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SailMoore1

Older / Smaller J Boats

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Interested in hearing opinions on some of the original designs. What made them special? What keeps them around? Are they worth purchasing and maintaining? Mostly interested in the J22, J24, J27, J29, J30 and J35.

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I ike talking about the older ones....I finally sold my 35.5 hunter legend so after alittle downtime I will think about the future....I owned two J22's in the past...One was a 1983 and the other a 1986....the older one had a lot of gelcoat cracking that for someone anal like myself I didn't care for....the newer one had a new paint job and was a much more attractive sailboat...they both had water penetration problems that most older J's probably have...my only problem was being mostly a solo sailor I thought the 22 wasn't all that easy to singlehand...the winches are on top the cabin and it was difficult to tack with one hand up front, one on the tiller and the traveler inbetween.....they are wonderful performance boats however....I could own a third one or maybe a 27....I look forward to this conversation....price wise  a 22 is probably between 5-15k depending on the yr, condition, and all the extras....

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The one thing I wanted to mention is the market is really soft right now....prices have come down and buyers are hard to find.....hopefully for sellers the tide will shift in the spring....

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If you're looking at a J 35 I would give a serious look at a J 33.Just about as fast as a 35 but much easier to sail..

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I currently own or did own two of the boats on the list so can comment on them.  The j24 I currently own but I also owned a J35 for several years including thousands of miles of offshore sailing on that boat.  The two boats are also both in the American Sailboat Hall of fame so I think others also think they are pretty special.  That said I think any good boat and there are many beyond just Jboats are the combination of three essential ingredients.  They are 1-Having a great designer 2-Having said designer do a great job in penning the boat 3-Marrying that idea to a builder who has the abilities to produce something truly special.

The J24 had those three elements in addition to being the beneficiary of many external and internal things that perhaps boils down to good timing.  When the 24 was introduced, the sailing industry was perhaps near the apex in terms of sales numbers vs the number of boats sold today.  The production numbers tell the story, around 5,500 hulls produced vs I think around 1,400 ish for the J70, which is also a success from a sales standpoint, but not to the extent that the 24 was.  The boat and its systems are pretty simple, decently built and with proper care can leave smiles on owners faces for many decades.  A side note here is that the boat receives a lot of hate on SA and I think it is ill founded.  Are there many more modern designs of similar size that are better performing one design racers, absolutely.  Here's the think though, I don't think anyone thinks the Model T was the pinnacle of automotive engineering compared to modern days cars in terms of everything from braking systems to engines.  That doesn't change the fact that the model T, for its time was a car that some could argue changed the world. In a matter of speaking, the J24 put Rod Johnson on the map and it was his deep passion for producing this boat that created the great end result.  Although it was primary sold as a one design keelboat racer, I have found in it's second or third life it to be a very nice daysailer, occasional PHRF racer and even micro cruiser (did 8 days in keys on it and loved it with a 3,000 mile round trip to get there and back via interstate).  I think to answer your question about what keeps them around in their second and third lives, I would have to start with very low cost to purchase combined with many desirable things listed above.  I think it is worth purchasing and maintaining but of course that is just one persons opinion and YMMV.

With regard to the J35 I can't say enough good things about the boat.  As mentioned have done thousands of offshore miles on it and you always knew you were coming home safely with the boat. Other boats, perhaps better suited to near shore conditions and pushing the performance envelope a bit too far cost two sailors their lives when conditions deteriorated offshore, am referring to the 2011 Chicago to Mac race that I participated in on the J35.  In my mind the two most important characteristics of any boat are that they are both fast and strong.  Again by today's standards the J35 would be viewed as a pretty conservative design, but it is  a good boat on all points of sail that also has the added bonus of a nice if not extravagant interior from a comfort standpoint.  What keeps them around?  I think for a particular speed point/PHRF number/ORR rating, the boats a great buy initially.  The downside to ownership is the running costs (new sails, etc) of that size race boat are pretty large for most folks and to do well at the top level of the class requires 7-8 committed crew who can dedicate themselves to learning the boat and sailing it well, something that in today's time crunched world is  pretty difficult for most folks.

I thought again it was a boat worth purchasing and maintaining as I had mine 7 years and have zero regrets about owning it and many, many fond memories on the boat.  That said life happens and I went through a divorce so the dollars required for care and feeding of the boat were just something I could not do.

Not sure if this was an academic exercise or if you have an interest in possibly purchasing one of the boats listed,  either is fine with me and am sure other owners will chime in on the other boats listed.  As always YMMV and just my two cents.

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We've had our J/36 for more than 20 years.  It probably has some wet core in a number of places, but that hasn't stopped us from winning races (beating much newer Beneteau 36.7's, J/105's and others) or from cruising from Long Island Sound to Maine in sometimes nasty (30 knot winds/6' waves, rain) conditions while enjoying an interior that is more nicely finished than most J/35's. We went out once to see what would happen in a 40+ knot breeze (Laguardia Airport was closed) and managed to hit 12.5 knots downwind with just a reefed main up.  We've replaced the standing rigging and gotten some new sails and she seems ready for another 20 as far as we can tell. 

 

 actually nicer than the J/35's. 

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J/33 was  great design. Easier than J/35's, bath tub cockpit and can hold their own clock racing. 

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I own a 1984 vintage J/30.  It is a great boat that provides reasonable cruising comfort (the interior is very nicely finished) and good racing performance.  It is a bit sticky when the wind is under 8 knots, but performs well in any other condition with proper rig tune and adequate crew weight.  An added advantage is that there is still active one design racing (although the most active fleet is centered in Annapolis so traveling is necessary to be part of a larger fleet).  All J's of a "certain age" will have issues with wet core in places, and the 30 is no exception.  Prices have come way down in recent years as the boats have aged, so it is a very affordable option for a cruise/race combo.

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J/35 is a rock star of a keelboat.  Goes to wind like a scalded cat, goes downwind decently for a displacement boat, and is immensely stable downwind.  To the comments above I would add that it has 6'3 of headroom, and headroom was the deciding factor for me when buying mine over a 105.  At first it is hard to understand what makes it so good, it looks similar to a lot of other mid-30's keelboats, until the first time you are driving one to wind, and all the crew on the rail suddenly turn around and look at you with huge shit eating grins on their faces, because *they know.*  You can feel as it just leaps forward. There is a lot of livery but you can make do with four sails (runner, reacher/AP, #1 and #3), and do as I do, and buy the miles of rope needed out of closeout sales.  $700 for new halyards all around, mostly MLX.  (Speaking of a guy with a shit eating grin).   

It asks at least 6-7 of the crew to know their jobs pretty well, and it likes the ballast of 9. You can sail it well with general syymetric spin boat knowledge but to sail with the big dogs in class you have to know your way around a rope farm - three halyards forward, Uphaul, Downhaul, Spin sheets, guys, checkstays, and barber haul, twings, and maybe light weather spin sheets, and a double headsail so it helps to work on headsail swaps.  And I am forgetting a few things.  All traditional sailboat rigging, nothing novel but many  things to handle, often at once. 

I've sailed on its cousin quite a bit, the 105.  That's a very good boat, fun to sail, and an unbeatable class with tons of competitors. It may be a hall of fame boat for other reasons.  But it isn't the polished all-arounder that the /35 is and it took six months after working as crew on a 105 for the rub mark on my forehead (where I kept hitting the 5'4" cabin roof) to dissipate. 

 

 

 

 

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J-33 is a PHRF sleeper. 

J-30 is a good boat with a crap cockpit!

J-22 is also a PHRF sleeper.  

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Hi,

I would say that j22s are the only boats in that group that I would not buy, too tippy for a dry boat, I stay much dryer in the J92 I sail.

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I really enjoyed the J30. Not the best looking of the J line of boats and as others have mentioned the cockpit was not the best design. But it was really a good compromise on the racer / cruiser platform. Easy to race in all but the lightest winds and the interior was great for a week at Catalina especially for a relatively small boat..

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J27. Great. Buy one fairly cheap and resell for probably same price few years later.

18 knots daysailing w code zero .

Planed at about 16 true wind speed w code zero.

 Code zero was nothing fancy for fabric,  1.5 oz nylon, but design was by one of the best, my friend Ralph S.

 

Edited by jordanseriesdrogue
Misspellings
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I am currently sailboatless and started to look around....I owned two j22's in the past....I think they are alittle too sensitive for single handed sailing....j70 too expensive...I wouldn't mind owning a j27 but the issues with water intrusion keep me looking elsewhere....at 68 I really don't want to deal with those issues....and isn't it mostly true they all have it?....anyway I'd like something 27 or smaller and not full of maintenance issues that are major....or could become major....we're off to florida next week so I'll have plenty of time to look around....what else should I consider....I don't really have a budget but would like to keep it at 10k if possible....I might be a dreamer ....this would be sailboat number 9 for me..

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Not going to find much in the 10k range in J boats - they hold their value because of 1d racing - the good 27s that have had the issues addressed go for 15 to 20k. Have you looked at the 80? The 70 killed those fleets, still good boats, huge cockpit easy to short hand (A kite, roller furl) - still not going to find one at your budget but should be able to resell in the future. I like the 80 a lot, just was a huge PITA to travel - keel stepped mast, fixed keel.

IMO the deals will be on one off types that never caught on so only phrf racing - no idea what is available in your area.  With any older boat water intrusion is an issue but not that hard to get checked out.

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If you are good with fiberglass look at a j30 for day sailing or over night camping.For racing i would find  j80 or j27 

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offering opinions on only those I've owned and raced.

J24- total pain box. was a pretty good platform to learn how to drive a keel boat but that's about it from my perspective. YMMV

J30 - wonderful little all around boat. earlier comments on light air stand true. but probably the most bang for your buck in terms of racing and cruising. Particularly in a region with 1D racing. Not as fast as J29 but the standing headroom and accommodations below tilted the scale for me at the time I bought it. great little boat for a weekend with my kid

J35 - most fun boat I've ever driven or sailed on. all I do is race this boat. I don't think I've spent more than 2 or 3 nights aboard in cruise mode in the 10 years I've owned it. crew intensive for 1D racing. lots of sails. 1D racing is dwindling.

 

these aren't the only boats I've owned/sailed on/ or raced

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On 2/10/2019 at 4:34 PM, jww said:

If you're looking at a J 35 I would give a serious look at a J 33.Just about as fast as a 35 but much easier to sail..

and the J33 is a PHRF beast 

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If you go with a j33 good luck finding one not many around.People who have them don't want to give them up.

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On 2/11/2019 at 2:40 PM, Lex Teredo said:

J/35 is a rock star of a keelboat.  Goes to wind like a scalded cat, goes downwind decently for a displacement boat, and is immensely stable downwind.  To the comments above I would add that it has 6'3 of headroom, and headroom was the deciding factor for me when buying mine over a 105.  At first it is hard to understand what makes it so good, it looks similar to a lot of other mid-30's keelboats, until the first time you are driving one to wind, and all the crew on the rail suddenly turn around and look at you with huge shit eating grins on their faces, because *they know.*  You can feel as it just leaps forward. There is a lot of livery but you can make do with four sails (runner, reacher/AP, #1 and #3), and do as I do, and buy the miles of rope needed out of closeout sales.  $700 for new halyards all around, mostly MLX.  (Speaking of a guy with a shit eating grin).   

It asks at least 6-7 of the crew to know their jobs pretty well, and it likes the ballast of 9. You can sail it well with general syymetric spin boat knowledge but to sail with the big dogs in class you have to know your way around a rope farm - three halyards forward, Uphaul, Downhaul, Spin sheets, guys, checkstays, and barber haul, twings, and maybe light weather spin sheets, and a double headsail so it helps to work on headsail swaps.  And I am forgetting a few things.  All traditional sailboat rigging, nothing novel but many  things to handle, often at once. 

I've sailed on its cousin quite a bit, the 105.  That's a very good boat, fun to sail, and an unbeatable class with tons of competitors. It may be a hall of fame boat for other reasons.  But it isn't the polished all-arounder that the /35 is and it took six months after working as crew on a 105 for the rub mark on my forehead (where I kept hitting the 5'4" cabin roof) to dissipate. 

 

 

 

 

+1 for the J35 and the J105.

I completely understand the headroom issue with the 105.  I have raced and delivered/cruised both.  

As much as I like the 35,  needing all the crew to sail it becomes a chore.  Unless you have skilled crew and quite a few of em.  Down below ours was pretty spartan.  Roomier and cosier then the 105.  I stand 6' so the 105 isn't as difficult as it could be down below for me but taller crew.  It is an issue.

I know a guy that sails a J35 solo.   I am surprised he hasn't lost more weight!  The 105 is a gem short handed.  No guess work in headsail due to class restriction racing and same with the main.  Simplicity and performance.  Lots of fleets and plenty of boats for sale.

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I've owned three of the early J Boats. Each was a great boat at the time and for the purpose.

Back in the early 80's the 24 was the boat to have. Racing available all the time and there would even be 10-12 boats out on Wednesday beer can races in my area.

I then moved up to the 30. Missed the one design racing (at least in my area). But did well in the PHRF fleet and it was great to have a boat with standing headroom.

The final early J I had was the 27. Lost the headroom and interior of the 30. But of all three this was the most fun to sail. I think that is why anyone who has owned a 27 raves about the little boat. 

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SailMoore....are you looking for another boat?....just curious...thanks

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Always looking for the next boat. I've had a good cross section of most of the original J Boats. Just not sure what to get next.

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