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We have a mooring in Boston harbor. We’ve concluded for a one-design to be viable in the harbor:

1, Has to have bottom paint as the norm: moored boat can’t be competing with dry sailed Boats.

2. Needs deck cleats for mooring (Melges 24 was a PITA to get hooked up).

3. Needs USCG legal running lights: from late July on you are returning in twilight or dark.

4. Needs a motor to get out to the course and back: starting line might be 5-7 miles away. 

The J/80 has a few other advantages:

1. There are already several in the harbor, racing PHRF.

2. Cost and crew requirements are relatively low. There is active J/105 OD in the area but they aren’t readily trailerable.

3. Decent supply in the Northeast.

Most of the boats seem to have been built 94-04. Any builds to shy away from? 

We note some later hulls were made in France. Is that good, or bad?

Any problem areas? Moisture intrusion into the balsa core seems a common problem. We understand the shroud bases are just drilled through the cored deck.

What are they really selling for? Asking prices seem sky-high: 50% more than the boat owners we’ve spoken with paid. 

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I really like the French built ones. Owned an early TPI one, or whatever they called themselves, but then, years later, this sexy French model showed up with a split vang, moulded in winch pads, new mast config... Really nice looking well thought out boat. They were fast too. If I was in the market for one today, I would seek out a French model. 

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Early US boats had a Hall spar that was really bendy. The 1st J Europe boats to hit the US were Hull 397-410 and had sparcraft masts and booms. They brought them in for the Worlds in Newport. I personally like the French hulls a bit better but US boats still can be competitive.  With any boat, check the keel sump and bolts. If you are just beer can cruising and racing, I suggest epoxy barrier coat and bottom paint. Also, keep the main on slides on the mast and get a beater jib and sock. 2 minutes off the dock to full sail. 

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I owned one of each (Hull 45 TPI built and Hull 406 French built).  Aside from hull 45 losing her keel and sinking (long story - search the archives) it was a good boat when I owned it.  The French boats have a superior build in most ways: molded in toerails, foot braces and winch islands, shorter stanchions and pulpits, properly framed windows that don't leak, and clear coat anodized spars instead of painted.  Performance-wise they did not seem to be any faster but I have been out of the class for a long time so things may have changed.

I think the J-80 is a great boat that does many things well and would have been awesome with carbon spars to enhance performance and simplify trailering.

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