Varan

Buying a used J70? (Please convince me not too)

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Out of the blue, some regular racers in our area are moving to J70s. Maybe it's time to give up the J24 :ph34r:. Our local Melges fleet is gone, same with the U20. The FE23 was a sweet sailing boat, but sticky in summer's fickle light winds. I like the narrowness of the 70, but the club foot keel and winches make me want to vomit.

That being said, y'all got any measured, class legal ones for sale? 

I know.. Move it to JA, it is not a sportie. Fuck it.

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Not to sound funny but perhaps focus on what the key goal is.   Melges 24s for example while great boats are typically not as new as the J70.

So for example, if someone had 40k to spend, it would buy a nice (but older) Melges, while in the J70, you would be getting a nearly new/few year old boat.

Is the j24 still raced locally with a decent OD class size and is OD class racing locally the goal?  Not to sound like a politician, but focus on the goal (to own a newer boat, to own whatever has the most local OD racing, to own the fastest/"best" boat of the three for example?).  Depending on the priority will probably shape your answer.  FWIW I have a j24 and like it primarily for cost reasons (low initial cost, etc) although there is no OD racing here and from that standpoint the M24 is the clear winner in this locale.

YMMV and just my 2 cents.

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It's all about OD. Each year, our j24 fleet gets smaller. The M24s, U20s, Vipers are all gone (except one viper and one U20 who don't race locally except maybe once per year). J24 fleet is down to six regulars. J70 fleet is at two, with another confirmed and one maybe. Others have expressed interest now that boats can be found for under 40. I agree, that in that price range, the m24 has so much more to offer. All are way easier to travel with than the j24.  Prudent thing to do is wait another year and how thing develop. Never been good at waiting.

Something else we should consider is the formation of a SMS rated sportsboat class the could include the V640, U24, J70s, FE23 and maybe the U20 we have at our club.

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I think you pretty much have probably answered your own question and hit the nail on the head in all categories/thoughts.  The J24 can't have too much carrying cost (initial cost, maintenance, etc) so for now hold and wait and see how it plays out.  The J70 class looks like it has some potential for club level stuff in the sense that 1-hull numbers are now in 4 digits, could be wrong but I think like 13-1400ish and I think perhaps room to get to 1600ish in the next few years.  If so, the available pool for used boats could be potentially nearly double what the M24 is. 2-So you have a few strategies here, one, like you say try and come up with sort of a sportboat "run what ya brung" class. Two perhaps try and regrow the J24 class.  I realize that they are never going to be as sexy/new/updated a boat as either the M24 or J70, but, and this is a big but,  they are very low cost boats to buy with hull numbers in the 5500's/large available pool of inexpensive boats and as such it may be easier to attract newbies to the class with a low cost to enter.  Suspect too that the J70 class at the moment has a fair number of people in it who are willing to travel a good distant for regatta's with the ensuing expenses (motel, gas, meals, entry fee, etc) and as these road warriors leave the class, perhaps there will be some trickle down of boats congregating to the lower level/weekend warrior type budgets.  Either way I think you have it spot on and figured out.  Good luck, fun choices/problems to have.

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Is this the Seattle area, you are talking about?

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I dunno   M24 is a hard boat to beat OD.  They all are actually.     Sounds like you and some buddies need to sit down and get a group together...

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On 2/4/2018 at 8:24 PM, Roleur said:

Is this the Seattle area, you are talking about?

No, Seattle has a thriving J24 fleet. We travel there when we can.

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14 hours ago, Zaney said:

I dunno   M24 is a hard boat to beat OD.  They all are actually.     Sounds like you and some buddies need to sit down and get a group together...

Totally agree, on all points.

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Call me biased but...

I'm in Sydney Australia and have owned a J70 for 3 years.  I have fun on the water EVERY weekend and with a max crew of 4 and the ability to win PHS races in a mixed fleet with only 2 on deck up to 12-15kts, and hanging on at 18kts SOG in bigger breezes with smiles on everyone's face...I love it!!!  Ticks all the boxes for me...price, safe, solid, carbon mast and boom, easy set up for trailering, simple but quality systems, fastest growing OD in the world, etc, etc.  Even more fun with very close OD racing with other J70's on Sydney Harbour.  You know you want to...just do it!

M24 much lighter keel to displacement and more sail plan, so much faster.  Main issue for the other M24's at our club is getting the 5-7 crew you need every week to sail it competitively.  No box ticked there.

Keep asking questions and the light will go on for you eventually.  Good luck Varan!

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Varan, we tried SMS for a couple of years at our club in Vermont. It was smoother to use PHRF, and I compiled a bunch of data.

PHRF%20Sportboat%20Matrix.pdf

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8 hours ago, Streetwise said:

Varan, we tried SMS for a couple of years at our club in Vermont. It was smoother to use PHRF, and I compiled a bunch of data.

PHRF%20Sportboat%20Matrix.pdf

Yes, I followed your posts. You were the inspiration for wanting to give SMS a try here. Thanks for the info.

 

8 hours ago, Toe.Knee said:

Call me biased but...

I'm in Sydney Australia and have owned a J70 for 3 years.  I have fun on the water EVERY weekend and with a max crew of 4 and the ability to win PHS races in a mixed fleet with only 2 on deck up to 12-15kts, and hanging on at 18kts SOG in bigger breezes with smiles on everyone's face...I love it!!!  Ticks all the boxes for me...price, safe, solid, carbon mast and boom, easy set up for trailering, simple but quality systems, fastest growing OD in the world, etc, etc.  Even more fun with very close OD racing with other J70's on Sydney Harbour.  You know you want to...just do it!

M24 much lighter keel to displacement and more sail plan, so much faster.  Main issue for the other M24's at our club is getting the 5-7 crew you need every week to sail it competitively.  No box ticked there.

Keep asking questions and the light will go on for you eventually.  Good luck Varan!

Nice to read some positive feedback, thanks. Around here, 70s tend to sail with 3, 80s and M24s with 4. Crew size isn't an issue. For me it's more about OD, ease of traveling and of course, budget.

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Is there another new OD fleet out there with as many boats, that is still growing?

There are other new sport boats that are faster, are more technical, more athletic, etc.  None have reached the success/critical mass that the J/70 has reached.  Demo'd an early one.  It was a quality piece of work.  If I was looking for an OD in that size, the J/70 is a no-brainer.  How many will be on the line at Charleston Race Week this year?  How many of the next closest OD?

Last year there were 73 J-70s.  20 J-24s, 21 Melges 24s

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On 2/16/2018 at 5:44 PM, Gracious said:

You can lease them now 3 year lease

Linky? Local fleet now at three with a couple more serious types interested. Been asked to trim on one which is probably a good idea before buying. Still hard to go from a sportie.to the 70, but damn, I love OD. So, if you know of a good class legal one coming up for sale, please keep me in mind. Thank you!

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My feedback as a former J70 co-owner.

When you are buying a boat I think it is more important to define your budget in terms of annual running cost than initial entry cost. Part of the annual running cost is depreciation but one positive experience with the J70 is that there was a ready market when it came time for us to sell.  I have seen owners stuck with J24s as the class downsized and either couldnt sell them or had to virtually give them away. For the North East, the Rochester worlds was a swan song for several J24 owners. We dont see much OD sailing in J24s around here any more and I remember 100 boat starts in Newport.

The running cost of the J70 was quite reasonable with one unfortunate exception (more on that later). Sails , maintenance etc was not significantly different than older boats of a similar size including a J24.  Dry sailing is now the norm in OD sailing here and you have to budget for that.

The J70 was fine to sail. ( You mention light air and I should say that it can be a little sticky in light air.)  We have a very strong Viper fleet in the North East and that was an alternative I seriously considered. I enjoyed the Viper feel a lot but my husband wanted something that was a little more sedate. So we went for the J70 and had fun with it. The one design racing is very strong and there are some good regattas to travel to.  The boat is well made. It provides a good tactical experience. The "after burners" was a bit of an exaggeration, it does not really light up downwind but it is a lot faster and easier downwind in breeze than a J24. You will need a strong middleman, the forces load up in breeze.  If you are going to trim, you will notice it. We felt we had a good experience and the boat was what it was represented to be.  If you previously owned a sportie, you should look at the J70 as a fast keel boat (modern J24) rather than a sport boat.

The one disappointment was the lack of amateur racing. Most of the racing in the J70 is traveling to regattas. We found that the vast majority of teams at these regattas including paid pros on the boat. This is very different from the J24 racing. Even in its heyday, the J24 would only have a few sailmaker teams at the front battling it out for sail reputations but the rest of us were racing on a level amateur playing field. In the J70, the amateurs are in the minority and we got a bit tired of that.  If you are going to include a paid pro in your budget then obviously the running costs increase significantly and there will be less room on the boat for friends and family.

 

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On 2/11/2018 at 1:46 AM, Toe.Knee said:

Call me biased but...

I'm in Sydney Australia and have owned a J70 for 3 years.  I have fun on the water EVERY weekend and with a max crew of 4 and the ability to win PHS races in a mixed fleet with only 2 on deck up to 12-15kts, and hanging on at 18kts SOG in bigger breezes with smiles on everyone's face...I love it!!!  Ticks all the boxes for me...price, safe, solid, carbon mast and boom, easy set up for trailering, simple but quality systems, fastest growing OD in the world, etc, etc.  Even more fun with very close OD racing with other J70's on Sydney Harbour.  You know you want to...just do it!

M24 much lighter keel to displacement and more sail plan, so much faster.  Main issue for the other M24's at our club is getting the 5-7 crew you need every week to sail it competitively.  No box ticked there.

Keep asking questions and the light will go on for you eventually.  Good luck Varan!

5-7 crew?????? Not sure about that. 3 or 4 plus skipper. Anymore than 5 people gets too crowed and in light wind, you will just sit there. Melges 24 can be sailed with 3-4 crew even in heavy wind. 

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7 hours ago, EYESAILOR said:

My feedback as a former J70 co-owner.

When you are buying a boat I think it is more important to define your budget in terms of annual running cost than initial entry cost. Part of the annual running cost is depreciation but one positive experience with the J70 is that there was a ready market when it came time for us to sell.  I have seen owners stuck with J24s as the class downsized and either couldnt sell them or had to virtually give them away. For the North East, the Rochester worlds was a swan song for several J24 owners. We dont see much OD sailing in J24s around here any more and I remember 100 boat starts in Newport.

The running cost of the J70 was quite reasonable with one unfortunate exception (more on that later). Sails , maintenance etc was not significantly different than older boats of a similar size including a J24.  Dry sailing is now the norm in OD sailing here and you have to budget for that.

The J70 was fine to sail. ( You mention light air and I should say that it can be a little sticky in light air.)  We have a very strong Viper fleet in the North East and that was an alternative I seriously considered. I enjoyed the Viper feel a lot but my husband wanted something that was a little more sedate. So we went for the J70 and had fun with it. The one design racing is very strong and there are some good regattas to travel to.  The boat is well made. It provides a good tactical experience. The "after burners" was a bit of an exaggeration, it does not really light up downwind but it is a lot faster and easier downwind in breeze than a J24. You will need a strong middleman, the forces load up in breeze.  If you are going to trim, you will notice it. We felt we had a good experience and the boat was what it was represented to be.  If you previously owned a sportie, you should look at the J70 as a fast keel boat (modern J24) rather than a sport boat.

The one disappointment was the lack of amateur racing. Most of the racing in the J70 is traveling to regattas. We found that the vast majority of teams at these regattas including paid pros on the boat. This is very different from the J24 racing. Even in its heyday, the J24 would only have a few sailmaker teams at the front battling it out for sail reputations but the rest of us were racing on a level amateur playing field. In the J70, the amateurs are in the minority and we got a bit tired of that.  If you are going to include a paid pro in your budget then obviously the running costs increase significantly and there will be less room on the boat for friends and family.

 

Excellent feedback, thank you so much. Owned a J80 for a number of years, then after sailing an old Bennett Viper years ago, I caught the sportsboat bug, sold the 80, but later got bit by the OD bug, so now back to the J24. If I had my way, we would all be sailing Melges 24s. Still love that boat, but interest here is elsewhere. J70 is starting to get traction, especially with older sailors, but cost may have something to do with that. I view it as a scaled down 80 more than a sportie, but I'm surprised to hear you say it is sticky in light air. As narrow as it is, I would not have expected that.

On the plus side, this mini dump truck (as we affectionately referred to the 80) is way easier to travel with, and the interested parties here are all into traveling. Personally don't mind pros as long as the are not assholes. Good advice is always welcome.

Thanks again. Appreciated.

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Agree on Melges 24. Its an enduring classic sport boat.  We demoed and contemplated the Melges 20 which is also a nice boat.. but we perceived that as a racing scene very dominated by pros.  We are a family and friends group who can do well against other friends but we all have jobs and careers so we cant match the time on the water skills of full time sailors. Its fine. As you mentioned, it is always good to get advice......but remember a paid pro is not being paid to share his advice with other boats. If a pro brings a tuning edge to a boat, the owner who paid him will understandably get a bit snotty if the pro shares that advice with boats who didnt pay for the advice.  That said, we found that some owners in the J70 class were very happy to share their wisdom.  Sailmakers were also a great help.

I do think that critical mass and a vibrancy to the class is important if you enjoy OD racing. It was why the J24 was a lot of fun in its day and why the J70 is a good choice today.  J Boats do a great job in building critical mass.

Interesting that you had a Viper in the early days. If we had gone a different direction, I think it might have been that boat. As a helm, it was a boat I liked a lot. It had "passion".

In my opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect boat. There is always a bit of compromise. The best compromise for OD racing is a fun group of people and an active thriving class. The J70 was a good choice for us for our needs at the time.. 

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It should be noted that the J/70 class has really tried hard to reward amateur teams with corinthian awards and even the Corinthian North Americans event (we sailed in 2016 at Eastport and are doing Fort Worth this year).  The Quantum Winter Series is a great event.  Lots of boats, great R/C work, and the club does an exceptional job of running the event.  Charleston will be the biggest event this year other than maybe the Worlds in Marblehead.

All of that said, I dont know how long the class can support the fully pro'd up teams.

Oh and the link for the J/70 lease - https://docklinecapital.com/

MS

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The Viper Class takes a sort of unique approach to pro sailors. They're welcome to sail, but you can't pay them. So you see guys like Zeke Horowitz (2017 Viper World Champ) racing for North, and Brad Boston racing for Doyle-Boston (many time Viper NA Champ), but they're racing with their mates for fun, as well as for the glory and bragging/selling rights for their sails. So they are VERY open with set-up, tuning and strategic advice. More like the old days of the J/24. This weekend at Annapolis NOOD, Zeke led a post-race debrief along with Jackson Benvenuto (also North, 2017 Viper NA Champ) for the Viper fleet, even though they were racing J/22s that day. They put the top 3 skippers up and questioned them about set-up and speed, adding in their experience. You also see pros like Geoff Ewenson sailing with his wife, though she won without him as he was off being paid to race on a Pac52.

I'm a Cat 3 because I sail with people I've sold Vipers to. I sailed with my 18 y.o. daughter in Annapolis and a recently retired Navy commander who owned a Viper in 1997 and wants back in now. He hadn't been on a sailboat in 15 years. We had a blast as he shook the rust off. Stamped our authority on 8th place! (of 9). LOL But we may soon be bumping the Annapolis fleet up to 12 boats from 9, which will be a tipping point we expect. One of those switching from the J/70 fleet, and one from 5o5.

It's all about what you're looking for in a Class, it's as much about the people and the culture as the boat. Though the boat should be fun to sail, even when you're coming in next to last!

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If you think the sailmaker teams are not paid to race, then you must be on medical marijuana.

When North Sails entered a team in the J24 class, they were employees paid to be there. When they were at J70 regattas they were paid to be there. Sorry, but I bet they are not on unpaid vacation time when they are at Viper regattas. 

Nothing wrong with that. But I don't see the distinction with sailmaker teams at J70 regattas. They are there to sell sails. They give helpful de briefs and they also do that in the J70 class. It's their job and it sells sails.

You wax nostalgic about the J24 days, but all the major J24 regattas were won by sailmaking teams doing their job. 

Sounds like the sailmakers win their fair share of Viper regattas. 

 

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The sailmakers are beatable with all amateur teams.  We are Exhibit A on that from last weekend.  

I don't care if sailmakers are there as part of their job.  If they have pro friends on the boat, they aren't being paid because they can't be under class rules.  Vipers have a very different culture on that end. 

There are a lot of reasons we sail Vipers and not J70s.  Vipers are more fun to sail (and I hate reading about how a J70 is "more sedate" - the Viper is not a hard boat to sail, and there is significantly harder tuning involved to get up to speed in a J70 than a Viper.  The Viper is an easy boat to sail well and it's not a scary boat to sail.  20 knots of wind is 20 knots of wind no matter what class you're sailing in.  

The biggest issue for us in not getting a J70 is cost and ease of transport.  I sail J70s with friends from time to time.  The quality of the racing is fine, but even for local stuff it's become a very expensive boat to prepare and campaign.  Apparently there is now unlimited hull and foil fairing after years of debate over bottom prep, bottom paint, etc.  No holds barred now - that's an expensive speedshop job, and you'll have to do it if you want to compete.  No hull or rudder fairing involved in Vipers, and only very limited keel fairing that it seems like most boats have yet to do.  Only one set of sails allowed per year in Vipers.  No limits in 70s.  My friends who are running mostly regional campaigns are still getting 2 or more sets per year to stay competitive.  They also need to own a truck or similarly beefy car to move the boat around.  I tow my Viper with a Subaru Outback, which wouldn't be able to tow a J70.  

None of this involves ripping on the people or the competition - there are good people and fast sailors in both classes, but the Vipers have managed their class rules much better over the years to create a game that I want to play, whereas the 70s have not.  

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Hi WPB,

We owned a J70.  We had a great time with it and made a lot of friends.   You correctly identify some of the reasons why it was not hard to move on.  I think you can read that between the lines in some of my previous posts. But I dont want to diminish that we had a lot of fun and have no regrets.

I have also demoed a Viper, very early on (at the Stonnington demo), soon after Rondar relaunched the class. I loved the feel of driving the Viper. IMHO, it is still the most pleasing boat in its category to sail.  Eventually, we went a different direction because I like to sail with my husband and he wanted something with a hood on top!  I have been on the Viper twice since my original demo and it remains a thrilling boat that is remarkably easy and comfortable to sail.  As a class , you have done a lot of things right. Including incidentally, I see women helms in the results and a lot of women crewing.

My last post was really just calling BS on the Rondar rep when he intimated that sailmakers were unpaid at Viper regattas...there for fun and ...somehow playing a different role than they do at J70 regattas.  Hey, prove me wrong....I look forward to reading about Zeke H crewing with his good mate on a  back of the fleet Viper with Doyle Sails :)    Maybe I am sensitive after seeing what unfolded in the J70 class. You have a great culture in the Viper class. Be careful to protect that culture as more sailmakers start appearing. 

If sailmakers are there for the fun and to help encourage/coach others, and not to market sails by winning the regattas...then you should ask them if they want to draw straws to see which boats they sail on. When I suggested that in the J70 class, it went down like a lead balloon.

 

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Eye,

 

I'm not sure that's a fair ask for any sailmaker to sail on a boat with sails he didn't have a hand in making/selling/designing.  The drawing straws idea is creative, but I would never want to put those guys in that position where they end up looking at other sails and critiquing the design vs. just helping an existing person get more out of their existing sails.  The North and Doyle guys in Vipers have been very generous in giving clinics though and don't discriminate with video / photo / other analysis based on labels on cloth.  And I've definitely seen folks from North, Doyle and Ullman sail on boats they don't own that are not at the front of the fleet, but they are at least using their sails, and the owners aren't paying them to be there - just depends if it fits into their schedule and if you ask nicely.  I've been pleasantly surprised over the years how if you just ask a sailmaker with enough lead time if they want to sail with you to help you get up to speed, how often they say yes, even if you're not a big customer.  AFAIK, there are only two sailmakers in the Viper class that own boats and there are more than two guys from North, Doyle, Ullman, Quantum, etc. who are playing in Vipers, so good for them for being involved.  

 

Anyway, a digression.  I'm happy to have pros in the game when they are helping others and improving everyone's game, without increasing the cost to compete, regardless of what Class they're in, and I'm grateful that some sailmakers have been generous in supporting the Viper Class in particular - they've done a ton to help me improve over the past 8 years.  

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On 5/24/2018 at 10:45 AM, wpbeardsley said:

The biggest issue for us in not getting a J70 is cost and ease of transport.  I sail J70s with friends from time to time.  The quality of the racing is fine, but even for local stuff it's become a very expensive boat to prepare and campaign.  Apparently there is now unlimited hull and foil fairing after years of debate over bottom prep, bottom paint, etc.  No holds barred now - that's an expensive speedshop job, and you'll have to do it if you want to compete.  No hull or rudder fairing involved in Vipers, and only very limited keel fairing that it seems like most boats have yet to do.  Only one set of sails allowed per year in Vipers.  No limits in 70s.  My friends who are running mostly regional campaigns are still getting 2 or more sets per year to stay competitive.  They also need to own a truck or similarly beefy car to move the boat around.  I tow my Viper with a Subaru Outback, which wouldn't be able to tow a J70.  

None of this involves ripping on the people or the competition - there are good people and fast sailors in both classes, but the Vipers have managed their class rules much better over the years to create a game that I want to play, whereas the 70s have not.  

Dont let the truth get in the way of bashing the boat.  You like the Viper.  Fine.  Say that and move along.  The J/70 class rules are VERY specific about what can and can not be done to the bottom and keel of a J/70, and I can assure you it is far from unlimited.  For someone who rarely sails on a J/70 you sure seem to know an awful lot about them.  I towed ours to Florida with a Honda Pilot.  One of the other local boats did Detroit to Miami and back with a Ford Explorer.  Would I tow a J/70 with an Outback, probably not, but it is rated for 2700 lbs and a J/70 on a triad trailer is less than 2500.

MS

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