NEW J/121: A 40’ Offshore Speedster for 5 or fewer Crew

The new J/121 (pronounced 1-2-1) 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. Here’s a boat, class and program that redefines sailboat racing as a recreation and shared adventure with friends, reducing the focus on specialization and athletic short-course W/L racing. The J/121 fulfills 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.

Why a New 40 Footer?

Sailing continues to adapt to the rapidly changing demographics, technology and social trends of an ever more hectic world. As our lives become more fast-paced so does the need to escape from the time constraints, pressures and burdens. “Always on, always connected” is leading the drive to “get away” to a place that can nourish and recharge the soul. Nowhere is that more evident than the extraordinary growth of adventure travel, providing people a much needed outlet through outdoor, shared experiences with others.

The challenge is trying to align 8-10 people onto the same schedule. This obstacle alone is impacting keelboat racing participation across the board in most areas. Just as technology is making it easier to sail, the over-reliance on crew is making it more complicated. Two of the positive growth areas in sailing today are one-design class racing in trailerable boats, and short-handed day racing and fun point to point events. The global success of the new J/70 is a direct result of pent-up demand for an affordable one-design with a pre-planned circuit and easy entry. The travel and event logistics for four people are infinitely easier than that of 8-10. For those sailing larger keelboats, it’s the charity pursuit races and day distance events like San Francisco’s Three Bridge Fiasco that are becoming increasingly popular. And it’s no surprise why. These events pack a lot of sailing fun and adventure into more acceptable, smaller doses that require less practice and time to manage.

The J/121 is designed with both of these trends in mind. Imagine a fleet of high- performance, offshore-capable speedsters sprinting along point-to-point, around- the-island, and adventure-style races with half the normal crew size, with owners enjoying a “dream circuit” of events that tie into regional “classic” races that everyone aspires to sail in.

Now is the Time

The J/121 is the answer for those seeking a boat that offers compelling performance with less crew, all-around sailing versatility, low maintenance, and is fully ocean capable to be delivered on its own bottom anywhere. The J/121 is a return to the shared adventure, sail-with-friends style of sailing and racing that’s more memorable and meaningful than the specialized, athletic W/L racing that’s succeeded mostly in establishing a pecking order that’s impossible to crack. This design hits all the hot buttons for J/sailors, but will appeal to new entrants to the sport who are drawn to turnkey adventure sailing with a pre-planned event schedule and readily available event support only the J/Network can provide.

J/121 Awarded SAIL Best Boats- Performance!
(Boston, MA)- SAIL Magazine has announced the winners of SAIL’s 2018 Best Boats Awards. If there’s one word that sums up the Best Boats Class of 2018, it would have to be “performance.” The boat review team at SAIL magazine determined the new J/121 offshore speedster was SAIL’s choice for Best Boats- Performance 30 to 40 feet. Here is their commentary:

“The J/Boats team are obviously good designers and boat builders. Their record in this area stands for itself.

However, ever since the advent of Rod Johnstone’s iconic J/24 in 1977, they have also shown an uncanny ability to discern what exactly it is sailors are looking for in their next boat: think the J/105 and its then cutting-edge retracting bowsprit in 1991, or the phenomenon that is the J/70 sportboat- eclipsing all other similar designs to date- in just four years!

The latest in this long line of outside-the-box designs is the new 40 foot J/121, a boat specifically tailored to appeal to skippers who are 1) tired of having to round up eight to 10 people to go racing and 2) are looking for something other the usual windward-leeward “sausage” courses that now dominate inshore racing.

To this end, the boat carries a “five-sail” rig that includes a main, jib and removable staysail (like the IMOCA 60 class), to make shifting gears with a crew of as little as five a snap, whether sailing inshore or off soundings. (A Code 0 or A-sail—sails #4 and 5—can be flown off the boat’s retractable sprit). To keep the boat on its feet, designer Al Johnstone has also included an easy-to-use water ballast system that can shift 104 gallons of water (880 lbs. worth) from side-to-side; the equivalent of four bodies worth of rail meat that’ll never call in sick or have scheduling conflicts.

With respect to promoting innovative, fun racing, J/Boats is championing something called “Open Course” racing- middle distance events that offer the best of both inshore and distance events (think the famous Three-Bridge Fiasco regatta on San Francisco Bay). The boat would also be perfect for shorthanded offshore racing, whether it be a shorter event like the Ida Lewis distance race or the Marblehead-Halifax. Oh, and did we mention the boat sails like a dream and is a stunner to boot? A winner in every sense of the word.”