J133 Key West 05 906

The J/133: A Breeze to Sail

The J/133 is Sailing World's Overall Boat of the Year 2004

November 7, 2003- by Chuck Allen

The new 43-footer from J/Boats is quite simply a breeze to sail. We tested the J/133 in 15 knots of wind with six people on board and were able to handle it with ease. From sailing upwind, fully hiked, to pulling off a bunch of jibes in a row, we never missed a beat.

The first thing that pops out when stepping aboard the J/133 is the deck layout. You expect a 43-footer to have lines running all over, but the 133 has has the simplest of plans; the two halyard winches are forward, just aft of the mast, and their placement makes a ton of sense. No lines for the crew to trip on when crossing the cabin house from side to side, a nice feature. There’s plenty of room to walk around the shrouds while heading to the bow for takedowns, jibes or anchoring. The cockpit seems a little small when you first see it, but after going through the full workout, we discovered that it’s quite accommodating. The only things not high on my list were that the wheel was a touch undersized when standing up to drive, and the mainsheet sometimes hung up on its winches through jibes—but they’re in the perfect location for short-handed sailing (the driver can steer from a sitting position and trim the main at the same time). Overall the cockpit is set up nicely for crossover spin sheets and cross sheeting if you need to do this while racing; everything seems to be led cleanly.

Need to get below quickly? It’s not a problem; the companionway is the best of all the boats that we reviewed. The J/133 has a sturdy and safe platform to operate on; you have the room to maneuver yet there’s a feeling of security while heeling over under sail. Down below your eyes are drawn to the cherry wood throughout the cabin, which has a nice finish. The J-shaped galley to starboard and the nav station to port both have ideal setups for offshore sailing-whether you’re racing to Bermuda or cruising to Maine. There’s plenty of room for entertaining and dozing off. The interior of the J/133 is a 9 out of 10, but could be more up to speed in the areas of light fixtures and the electrical panel—areas where the European boats we reviewed have some really cool products installed.   


Sailing the J/133 is easy and a ton of fun. I always start off boat tests with the stop-and-go drill, to see how the boat will handle in a starting-line scenario. It wasn’t a problem to go from full speed to a complete stop, holding in the luffing position for a while, sheeting in and getting up to full speed again. The 133 has remarkable acceleration for a boat of its size, and great feel. Upwind is much the same, we had it locked in at 7.6 to 7.9 knots upwind, and you had to really work to get it to fall out of the groove. The rudder never really stalled out, even when bearing off sheeted in with 15 knots-this is a good thing. The 133 has real nice follow through while tacking, getting back up to targets in just seconds, critical if you have one of those "must tack two to three times off the line" bad starts. I like to run the 360 degree turn maneuver to simulate hitting a mark, the 133 cut the mustard by turning inside itself, meaning within a boat-length.

Downwind is even better than upwind— the kite is huge. It takes a while to ring the bell (get the sail fully hoisted) but when you do, look out! The kite fills and the boat takes off, jumping into the 10- to 12-knot range quickly. It has a nice groove to drive to, with the speeds holding steady, and will definitely surf in waves, which well help you obtain the "go low" numbers we all look for when driving down with asymmetric spinnakers. Jibing may be trickier than the hoist, as with all asymmetric spinnaker boats. During our test sail, we were able to pull off jibes with ease; but as on any asym boat this will be the maneuver you’ll need to practice the most, besides the takedown.

The J/133 is my pick for the 2004 Sailing World BOTY. It seems a bit on the pricey side, but considering what you get it really isn’t: Hall Spars carbon mast and bowsprit, North 3DL sails, asymmetric spinnakers, and the well known J Boats Customer Service Policy. This boat seems like a perfect step-up boat for those J/105 and J/109 owners already in the family.

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J70 spin08 redThe J/70 speedster is the new 23 ft. "baby J", the next-generation ramp- launchable keelboat. J/70 introduces a new dimension of fun, fast sailing in a stable, easy to own boat that friends and family can enjoy.  J/70's high aspect, all carbon rig provides spirited performance and stability that feels like a much larger boat upwind. Off-the-wind, J/70 simply lights up the crew with a smile! Set the masthead asymmetrical spinnaker and plane away in moderate breezes.  With 900+ boats delivered, the choice is clear.  J/70 sailing has taken the world by storm-- it's the fastest keelboat class to receive ISAF International Class status in history, with over 20 fleets worldwide. Learn more about the J/70 concept here.

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IntroducedJ88 SolarSailer sailing 003 18212 in the fall of 2015, the electric J/88 Oceanvolt model establishes new standards for ultra-quiet, low-maintenance, eco-friendly performance for sailboats.  Hop onto your boat and power away from your mooring (or dock) in peace and quiet to enjoy a beautiful day of sailing on the water. Featuring a 15 hp electric motor and 7.1 kW of battery power, you have a "no wind" range of 20nm.  Or, extend your range to 50-60nm by going "solar sailing"!  Recharging takes places using the sun, the wind, the grid or hydro-electric regeneration from the propeller!  Learn more about this revolutionary J/88 Oceanvolt concept here.

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082010BTSN 7014v2J/111's continue to win major events in offshore racing as well as enjoy strong one-design competition- with 110 boats delivered!  As a class, two World Championships have taken place in Cowes, England and Newport, RI. In addition, one-design fleets in the Solent, The Hague, La Rochelle, New England, Chesapeake Bay, Lake Michigan and San Francisco provide spirited competition.  The J/111 Midwinters at Key West Race Week take place for the third time in  2016.  The next J/111 North Americans will be on the Great Lakes again.  J/111's have established a remarkable sailing record offshore. Learn more about this versatile, easy-to-sail, offshore racer-cruiser and, more importantly, join in on the fun!

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