Hatching a One-Design
Hatching a One-Design
With its slick new 36-footer, J Boats says they’ve come up with the right boat at the right time. Tech Review from our June 2010 issue
In February, J Boats’ new “one-eleven,” was merely an assemblage of planed core panels, cutouts, and wooden stringers, but the boat was already a viable one-design class. On the drawings and concept alone, said its president Jeff Johnstone, 20 owners had opened their checkbooks and taken their place in line. This, of course, was a very good thing in a very bad economy, and Johnstone was outwardly smitten as he showed off the 36-footer taking shape at Custom Composites in Bristol, R.I. When later asked if the J/111 was meant to replace the similarly sized and conceptualized J/105—the original production sprit boat—Johnstone chuckled. “I don’t think anything could ever replace the 105, and there are a lot of 105 owners who also believe that, but this, the 111, is essentially a 105 on steroids.”
The 111, according to Stuart Johnstone, got its start from discussions with one devout J Boat owner (one of the earliest J/24 owners) from Lake Minnetonka, Minn. Looking to upgrade from his J/100, he wanted something with headroom (which the 105 lacks), and the sort of weekend accommodations found on the bigger Js. He also wanted a boat that could sail a tight groove upwind and a boat that would have the power to get up on a plane downwind. “We wanted something that wasn’t over-canvassed,” says Stuart, “and we didn’t want the cheese-wedge hull shape common to offshore boats today.”
With Alan Johnstone spearheading the design, the 111 germinated for two years before emerging as what Stuart describes as “a mash-up between the J/125 and the J/105.”
“Al came to a sweet-looking hull,” he says. “This is a boat in the purest sense of the word. It’s the ultimate sailing boat at 36 feet long.”
OK, so he’s biased, but he adds that there is some historical precedence to the 111’s June 2010 launch: at the outset of each of the past three decades, J Boats has launched three of their most popular models: the 109 in 2000, the 105 in 1990, and the J/35 in 1980.