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?
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
J/121 Awarded SAIL Best Boats- Performance 30 to 40 ft!
“The J/Boats team are obviously good designers and boat builders. Their record in this area stands for itself. 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."
J/121 SAILING WORLD's "Best Crossover" in 2018 Boat of the Year Awards! Simply put, the J/121 is a bucket-list boat, designed to tackle adventure-style races where it’s more about the experience than winning. Here is the commentary from Dave Reed:
"As if on cue, in the midst of our BOTY dockside briefing with J/Boats’ Jeff Johnstone, a middle-aged gentleman appears in the companionway, out of the blue. Johnstone introduces him as an owner, from Portland, Oregon, who is trading in his J/46 for a yet-to-be-built J/121. He climbs down the companionway stairs, interrupts the judging team’s Q&A session, and then promptly cites all the races he intends to enter when he takes ownership of Hull No. 14: the Swiftsure, the Oregon Offshore, the Van Isle 360, and even the Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii. Moments earlier, Johnstone had explained this very concept: The J/121 is a bucket-list boat. This guy is Exhibit A. Read more here on Sailing World BOTY site.
|Engine||29 hp||21.3 kw|
Meet the J/121
Creating the best short-handed J ever starts with a hull shape that excels on all points of sail, particularly reaching. Most classic distance races have a beat/reach/run ratio around 15%/60%/25%. Straight-line speed is the name of the game and is achieved by having a low drag, efficient hull with high form stability and exceptional balance. Add to this a highly engineered carbon rig package, an L- shaped low VCG keel, infused composite construction, and a water-ballast assist system that adds nearly 400 kilos (4 big guys) of crew weight to the rail and you have the J/121.
Versatile, Ergonomic Cockpit
A 3D jib lead system using floating trim rings allows nearly infinite placement of the jib clew (crucial for reaching) without the friction normally associated with in-hauling or out-hauling from a track-mounted jib car. Water ballast controls are cockpit led so that the on-deck crew can easily manage the transfer or dumping of the tank(s). Electric primary and secondary winches are available (and class legal) for push button trimming ease.
Spacious, Open Interior
Hi Tech Engineering & Construction
The J/121 hull plug construction was done by Symmetrix Composite Tooling in Bristol, Rhode Island. Symmetrix is the most advanced precision tooling company in New England and is carving both the J/121 hull and deck plugs using the state-of-the-art CMS Poseidon 5-axis Machining Center located within their impressive tooling facility just a few hundred yards up the road from the CCFC factory.
||software is a quantum leap forward in delivering tooling not just quickly, but also accurately. Similarly used at companies like Boeing, SpaceX, and MacDonnell Douglas, NX10 gives Symmetrix complete surface model control and simulation in either 3+2 optimized or full 5-axis machining instruction. Like Symmetrix, NX10 has been tested and used across a wide range of industries. The combination can produce outputs even seasoned craftsmen can’t achieve. Whether it’s curved composite roof columns or the exacting requirements of an America’s Cup entrant, it can achieve tolerance within millimeters over a 26 meter surface and in a fraction of the time.
Then the exciting part starts. First the steel backbone frame with foam blocking is milled to within an inch or two of the final plug surface (all milled foam is recycled, BTW) and then the plug and foam are supported by fiberglass/epoxy reinforcement, and then an epoxy milling paste is applied over the glass. The part returns to the milling machine for a second and final precision machining operation to take it to the final surface. Hand sanding to 800 grit and buffing to a mirror shine then completes the effort.
From initial steel framing construction, to precision milling operations, to the final polishing the process to build a complete mirror finish hull plug/pattern will take just 7 short weeks. Production molds will then be constructed in January at CCFC and from there J/121 project development will accelerate through the winter and into spring.
By mid-December the Symettrix team completed the hull plug, with the majority of the actual CNC 5-axis machining taking place in the "rough cut" over a 2.5 day period! Here is the amazing production video of that process, watch it here on YouTube.com:
J/121 Class & Open Course Racing
J/121 Open Course racing combines the best of distance and buoy racing and packs it into a half-day time-slot to better fit people’s time-crunched schedules. Sailors are trending towards events that offer more variety and adventure, and not just 4-leg, windward-leeward W-4 courses. Open Course doesn’t eliminate windward/leeward sailing, it simply expands it to include other points of sail on a stretched-out track that rewards navigation, weather routing and strategy as much as it does boat-handling, racing rules and tactics.
In a shift from traditional scoring, every race is 5-6 races in one, with incentives built in for great performances during the race. The overall race has its normal placings (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.), but each leg has its own elapsed time trial, providing an opportunity for any team to pick up bonus points for having won a leg, even if they happen to be deep in the fleet at the time. One leg of each race is additionally designated as the SPEED RECORD leg where the boat with the top recorded speed (as documented in the satellite GPS race tracker) is rewarded. The idea is to acknowledge and reward highlights teams have during a race - highlights that might not otherwise show up on a normal score. This incentive-based scoring system can easily be expanded in a fun way to encourage the development of other offshore skills in preparation for an upcoming signature offshore event.
Open Course racing is inspired by and tailor-made for the J/121, the newest J/Boats design that’s optimized for half the normal number of crew, and with the hull form, stability and sail plan perfectly suited for all-points, open style sailing.
The idea is to expand the typical W/L closed course racing into distance day racing with more course variety, less athletic boat-handling, and built-in scoring incentives for winning individual legs. The Open Course concept is growing and we’re currently engaging with event organizers to help introduce this format for future regattas.
J/121 Class Rules apply the best practices from years of one-design management and condensed them into an easy-to-read document that underlines the design mandate of the J/121 –a 40’ speedster that can be day raced or distance sailed by a short- handed crew.
A few highlights:
J/121 Event Schedule: