Simple to Sail, Easy-to-Cruise, IRC/One-Design Workhorse

Find out why hundreds of J/109 sailors simply “love” their boats. Perhaps one of the best racer/cruisers J/Boats ever built? History and time will tell. The record so far speaks for itself. Well-sailed, the J/109 is difficult to beat under any handicap system- PHRF, IRC, ORC/ORR. In One-Design sailing, you simply learn how to sail faster, you have no limit to how well you can do. So, when you do go handicap sailing, practice pays!

J/109 features the popular carbon fiber retractable bowsprit and asymmetric spinnaker system and a cruisable 2-cabin interior layout with standing headroom. She is designed with a very low VCG, long waterline, and generous sail plan with the horse power for competitive racing and stability for relaxed cruising when the racing crew is not aboard. The J/109 is stable, easy to sail, and a proven performance boat. There is interior volume and amenities necessary for comfortable cruising and a great dual purpose deck layout. In short, a 35 footer that gives you the ultimate in sailing flexibility- cruising, racing, day-sailing or weekending with family and friends.

The sleek profile and generous sailplan give one an immediate sense of the speed potential of the J/109. The hull profile reveals a long waterline, low wetted surface and a low VCG fin keel (7’), designed for excellent stability when sailing short-handed.



Today, J/109s are actively raced in offshore long-distance races around the world, including Australia, Hong Kong, Caribbean, America, Europe and the Mediterranean and have won either their class or overall trophies in just about every major offshore event.


In addition to extraordinary success sailing the offshore classics, the J/109s enjoy tremendous one-design competition, especially in France (SPI Ouest), England (on the Solent at class events and Cowes Week) and America (Chicago/Great Lakes, Annapolis/Chesapeake Bay, New England/ Long Island Sound).


The interior is European style with two private sleeping cabins and an option for a pull-out double in the large main cabin. The “L” shaped galley includes a double sink, two burner propane stove and a pressure water system. The nav station is a large sit-down forward-facing console with abundant space for instrument displays. The head is conveniently located aft near the companionway, providing easy access from the cockpit while underway.

Articles & Review


By Scot Tempesta

Many have tried; most have failed in the quest to build a right and proper racer/cruiser. While there are a few bright exceptions, most fall disappointingly short in one category or the other. Of course, the category where most of them fail is as a racer. The main culprits can often be narrowed down to these unfortunate characteristics: Too heavy, poor layout, small cockpits, and weak sail plans.

I had the chance to test sail one of the latest entrants into the R/C arena, the new J-109, courtesy of Jeff Trask and the So Cal J-Boat Dealer, Sail California (www.sailcal.com). In typical fashion, J-Boats have done a good job, through their national advertising, in presenting this boat as a very attractive product, so I must admit I already liked the boat, at least in pictures, before I had actually seen it. I guess that advertising stuff really works.

We sailed out of Newport Beach, and upon first seeing the boat, my initial thought was that it is a handsome, well-proportioned, modern-looking boat. Stylistically, while still clearly a J-Boat, the 109 exhibits a slightly more progressive look than previous efforts. It is worth noting that this design was a collaboration of Rod Johnstone and son Alan, with Alan assuming the lead chair. At a touch over 35′, the first impression is that it is a big boat, with a good sized cockpit, long but low cabin house, big rig, sprit, almost plumb bow, and enough freeboard to tell you there is going to be plenty of room below. While the stern section is not substantially different from, for example, the J-120, it is not quite as squatty and did not seem to drag like some (all) J-Boats do. A subtle difference. The cockpit had a pretty slick removable “dockbox” locker just aft of the helmsman – a pretty neat way to quickly go from cruise to race, at least a little bit. The 109 has plenty of high-quality standard equipment; (including Harken winches, adjustable genoa tracks, and RF unit), folding prop. Just in case you forget that it is a racer/cruiser, it even comes with a dodger!


By Tony Bessinger

Are you tired of losing races and having lousy cruises with your not-so-dual-purpose boat? Worried about being the first (and last) buyer of a “promising” class that doesn’t quite pan out? Take the fear out of commitment and look at the J/109, a 35-footer that joins the short list of accomplished production-built racer/cruisers.

If you haven’t actually seen the J/109 yet, you’re probably wondering how it stacks up with a stablemate that’s nearly the same length, the J/105. “The two boats appeal to different people,” says designer Alan Johnstone. “The 109 is 12 years newer, faster, and is more comfortable for cruising. The 105 is for people who live close to where they keep their boat.” Compared to the 105, the 109 has overlapping headsails and more interior volume, the result of the larger boat’s initial target market. “This boat was originally designed for the European market,” says Jeff Johnstone of J Boats. “The demand there is for a boat that sails well, can comfortably handle a crew living aboard for weekend regattas, and does reasonably well under IRC and IMS.” Reasonably well might be an understatement; the 109 has scored big in Europe since its introduction in 1999, winning the Rolex Middle Sea Race and Cowes Week.

The J/109 is a tad over 35 feet long, and weighs 10,900 pounds empty. It has a purposeful, racy style, with an almost vertical bow above a waterline-kissing knuckle, and an open stern. The deckhouse is low and long and helps give the boat an overall pleasing look. A carbon sprit housed in a self-draining tube peeks out of the hull just below deckline on the starboard side. The aluminum rig is tall without being freakish, and sports a sailplan that carries a 155-percent jib and an asymmetric runner that, at 1,291 square feet, shouldn’t scare you half to death in a breeze. For windier days, J Boats suggests a flatter, 968-square-foot reaching spinnaker. Total sail area upwind is a healthy 644 square feet.

One-Design Class

There are currently 350 J/109s sailing in fifteen countries worldwide, with large J/109 fleets existing in North America and Europe. In North America, fleets exist in San Diego/ Los Angeles, Chesapeake/ Annapolis, Long Island Sound, Lake Michigan/ Chicago. In Europe, fleets exist in England/ The Solent, Ireland, Netherlands/ Belgium, France/ Bay of Biscay. If your looking for a great class to get involved in, look no further than this popular racer-cruiser- the J/109. Go to the International J/109 Class website for more info.

J/109 Class Association Highlights:

Established in 1996
10 North American Championships and 8 European Championships since 1996
Actively Maintained Class Website: www.j109.org

J/109 Class Association Links

United Kingdom/ Ireland
USA/ Canada

J/109 Tuning Guide Links

Doyle Sails
Elvstrom Sails
North Sails
Quantum Sails

Tech Specs

Tech Specs

  •   ft/lb m/kg
  • LOA 35.25 10.75
  • LWL 30.50 9.30
  • Beam 11.50 3.51
  • Standard Draft 7.00 2.10
  • Standard Ballast 3,900 1,769
  • Displacement 10,900 4,944
  • Diesel Aux. Engine 28 hp 28 hp
  • 100% SA 644 59.80
  • I 46.50 14.17
  • ISP 49.60 15.11
  • J 13.30 4.05
  • P 43.25 13.18
  • E 15.50 4.72
  • SA/Dspl 21 21
  • Dspl/L 172 172

Hull & Deck Construction

Baltek Contourkore end grained balsa composite construction using biaxal and unidirectional glass with vinylester resin on the outer hull layer for 10 year warranty against hull blisters.
Patented “SCRIMP” resin infusion system moulding process for optimum laminate strength.
Off-white deck with a high traction non-skid.
White hull. Single tapered gel coat integrated double boot stripe.
Foredeck and helmsman moulded toe rails.
Large bow locker with laminated watertight forward collision bulkhead.
Large cockpit storage locker on starboard.
Propane bottle storage.
Moulded stern platform with removable swimming ladder.
Moulded spray shield with dodger storage and companionway instrument pod.
GRP moulded structural bulkhead bonded to hull and deck.
All intermediate bulkheads glassed to hull and deck for stiffness.
Heavy-duty fibreglass floor stringer grid infused into hull, including mast and chain plate structure.

Keel & Rudder

Low VCG Keel of cast lead with antimony bolted and bonded to deep molded stub with sump.
Balanced high aspect spade rudder construction using biaxal and unidirectional glass and large diameter anodised aluminium stock mounted in self-aligning bearings.
Aluminium wheel with natural leather grip on custom moulded pedestal with compass, brake and stainless guard.
Emergency tiller.

Spars & Rigging

Tapered aluminium mast with double airfoil spreader clear anodised.
Continuous Rod rigging (Nitronic 50).
Integral hydraulic backstay adjuster.
Boom with internal outhaul 8:1 purchase system, mainsail reef line sheaves, main sheet and rigid vang tangs.
Headsail furling system.
Retractable carbon fiber bowsprit with seal.
Solid boom vang with cascade purchase system.
Complete running rigging package

Deck Hardware

Self-tailing primary winches.
Self-tailing halyard winches.
lock-in winch handles.
2 PVC handle holders.
Mainsheet purchase with fine tune.
Adjustable mainsheet traveller with 4:1 purchase led to a cleat on both sides.
Adjustable genoa and jib tracks with 4:1 car controls led to cleats by coach roof.
Cockpit foot blocks for genoa sheets.
Spinnaker sheet blocks on U-bolts.
Tack block on pad-eye at bowsprit end.
5 halyard/reef turning blocks.
Halyards lead aft through 2 quadruple organizers and 4 rope clutches on each side of companionway.
Tack line led aft to rope clutch on starboard side of coach roof.
Bowsprit control line leading to a cam cleat on aft of coach roof bulkhead.
2 bow mooring cleats.
2 stern mooring cleats.
Stem head fitting.
Custom s/s stem plate with tack fitting, removable anchor roller.
S/S chain plates for shrouds and backstay.
Foredeck opening hatch (500 x 500) with vent.
Opening hatch (450 x 320) over main saloon.
4 fixed ports (630 x 170) on saloon coach roof sides.
2 opening ports (304 x 155) for aft cabin and toilet compartment.
1 opening port (350 x 170) in cockpit (aft cabin).
1 vent above head area.
3 line bags.
2 s/s handrails on coach roof.
S/S pushpit and pulpit .
Double s/s lifelines, 8 stainless stanchions, 4 with reinforcing leg.
Plexi-glass companionway washboards with lock and ventilation grid.
Door storage rack in cockpit locker.
Flag staff holder.

Auxiliary Power

Volvo D1-30 diesel 30 HP with Saildrive, 115 AH alternator, with double diode and fresh water-cooling with heat exchanger.
Engine panel recessed in the cockpit with plexi-glass protection including rev. counter, hour meter and alarms for oil pressure, low voltage and water temperature.
85 litres (18.5 gallons) fuel tank under aft cabin berth.
Sound insulated engine compartment, ventilation pipes to the transom.
2 bladed folding propeller


Manual bilge pump in cockpit.
Automatic/manual electric bilge pump with float switch.
Pressurized water system.
1 water tank (96 litres) under starboard berth in saloon.
Ice box drain
Marine toilet
80 AH house battery and 70 AH engine start battery with switches and double diode/circuit breaker.
12V electric panel with fuel gauge and voltmeter.
Halogen lights on ceilings and swivelling tulip lights in cabins.
Ceiling light in head
Light in cockpit locker
Navigation lights on pushpit and pulpit, steaming light and mooring light.
Rig grounded for protection against lightning.


Interior built using wood, laminated or solid. All wooden parts are varnished or laminated with white Formica. Cabin sole in plywood laminated with wood effect Formica.
Vinyl lined ceilings throughout, but main saloon which has moulded slats on hull sides.


Large hanging locker on port side, storage on starboard.
Forward large double v-berth with storage underneath.
Shelve above berth on port side.
Access door to saloon.


Settee/berths to starboard and port side with lift up pilot berths both sides.
Water tank under starboard berth.
Table with drop leafs and bottle storage in the centerline.
Large storage lockers behind backrests.
S/s hand rail on ceiling.

GALLEY (on port side)

Gimballed Propane stove with oven and 2 burners.
S/S double sink.
Pressurized cold water.
Large 90 litres moulded icebox/fridge with 12 volt compressor.
Full length locker outboard of galley countertop.
Cold moulded fiddles around the edge of the countertop.
Storage under sink with shelf and space for trash bin.

CHART TABLE (on starboard side)

Large chart table facing forward with:
Charts storage under table lid
Locker under chart table
Vinyl Nav. Seat cushion with backrest
Large hinged instruments panel, outboard, with electrical panel.

AFT CABIN (on port side)

Access door to saloon
Large hanging locker
Changing seat
Double berth
Access panel to engine
Fuel tank under berth

AFT HEAD (on starboard side)

Access door to saloon
Integral 2nd moulding for easy maintenance with integral shower tray, sink, access to valves and toilet support shelf.
Pressurised cold water
Marine toilet
Mirror, toilet roll holder and towel rail
Vanity unit
Shower grating
Access door to cockpit storage
Holding Tank


White Formica finish for better wear resistance.
Steps with angled treads between bulkheads.
Handrails integrated in bulkheads.
Main engine access through lifting panel.
Open locker


Electric windlass
Removable Dock Box
Two Tone Deck
Four bookshelves and cupboards in lieu of hinged backrests.
Opening ports in the aft face of coach roof
Opening ports in the main cabin
Pull out berth in the main cabin
Wood main bulkhead and wood hull linings in front cabin
5.75’ Shoal Draft Keel
Additional capacity service battery for a total of 150 AH
Boot stripe in color other than grey
Cushion color other than standard grey


Specifications are subject to change prior to delivery due to deletions, additions or revisions in quantities, brand or design at the sole discretion of J/Boats, Inc. Newport, RI


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