Rod Johnstone has given us another J Boat, the J/35c, aimed at the dual-purpose market with cruising comfort treated with as much respect as racing potential. This seems a sensible approach. I am very much in favor of racing and, in fact, I don't think you can properly learn to sail without racing.

A J/35c sails off the wind.

A J/35c sails off the wind.

I could tell you stories you wouldn't believe about seasoned cruising sailors and how they sailed their boats. But, just because you've sailed to Tahiti doesn't mean you did it right. Racing teaches us how to get the most out of our boats with the very least amount of effort. It teaches that reefing increases performance in some conditions and is not just a survival technique. Until you cross that starting line, bows lined up and fighting for clean air, you will not truly learn how to make your boat go to weather.

I also like to see beginning sailors put themselves into boats that will give them room to improve their abilities. You can learn to sail in a lug-rigged pram, but you will not hone your sailhandling skills beyond the lug rig's very limited potential. Racing breeds good seamanship.

The new J/35c is the perfect vessel for the racer/cruiser. The hull form is pure J with short ends, well distributed beam and ultra clean lines. Both rudder and keel are big in planform and, with the deep draft model at 6 feet 5 inches, this boat will go to weather well. This new 35 is not a derivative of the old and super-successful J/35. With the crew in the cockpit and not on the rail, the new design is aimed at performance. The D/L ratio is 195, which should give the new 35 a nice feeling of power.

The sail plan shows swept spreaders with chainplates on the main bulkhead and the mast stepped in the head area. The J dimension is a short 13.2 feet and the I is 46.2. The SA/D ratio is 19.17. This gives the new 35 plenty of power for racing and a big enough basic rig to perform well while cruising with small headsails. Hang a 110 percent jib on the headstay, a fully-battened main with lazyjacks on the mast and a barbecue on the stern pulpit and you are ready for some serious cruising.

The interior layout is a minor variation on basic layout A, but we know that this layout works and, more importantly, is quite versatile. The chart table faces aft so the naviguesser can talk to the person on the helm. The head is accessible from either the main cabin or the V-berth stateroom.

On deck the J people have again given us a sailor's boat with the gear carefully laid out for efficiency. There is room forward of the cockpit-mounted traveler for a small dodger. I noticed that the general lines of this design are a little nicer than previous J designs. There is slightly more spring to the sheer and the cabintrunk complements the hull nicely. The photo of the boat at anchor reveals a handsome boat by any standard. It may be another plain white sloop, but it's a darn good-looking one.

We could argue 'till the Henry's ran out over the merits of the J/35s as an offshore cruising boat, but I don't think J Boats offers this particular model as an offshore cruising boat.

My cruising comes in snatches away from the office, my wife's classroom and the kids' sports activities. I suspect that most of you are in a similar situation. Next weekend it's the good ol' boys on board for a quick 35-miler around the Sound. With this in mind, the new 35 looks good.

Boat Specifications
Draft Deep6.4'
Displacement11,800 lbs.
Ballast4,300 lbs.
Sail Area621 sq. ft.
AuxiliaryWesterbeke 30B3
Fuel21 gals.
Water65 gals.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.