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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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. Why is sailing so appealing to so many people? Perhaps because 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. Or maybe it's because sailing is never the same twice - each time on the water 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 even four family generations?  It is said there are two types of sailors in the world - the young and the young-at-heart.

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Fulfilling those sailing dreams starts with finding the right boat that fits you - whether you aspire to day-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. There aren't many wooden or metal tennis rackets, skis or golf clubs in use anymore. That's because newer designs that perform better and are easier to use are MORE FUN!  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 learned and designed into every "J." We invite you to explore our site to learn more!

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500+ J/70's Sailing in 2014!

J70 spin08 redThe J/70 speedster is the new "baby J" that is generating tremendous enthusiasm for a next-generation ramp- launchable keelboat. J/70 introduces a new dimension of fun, fast sailing in a stable, easy to own boat that all of your friends and family can enjoy. J/70's 22-foot long waterline with high aspect, all carbon mast and boom provides spirited performance and stability that feels like a much larger boat upwind. Off-the-wind, J/70 will simply light-up the crew with a smile! Set the masthead asymmetrical spinnaker and plane away in moderate breezes.

J/70 is already taking the world by storm-- it's the fastest keelboat class to receive ISAF International Class status in history! 19 fleets have developed in the USA alone, and Europe has fleets forming in a half-dozen countries.  Learn more about the J/70 concept here. Find out why J/70 has been generating enormous buzz in 2014-- J/70 are again setting records for class participation at Key West Race Week (60 teams), St Petersburg NOOD Regatta (28 boats), Charleston Race Week (87 teams registered), and North Americans (93 teams).  In 2013, J/70s also set records for Annapolis NOOD Regatta (49 teams) and North Americans (90 teams entered in 28 hours)! In 2014, the first J/70 Worlds will be hosted by New York YC and SailNewport and the first J/70 Europeans will be hosted by Fraglia Vela Riva on Lago di Garda, Italy in September 2014!

J/111 One-Design/ Offshore Speedster

082010BTSN 7014v22013 was another great season for J/111 one-design and offshore sailing around the world. With numerous events organized in Europe and in the USA, J/111 sailors enjoyed the camaraderie of sailing close, tactical racing around-the-buoys and in major offshore events.  Highlights again included domination by J/111s in  Chicago-Mackinac Race overall. J/111s hosted their 2013 North American Championships in Chicago in August.  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 and set your sights on the best combination of offshore and one-design racing in the world's greatest sailing areas- Cowes, Newport, La Trinite, San Francisco, Great Lakes, Harbor Springs, to name a few. The first J/111 Worlds will be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in August 2014!  Find out more about the J/111 and the one-design sailing regatta schedule here.

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