carry the sail power needed for lively performance. There’s no need for tall, scary rigs with heavy sheet loads and winches. Sail Area to displacement (SA/[DSPL/64]^.67) is a good indicator of how much horsepower the design can handle and what its speed potential might be. Look for ratios over 20. The J/122 is at 23%.

Low Resistance
Too much weight usually means too much wetted surface (WS). Like brake shoes. The more WS there is relative to sail area, the quicker you stop. A good SA/WS ratio is critical for performance in light air conditions. Among 40 footers, J/122′s ratio of 3.1 is FAST. A boat with a 2.0 would be “glued.”  Then there’s form drag. It’s usually faster to be long and narrow. But only when combined with greater stability and sail power. A length (LWL) to beam (BWL) ratio greater than 3 is desirable for good directional tracking in waves. Then, oversized keel, skeg or rudder surfaces aren’t necessary. A long canoe tracks, a pram spins. J/122 has a healthy 3.6:1 ratio with flared topsides. Flare slaps waves down and keeps the crew dry. Vertical-sided hulls bounce waves up on the crew.

Speed Rating
The rated speed of most sailboats is published. Order a copy of PHRF Handicaps from US SAILING (401-683-0800). It’s how we know the projected speed of a J/120 with genoa will be 30 seconds per mile faster than a Sabre 42 – more than the length a football field after 8 minutes of sailing! Or, that her all-round speed will equal boats which are nearly 20 feet longer, such as a Swan 57, Hinckley 59 or Deerfoot 62. An often overlooked benefit of such speed is the help it gives you in route-planning when dealing with weather systems.

Your Next Boat
Now more than ever before, differences between sailboats are greater than differences between golf clubs, tennis rackets, skis or cars! Performance is the reason you don’t see wooden or solid fiberglass tennis rackets, skis or golf clubs anymore. A fast new “J” can make a beginner look very good, leaving the experts far astern with little solace that slow is easier or more comfortable. It could take years, owning and sailing all types of boats, to learn that good design and high quality composite construction makes so large a difference. Or, you can make the most of your time and dollars by acquiring what we’ve learned and are designing into every new “J.”

J/Sprit

If you ever wonder what the look of sailing in the future might be like, take a look at the new eye-catching J/Boats with retractable carbon bow sprits and large, asymmetrical spinnakers.

Boats like nothing you’ve seen before are appearing on the bays and harbors of the world. They have long sprits projecting from the bow to which are tacked huge, colorful spinnakers. Not since the switch from gaff-rigged to Marconi mainsails has the look of sailing changed so dramatically. People are referring to them as “sprit boats”, “sport boats”, or in dinghy-sized versions they’re called “skiffs” as in Australian 18 skiffs where the concept originated. Yet, “skiff” would hardly describe J Boats’ flagship 65 foot fast ocean cruiser, the J/65.

The Summer Olympics embraced the new look for TV cameras in front of the Sydney Opera House. The America’s Cup now uses them. Some sailing schools and sailboat charter operations are carrying sprit boats exclusively, convinced that they along with the novices are going to benefit from the new technology. Sailmaker ads talk of the new shapes in easy-to-fly downwind asymmetric spinnakers. Just about every new boat under 30 feet now features a retractable bow sprit and asymmetric spinnaker.

But sailing is one of the world’s oldest sports where traditions die hard. Sailors can be conservative, leaning toward a glorification of the old. They may not be quick to embrace the new. Time spent on an extra 2 coats of varnish may be more precious than time spent sailing an extra 2 knots faster. So, the question for many is whether this is a breakthrough product to enhance the sailing experience or some marketing gimmick designed to get everyone to invest in new boats and sails.

Any owner of one of the new Js will give you the answer. They will tell you that bow sprits and asymmetrical spinnakers make an incredible difference, sailing becomes easier and more fun for novice and expert.

What’s more, the new boats benefit first time sailors and novices immediately. Experts on the Grand Prix Match Racing Circuit praised the J/105. The J/120, a 40 footer that won Cruising World’s Overall Boat-of-the-Year in 1995, now numbers over 200 boats with one-design racing fleets in Long Island Sound, the Great Lakes and California.  J/105, with over 650 boats in 17 countries (as of April 2008), is one of the largest offshore one-designs in the world. The J/109 has now grown to over 350 boats.  The 26′ J/80 has become the most popular modern day sportboat in the world with over 1,150 boats sailing in 15 countries.

The reception given the new designs by more popular handicapping bodies, has been enthusiastic. Racing under PHRF in the Americas, IRC (formerly CHS) in Europe, sprits have won a number of major events while at the same time providing unparalleled fun and excitement for owners.

Asymmetrical spinnakers help sailors by making sailing downwind possible for two people in boats as large as 65 feet. After all, if you own a sailboat, why not sail most of the time instead of having to turn on the motor? The new boats are far simpler to operate. To jibe one person casts off the old sheet and pulls in the new one. To fly a spinnaker the old fashioned way you additionally needed 4-8 people to manage complicated spinnaker poles, pole up & down controls and afterguys. When was the last time you had 2 weeks spare time to train a large crew?

Another reason  sprit boats work better is the crew doesn’t have to fight the boat and sails downwind in strong breezes. The center of effort of the spinnaker is further forward and lower with more slope to the sail’s leading edge and with a leech that’s more open because the trailing edge never has to function as the leading edge of a symmetrical sail. All this means that: When gusts of wind hit the sail, the boat tends to become better balanced with a neutral helm; the back edge of the spinnaker opens up rather than cupping; and, the bow has a tendency to lift rather than bury. So the energy of the wind is transmitted into acceleration forward rather than a frightening round-up and knockdown. These boats make, what used to be terrifying conditions, just another great day to zip across the bay.

J World Sailing School in San Diego, San Francisco, Stockholm and Annapolis have fleets of J/80s. They claim that people are having more fun in the learning process and are advancing their skills more rapidly. In a day or so they whistle past the old salts on the bay with half the effort.

Selection of the 49er dinghy for the 2000 Olympics in Australia and the flood of sport boats with sprits under 30 feet across the planet serves very clear notice that this phenomenon is here to stay. Industry insiders estimate that over $100 million of product in terms of sprit boats and asymmetric sails have been purchased in the past few years and the trend is up.

This revolution might have happened sooner if there’d been a parallel advance in technology. Everyone knows bowsprits and big sails go back to Columbus or earlier. The SCRIMP resin infusion process dramatically improved the glass to resin ratio in composite construction, 60-70% now rather than 35-40%. Flexural, tensional and compression properties of the laminates double in strength. Weight saved in excess resin is put at the bottom of the keel in the form of lead. A Carbon fiber mast can be added to take 100’s of pounds out of the rig. Each of these steps lowers the center of gravity. A very stable boat results, which doesn’t need lots of crew on the rail or frequent reefs to sail upright. That partially explains the get-up-and-go of these new designs.

The other part is hull shape. Apart from having fuller, more buoyant bow sections to handle the increased power of the asymmetric spinnakers and to precipitate earlier surfing, a lower center of gravity reduces dependency on the need for wide, fat hulls for added form stability. A proportionally narrower hull, that slides through waves more smoothly, is more comfortable when cruising, and faster. Less motion means smoother flow of air around sails and less disturbed water flow around the hull.

The bad news is that old boat owners can only pick up about 25% of what these new boats offer. To do so, they would have to buy new asymmetric spinnakers and modify their deck layout for cockpit operated snuffer controls. They’d still lack the retractable sprit, hull form and 18″ clearance for the spinnaker halyard mast exit above the headstay to permit the snuffer to articulate with the spinnaker on a jibe.

The good news is that there’s never been a time when you’ve had a better excuse, or when it’s made such great sense, to buy a new boat.

PHRF

2011 PHRF Ratings for all J/Boat Models
May 5th, 2011

To: PHRF Handicappers

From: Rod Johnstone, Designer

Subject: 2011 PHRF Ratings for all J/Boats Models

The relative speed of various models of J/Boats in seconds per nautical mile is listed below. The table shows relative predicted speed of each model compared to one of five “control” J Boats, each in a different speed range, whose actual performance has become widely known in many PHRF areas over many years. The five “control” J Boats used in this comparison are the J/44, J/35, J/29 (Masthead outboard), J/30 and J/24. Assumptions are that:

1. Except where noted as “One Design”, each model conforms to all local PHRF definitions of an unmodified “base boat” with a base 155% genoa (depending on local regulations).

2. Maximum spinnaker size (without penalty) conforms to local PHRF regulations defining base spinnaker size, except where One Design definition of spinnaker size accompanies the speed prediction shown in the table below.

3. Wind strength averaging ten knots is used to predict relative speed. Because most J Boats have similar characteristics in different wind strengths, this is a valid way to predict speed differences versus one of the five “control” boats over a wide wind range.

4. PHRF numbers are recommended for each boat relative to the “Control” boat listed, based on two separate types of courses.

The first type of course can best be called “buoy racing” around government marks with a mix of beating, reaching and running – not always evenly mixed or even predictable from race to race.

The second type of course is Windward/leeward –usually fairly short courses around portable set marks, because most high-profile PHRF racing occurs on this type of course. Relatively heavier cruising J designs with smaller draft/displacement ratio perform poorly on such courses. Likewise, designs which fly only Asymmetric spinnakers tacked to the centerline are at a slight disadvantage downwind against boats with symmetric spinnakers flown from poles- both speed wise and tactically. If courses used for racing are strictly windward-leeward, then base PHRF handicap numbers recommended for that type of course should be used.

5. Crew Weight: Our rating recommendations for PHRF numbers for J Boat models designated as One Design do not include crew weight limits. It is assumed that PHRF crew weight limits, if any, shall apply equally to all types of boats racing in a given PHRF area, and that One design designation only applies to the boat, rig and sails. Therefore One Design Class Rules regarding crew weight should not apply when racing PHRF if these rating recommendations are used.

PHRF ratings of the five “control” J/Boats may vary somewhat from one PHRF area to another. The PHRF numbers shown are what seem to be typical for these five boats nationally. If the PHRF number shown here is different for the applicable “control” boat in your area, apply the difference to the relative rating of the J/Boat you are handicapping. For instance, if the J/35 rates 66 in your area rather than 72, as shown on the attached table, the number for the J/Boat you are rating would be six s/m less than what is shown.

Please direct questions, input, or comment on these suggested relative J Boat ratings to me at rodj@jboats.com, or tel. 860-535-3480.

Rod Johnstone

2011 PHRF Ratings for all J/Boat Models

Assumes average wind speed of 8 to 12 knots. Maximum genoa and spinnaker size conforms with PHRF norms, except where shown below. Ratings valid relative to Control Boat listed.  Crew weight maximums according to local PHRF regulations. Sprits all non-articulating.

Buoy Racing Set Marks

Boat Model

Rig & Configuration Control Boat

Special Notes

Triangular

WWD/LWD

         Rating Rating

J/145

Carbon rig J44 8.5′ sprit, rf, 256 sqm Asail

-18

-15

J/125

Carbon rig

J44

8.5′ sprit, rf, 175 sqm Asail

-3

0

J/160

Deep Draft, carbon rig

J44

7.0′ sprit, rf, 265 sqm Asail

-3

3

J/160

7′ draft, carbon rig

J44

7.0′ sprit, rf, 265 sqm Asail

3

12

J/133

Standard

J44

6.75′ sprit, rf, 186 sqm Asail

18

24

J/130

Carbon rig

J44

7.0′ sprit, rf, 200 sqm Asail

21

24

J/130

6’9″ draft, carbon rig

J44

7.0′ sprit, rf, 200 sqm Asail

27

33

J/44

One Design

CONTROL  

27

27

J/122

One-Design, Carbon rig J44 7.0′ sprit, rf, 155 sqm Asail, 110% Jib

30

33

J/124

7′ draft, carbon rig

J44

No sprit, rf, 120 sqm Asail

36

39

J/44

6.5′ shoal draft

J44

UFO keel

36

42

J/46

7.6′ draft J44 No sprit, rf, 170 sqm Asail

33

39

J/46

6.0′ shoal draft J44 No sprit, rf, 170 sqm Asail

48

54

J/111

One-design, Carbon rig

J44

8.0′ sprit, 130 sqm Asail, 106% Jib

39

42

J/90

Carbon rig

J35

7.3′ sprit, 112 sqm Asail

51

51

J/39

Aluminum rig

J35  

51

51

J/120

Carbon rig

J35

7.0′ sprit, rf, 165 sqm Asail

51

54

J/120

5.75′ shoal draft

J35

7.0′ sprit, rf, 165 sqm Asail

57

63

J/41 IOR

Aluminum rig

J35

various rig config, forward lead removed

66

66

J/37

Standard Draft, aluminum rig

J35  

69

69

J/37

5.2′ shoal draft

J35

UFO keel

84

90

J/109

PHRF base, aluminum rig J35 5.5′ sprit, rf, 155% genoa,121 sqm Asail

69

72

J/35

One Design

CONTROL   

72

72

J/109

One Design, aluminum rig J35 5.5′ sprit, rf, 108 sqm Asail

78

81

J/42

6.5′ draft, carbon rig

J35

No sprit, rf, 140 sqm Asail off bow

81

87

J/42

5.4′ draft

J35

No sprit, rf, 140 sqm Asail off bow

90

96

J/105

PHRF base, aluminum rig

J35

5.5′ sprit, rf, 89 sqm Asail

81

87

J/105

One Design

J35

100% jib, 5.5′ sprit, 89 sqm Asail

90

96

J/100

PHRF base, carbon rig

J35

No sprit, rf, 80 sqm Asail off bow

81

87

J/100

One Design, carbon rig

J35

100% jib, rf, 80 sqm Asail off bow

90

96

J/105

Shoal Draft

*******

Add 6 sec/mile to any of J105 standard versions

**

J/40

6.5′ draft, aluminum rig

J35   

84

90

J/40

5.4′ draft

J35

UFO keel

93

99

J/33

One Design

J35

  

81

81

J/36

One Design

J35  

81

84

J/110

6.0′ draft carbon rig

J35

5.5′ sprit, rf, 140 sqm Asail

93

99

J/35c

6.5′ draft aluminum rig

J35   

96

96

J/108

PHRF base, aluminum rig. 4.0′ draft, keel/centerboard

J35   1.6′ fixed sprit, 97 sqm Asail

96

102

J/92s

One Design, aluminum rig

J29MO

5.5′ sprit, rf, 85 sqm Asail

99

102

J/92

PHRF Base, aluminum rig

J29MO

5.5′ sprit, rf, 91 sqm Asail

105

108

J/95

PHRF Base, aluminum rig. 3.5′ draft, keel/centerboard

J29MO

4.6′ sprit, 83 sqm Asail

108

111

J/29 m/o

One Design

CONTROL

Masthead, outboard version

111

111

J29 f/o

One Design

J29MO

Fractional outb’d, 12.5′ SPL, 163% genoa

114

114

J29 f/o

PHRF Base

J29MO

Fractional outb’d, 11.5′ SPL,

120

120

J29

Inboard Versions    

Add 6 s/m to equivalent outboard version

  

J34c

5.4′ draft, aluminum rig

J29MO

UFO keel

114

120

J34 IOR

3/4 tonner, aluminum rig

J29MO

Inside IOR lead forward of bkhd removed

114

114

J/80

PHRF base, aluminum rig

J29MO

6.5′ sprit, rf, 65 sqm Asail

114

117

J/80

One Design, aluminum rig

J29MO

6.5′ sprit, rf, 65 sqm Asail

120

123

J/27

One Design, aluminum rig

J29MO   

120

120

J/32

6.0′ draft, aluminum rig

J30OD

No Sprit, rf, 70 sqm Asail

126

132

J/32

4.75′ draft

J30OD

No Sprit, rf, 70 sqm Asail

132

138

J/30

One Design

CONTROL

163% genoa, 12.5′ Pole, 22.5′ SMW

138

138

J/30

PHRF Base

J30OD

11.5′ pole

144

144

J/28

5.0′ draft, aluminum rig

J24OD   

171

177

J/24

One Design

CONTROL   

171

171

J/22

PHRF Base

J24OD

9.0′ SPL

177

177

J/22

One Design

J24OD

9.0′ SPL, class jib

183

183
71 Varney Point Road Gilford, NH 03249 - (603) 293-8000