Big Fun in Small Packages: J Boats

J Boats has a new sportboat in the pipeline with a high aspect sail plan and a carbon rig package. New Boats from our September 2011 issue.

September 2, 2011
Sailing World

J Boats Sportboat

Designing a small keelboat can sometimes be more challenging than a boat twice its size, says J Boats’ Jeff Johnstone. With sportboats, especially, there is a fine line between too much horsepower, making the boat tender and frightening to novices, and too little horsepower, making it unappealing to seasoned racers more accustomed to planning. Leaning too far to one side or the other can put a short shelf life on a new design, so the parties involved with designing the 22-foot J/70 have taken their time to ensure they get it right. According to Johnstone, this new entry into the J Boat line has been a long time coming.

Much like the Boat of the Year Award-winning J/111 that debuted in 2010, the sail plan is high aspect (the sail plan was still being refined in June, but did include a square-top main, non-overlapping jib, and masthead asymmetric), and the deck-stepped rig package will be carbon.

As a first for J/Boats, the 70 will have a lifting, bulb-keel arrangement, which is a key feature allowing the boat to be ramp-launched, trailered, and stored in sailing or yacht club dry-sail facilities. In fact, says Johnstone, the J/70 is, by design, an excellent club boat. There’s an 11-foot open-transom cockpit and a small cabin to accommodate a port-a-potty, or allow someone to duck out of the weather if need be. For eventual one-design class racing, though, he envisions a three-person crew, with class rules stipulating legs-in hiking against padded lifelines.


At press time in July, production was underway at J Boats’ faculty in China, and we’re told we’ll see the first prototype sailing by November. The first container of boats is due into the United States by the spring of 2012, with an estimated sail-away price in the $45,000 range (sails and trailer included).

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