Multi-Purpose Club Racer -Sailing World Boat of the Year 1994

Last year J/Boats' J/92 walked away with the Overall BOTY honors. The J/130, a scaled-up version, has taken the best attributes of that design and packaged them with enhanced comfort and improved performance, and come up a winner as well.

When the panelists test-sailed this boat, they lined up against two all-out IMS race boats, and the comparison was impressive. Upwind and down this simply rigged 43 footer matched strides most of the time against its racing brethren, with half the crew and half the effort expended.

The comparison to its own category rivals was a more difficult task. With 12 boats entered, several panelists felt that the Multi-Purpose Club Racer group - a category that Carl Schumacher told us was "about compromise" - made for the tightest race in the entire contest. However, it was the J/130's amalgam of attributes which won the panel over and prompted Sally Lindsay to call the boat "an elegant answer to a complex compromise category."

The phrase "ease of handling" was a common theme in each judge's assessment of the J/130. Most pointed to the boat's clean, functional, and user-friendly cockpit and rig as the basis for this. Lindsay felt that, among its peers, the J/130 would be best for "intense club racing, shorthanded sailing, and coastal cruising." 

And Phil Steggall emphasized the versatility of the boat, ascribing it to the designer and builder's making "the most of modern technology in terms of sail handling and layout." He called it "truly a multi-purpose boat" at a reasonable price.

From his perch adjacent to the 54-inch wheel, Scott Graham commended the "fingertip control" of the helm upwind, and offered that the boat had "a cruisable, well-done interior layout." Ed Adams went further, saying that the boat's "racecourse potential isn't handicapped by its dual-purpose nature." Adams did caution, however, that getting so large a spinnaker back aboard at a leeward mark would by no means be child's play.

Graham summarized the panel's choice, calling the J/130's interior inviting, the cockpit comfortable, and the construction well executed. Said Graham, "It's unusual to get so much nearly dead right on a single-purpose, custom-built one-off. To do this in a multi-purpose, affordable production boat with a pleasing appearance and enjoyable, even exciting, sailing characteristics is a great achievement."


J/130: Nifty performer

By Chuck Mason/ Chris Caswell/ SAIL

Have you seen a boat that looks and sails like a racing machine, yet is aimed at the cruising market? When you step aboard this 43-footer, you'll see how these two often disparate sailing worlds can be blended into one nifty boat that displaces about 15,000 pounds.

Although I ought to begin by talking about the boat's construction, my afternoon sail off Miami in 20 knots of breeze was so much fun that the technical stuff seems a bit pale by comparison. We were marching upwind at 7-plus knots carrying a 150 percent genoa and full main, a total of some 949 square feet of sail, and we never felt overpowered. When we cracked off onto a reach, slid the 7-foot carbon-fiber sprit out of its bow housing, and hoisted the big asymmetrical spinnaker, I discovered a new definition of cruising performance.

Even in confused Gulf Stream seas, we were sailing at speeds in the 10-knot range and were walking past far bigger boats. Yet there was no strain on the 60-inch Edson wheel, and the two of us on board were able to set the chute from the foredeck snuffer and trim both sails with relative ease.

As for construction, the boat features Baltek CK57 end-grain balsa core sandwiched between vacuum bagged biaxial glass with vinylester resin on the outer hull. There's also a 10year warranty against blistering. The 8-foot, 6-inch bulbed fin keel bolts onto a deep molded hull stub; a 6foot, 6-inch shoal draft keel is an option. The hull-deck joint is bonded and through-bolted so it becomes part of the toerail.

Abovedeck, the T-shaped cockpit is spacious, with wide side decks and well-placed coamings for the Lewmar 58 self-tailing winches. All lines are led aft, so all sails can be handled from the cockpit. The tapered Hall Spars triple-spreader section is supported by Navtec rod rigging.

Belowdeck, the J/130 is bright and airy, with lots of off-white Formica and teak trim. The galley to starboard features an Origo alcohol stove/oven, Formica counters, and a 6-cubic-foot icebox. Forward, there is a pair of settees with pilot berths outboard and a folding table. An enclosed head and shower can open into the spacious double berth and settee forward or aft into the main saloon.

Our test boat had an optional aft full-headroom stateroom, with a double berth, on the port side; the nav station is moved forward. There are two options for the forward nav station. In one, the navigator sits on a main settee; the other is an outboard-facing station, with a swing-out seat. Standard auxiliary power comes from a three-cylinder Yanmar 47-horsepower diesel with a Martec folding prop.

The J/130 debuted last October, and, no surprise here, there are lots of orders in hand. If you're a sailor who hates to give up performance to get nice cruising accommodations, put the well-equipped J/130, on your short list of boats to consider.


On-Board The J/130

By Sven Donaldson/ Pacific Yachting 1996

The J/130's combination of outstanding sail-carrying power and ease of handling for small crews translates into seemingly effortless speed.

This year's Southern Straits Classic attracted an unusually impressive assortment of high-end racing yachts. Conditions ranged from light to gale-force, and many competitors had hairy tales to tell afterward. But when the dust settled, the fastest boat on corrected time (and one of the quickest outright) was a stock J/130 from California called Break 'N Wind. The 43' production boat, sailing at a PHRF rating of 40, romped through the fleet in the windy conditions Friday night, impressing everyone with its apparently effortless speed.

Yet in contrast with more race-oriented competitors, the J/130 has exceptional cruising credentials. The cockpit offers bench seating and vast lockers; the interior is well suited to extended live aboard use at sea and in port. But what really makes it outstanding is its spectacular performance in shorthanded cruising mode-a breakthrough made possible by evolutionary developments in fiberglass construction, rigs and sail-handling gear.

When it was introduced three years ago, the 43' J/130 became the flagship of J/ Boats' new "decimeter series" which then consisted of the 33' J/105 and the 30' J/92. These two designs were high-performance sport boats with unabashedly spartan interiors. Their chief claim to fame was the novel concept of an asymmetrical spinnaker flown from a bowsprit-a feature previously associated only with radical Aussie 18' skiffs and high-performance multihulls.

Compared to a conventional spinnaker, the asymmetrical is almost laughably easy to gybe, and because its center of effort is so far forward, the boat is much less likely to round up uncontrollably when overpowered. Designer Rod Johnstone felt these features made the asymmetrical a "natural" for a serious cruising boat.

Asymmetrical chutes work best on boats suited to "tacking" downwind with the apparent wind well forward: lightweight hulls with long waterlines. The J/130 is notably long and slender, with the beam and displacement of a typical modem 36-footer but extended to almost 43'. The feature most responsible for the boat's outstanding stability and sail carrying power is an extremely low center of gravity. The standard high-aspect bulb-type lead keel draws a whopping 8' 6". (Break 'N Wind's keel is a shallower 6' 11" option.)

The hull/deck structure is exceptionally light thanks to high-quality, balsa-cored laminates produced by state-of-the-art resin-infusion molding technology. In the J/130 (and numerous other boats), J Boats' construction sub-contractor TPI Composites, Inc. uses a technique known as SCRIMP. Stacked, unidirectional reinforcing materials and balsa coring are positioned in the mold, covered with plastic film, and put under high vacuum before resin is introduced. A carefully calculated amount of catalyzed resin is introduced through ports in the mold so that it progressively "wets out" everything from one end of the part to the other. Done right, the result is a high-fibre-ratio cored panel which is essentially defect-free and considerably stronger than most hand-laid panels. The quality shows in thumping around on the deck of the J/130; it's a light boat that feels as solid as the proverbial rock.

The die-hard traditionalist might feel the J/130 lacks enough overhang fore and aft to be genuinely un-holier But everyone else will probably agree it's a lovely boat. Lean and low, with a bit more spring to its sheer and rake to its mast than commonly seen these days, the J/130 looks the part of a thoroughbred-a boat meant to sail, first and foremost.RIG A triple-spreader, "near masthead" fractional rig is supported by rod rigging. The rig geometry represents a nice compromise between reliable simplicity (checkstays but no runners) and high performance. The asymmetrical spinnaker is flown from the masthead, 18" above the hounds. Its tack is secured to the end of a carbon-fibre "J/Sprit" that retracts 7' into the forward cabin when not in use. The sprit passes though a big self-draining anchor locker with a gasket at each end-a system that appears to keep water outside .

In most respects, the deck layout is a conventional, proven arrangement. Twin jib leads can be adjusted from the cockpit under load. The Harken genoa furler features a removable drum for racing. A solid vang is standard, and the boom-end mainsheet/traveler system is first-rate.

With this boat's excellent light-air speed under sail, the 47hp Yanmar auxiliary may not get used much, but it's capable of driving the boat at around 9kts.

Having established a reputation for straightforward "sailors' boats," the Johnstones have steered clear of selling on the basis of fancy or unusual interiors. The J/130 is a case in point, with a classic aft-galley, forward-head layout, settee in the main cabin, and hinged pilot berths port and starboard. The interior is built up primarily from pre-finished, balsa-cored panels with just enough teak accents to avoid a sterile look. Fit and finish is workmanlike.

The galley features big double sinks, hot/cold pressure water, a Force 10 propane stove with oven, and generous stowage. The head compartment-one of the few parts of the boat incorporating a molded fiberglass liner-offers hot showers and easy maintenance, including easy access to all plumbing.

There's a generous nav station to port that can be either forward-facing (with the standard double quarter-berth arrangement) or side-loading (with the optional aft stateroom). A huge locker to starboard can be accessed from the cockpit or via a door behind the galley. Several large overhead hatches supply light and ventilation.

In a short-lived 8-10 kt easterly during an otherwise near-windless weekend, I got a vivid impression of the J/130's speed while I tried to stay within photo range aboard my own 30' cruising sailboat. This is one cruising sailboat with the potential for really fast passages (7kts-plus) in our typically light summer breezes without often resorting to engine power. As the Straits result suggests, it also shines in strong winds.

Jibes were accomplished with a minimum of fuss-turn the wheel, let one sheet go and haul in the other until the spinnaker refills. For short-handed sailing, a good snuffer system would help tame the giant asymmetrical.

Thanks to the legendary marketing prowess of the Johnstones (plus a little help from the equally famous Melges family and the '92 America's Cup), the asymmetrical concept has quickly achieved mainstream status in high performance keelboat racing. But the J/130 is notable as perhaps the first full-sized production sailboat to apply the race-bred concept to a primarily cruising mission. Ten years from now, I wouldn't be surprised if most new family sailboats have a lot in common with the J/130. The interior is built up primarily from balsa-cored panels, with enough teak accents to warm things up. Break 'N Wind has optional dark green Ultra-suede upholstery.


J/130: Passes True Offshore Test

By Peter Metcalf-

I had the opportunity to sail on the new J-130, not on an afternoon demo-sail on Chesapeake Bay, but a 2000 mile delivery to her new home in Puerto Del Rey, Puerto Rico. As much as my crew and I were looking forward to the trip, a winter departure from Annapolis is not the sort of thing a delivery crew would wish for. A gale ridden delivery from New York to Tortola still fresh in our minds, and the recent misfortunes of several boats and crew, served to remind us that sailing in these latitudes at this time of year is not something to be taken lightly.

Two friends with extensive offshore experience signed on for the trip. I have sailed over 10,000 miles with each of them and together this was our fifth trip as a crew. When something needs doing there's little discussion necessary and we all sleep well when another is on watch.

Clyde Muller sailed throughout the seventies as mate on large schooners, motorsailers, and even a few motoryachts. During this period he found time for deliveries as well as sailing his own 26' wooden sloop from New England to the Virgin Islands via Bermuda, and back. He has for the past twelve years been managing his own business and raising two daughters with his wife, Jamie, who sailed with him on many of these previous adventures.

Brian Wood, now a builder in Ludlow, Vermont, grew-up on the coast racing dinghies, including 505's, racing in the local handicap fleet, and cruising New England waters. Moving inland to go to college and getting into motorcycle racing kept him away from boats for awhile, but he soon began cruising again as well as sailing an occasional offshore passage.

Since 1974, I've logged over 90,000 miles offshore, many on boats going to the bareboat trade in the Caribbean, some on vintage wooden vessels and contemporary one-offs, and the rest on moderate racer/cruiser types. My experience with powerful lightweight boats was limited to inshore and buoy racing, so sailing the J-130 offshore was to be a unique experience for all of us.

Fast passages are always a joy and we were told the 130 was going to provide some fast sailing. The speed factor played well for us as we were able to avoid the worst of one weather system and take the best advantage of another.

Early January saw a sub-tropical jet stream entrenched across the southern third of the country. Low pressure formed in the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico traveled along this path off the Carolina coasts and past Cape Hatteras. It seemed there was always an area of low pressure lurking around the coast and though some were less well developed, others were moderate gales, and each had that uncanny potential to quickly become a full blown Hatteras Storm". We had no desire to be in the area on such an occasion, and hoped to get a 48 hour window in which to cover the 240 miles to Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras, and get west towards Beaufort, our first safe inlet south of the Chesapeake.

During the days prior to our Friday arrival in Annapolis, Jerry O'Neill, the new owner, and I, talked, made lists, and shopped, long distance, for everything from anchors to zincs. By midday Sunday the boat was fully fitted out with safety gear, spares and provisions. We'd been over her from stem to stern and masthead, to keel bolts, checking every nut, bolt, hose clamp, and wire we could get at. With everything stowed and pages of lists checked off, the only thing keeping us tied to the dock was a weather forecast; and, over coffee at a local pub where we turned up the weather channel, it became apparent we'd gotten our first break. The light southerlies of that day would veer SW and build ahead of an advancing cold front, continuing to clock through the NW and finally to the NE as high pressure built to the north of us. It appeared our window had opened and we decided it was time to head.

Getting underway at 1800, we hoped to be around Hatteras by midnight Monday. As the wind came around to the NW at 20-25 kts it appeared this would be an easy matter with our SOG climbing to nine knots; with two reefs in the main and half the 135% jib rolled out! By 0930 Monday we were over the Bridge-Tunnel and with the wind now east of north we had a fine angle to sail down the coast to Diamond Shoals. Though the seas began to build in the open fetch the Autohelm 3000 continued to drive effortlessly . We'd gained our sea legs over night and found ourselves kicked back and really enjoying the sail. The ability to cruise at nine knots with so little sail was a joy. Nothing seemed loaded up: no creaking or groaning blocks and sheets, and the deep heavy bulb made for pleasant, easy motion.

Through the remainder of the day the breeze built slightly and went further to the NE. The forecast for Tuesday called for NE 30-35 kts in the area of Cape Hatteras and we were thankful for the opportunity to turn the corner and get west before things kicked up. And then, with the sun going down, the Coast Guard reported an EPIRB signal in the area of Diamond Shoals. Though this turned out to be a false alarm, it had the effect of a good ghost story around the campfire.

As we approached the shoals, the breeze freshened some more and the seas began to get a bit churned up. Since we would have to jibe soon, we dropped the main to make the job that much easier and added jib to keep our speed up. This made life easier on the auto-pilot as well. Finally, at midnight, we jibed just south of the shoals and with the apparent wind around 160 and the seas very confused, we decided to shutdown the auto-pilot and drive, the first time we'd done so since leaving Annapolis Harbor. We'd sailed off into some current and our SOG dropped to below 8 kts. 

Though we may have done better to dig for the beach and jibe back out to Lookout Shoals, we held forth to our rhumb line and soon enough got out of the current. As dawn broke, with the wind now steady at 30kts, our speed was back up to nearly 10kts with just two-thirds of the jib out.  Then the puffs started, and with these puffs came the first of some wildly exhilarating rides. With the sail area we had out, 32kts of wind provided the horsepower necessary to make her break loose. Clyde was driving when what began as a surge down the face of a wave, became a thunderous plane. As motion and sound below became distinctly different, l looked up from the chart table to see an expression on his face that said "what the hell is happening" He started reading off boat speed as it climbed to 15kts and stayed there. The puff finally passed and she dropped off the plane. Brian rolled over in his bunk, mumbled something about being on a subway, and fell back to sleep.

Throughout the day we had gusts to 35+kts, each providing another carnival ride as we planed up the back sides of 15 foot waves, always wary of what we would find on the other side. We came to know this as the "runaway train mode", which we felt to be appropriate because she handled like she was on rails. By sunset the breeze had moderated to a steady 25kts and we went back to the auto-pilot. We were able to cook and eat a very civilized dinner at 8+kts and still sailing with only part of the jib, we completed a 24 hour run of 228 miles.

Early Wednesday morning, we jibed off Charleston to head south for Cape Canaveral. The wind went through the east during the day and by midnight, off St. Augustine, it was squally at 35kts from the southeast. We chose to heave-to until the squalls moderated at sunrise, when with the main close-hauled, we motor-sailed past Canaveral into very light winds and on to Riviera Beach where we arrived 4 days and 21 hours after leaving Annapolis. Considering our easy manner of sailing, and having been hove-to for five hours, we felt this was respectable time for the 900 mile route.

It was quite a weekend, with the owner, the designer, the broker, and the sailmaker, plus various friends, all flying in to meet the boat. On the schedule was a haul out and final inspection of the vessel, test sailing for the new suit of racing sails, and official closing of the deal. We checked-off a couple more lists of "Things to Do" and "Things to Get" and by Sunday night, having stowed another mini-van load of gear on board, and said goodbye to everyone, found ourselves, once again, watching and waiting on the weather.

Strong SE winds kept us from leaving Monday, but by Tuesday morning, the wind was SW at 20-25 kts with a very strong cold front moving slowly across northern Florida. Again we had been dealt the best possible weather for a departure and the faster-we-went, the longer-we-could ride the front east.

With our trademark double reef tied in and a minimal amount of jib, we set out across the Gulf Stream, tracking squarely across the max current and then hardening up for the south side of the NW Providence Channel. With the apparent wind at 110 to 130, we hit 12 and 13 kts with the wind speed around 25. Stemming some current all the while kept our SOG at around 9. The sail past Great Sturrip and Abaco became an unexciting downwind run with a couple jibes, yet we covered 200 miles in the first 24 hours, most of it against some current.

The best sustained average speed came over a four hour period the second night out. The front had caught up to us and the wind went NW gusting to 40. The runaway train hit 17 kts that night, maybe more; on the wildest rides the spray was so thick you couldn't see the compass let alone the instruments. We put 46 miles behind us in 4 hours. After the initial push, the breeze slowly moderated and veered, allowing us to make our easting and bear away as it finally came east. As it moderated, we added jib and shook reefs as necessary, to keep our speed at 8 kts, yet making it easy on the auto-pilot. The unstated goal had been to arrive in home for the Super Bowl and it looked as though we were going to make it! Close reaching in 8 kts of breeze, finally with full sail and still going 8 kts, we rounded Cabo de San Juan just before sunset on Sunday and were at the dock five days and nine hours after leaving Riviera Beach.

All three of us came away impressed with the J/130's capabilities. Had we been willing to work harder, she could have sailed a lot faster. Had the breeze been lighter, there was plenty of horsepower in reserve. She easily sailed up to maximum displacement speed without being loaded up, and with her ease of handling and tracking ability, a quadrant mounted auto-pilot would have had an easy time of driving, even under planing conditions.

But most impressive are the final numbers themselves. We had sailed a total of approximately 2000 miles in 10 days and 5 hours, (5 hours hove-to). That's about as simple as math gets, and I certainly look forward to the next time I average 10 consecutive 200 mile days in a 42 foot boat.

And finally, two appropriately understated quotes from the crew: "You know, l've never sailed on anything like this before..." CM and "This is quite some boat." BW. I never really tried to put it in words.


Sailing for Life in Better Sailboats

Sailing is the ultimate freedom, the experience of being at one with nature and the sea, powered only by the wind and one's imagination. It's one of the few "life sports" that offers both a relaxing escape as well as an invigorating challenge. You pick your level of comfort and excitement. Sailing is never the same twice - each time on the water with your sailboat is a unique adventure that can enrich friendships, strengthen family ties, and refresh one's own sense of well-being. How many other outdoor activities can be shared with three or more family generations?  It's been said there are two types of sailors in the world - the young and the young-at-heart.

What a Difference a J Makes

Fulfilling those sailing dreams starts with finding a sailboat that fits you - whether you aspire to sail close to home, cruise to distant shores, or take up the challenge of competitive sailing. Performance differences between sailboats are greater than differences between golf clubs, tennis rackets, skis or cars. A well-designed sailboat, like a good sports car, is an extension of its owner. It could take years of sailing other boats to learn the difference that good design and quality make to one's sailing enjoyment. Or, you can save time and take advantage of what we've designed into every "J."

J/121 Offshore Speedster for 5 or fewer Crew

J/121 offshore speedster sailing off Newport The J/121 is a 40’ offshore speedster that can be day raced or distance sailed by just 5 or fewer crew…. the best short-handed J ever…. capable of winning on any race track while also excelling in daysailing and weekend mode. J/121 redefines offshore sailboat racing as a recreation and shared adventure with friends - fulfilling the growing need to simplify life and reconnect with those you really want to sail with on a boat that’s pure magic to sail. Learn more about J/121 here.

Elegance, Comfort & Style- J/112E

J112E 01 19986J/112E is the newest “E” Series of sport-cruising yachts.  An Evolution of Elegant performance cruising design. This dual- purpose 36 footer has a spacious two-cabin layout and a roomy, comfortable,  cockpit.  Perfect for the annual club cruise, offshore racing or short-handed blue-water sailing.  Learn about J/112E here.

A Family-friendly One-Design & Daysailer - J/88

J88 SolarSailer cockpit 001 18209The J/88 combines big boat feel with sportsboat- like acceleration.  Add a weekend interior, inboard head, engine and huge cockpit and you have a versatile 29 footer.  Blistering upwind speed of 6.5 kts and trailblazing speed offshore means smiles all around as you collect both the silverware and priceless sailing memories. Learn more about J/88 here.

J/99 - Offshore Shorthanded Speedster

J70upwind 1117 665 400 80J/99 is the newest offshore speedster. It combines headroom and comfortable interior accommodation with the tiller-driven response of a sport boat. The sail and deck plan are optimized for easy handling with fewer crew, and incorporate the latest developments from the award-winning J/121 and the new Offshore Sailing World champion J/112E. Learn more about J/99 here.

J/70 - The Sportboat Changing Sailing

J70upwind 1117 665 400 80The J/70 speedster is a fun, fast, stable, 22 footer that can be towed behind a small SUV and ramped launched and rigged by two people.  J/70 sails upwind like her larger sibling (the J/80) and off the wind she simply flies - planing fast in moderate winds. With 1,400+ boats delivered worldwide, the choice is clear. Learn more about J/70 here.

J/Sailing Calendar 2020

JGear marquee 2018The Perfect Gift For People Who Love Sailing!
For 2020 we've created another beautiful calendar for J sailors who love the joys of sailing a J in some of the most spectacular harbors and waters of the world.  Whether you are a cruising, racing or armchair sailor, these stunning sailboat photographs will transport you to wonderful sailing experiences in far away places. 

The 2020 sailing calendar features photos of J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/99, J/111s, J/121, and J/122 sailing in some of the worlds most popular waters; such as Newport, Palma Mallorca, St Barths, Chicago, Chile, Switzerland, Torquay, Valle de Bravo, and Lago di Garda. A great gift for loved ones, family, friends and crew (see gallery here). Order your 2020 J/Calendar today!

Upcoming Sailing Events

Oct 11-12- J/80 Copa de Espana- Coruna, Spain
Oct 17-20- J/88 North American Championship- Rye, New York
Oct 18-20- J/105 Masters Regatta- San Diego, CA
Oct 19-26- J/24 World Championship- Coconut Grove, FL
Oct 19- Rolex Middle Sea Race- Gzira, Malta
Oct 25-27- J/24 East Coast Championship- Annapolis, MD
Oct 25-27- J/Fest Southwest- Lakewood, TX
Oct 25-27- J/105 Lipton Cup Regatta- San Diego, CA
Nov 1-4- French J/80 Championship- La Rochelle, France

Better Sailboats for People Who Love Sailing