amFast

J/111 as a Multipurpose Boat?

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I've been thinking about a boat to sail out of Chicago.  After much reflection on how it will get used, I would guess that 80% of my time on the water will be short sails after work, sometimes with my wife and young daughter and often by myself.

However, I would also like the option to do some racing--maybe shorthanded.  And, I have aspirations of cruising Lake Michigan--again with my wife and daughter.  Although, the reality is it will probably be limited to a long weekend once or twice a season.

I like J Boats, and specifically their sprit boats.  In many ways, I think a J/109 is the right answer.  But, since I'm ready to move beyond the hypothetical, inventory near me, or lack there of, has me considering other options--one is a J/111.

I had previously dismissed the J/111 as a pure race boat.  But, I'm now wondering if I was too quick to dismiss them.  There are a couple of J/111s for sale in the area, and while they would strain the budget; maybe I could get them down to where they don't break it.

So, what do you think; should a J/111 be on my short list?

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Just go for it. I used to have a J/109, but I see myself taking the J/111 out for a solo sail after work 10X as often. It's such a rewarding (and somewhat challenging) boat.

Also, a J/88 would be an alternative if you don't want/need standing headroom and are ok with the limited space below. But for long weekends with family or friends on board, the J/111 is definitely a better alternative. 

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I can echo Blur's comment.   

I use my 111 almost every weekend for cruising, including cooking and sleeping on board.   Next month we go for a 3 week holiday on it (with the two of us).  Then I do a few solo and two handed races and just a lot of solo day trips.  Sleeping on the boat with 4 is perfectly doable,  but you need to deal with all the luggage laying around (as there are no cabinets for storage). 

For the purpose you intent to use the boat for, I think the 111 has the followings pro's:

- minimum comfort items are available: stove, oven, fridge, head, sufficient headroom, v-berth, proper cabin space to sit and relax on poor weather days spent in the marina.  We really like it that the boat has no table in the cabin.  This gives a lot of space to move both during sailing as well as when docked.

- this is a relatively light boat, which makes it easy to dock, pass locks etc. when you are short handed.

- you can make sailing the boat as challenging or easy as you want. Go with just main or a jib only on stormy cruising days and blast with the gennaker when you want. I use jibs on soft hanks.

- easy to sail solo or two handed;  just make sure you have a proper autopilot and do a few tweaks like bringing outhaul and cunningham back to clutches in the cockpit.

- it's fast and fun!   It goes very well upwind too;   nice if you only have the evening after work available and you need to return to your marina after a downwind leg.

 

The con's might include:

- no separate cabins  aft.   Heads not enclosed

- a bit of water will leak from the sprit on the v-berth.. Just make sure you take your matras and bedding away when beating in windy conditions.

- no storage space for clothing etc.  You need to live from what is in your bag.  We sleep in the v-berth and use the space aft for sail storage.   Bags with luggage hang around on the settees or the cabin floor.

- build quality of the interior is very mediocre.  E.g. a 109 is much better.   (although my personal preference would have been that they didn't use any wood/laminate at all but used GFK/Carbon instead).

 

Hope this helps.  Let me know when you need more info.

 

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J109 NAs in Chicago have at least 16 boats signed up (though postponed for a year) so I wouldn't be surprised if some came on the market at some point. Personally, I'd much rather cruise a 109...and I love racing them as well.

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1 hour ago, woodpecker said:

Consider a J 120. Checks all the boxes.

Except that supersmooth 18 knots boat speed downwind on flat water. Solo :D

If I wanted a cruising J in that size the J/122 is the natural choice. But the J/88, J/111 & J/121 is something else.

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All of the suggestions are great one. But you should also consider the J/99 which was specifically designed for

shorthanded cruising and racing. And there is one in Chicago.  And while you're at it, you should look at the

J/112e.  Very quick cruiser racer, can easily be sailed shorthanded, raced, with a comfortable cruising interior.

 

 

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Will the j99 have "that supersmooth 18 knots boat speed downwind on flat water. Solo :D"?

I'd settle for 17 knots ;).

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1 hour ago, Teener said:

I'd settle for 17 knots ;).

That's the issue, isn't it? To "settle" for a slightly more boring boat to get a better interior. Life's too short. Get as much sailing you can for your budget as long as you can get the family on board. 

j/99 is supoer nice and a sensible shorthanded ride. Especially in UK/France where you got more breeze. But it's designed to hit a rating and a different concept from the 88/111. 

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Thanks to all for the responses.  Regarding the J/111, it sounds like it is a viable option.  I appreciate that there are other options, some of which I am considering.  The main concern that prompted this thread, was to check that the J/111 wasn’t patently unsuitable for my intended use—it seems like that’s not the case.

I do appreciate the other suggestions and have tried to respond below.

 

10 hours ago, Blur said:

Just go for it.


Blur, I found your website earlier this year and have enjoyed reading it.  It’s great to get your affirmative vote for the J/111.  Regarding the J/88, under a slightly different set of circumstances, I could see that being the boat.  But, as you said, the standing headroom and the extra space on something like the J/111 would be welcomed for those weekends aboard.

6 hours ago, ZeeZee said:

can echo Blur's comment. 


ZeeZee, thanks for the detailed response and another vote of confidence for the J/111.  I had assumed that the J/111 would lose out to the J/109 in terms of the interior, but it sounds like the J/111 interior is still very workable for cruising and the cons you list sound like things I could easily live with.

Regarding build quality, is it just the fit and finish of the furniture or are there quality concerns that are eventually going to cause issues?

 

5 hours ago, bloodshot said:

J109 NAs in Chicago have at least 16 boats signed up (though postponed for a year) so I wouldn't be surprised if some came on the market at some point. Personally, I'd much rather cruise a 109...and I love racing them as well.

Bloodshot, I had seen that the J/109 NAs were going to be in Chicago but hadn’t thought about the fact that it might result in a boat or two coming to market.  I’d like to think I’ll have something done for spring next year, so maybe the timing doesn’t work.  Then again, maybe things don’t happen as quickly as I would like.  In either case, I haven’t given up on the J/109.

 

4 hours ago, woodpecker said:

Consider a J 120. Checks all the boxes.

Woodpecker, I’ve thought about a J/120.  The biggest factor that has kept it from being a top contender in my mind is the size.  My thought is a 35-footer, all else being equal, is going to have lower ongoing costs than a 40-footer.

 

2 hours ago, garyedelman said:

But you should also consider the J/99 which was specifically designed for

shorthanded cruising and racing. And there is one in Chicago.  And while you're at it, you should look at the

J/112e.

Garyedleman, the J/99 seems like a bit of a different animal but is interesting.  The reason I haven’t thought about it more is that there are none available on the secondary market, so I would have to buy new.  I haven’t gotten a quote, but my sense is that in the most optimistic case an all-in price tag would be in the low to mid 200s.  It might not be impossible, but it’s getting to a price point where I would feel uneasy.

Regarding the J/112e, I’d love to have one, but like the J/99 the only option right now is new and pricewise it is completely beyond my means.
 

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We use our 109 similar to your plans. I have no time on a 111, Blur is going to be the expert on that comparison. The lack of storage listed by ZZ is not a big deal for overnighting, we don't bother to unpack our duffles if out for a night or 2. The lack of a table is also a plus, J boat tables are way too clunky. All this changes for longer trips, we spend up to 10 days on the boat.  Then you have more stuff and eating with a plate on your lap gets old.

One issue for single handling is the wheel on the 109 and 111. It is big and makes for awkward tacking and jibing. I also like Blur's videos, but keep in mind he is a very experienced heavy weather sailor. For us mortals the tiller on the 99 would make short handed sailing easier, especially if like me your wife is not that into sailing hard and prefers to just enjoy the ride. Finally, the lack of an enclosed head combined with wife and daughter may be a recipe disaster. Get their input before spending too much money.

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3 hours ago, steele said:

We use our 109 similar to your plans. I have no time on a 111, Blur is going to be the expert on that comparison. The lack of storage listed by ZZ is not a big deal for overnighting, we don't bother to unpack our duffles if out for a night or 2. The lack of a table is also a plus, J boat tables are way too clunky. All this changes for longer trips, we spend up to 10 days on the boat.  Then you have more stuff and eating with a plate on your lap gets old.

One issue for single handling is the wheel on the 109 and 111. It is big and makes for awkward tacking and jibing. I also like Blur's videos, but keep in mind he is a very experienced heavy weather sailor. For us mortals the tiller on the 99 would make short handed sailing easier, especially if like me your wife is not that into sailing hard and prefers to just enjoy the ride. Finally, the lack of an enclosed head combined with wife and daughter may be a recipe disaster. Get their input before spending too much money.

Thanks for the insights steele.  Our wives attitude towards sailing sounds similar.  I very much enjoy sailing with her and she likes being there, but the experience is largely one of singlehanding with a passenger.

It's a good point about the wheel on both the J/109 and J/111.  I am definitely one of the mortals and even then not one of the better ones.  My hope is that a good autopilot will help me tack and jibe safely initially and can work on doing those things well as time goes on.

Regarding the head, my thought is there is a door to close off the head and v-berth, so that's enclosed enough.  But yes, that thought may not be shared and it's something I should get input on.

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It sounds like our spouses would share the same philosophy of sailing. I am very happy she likes the boat and if that means single handling with occaisonal help that is fine by me. The autopilot does help with wheel boats. I had one on my 30ft tiller boat and never used it, on the 109 I use my raymarine evolution almost every sail. Horses for corses as they say.

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13 hours ago, amFast said:

Regarding build quality, is it just the fit and finish of the furniture or are there quality concerns that are eventually going to cause issues?

It's just fit and finish.   The veneer is very easily dented and because of the sharp edges these are also potential spots of damage.  It is "OK-isch", but for a boat this price you would expect much better.  And had they used composite materials instead of veneered wood it would last longer (and likely had saved weight).

Maybe it's better in the US built boats?

 

Regarding the wheel instead of tiller:   both have pro's and con's.   When sailing shorthanded I use the autopilot 90% of the time anyway (also for tacks and gybes). Then the advantage is that you don't have a tiller sweeping around in the cockpit and the pedestal is a good place to hold on when conditions are tough. But for quick manual intervention is critical situations a tiller is easier for sure.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Blur said:

That's the issue, isn't it? To "settle" for a slightly more boring boat to get a better interior. Life's too short. Get as much sailing you can for your budget as long as you can get the family on board. 

j/99 is supoer nice and a sensible shorthanded ride. Especially in UK/France where you got more breeze. But it's designed to hit a rating and a different concept from the 88/111. 

Blur, can you elaborate on the differences between the 99 and the 111? I see the obvious things like the fixed sprit but I presume you are talking about sailing tendencies. I did see quite a large difference between the price of the J/99 and the J/111 new with the 99 being perhaps within reach but the 111 being somewhere around 1/3 more. 

Thanks, Dan

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2 hours ago, danstanford said:
Blur, can you elaborate on the differences between the 99 and the 111?

The J/111 (and the 88) is designed without considering IRC or other rating rules, and has some attributes that can be costly in IRC; long sprit, big chute, big roach on the main etc. Things that make a boat fun to sail - but can make it harder to win in competitive IRC fleets, especially W/L. There both the J/109, 112, and 122 are much more in line with what rating rules "like".

J/boats tried to make a J/11S to address the shorthanded market in Europe, and boats like Pogo, JPK, SunFast, and others. And the sweet spot here is to be able to do Transquadra with a rating band of 0.950 < IRC TCC < 1.050. So then you get a good all-round boat which performs well in >10 knots.

So two different purposes. And that naturally shows in performance, especially in light air and downwind. The J/111 are on paper 10% faster upwind and >15% faster downwind in 20 knots. Not really sure what the J/99 needs to get on a plane, but my guess is +20 knots.

So the dilemma here is; do I want to win IRXC races doublehanded? Then maybe a JPK 1030 or a SyunFast 3300 is the tool I need (that said as a die-hard J/boats fan), but if I want maximum fun and an occasional race win I still think the J/111 is hard to beat.

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@ZeeZee

Thanks for the additional detail.  You would think at its price point that you could get reasonably good fit and finish.  But, it sounds like something I could live with.

I don’t have much experience with tiller boats, except for real small boats, so I hadn’t thought too much about tiller draw backs--beyond mechanical advantage, or lack there of.  In any case, it seems unless you’re willing to select a boat specifically because it has a tiller or wheel, other choices are likely to dictate what you end up with.

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Both the J/109 and J/111 are great boats and I think you would be happy with either.  I have had the pleasure of sailing both in Chicago and racing in both fleets.

J/109 Pros

Feels bigger down below, more of a cruising set up with a stove and extra creature comforts (nice aft cabin, enclosed head, etc.)
The local fleet races with blade jibs on a furler making your switch from cruising to OD to short handed very easy (one set of sails, not gear to change)
The local fleet sails with 120sqm spinnakers (compared to 108sqm most other places) which is great in the light air
Compared to the 111 is it an easier boat to sail and make go fast.  Local racing has a more Corinthian vibe to it (though there are some sailmakers mucking it up ;))

J/111 Pros
Overall a more slippery boat, better light air performance
Better light air performance
Really gets up and goes downwind
Higher competition from the local fleet

The big con for what you want to do on a J111 is the national fleet dropped furlers so you'd either have to put one back on and suffer and make the boat noncompetitive in OD course racing, or deal with family sailing without a furler.

 

Regarding ratings, you are most likely to be sailing OD if you are racing in Chicago (both fleets get double digit numbers for major events including the Mac).  If you do the shorthanded sailing you will be rated in LM-PHRF, the J111 has a fair rating that you can sail to with a good crew, the J109's rating is a bit easier to sail to and exceed.

I can connect you to both local fleets if you'd like, there may be some off market boats that they know about.

 

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@Bad Andy

Thank you for the local insight.  There is certainly something to be said for a boat that can be raced and cruised in the same configuration.  And, the Corinthian nature of the J/109 fleet may be more my speed and budget.

I feel like everytime I come back to this tread I'm flip-flopping.  Hopefully that means both are good options and not that I'm as clueless as it may seem.

If you have contact at the local fleets that you would be willing to introduce me to, I would appreciate it.  I started going down this rabbit hole, because as far as I can tell there are no J/109s in the area currently on the market, but as you said, maybe there are some off-market boats that could be in play.

P.S. Lest anyone think I haven't done even the basic dilligence, I know there is a J/109 in Milwakuee listed on Yachtworld, but according to the broker's newsletter it is under contract, although it doesn't show up that way in Yachtworld.

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You might be on the same development curve as many of us; start out with the J/109 for a few years and then decide you need a J/111 :lol:

And with that in mind...

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4 hours ago, Bad Andy said:

The big con for what you want to do on a J111 is the national fleet dropped furlers

I think the furler thing is a bit of a red herring - if you buy nice a racing jib you aren't going to leave it hoisted and furled when you aren't on the boat, so you have to hoist / drop / roll it anyway. Hanks are probably the best solution if you are doing SH racing and cruising.

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1 hour ago, Blur said:

You might be on the same development curve as many of us; start out with the J/109 for a few years and then decide you need a J/111 :lol:

Don't give up on me quite yet.  I could still start higher up the curve.

 

46 minutes ago, Snowden said:

I think the furler thing is a bit of a red herring - if you buy nice a racing jib you aren't going to leave it hoisted and furled when you aren't on the boat, so you have to hoist / drop / roll it anyway. Hanks are probably the best solution if you are doing SH racing and cruising.

Fair point.  Although, I imagine I would leave the cruising jib on the furler, which would make those after work sails easier.

That said, hanks are another one of those things I don't have a lot of expereince with.  The boats I've sailed without furlers all had foils.  So maybe with hanks its not that bad.

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It definitely lowers the barrier to go for a short evening cruise when you have a furled jib ready to be used when you want.

I have the soft hanks.  And great as they are,  there is always the extra work of hanking on a jib and sheets when you want to go for a sail.  Not to talk about flaking and storing it once you return.   But apart from that it is imho the best options when sailing short handed.

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3 hours ago, Snowden said:

I think the furler thing is a bit of a red herring - if you buy nice a racing jib you aren't going to leave it hoisted and furled when you aren't on the boat, so you have to hoist / drop / roll it anyway. Hanks are probably the best solution if you are doing SH racing and cruising.

Both OD fleets race with foils, do not think hanks are an option

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On 7/24/2020 at 5:16 PM, steele said:

the lack of an enclosed head combined with wife and daughter may be a recipe disaster. Get their input before spending too much money.

To this day I prefer to piss in a bucket.  I grew up living aboard a Tanzer 22 for 3 months a year in the summer with my dad and brother and we only used the port-a-squat on that thing in emergencies.   We crapped ashore and pissed in a bucket.  I guess that's why mom didn't join us.  In the morning, there'd be a half full bucket of piss to dump out.  Anybody watching would recognize that yellow cascade as it poured into the harbor.  That's the real value of the open transom.  It allows you to dump your piss bucket discretely.

I introduced my wife to this ritual in my last cruise on a cushy 45' french clorox bottle and she was like, "why"  and I was like, "it's just better."  She definitely didn't approve but since it didn't effect her, she was mostly cool about it except she really needed to know where I was going to keep the piss bucket.  I guess that's the thing about the piss bucket, it does take up space and it really serves a single purpose.  If you collect shellfish in the piss bucket, you will eat them alone.

On a boat like a J/111, at nighttime, I would designate a bucket for the boys and let the girls use the head.  If you need to put a couple in the V-berth, then I hope they are both women.

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7 hours ago, Teener said:

To this day I prefer to piss in a bucket. 

I can definitely appreciate avoiding mucking around with the head and holding tank.  However, I'm pretty sure the mere presence of a piss bucket would be strongly frowned upon.  Also, once the head is getting used by one person, I'm not sure what the utility is in someone else avoiding it.

I know ZeeZee mentioned sleeping in the V-berth, but I could imagine using it for storage while at anchor / dock and sleeping in the quarter berths or saloon, which is where I prefer to sleep on most boats.  That way there is a private head compartment.  Of course I say that as someone that's never been on a J/111.

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5 minutes ago, amFast said:

I can definitely appreciate avoiding mucking around with the head and holding tank.  However, I'm pretty sure the mere presence of a piss bucket would be strongly frowned upon.  Also, once the head is getting used by one person, I'm not sure what the utility is in someone else avoiding it.

This is the key. You can keep the head clean and the tank empty all you want. Once the seal is broken, you’ve got a used head. Then you just need to be proactive with treating the smell and chemicals.

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2 hours ago, garyedelman said:

The J/109 in Milwaukee is still for sale.  PM Sent.

Thank you for correcting me Gary.  PM responded to.

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Pissing in a bucket is a lot like a urinal with a view.  Pop the hatch, reach out for the bucket.  Take a piss.  Survey the anchorage.  Make sure you haven't drifted.  Make sure that yotty with 12:1 scope isn't going to swing into you.  Put it away and go back to sleep.  No cold seat, no pumping... It's just better.  Given the choice, I take a urinal over sitting down in a toilet any day except maybe when I'm in Japan but I did not see the Japanese bidee option on the J/111 price list.

On a J/111 one might consider the V the berth of last resort as it's where the extra sails go so as long as there is no need house sleepers in the forward WC, how you prefer to relieve yourself is a moot point.

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On 7/24/2020 at 2:45 PM, amFast said:

Thanks to all for the responses.  Regarding the J/111, it sounds like it is a viable option.  I appreciate that there are other options, some of which I am considering.  The main concern that prompted this thread, was to check that the J/111 wasn’t patently unsuitable for my intended use—it seems like that’s not the case.

I do appreciate the other suggestions and have tried to respond below.

 


Blur, I found your website earlier this year and have enjoyed reading it.  It’s great to get your affirmative vote for the J/111.  Regarding the J/88, under a slightly different set of circumstances, I could see that being the boat.  But, as you said, the standing headroom and the extra space on something like the J/111 would be welcomed for those weekends aboard.


ZeeZee, thanks for the detailed response and another vote of confidence for the J/111.  I had assumed that the J/111 would lose out to the J/109 in terms of the interior, but it sounds like the J/111 interior is still very workable for cruising and the cons you list sound like things I could easily live with.

Regarding build quality, is it just the fit and finish of the furniture or are there quality concerns that are eventually going to cause issues?

 

Bloodshot, I had seen that the J/109 NAs were going to be in Chicago but hadn’t thought about the fact that it might result in a boat or two coming to market.  I’d like to think I’ll have something done for spring next year, so maybe the timing doesn’t work.  Then again, maybe things don’t happen as quickly as I would like.  In either case, I haven’t given up on the J/109.

 

Woodpecker, I’ve thought about a J/120.  The biggest factor that has kept it from being a top contender in my mind is the size.  My thought is a 35-footer, all else being equal, is going to have lower ongoing costs than a 40-footer.

 

Garyedleman, the J/99 seems like a bit of a different animal but is interesting.  The reason I haven’t thought about it more is that there are none available on the secondary market, so I would have to buy new.  I haven’t gotten a quote, but my sense is that in the most optimistic case an all-in price tag would be in the low to mid 200s.  It might not be impossible, but it’s getting to a price point where I would feel uneasy.

Regarding the J/112e, I’d love to have one, but like the J/99 the only option right now is new and pricewise it is completely beyond my means.
 

99 All in is close to 250 - sails, electronics, tax, insurance, mooring 

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12 minutes ago, GHarring19 said:

99 All in is close to 250 - sails, electronics, tax, insurance, mooring 

Thanks for confirming.  For my purposes, I wouldn't count insurance or the mooring as pat of the purchase price, but regardless that definitely puts it out of my comfort zone. 

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I wouldn't dismiss the J/120 when shopping; it's A LOT more boat for the money than either the J/109 or the J/111. You are right that the running costs may be higher, as the sails are more and dock fees are slightly higher. I think the biggest downside is the number of crew needed, 7-8 offshore, 8-9 inshore.  I think both the 109 and 111 can be raced in crewed mode with 1 less pretty safely. The 120 is still a manageable short-handed sailor, several have done well racing 2 up and plenty have been cruised with just a couple. It solves a few problems with the 109-enclosed head, more space aft with a really nice aft bunk and storage to port, higher speeds than and tons more storage than the 111. Speed delta between the 111 and 120 is hard to say,  in breeze plus flat water the J/111 should plan faster, but many still regard the 120 as one of the best all-around J/boats going. Structurally the 1998 a friend just bought is sound, some minor quips with the interior but on a 22 year old boat there is always something!

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On 7/25/2020 at 4:23 AM, ZeeZee said:

It's just fit and finish.   The veneer is very easily dented and because of the sharp edges these are also potential spots of damage.  It is "OK-isch", but for a boat this price you would expect much better.  And had they used composite materials instead of veneered wood it would last longer (and likely had saved weight).

Maybe it's better in the US built boats?

 

Regarding the wheel instead of tiller:   both have pro's and con's.   When sailing shorthanded I use the autopilot 90% of the time anyway (also for tacks and gybes). Then the advantage is that you don't have a tiller sweeping around in the cockpit and the pedestal is a good place to hold on when conditions are tough. But for quick manual intervention is critical situations a tiller is easier for sure.

 

 

On older J/boats, the French fit-out and build quality is generally regarded as superior. Not sure if that has changed. I've seen similar issues with other lightweight interiors with that veneer look (in the $1mil price range for a performance French built cruising cat, I suspect same interior materials), and agree that going with more of a pure composite would save weight and be more durable, but at an additional premium to the builder.

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So, we had a French built J/120 and now have a US built J/111 and a good friend has a J/99 getting commissioned right now.  We thought a lot about the J/99 vs. J/111 (see thread here) before going with the J/111 and so far the new boat has exceeded our expectations.  

We primarily race(d) both boats DH and were reasonably successful with both.  We had some success on the J/120 DH against fully crewed J/109s.  

The J/111 is a better race boat.  The J/120 is the better cruising boat.  That said, the J/120 is a fantastic all arounder in PHRF.  

I can't figure out what the J/109 is good at in comparison.  A J/120 is faster, a better cruising boat, and generally cost less.  It is also a better shorthanded boat upwind in a breeze because the J/120 is just a stiffer boat than the J/109 and doesn't care much about crew weight.  We always raced our J/120 at least 500 pounds under normal crew weight and still had success upwind in 20-25.  The only time the J/109 gave us trouble was upwind in light air, in part because we ran a smaller genoa for easier DH sailing.  

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I think if you really are going to be mostly day sailing, a 111 makes alot of sense.  Cruising a 111 on the other hand doesn't sound nearly as appealing - particularly with a wife and kids.  I have spent a good bit of time on a 109 and now own a 120.  If you are serious about a 109, I think the 120 is hands down a better boat and should be considered.  Better mannered, more stable, faster and more comfortable.  Probably 15-20% more in annual costs,  but I think the extra few bucks are worth it.  The 109 is maybe a little less intimidating but that is really the only thing that I think it has over a 120.  

That all being said,  the 111 would be a bit more fun to day sail than either the 109 or 120.  

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2 hours ago, T sailor said:

I think if you really are going to be mostly day sailing, a 111 makes alot of sense.  Cruising a 111 on the other hand doesn't sound nearly as appealing - particularly with a wife and kids.

In many ways that is the rub.  I've belonged to boat clubs; I've chartered boats; I've raced on other people’s boats.  I think I know how the boat will get used, but this will be my first boat (non-dinghy).  And, the reality is, it's going to be a learning process to figure out how the boat gets used.

 

3 hours ago, samc99us said:

I wouldn't dismiss the J/120 when shopping; it's A LOT more boat for the money than either the J/109 or the J/111.

 

2 hours ago, Roleur said:

A J/120 is faster, a better cruising boat, and generally cost less.  It is also a better shorthanded boat upwind in a breeze because the J/120 is just a stiffer boat than the J/109 and doesn't care much about crew weight.

 

2 hours ago, T sailor said:

If you are serious about a 109, I think the 120 is hands down a better boat and should be considered.

That’s several more votes to keep the J/120 in contention, so perhaps I should pay attention.

From a pragmatic standpoint, it looks like I would have to expand my search area beyond my local region.  (Home is Chicago.)  I may be being too restrictive geographically, but it obviously saves on the logistics (cost and complexity) and reduces the need to travel in the current pandemic environment.

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3 hours ago, amFast said:

In many ways that is the rub.  I've belonged to boat clubs; I've chartered boats; I've raced on other people’s boats.  I think I know how the boat will get used, but this will be my first boat (non-dinghy).  And, the reality is, it's going to be a learning process to figure out how the boat gets used.

In that case, go smaller, simpler and cheaper first (think J/92 or J/105) - you can always upgrade in 1-2 years time when you figure out your exact use case.

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5 hours ago, Snowden said:

In that case, go smaller, simpler and cheaper first (think J/92 or J/105) - you can always upgrade in 1-2 years time when you figure out your exact use case.

Yes, but don't underestimate the cost to make the switch, both in terms of $ and time. Thinking about this more, I've revised my earlier comments and thoughts; given the OP's locale, fleets and experience, I would probably go for a J/109. What would sway me in another direction:

1) If primarily distance racing, I would add the J/120 back to the list.

2) If you are seriously thinking about 3+ day cruises and the wife and daughter are really in, I would add the J/120 back to the list.

3) If you have a pretty serious racing crew lined up, aren't planning to cruise for more than a weekend and your budget can handle it, I would throw the J/111 back into the mix.

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9 hours ago, Snowden said:

In that case, go smaller, simpler and cheaper first (think J/92 or J/105) - you can always upgrade in 1-2 years time when you figure out your exact use case.

I've certainly thought about it, but the J/105 and J/92 are not boats I want to cruise.  I may have come off more uncertain that I am.  In broad brush strokes, I do know the things I want to do—I want to day sail, I want to cruise, and I want to race.  What I'm less certain of is for which of those activities I want to optimize and to what degree.  And, I think the only way I'm going to find that out is through experience.

 

4 hours ago, samc99us said:

Yes, but don't underestimate the cost to make the switch, both in terms of $ and time. Thinking about this more, I've revised my earlier comments and thoughts; given the OP's locale, fleets and experience, I would probably go for a J/109. What would sway me in another direction:

1) If primarily distance racing, I would add the J/120 back to the list.

2) If you are seriously thinking about 3+ day cruises and the wife and daughter are really in, I would add the J/120 back to the list.

3) If you have a pretty serious racing crew lined up, aren't planning to cruise for more than a weekend and your budget can handle it, I would throw the J/111 back into the mix.

Thanks for the decision matrix.  The one-design fleets for both the J/109 and J/111 are certainly factors.  I like the option of one-design (if can pull together the crew).  But beyond that, I would theorize that the one-design fleets may provide some price stability and make it easier to sell the boat down the line; although, it seems most J Boats do well in that regard.

Regarding crew, I certainly don't have a serious race crew lined up, I don't even have a second-rate crew lined up.  It's one of the appeals of going the shorthanded route.

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One thing to keep in mind as well is that the J120, while almost  the perfect boat, its is not the best W/L boat out there.  A PERF'd out J109 will give it headaches galore, even boat for boat at times.

A J120's loads are also up there compared to a J111 or J109.  It has a pretty large genoa and huge chute. something to keep in mind.

Cruising a j120 is awesome. but not all that much better, IMO,  than a J109.

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With the intended use case; "80% of my time on the water will be short sails after work, sometimes with my wife and young daughter and often by myself" it shouldn't be hard to test sail all the boats mentioned above?

Everyone has their own priorities, and I have a hard time imagining that someone test sailed a J/109, J/111 and a J/120 and then objectively decided that the J/120 is the perfect boat for short single-hand sails after work :D I think it's a great boat, and helped a friend get one, but then the primary objectives were distance racing and extended cruising.

Having tested many boats in this size/segment I think the J/88 and J/111 are in a unique position, being sporty and fun (like a true race or sports boat) but still manageable by the average amateur sailor - even solo. Then there are +100 great cruiser/racers out there (J/109, J/120, J112, J122, etc) that are excellent compromises. 

Do the test sails and you'll understand :)

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On 7/27/2020 at 9:50 PM, amFast said:

From a pragmatic standpoint, it looks like I would have to expand my search area beyond my local region.  (Home is Chicago.)  I may be being too restrictive geographically, but it obviously saves on the logistics (cost and complexity) and reduces the need to travel in the current pandemic environment.

You are talking boats in the over 100k range.  The cost of travelling to find the best boat is chicken scratch compared to the purchase cost, yet may actually save you money in the long run.  As most of us guys who have bought multiple boats know, long term, the cost of bringing a cheaper boat up to standard is usually much more than just buying a boat already up to standard.

Same logic applies to transporting a boat from a distance.  It may well be cheaper in the long run to spend money to bring the right boat to you, then to buy local, and have it be either the wrong boat, or a boat that needs gear, work, etc. 

Finally as part of your research, do some research on cost of moorage, sails, etc.  A J/120 will be more expensive to keep and maintain than either the J/109 or J/111.

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Thanks to all above posters for making this the best boat comparison thread I can remember reading. One great comment after another. So many thoughtful and well-informed posts that I'm afraid I'll only lower the thread's quality. But this being SA, I've just got to add my two cents...

It sounds like your racing plans are pretty low key. If this is an accurate assessment, racing in the 111 OD fleet will quickly become a disheartening experience. I say this without knowing you or this particular fleet. But I do know that the 111 is much closer to a pure race boat than any of the other boats under consideration. To me, you buy a J/111 when racing is your top priority. You just don't need a powered-up, all-out race boat when you only plan to spend 20% of your time racing.

Yes I understand you can single-hand a J/111, or take out the family for a short cruise.

But don't fool yourself by watching Blur's videos. Sailing alone at 18 knots is more than a little difficult. It's like watching Carlos Santana play the guitar and thinking, 'yeah, with a little practice, I could sound like that.' Uh, no. You can't.

I don't mean to throw cold water on your dreams. We all want a new 'vette. But if I could only have one car, It probably wouldn't be one with two seats, no trunk and a mid engine. On the other hand, if I were ten years younger...

#HorsesForCourses

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On 7/28/2020 at 2:15 PM, bloodshot said:

A J120's loads are also up there compared to a J111 or J109.  It has a pretty large genoa and huge chute. something to keep in mind.

The loads are something I've thought about.  The two boats I know best are the J/105 and 40.7.  I realize a J/109 and J/111 are very different boats from a J/105, but I was always struck by how much bigger the loads were going from the 35' J/105 to the 40' 40.7.

 

19 hours ago, Blur said:

Do the test sails and you'll understand :)

I suppose that is the right next step.

 

8 hours ago, Crash said:

You are talking boats in the over 100k range.  The cost of travelling to find the best boat is chicken scratch compared to the purchase cost, yet may actually save you money in the long run.

It's a good reminder not to be penny wise and pound foolish.  The other thing behind my desire for local is to avoid travel during the pandemic.  But as they say, this too will pass, and I should learn some patience.

 

3 hours ago, Pokey uh da LBC said:

Thanks to all above posters for making this the best boat comparison thread I can remember reading. One great comment after another.

Agreed, and thank you to everyone for giving me so many good things to think about.

 

3 hours ago, Pokey uh da LBC said:

It sounds like your racing plans are pretty low key.

That's a pretty good read.  I like to dream about running a top race program, but I'll be the first to admit I'm not a rockstar and I'm not sure I have the patience or temperament to do the necessary crew recruiting.  I guess what I really need is an extra 0 at the end of my budget, that way I could get a boat manager and just show up to do the driving--that's the real dream :)

 

3 hours ago, Pokey uh da LBC said:

If this is an accurate assessment, racing in the 111 OD fleet will quickly become a disheartening experience. I say this without knowing you or this particular fleet. But I do know that the 111 is much closer to a pure race boat than any of the other boats under consideration. To me, you buy a J/111 when racing is your top priority. You just don't need a powered-up, all-out race boat when you only plan to spend 20% of your time racing.

Yes I understand you can single-hand a J/111, or take out the family for a short cruise.

I think Blur would say that the J/111 is manageable by your average sailor.  Actually he has, "Having tested many boats in this size/segment I think the J/88 and J/111 are in a unique position, being sporty and fun (like a true race or sports boat) but still manageable by the average amateur sailor - even solo."  But maybe he is being too modest or maybe is overestimating my ability.  By the way, it must be great when the best argument against you (Blur) is that you're too good a sailor to be a good data point.

In either case, your point about the J/111 OD fleet becoming a disheartening experience is valid.  This point gets back to the question about my own priorities and what I want to optimize for.  Maybe the answer is, I get a J/111 because it will make a great daysailer; I do some shorthanded racing with it, and I accept that its not a boat I'm going to want to race OD--which would let me put a furler or hanks on it.  Then again maybe not.

3 hours ago, Pokey uh da LBC said:

I don't mean to throw cold water on your dreams.

Now is the time for the cold water; much better than after I own the boat.

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I'd like to echo what Pokey said with regards to racing the J/111.  I bought my J/109 new in 2003.  It was my dream boat, and a great all round boat.  As soon as I get my last kid off to college, I'll buy another one.  But, despite having raced, actively, for 25 years, I got my head handed to me on any serious race out of Annapolis on it.  I could hold my own in other venues, but where the "serious" racer's played, I was out of my league.  I was out crewed, out spent, and out raced.  And that was racing in PHRF, as no OD fleet yet existed in Annapolis.

If you are thinking you are going to race a J/111 at all, and you are at all hopeful of doing OK, you will either need to spend money to "buy" talent (crew, tactician, sailmaker, etc) or you will be spit out the back.  Hell, you'll be spit out the back of the J/109 Fleet as well.  I don't mean that as a criticism, I'd get spit out the back too, and I've now been racing for 40 years...

The level of effort and seriousness of Blur's program and  effort are light years away from the type of "friends and family" programs I run, and are probably galaxies away from what you can put together in your first couple years without spending 50k/yr for your racing budget.

Don't get me wrong.  I thing the J/111 is a great boat, and will easily meet most of your requirements, esp the daysailing one.  But you will have a long, hard road to climb to have any success racing it.  The J/109 will be a little easier, but even there, you might find you are filling out the bottom end of the fleet for some years to come.

Not trying to be a kill joy, and I love both boats, and will, as I said, likely buy another J/109.  But I'll know that when I go race it with the big boys, I'll have fun getting clobbered :D

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No one would argue that you can't get a Porsche or a Mustang Shelby GT500... just because you're not able to perform at the track against the pros? Or a carbon race bike just to enjoy your Sunday morning bike ride just a little bit more?

I am an average sailor. With a hobby that kind of got out of control :D 

The key to improving as a sailor is spending more time on the water. We had no idea on how to race a modern assy boat when we got the 109, but a bunch of friends spent 3 seasons getting up to speed. And with a fun boat, I had an easier time getting better crew. No pros. Just average sailors that wanted to improve.

Same thing with the J/111. We had no idea how to tame that boat when we got it, but the step-up in sportiness/fun led to even more time on the water,. And even more ambitous sailors came along for the ride. We're still a pure corinthian program, where everyone shares the running costs. We set the ambition to suit everyone in the team, with one major event once a year. And a lot of racing just for fun.

So in the "chicken or the egg" debate: a fun boat makes you a better sailor. You don't have to be a great sailor to get a fun boat.

 

PS. It's hard to find 18 knots in the ORC VPP. I know. 
Here's an after-work sail. Just for fun. 

 

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25 minutes ago, woodpecker said:

 

Funny, here are the targets, don't see anything near 18 knots in smooth water, actually not in any water.

 

J111_ORC_Plot p.pdf

 

Polars only go up to 20 knots of wind speed.  What happens above that wind speed is where the fun really starts.  

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Have you considered something like the J-97e? I know there is no OD class around for these boats, but to me one might fit your purposes quite well. Seem to be fairly competitive, have some decent cruising accommodations, and would be an easy boat to go out and play on for an afternoon. Overall upkeep costs would be a bit less than the 109 or 111 as well as it is a bit shorter and has smaller sails to pay for.

Beautiful example for sale near you as well for about the same as the 111s are going for (I have had my eye on it in the event I downsize which won't be happening for some time) https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2016/j-boats-j97e-3561973/

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8 minutes ago, Goatish said:

Have you considered something like the J-97e? I know there is no OD class around for these boats, but to me one might fit your purposes quite well. Seem to be fairly competitive, have some decent cruising accommodations, and would be an easy boat to go out and play on for an afternoon. Overall upkeep costs would be a bit less than the 109 or 111 as well as it is a bit shorter and has smaller sails to pay for.

 Beautiful example for sale near you as well for about the same as the 111s are going for (I have had my eye on it in the event I downsize which won't be happening for some time) https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2016/j-boats-j97e-3561973/

In my opinion, the J/97e is kind of "stuck in the middle"; without the cruisability (2 cabins) of the 109 or the sportiness of the 111. Still a nice boat.

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12 hours ago, Blur said:

 

 

PS. It's hard to find 18 knots in the ORC VPP. I know. 
 

So you are saying that the rating is grossly inaccurate?  

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Regarding the J/97e: Wow. $180k for a four-year-old, 32-footer is gonna be a tough sell, especially when the OP had his eye on a J/111. It has the sex appeal of a Dodge caravan. The thing just screams, "MomBoat". 

Me (as an 17 year old): Dad, can you buy me a mustang for graduation?

Dad: You'll get mom's minivan, IF you're lucky! And you finally pass calculus. 

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16 hours ago, Crash said:

If you are thinking you are going to race a J/111 at all, and you are at all hopeful of doing OK, you will either need to spend money to "buy" talent (crew, tactician, sailmaker, etc) or you will be spit out the back.  Hell, you'll be spit out the back of the J/109 Fleet as well.  I don't mean that as a criticism, I'd get spit out the back too, and I've now been racing for 40 years...

I think whatever I end up with I'll be getting spit out the back for a bit, even if I'm sailing in a PHRF JAM fleet.  But, it would be nice to work my way towards the front of the fleet and there is no room in the budget to buy talent to do it.

 

14 hours ago, Blur said:

The key to improving as a sailor is spending more time on the water. We had no idea on how to race a modern assy boat when we got the 109, but a bunch of friends spent 3 seasons getting up to speed. And with a fun boat, I had an easier time getting better crew. No pros. Just average sailors that wanted to improve.

Same thing with the J/111. We had no idea how to tame that boat when we got it, but the step-up in sportiness/fun led to even more time on the water,. And even more ambitous sailors came along for the ride. We're still a pure corinthian program, where everyone shares the running costs. We set the ambition to suit everyone in the team, with one major event once a year. And a lot of racing just for fu

Boat owners on your side of the pond seem to have figured it out.  Table stakes here seem to be all the operating costs are paid by the boat owner, which I have admittedly enjoyed for the last many years as crew and I am now prepared to pick those costs up as an owner.

But, I think your point is that given time fun boats attract good crew and good crew attract better crew.  At least in theory.

 

14 hours ago, Blur said:

Here's an after-work sail. Just for fun.

That does look like a lot of fun.

 

6 hours ago, Goatish said:

Have you considered something like the J-97e?

There was a period where I thought the J/97e was the perfect boat for me.  I even made a side trip to boot Düsseldorf to see one, which I liked.  The interior is more than adequate for the cruising I would like to do, and I like the presumably lower operating costs.

That said, it has fallen away in the 11th hour; pretty much for the reasons that Pokey laid out.  It's a lot of money for a 32' boat; more than that, the asking prices feel high compared to what other J Boats of similar vintage are going for (on a percent of price new).  And, it does feel like a step back after looking at the other options—even from a J/109.

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