The J/70 is supposed to be more than just a new boat. Some see the first J that can be launched from a trailer at the boat ramp as nothing less than a shift in paradigm. This 23-footer is defined by a lifting keel, a large cockpit, a small cuddy, a deck-stepped carbon stick with backstay (but no runners) and a simple sail plan that includes a roller-furling jib, a bowsprit, and a masthead gennaker. It's a challenge to the Melges 24, which was introduced nearly two decades ago and re-defined the sportboat segment.
Designer Rod Johnstone's goal was to come up with a versatile boat, fast and exciting in the hands of an expert crew, but also stable and mellow enough for a casual spin with friends and family. All that with an affordable price tag and low cost of operation. “At 75 I’m no spring chicken,” he laughs. “Most people my age don’t sail any more. If I want to keep doing it, I have to design boats that are easy for me, too.”
In addition to private owners, the boat also is meant to appeal to clubs and sailing centers who want to offer a boat to their members that can satisfy a range of expectations and skill levels while being fun for all. First in line is the New York Yacht Club, which chose the J/70 for the 2012 NYYC Invitational Cup US Qualifying Series in addition to the more traditional Sonar.
The first tests of the J/70 were held in Bristol RI in early spring, near the facilities of CCF Composites, the licensed builder for the US market. J/Boats plans to start licensed production in Europe at JB Composites in Les Sables d’Olonne in France. The base price for the J/70 is listed at $40,000. Fleet pricing (starting at four boats per order) is set at $45,000 per boat, which includes sails and trailer.
For more information, visit J/Boats.
- Dieter Loibner
This story is published with kind permission of YACHT, Europe’s biggest sailing magazine.