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
Owners that bought into the aggressively priced first batch of 15 boats ($250,000), will also get their hands on the first nano-tube enhanced carbon-fiber spars from Halls Spars. Although Hall Spars is still “refining the laminate,” says Stuart, he likes the numbers he’s seeing from the mast builder: “We are getting a mast that has a 2-foot lower VCG [vertical center of gravity] than an aluminum rig. The nano-tube rigs will be a first in the production sailboat industry, and J Boats will have them exclusively . . . for a year at least.”
So what of this notion of it as a 105 on steroids? To this point, Stuart agrees as well, citing the mast is a no-joke 56-foot rig, 6 feet taller than that of the 105. Using their materials-efficicient “SCRIMP” infusion technique, it’s expected to be comparatively lighter than the 105, and the keel, a hollow stainless steel fin with lead L-shaped bulb, has allowed them to put weight where it’s most effective: 7-feet under the boat. The interior is intentionally simple and functional, with a standard nav station, galley, berths, and enclosed head. The finished forepeak is an option, but really, when did wet spinnakers and bricked jibs ever need a comfortable berth?
On deck, too, don’t expect any surprises. There are four winches, and all the control lines are lead where you’d expect them to be. The cockpit seats are on the shorter side, like the 105, so not everyone in the cockpit team will be clamoring over seats with every tack. The mainsheet traveler is floor mounted, and there’s a big 60-inch wheel (stainless being standard), which we’ll assume is big enough to place the driver outboard.
The 111’s sailplan is all about high-aspect cuts, including the spinnakers: there will be 100-percent jibs (heavy and light), mainsail, and two kites (reacher and runner). With there being one-design aspirations for the boat, says Stuart, owners can expect class sail-inventory limitations to be put into place once the class rules are established. Initially, the 111’s rules will mirror those of the 105s and 109s.
As of this writing, Stuart Johnstone says they’re facing the “good problem” of staying on top of their production-line demands. He reports two-dozen boats have been ordered thus far and two U.S. fleet deals, of six or more boats each, are “in the works.” As many as 15, he says, will be finished by the end of this year.
Back to the question of whether the 111 has the chops to displace the 105, it’s safe to say, “not likely,” and that too, is a good problem for J Boats. No matter how, or if, the 111 turns out to be successful, the 105, for the time being, remains the quintessential introductory boat to displacement sprit-boat racing: the fleets are active and inexpensive used boats are traded with regularity. But for longtime J/105 owners, I suspect, the 111 is a long time coming—something they can upgrade to without much of a leap. If there’s one thing to be said about J Boats’ success over the years, it’s their ability to keep their owners in the family. It is, after all, a family business.