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Saving the J35 Class


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#1 makinghp

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 11:44 PM

Okay, lots of discussion about the 5 battens. Some good coments on the fact that only 7 boats raced in the 2011 nationals. But what I would like to know as a newbie J35 owner that did compete in the nationals is what would it take to bring the racing back. The boats are over 20 years old but there are much older other one designs still racing. They are great boats and a riot to sail, so why is the fleet shrinking. I am interested in hearing what it would take to get others to come and race and if other fleets have managed a comeback, how?

#2 ALittleLoose

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 12:16 AM

Local racing is dominated by the two boats (Bill and Falcon). It does not build the class when same boats dominate year after year. Are those guys sharing their methods of success to bring the less competitive boats around.

On other boats we used to trade skippers in meaningless races so that we could see first hand what was going on on the other boat and try to help the lower performing crews.

I think it is a great boat but it seems to be well below sustaining levels now.

#3 jim lee

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 02:24 AM

And they make terrific RV boats!

-jim lee

#4 Great White

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:09 AM

And they make terrific RV boats!

-jim lee

+1
And not a bad handicap racer either.

#5 taylorsailor

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:25 AM

has anyone ever tried to turbo a 35? Big assym on a long sprit, bulb keel, high aspect rudder, flat-top main with a big roach? could become a hot sportboat!

#6 Great White

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:33 AM

has anyone ever tried to turbo a 35? Big assym on a long sprit, bulb keel, high aspect rudder, flat-top main with a big roach? could become a hot sportboat!

Actually someone has:
My link
http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=125405

And a J35 in my area has added just the on-deck sprit and an asail with limited success.

#7 barnone

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:40 AM

has anyone ever tried to turbo a 35? Big assym on a long sprit, bulb keel, high aspect rudder, flat-top main with a big roach? could become a hot sportboat!


What? Does a J-35 even plane? There is one here and very well sailed by AC Cup guys. It doesn't plane and that's what they will tell you as well. They saw 17.2 knots in the Double Damned in 30-40, but that was as the boat dug a hole so deep that it disappeared going into a pitchpole, which seems impossible for that boat, But at least rudder was fully clear of the water.

One of the afterguard said, "Yeah and then I looked forward and all the crew were gone", as in underwater.

Basically, turboing won't make you a sportboat. If you can plane in 12-15 knts of wind, then maybe.

[edit] btw It's a great boat, but turboing will do nothing.

#8 Regatta Dog

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:06 AM


has anyone ever tried to turbo a 35? Big assym on a long sprit, bulb keel, high aspect rudder, flat-top main with a big roach? could become a hot sportboat!


What? Does a J-35 even plane? There is one here and very well sailed by AC Cup guys. It doesn't plane and that's what they will tell you as well. They saw 17.2 knots in the Double Damned in 30-40, but that was as the boat dug a hole so deep that it disappeared going into a pitchpole, which seems impossible for that boat, But at least rudder was fully clear of the water.

One of the afterguard said, "Yeah and then I looked forward and all the crew were gone", as in underwater.

Basically, turboing won't make you a sportboat. If you can plane in 12-15 knts of wind, then maybe.

[edit] btw It's a great boat, but turboing will do nothing.


I did bow for ten years on a J35 back in the day. It was a great boat and still is. I miss the NOODs and Nationals, but that boat can still kick ass in PHRF or IRC if sailed right.

Damned sturdy boat down wind in 30 - 40. Damned sturdy platform when shit blows up.

#9 frostbit

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 12:52 PM

[quote name='Regatta Dog' timestamp='1316667985' post='3410306']


+1 Also, while boat doesn't plane, it goes damn fast in waves and wind. Have sailed them at 15-17knts in 25+. Hairy, but more than feasible. Great drivers boat.

#10 WarBird

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 01:11 PM

The laser 28 is similar age and they get 15-20 boats to their championships. It helps that they are reasonably trailerable and that the fleet is geographically pretty close to each other. They still have a "No laminates" Mainsail rule. They have a website that sings praises of the boat , of course, and deals with every issue of racing, maintaining, fixing the boat. I think affordability is also an issue, size of gear, cost of sails etc.The top Laser 28s get a new main each year or so, people who can afford a new J35main semiannually along with other inventory upgrades are likely to be in a newer boat now.
Just my .02

#11 crash

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 01:35 PM

The laser 28 is similar age and they get 15-20 boats to their championships. It helps that they are reasonably trailerable and that the fleet is geographically pretty close to each other. They still have a "No laminates" Mainsail rule. They have a website that sings praises of the boat , of course, and deals with every issue of racing, maintaining, fixing the boat. I think affordability is also an issue, size of gear, cost of sails etc.The top Laser 28s get a new main each year or so, people who can afford a new J35main semiannually along with other inventory upgrades are likely to be in a newer boat now.
Just my .02


I think its cost of keeping the boat competitive. Most (not all) that can afford to keep a 35 footer competitve can also afford a new/newer boat. Sails for a J-35 cost the same as sails for a J/111 or J/109. Slip costs the same, crew size is the same or bigger, so if you do travel, expenses there can be higher...etc, etc. Only difference is the monthly boat payment, that is not the largest expense.

I think to get the class growing again, they will have to look at ways to limit costs (sail limitations, crew limitations, etc)...but that may risk alienating some core members....

#12 SailRacer

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 01:54 PM

All I know is there is one J35 in Charleston who seem to be fast as heck and they always seem to be going the correct way. Sure hope that this OD thing takes off.....

Sail safe!

#13 More Cowbell2

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 02:20 PM

<br />Local racing is dominated by the two boats (Bill and Falcon).  It does not build the class when same boats dominate year after year.  Are those guys sharing their methods of success to bring the less competitive boats around.<br /><br />On other boats we used to trade skippers in meaningless races so that we could see first hand what was going on on the other boat and try to help the lower performing crews.<br /><br />I think it is a great boat but  it seems to be well below  sustaining levels now.<br />


A lot comes from experience. Falcon did not win out of the box. It took a while to build the program, get everyone used to their positions and the boat, and learn the boat.
Recording data on rig tune versus wind conditions and boat performance over time will help build a database to work with in future regattas. Calling the shifts and staying in phase is critical, especially on Lake St. Stupid (St Clair). Crew work is critical, as is having consistent crew.
Come up for the Fall Series at NSSC where we can talk about some more specifics, if you like.

#14 Phoenix

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 02:52 PM

I don't ever see the 35 getting a lot of traction as a one design fleet with the exception of those places that have a concentration of boats already. Those places should continue to attract used boats and flourish for as long as the fleet itself continues to be active in marketing to and assisting new owners. That's pretty much the same as ony one design fleet. However, the difference is that while a boat like the 36.7 has a dealer marketing structure, the 35 is not a good candidate for the marketing arm of J Boats.

As for planing, the hull form is the only one I can remember that actually can push a pressure wave. In enough breeze, I suspect that the boat could actually be sailed until it trips on it's own bow wave. Forget the turbo, sail area is not a problem. Further, the planing set will never get into the actual appeal of the boat as a load carrier.

Sail limitations could be good as long as they don't make the boat more expensive for normal use. You don't want to encourage owners to have a one design set of sails and a handicap set of sails.

Accept what is and try to grow your local fleet. Efforts to make the boat a mainstay of the larger boat one design scene will fail because of the lack of dealer/builder support.

#15 fyschebone

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 02:52 PM

I have enjoyed racing the last five years on Bad Dog (the 2009 NAs were a riot, btw), and have some thoughts, but will let the owner have his say first... (Lar, you haven't jumped on this yet?!?) ;)

#16 Becalmed

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 07:34 PM

Once upon a time it was a fun OD class, dare I say until some of the top boats put on too many pros too often. Still could be great class, but spendy boats to sail today with maintenance and sails. Still a great handicap sailing boat, but not many good ones around that are OD rules compliant. Many have stripped out interiors etc (or were bought that way from J to make them PHRF wonders), and have been languishing in boat yards. It hurts the class to have such disparity between the boats. Turbo would be silly, they surf, but they also load up pretty hard. Lower the class crew weight limit might help the class however, nothing like rounding up 8-10 crew to kill the fun factor.

#17 Tax Man

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 07:55 PM

It is a great boat that is probably past its one design date but note that the current IRC NA champion is a J35.

One problem is operating costs are too high compared to the value of the hull for enough of the boats to be kept in the top trim needed for serious one design racing. A set of sails and lines is worth as much as a decent boat. If an owner had the funds to keep everything current, he would probably buy something newer instead.

The next problem is crew size / weight - just finding 9 people every week is a pain compared to the 5 or 6 on a newer J boat. Much worse if the owner is buying food and beer.

Ideas:
Drop the crew weight
Reduce the size of the genoa (say 140%)
Sail buttons (say 2 a year)

In a couple of years the fleet should even out (if a bit slower overall) and be back to close racing.

#18 WarBird

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 10:24 PM

People buy new boats because, well, they are new. Many owners are not maintenance experts nor do they want to be. They want to cruise and race, not fix. Those who race will race where they can. If there is not an active OD class racers go phrf OR irc OR BOTH. Now the boat is likely not OD compliant. There are other more active classes in that size 36.7 that may be a better fit for those needing OD.

#19 @last

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 02:20 AM

As a new owner/check writer I will add my 2 cents, take it for what it is worth (or not!). In the past the boats were probably traveled more/campaigned at a higher dollar level, etc. I think there is a natural evolution away from this as the boat has aged-how many 30 year old IOR one toner's do you see that are widely traveled, in full race trim (meaning like the day they left the builder) such as when the SORC was in full glory, not many I bet (any?). That is not to say the boat is dead by any means. It is no accident that the boat is in the American Sailboat hall of fame. My goal when I bought the boat 2 summers ago was distance racing and it has been an excellent choice IMHO. Doing a race that claimed two lives this past summer and being pretty close to where it happened I at no time had any confidence issue with the boats ability to deliver myself and crew home safely. So although rambling a bit my point is it may not be the same as it was in years past, I think the boat will live on due to its great design/build attributes, low initial cost and decent speed for size. Cost to run/campaign will be the limiting factor, I think you will see pockets of OD racing, I think we had 6 J-35's in our section, 7 total in the race and 4 alone from our club. There was lobbying done to get an OD start and I think over time it is a possibility. From what I understand there is a pretty good group of them in the chesapeake too.

#20 cport

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 03:57 AM

I have enjoyed racing the last five years on Bad Dog (the 2009 NAs were a riot, btw), and have some thoughts, but will let the owner have his say first... (Lar, you haven't jumped on this yet?!?) ;)


Waiting Lar..... *crickets*

#21 Becalmed

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:31 PM

Tax Man may have a winning idea. The smaller headsail would help the IRC number and ease up on the crew a little bit. Less crew is better crew.

#22 Phoenix

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 02:36 PM

I will toss in a "told you so" here. About a decade ago I opined that the high crew limits in PHRF were a factor in declining participation. The crew should equal the number of berths. In the case of the 35, six. That will also put an end to pointless W/L's with 3/4 mile legs.

#23 Tcatman

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 03:07 PM

I will toss in a "told you so" here. About a decade ago I opined that the high crew limits in PHRF were a factor in declining participation. The crew should equal the number of berths. In the case of the 35, six. That will also put an end to pointless W/L's with 3/4 mile legs.



Ha... an opportunity to compromise!

How about... the Annapolis to Oxford and Hammond race back.... Crew of 6.... (match your berths)
Annapolis Race week and the AYC fall series... It's big dinghy mode... current rules apply.

(NOTE: I don't think this is a problem or a solution to the J35 NA question of the OP ...)

#24 crash

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 05:14 PM

I will toss in a "told you so" here. About a decade ago I opined that the high crew limits in PHRF were a factor in declining participation. The crew should equal the number of berths. In the case of the 35, six. That will also put an end to pointless W/L's with 3/4 mile legs.


While I whole heartedly agree with the sentiment and intent, need to be careful about how you implement. For example, my 9.1 has 2 upper pilot berths for a total of 7 berths. Is it fair that I get 7 yet a J/30 only gets 6, or 5 if a late '84 or later model? I think across the board PHRF limits ought to be reduced, by something like 25% or more...but doing it by number of installed berths could get problematic/not be as fair a way to limit crew as originally surmised.

#25 jim lee

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 05:39 PM

You can't save it. J boats made the choice back in 1990 to kill the J/35 off and replace it with the J/105.

End of story, the fuel is gone. The best you can do with all the rule changes is to stretch out the glide back to earth a little.

Its sad because, like I always say, they were fantastic boats. I still love mine after 19 years. And, its holding up wonderfully considering how little maintenance it receives.

They are more fun than ever to sail now because less and less people know what they are. In the old days, when you passed up boats it was "Duh! Its a J/35" Now its "Wow, you must be a really good sailer". :)

-jim lee

#26 TimFordi550#87

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 07:50 PM

It is a great boat that is probably past its one design date but note that the current IRC NA champion is a J35.

One problem is operating costs are too high compared to the value of the hull for enough of the boats to be kept in the top trim needed for serious one design racing. A set of sails and lines is worth as much as a decent boat. If an owner had the funds to keep everything current, he would probably buy something newer instead.

The next problem is crew size / weight - just finding 9 people every week is a pain compared to the 5 or 6 on a newer J boat. Much worse if the owner is buying food and beer.

Ideas:
Drop the crew weight
Reduce the size of the genoa (say 140%)
Sail buttons (say 2 a year)

In a couple of years the fleet should even out (if a bit slower overall) and be back to close racing.


good suggestions!

#27 RATM

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 08:40 PM

I like the smaller headsails. I have been fortunate enough to sail on boats that only use blades. The days of skirting the jib are over

#28 DogBalls

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:15 PM

Look at the J44 class as a model for what the 35's could grow to not just in LIS but on several regional levels/ location.

#29 frostbit

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:52 PM

Boats will be poorly balanced in light and medium with small headsails. Just not designed for that. J44 offers a certain cachet and comfort factor that 35s would have difficulty replicating.

It was a great class and it's a boat near and dear to my heart, but for those who want to resurrect, what about the J35 is inspiring to you? To resurrect takes more than incremental improvements. It will take an evangelical leader. What hole would it fill in the current offshore one-designs?

#30 Great White

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 04:32 AM

In the PNW, we probably have 10-12 boats. Maybe 3/4 of those actively race. We have not had any true one design racing in at least ten years. I remember a few times racing when we had our own class. Usually we raced in PHRF Level 72(or 73) classes with Schock 35's, Express 37's, C&C115's and a few oter boats. I really don't mind handicap races. As spread out as the PNW is, we would probably only see a few one design races a year. As it is, I race 25-30 times a year.

Face it, the boats are getting old and they are not a modern design. For a larger boat, a lot of people can't accept the simple interior. I think they are a great boat for the type of cruising I do. They are not a sport boat, they do not plane. They are a great boat to sail and race and I bought it for that reason. Fully powered up with a full load of bodies on the rail and they are powerful. But it is entirely possible to sail with fewer people too. They were advertised to be as fast as 40 footers and are even though we owe a lot of older ones time. And some of those boat owners dislike us and think we have some sort of favorable handicap. You have to sail a J35 smart to do well, the boat by itself does not win the races.

I would be against the concept of smaller headsails. As mentioned before, to race one design and phrf, you would need two sets of sails. I don't think it would be much fun in lighter winds with smaller headsails either.

We see a lot of 105's and 109's here. They are more modern designs that attract people who like sailing with asails.

#31 crash

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 12:17 PM

In the PNW, we probably have 10-12 boats. Maybe 3/4 of those actively race. We have not had any true one design racing in at least ten years. I remember a few times racing when we had our own class. Usually we raced in PHRF Level 72(or 73) classes with Schock 35's, Express 37's, C&C115's and a few oter boats. I really don't mind handicap races. As spread out as the PNW is, we would probably only see a few one design races a year. As it is, I race 25-30 times a year.

Face it, the boats are getting old and they are not a modern design. For a larger boat, a lot of people can't accept the simple interior. I think they are a great boat for the type of cruising I do. They are not a sport boat, they do not plane. They are a great boat to sail and race and I bought it for that reason. Fully powered up with a full load of bodies on the rail and they are powerful. But it is entirely possible to sail with fewer people too. They were advertised to be as fast as 40 footers and are even though we owe a lot of older ones time. And some of those boat owners dislike us and think we have some sort of favorable handicap. You have to sail a J35 smart to do well, the boat by itself does not win the races.

I would be against the concept of smaller headsails. As mentioned before, to race one design and phrf, you would need two sets of sails. I don't think it would be much fun in lighter winds with smaller headsails either.

We see a lot of 105's and 109's here. They are more modern designs that attract people who like sailing with asails.


You wouldn't necessarily need two sets if done right. In most PHRF regions, you can get a ODR rating. PHRF will also give rating adjustments if your biggest headsail is smaller than a 155%. So its possible to reduce the number/size of headsails and have PHRF compensate with either rating allowances, or a new ODR rating that takes the new class sailplan into account...

#32 BoomerangJ

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 12:25 PM

We'd love to get the Texas-Louisiana J/35's to form a class at J/Fest Southwest this year. If five show up-they'd get a start. The participants could decide how they want to race in regards to crew and sails. The first step to re-energize a class is get them at an event and let them race together so they remember how much fun OD racing is. Once they get going again the rules compliance can kick up a notch.

J/Fest Southwest 2011 details can be found here: www.Jfestsouthwest.com and register here: https://www.regattan...regatta_id=4019

There are two J/35's that come out and play on a regular basis in Galveston Bay. There has to be at least 3 more spread between Corpus Christi and New Orleans. It might be fun to have feeder races from points afar to come in for a few of the races in the bay. For the J/35's they could play in J/Fest, Harvest Moon Regatta, and Compass Bank. It could be a fall tradition!

Let me know what I can do to help!

#33 F395

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 01:17 PM

From a main trimmers POV, the smaller headsail is a BAD idea, the maximum fun in a J35 is going upwind higher and faster than many "faster" boats. The #1 in less than 12 true wind is a must have. We do fly a "2" which really is a 150% but we lose point and speed with that sail under 12 true. It is not just that single sail, I raced on board that boat for many years and we have gone through a few different sets of sails and still only want the 155% when it is light. If the OD requirements take away from the performance it is a non starter for me.

#34 Great White

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 03:44 PM


In the PNW, we probably have 10-12 boats. Maybe 3/4 of those actively race. We have not had any true one design racing in at least ten years. I remember a few times racing when we had our own class. Usually we raced in PHRF Level 72(or 73) classes with Schock 35's, Express 37's, C&C115's and a few oter boats. I really don't mind handicap races. As spread out as the PNW is, we would probably only see a few one design races a year. As it is, I race 25-30 times a year.

Face it, the boats are getting old and they are not a modern design. For a larger boat, a lot of people can't accept the simple interior. I think they are a great boat for the type of cruising I do. They are not a sport boat, they do not plane. They are a great boat to sail and race and I bought it for that reason. Fully powered up with a full load of bodies on the rail and they are powerful. But it is entirely possible to sail with fewer people too. They were advertised to be as fast as 40 footers and are even though we owe a lot of older ones time. And some of those boat owners dislike us and think we have some sort of favorable handicap. You have to sail a J35 smart to do well, the boat by itself does not win the races.

I would be against the concept of smaller headsails. As mentioned before, to race one design and phrf, you would need two sets of sails. I don't think it would be much fun in lighter winds with smaller headsails either.

We see a lot of 105's and 109's here. They are more modern designs that attract people who like sailing with asails.


You wouldn't necessarily need two sets if done right. In most PHRF regions, you can get a ODR rating. PHRF will also give rating adjustments if your biggest headsail is smaller than a 155%. So its possible to reduce the number/size of headsails and have PHRF compensate with either rating allowances, or a new ODR rating that takes the new class sailplan into account...

I am aware of the PHRF adjustments for non standard headsail size. I have not run the numbers for a 140% jib, but the adjustment would probably be either 3 or 6 secs/mile. But we spend a lot of races in winds of 10knots or less and I doubt if the PHRF adjustment of the smaller jib would make up for the performance with the smaller jib in the lighter winds. Anyway, if I chose to race one design with a 140% jib, I would still have to buy one.

#35 crash

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 03:50 PM



In the PNW, we probably have 10-12 boats. Maybe 3/4 of those actively race. We have not had any true one design racing in at least ten years. I remember a few times racing when we had our own class. Usually we raced in PHRF Level 72(or 73) classes with Schock 35's, Express 37's, C&C115's and a few oter boats. I really don't mind handicap races. As spread out as the PNW is, we would probably only see a few one design races a year. As it is, I race 25-30 times a year.

Face it, the boats are getting old and they are not a modern design. For a larger boat, a lot of people can't accept the simple interior. I think they are a great boat for the type of cruising I do. They are not a sport boat, they do not plane. They are a great boat to sail and race and I bought it for that reason. Fully powered up with a full load of bodies on the rail and they are powerful. But it is entirely possible to sail with fewer people too. They were advertised to be as fast as 40 footers and are even though we owe a lot of older ones time. And some of those boat owners dislike us and think we have some sort of favorable handicap. You have to sail a J35 smart to do well, the boat by itself does not win the races.

I would be against the concept of smaller headsails. As mentioned before, to race one design and phrf, you would need two sets of sails. I don't think it would be much fun in lighter winds with smaller headsails either.

We see a lot of 105's and 109's here. They are more modern designs that attract people who like sailing with asails.


You wouldn't necessarily need two sets if done right. In most PHRF regions, you can get a ODR rating. PHRF will also give rating adjustments if your biggest headsail is smaller than a 155%. So its possible to reduce the number/size of headsails and have PHRF compensate with either rating allowances, or a new ODR rating that takes the new class sailplan into account...

I am aware of the PHRF adjustments for non standard headsail size. I have not run the numbers for a 140% jib, but the adjustment would probably be either 3 or 6 secs/mile. But we spend a lot of races in winds of 10knots or less and I doubt if the PHRF adjustment of the smaller jib would make up for the performance with the smaller jib in the lighter winds. Anyway, if I chose to race one design with a 140% jib, I would still have to buy one.


Your right...and I agree with where you are coming from. But if everyone looks out for only their personal best interests, then it will only make saving the class harder. I'm not advocating the class should be saved. I don't have a J 35 and don't really ever intend to buy one. Its a great boat. Its a great PHRF boat. I am merely respond to the original post on ways to save the class. I believe that without reducing cost, and sails are the biggest element of cost for a J-35, and crew size, (as rounding up 10 buds to race all the time is a PITA, you'll have a hard time saving it as a one design class.

#36 J35M8

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 08:25 PM

Frostbit,

I think you hit on the really important issue..... What inspires skippers to campaign a J/35? If they don't race, what is it about the boat that caught their fancy?

Building on what's already there is the way to go.



Boats will be poorly balanced in light and medium with small headsails. Just not designed for that. J44 offers a certain cachet and comfort factor that 35s would have difficulty replicating.

It was a great class and it's a boat near and dear to my heart, but for those who want to resurrect, what about the J35 is inspiring to you? To resurrect takes more than incremental improvements. It will take an evangelical leader. What hole would it fill in the current offshore one-designs?



#37 lartaunt

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 02:36 AM


I have enjoyed racing the last five years on Bad Dog (the 2009 NAs were a riot, btw), and have some thoughts, but will let the owner have his say first... (Lar, you haven't jumped on this yet?!?) ;)


Waiting Lar..... *crickets*

Traveling this week and want to put some thought into this response. Had one drafted the internet connection shit the bed and it was lost, so maybe tomorrow night when I get home.


just happened again so I will chime in later :angry:

#38 Regatta Dog

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 02:51 AM

It's a great boat. If people would just sail them as J35s and not modify them for IRC/PHRF, they might have a resurgence as a class.

Great fucking fun, back in the day. I know I'm aging myself, but that boat set the bar.

#39 lartaunt

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 08:12 PM

First, the J/35 is not a boat that travels easily. Fixed keel, over 10,000 lbs, 12 feet wide, mean that you just don’t pop it on the trailer at the drop of the hat. Interstate travel requires permits and routing services, etc so not for the feint of heart. Doable but not something the average owner at the current price point is going to do often. For those few who have the resources and trailers available have at it.!

So where does that leave us? Racing in locals that the boats can easily and at reasonable cost travel to and which a reasonable core of owners exist. For the most part this means various places on the Great Lakes (Detroit, Southern Lake MI, Toronto) and Chesapeake Bay. Simply not enough quantity of boats in other locations at this time to assemble the necessary numbers to have large numbers. That said a OD regatta with J/35’s with only 7-9 boat is still a hell of a good time and beats the crap out of PHRF racing.

The real problem is that even in areas that we have a reasonable number of hulls on the water getting them to participate in OD racing has been challenging and this is where the class has, IMHO failed miserably.

As it is my fleet and I am the fleet captain I will use Lake Michigan as an example. We currently have 17 J/35 hulls that I know of in our Fleet area (as many as there has ever been to my knowledge). 10 of which did not compete in any of the OD races this year.6 of these have owned the boats less than two years 4 of those six competed in no one design racing. In the past 5 years members of our fleet have scored well and even won the Chicago Mac race and this year won the Trans Superior Race, and the Verve Cup. Yet we continue to struggle to get 6-7 boats at the major regattas and it is usually the same boats. We have completely failed in engaging the new owners especially in OD buoy racing which is, to me, one of the funnest thing on the planet.

So there in lies the problem. Why are new owners buying J/35’s for distance racing primarily and PHRF. Our PHRF rating on Lake Michigan is 69 and sucks. J/35 is fairly fast for the distance races but a lot of other boats are a lot more comfortable than J/35’s for distance racing.

What can we do. I think the current owners need to step up. Falcon and Mr. Bill are very fast because they work hard and sail consistent. I have lost to them, I have beaten them. There is no “secret sauce’ that they refuse to share. That being said we need to become a lot more proactive in getting our new owners out to race. Given that the cost of entry is much lower than it used to be, some of these new owners are not all that experienced. We need to help them more to learn the boat and get up to speed. It is no fun finishing way behind everybody else and that first port starboard crossing with inches to spare can scare the living bajeezus out of you. It is disheartening to have it happen over and over again and feeling outclassed. Once your in the mix you will be hooked and will not ever give it up. What these new owners don’t know is that we all went through this curve and only got better by racing against the best. My experience is that most of the owners are more than willing to help and give advice if asked but there is no venue for that to happen except at the regatta’s. This is where I think the national organization really needs to take the lead. Create events on a regional basis where owners can get together, share knowledge and skills and learn to race a J/35 at high levels. Saying J/Boats has abandoned us is bull. When is the last time we asked them. Last I knew they still were willing to sponsor our national championships so get them involved. Send Rod out to the events.

Changes, minimal to make it more affordable. Limit sail purchases to 1 or 2 per year. Change crew requirements to a fixed number (8) and toss out the weight limit. Find a lower cost replacement motor that can be used and still be class legal (boats are 25 years old and a new engine is $17,000). Do not go to a class jib, the boat is way too much fun with the full Genoa in 12 knots of air. Class ownership of sails for NA’s like the J44’s do is a very interesting idea level the playing field.

Or, let the class die a slow death and we all retire to handicap racing, which would be a shame with so many out there.

Step up owners save your Class. My offer and action is coming soon! What will you do? :D

#40 Phoenix

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:32 PM

If you are getting a third of the boats out for a one design event, then your experience is about the same as most one design fleets. I struggled with the same thing with Etchells for four years. Some owned the boats for Wednesday nights only. Some actually just day sailed them and some owned them just to say they owned them. In talking to other fleet captains, they said that our numbers were about what they experienced.

Have fun with what you have. Keep trying to get others out for the weekends. Provide crew and tuning help. Lend sails and gear. Identify potential active owners and hook them up with boats for sale. Just remember that you aren't going to get many more than you have as a percentage of the total.

#41 JustDroppingBy

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:52 PM

My .02...

SF Bay has a class of "99'ers" - which are Olson 34, Express 34, etc - all rating a 99 under PHRF and they group them together as a class for OD style racing. It works well and they are competitive amongst their class, different conditions sometimes favor one model over another but over the course of the year it seems to level out.

When I lived in SoCal, there was a discussion among part of the Schock 35 owners about approaching the J35 owners and seeing if they wanted to do something similar, in an attempt to get more boats on the line as a modified class, with the thought that it might inspire more boats to get out and race on a level playing field. Each class would follow its own class rules regarding sail purchases, crew weight, etc. since the PH ratings are generally based on the OD requirements of the class. I don't live there or have my Schock any more so no idea where they went with the idea.

For races like Newport to Ensenada, for years there was the 72 class - comprised of Schock 35s, J35s, Express 37s, and it worked nicely, at least until so many boats stopped doing the race that it no longer made sense to have a small class of only 72s and it was expanded to include more boats.

In OD racing, it's really important that the top boats in the fleet work with the bottom of the fleet to increase the level of competition as a whole. If someone is always last, they really lose the impetus to maintain the boat, buy new sails, or race OD. It also takes away the edge of the top boat if no one ever shows up to give them good competition - getting crews to swap positions on less important races or putting together crews from different boats that can teach or offer suggestions, somewhat like a mentor, was also something I recently heard mentioned. Take the bow from the best boats and have them work with the bow from the worst boats, for instance. No owner wants to sit in the back driving the boat and watching the $ signs add up with a crew that mangles the gear. Most owners don't have unlimited budgets and need to make every $ count.

Get the crews together for a clinic day - get someone to do a short on land presentation about something specific - upwind, downwind, starts, whatever, and then take the boats out for the afternoon and get them to practice with coaching help, either from a coach or from the better boats. All sorts of creative and inexpensive ideas for helping people to learn the methods that make the best boats consistently win will help to get the fleet up to speed.

And make sure the fleet captain is reaching out to all the boats, needling them to go racing, offering help and suggestions and so forth. The worst boats in OD don't get good crew to sail with them and until they get good crew, they'll never get out of the cellar. Catch 22.

#42 Flying Fish

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 10:03 PM

As a former bowman for many years on a J-35 I will agree with many of the posts of it being a great boat but one that needs multiple headsails to sail to its rating. It can win but will cost alot of money in upkeep and sails. Most of these boats were raced hard and will need alot of new gear. Cheaper to go with a 105 or 109 and spend far less on sails. The boat needs alot of bodies and for most who can afford a 35 foot boat it is too old to be on the radar screen. The class was great 20 - 25 years ago and if I were an owner having 6 - 8 on the line would make me very happy.



#43 lartaunt

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 11:12 PM

As a former bowman for many years on a J-35 I will agree with many of the posts of it being a great boat but one that needs multiple headsails to sail to its rating. It can win but will cost alot of money in upkeep and sails. Most of these boats were raced hard and will need alot of new gear. Cheaper to go with a 105 or 109 and spend far less on sails. The boat needs alot of bodies and for most who can afford a 35 foot boat it is too old to be on the radar screen. The class was great 20 - 25 years ago and if I were an owner having 6 - 8 on the line would make me very happy.

Sorry but on one point I have to disagree. Given the market price of J/105's and 109's compared to a J/35 you can refurb the boat, buy a new set of sails and still have a substantial amount of money in your pocket to fund future sail purchases. There is no "cheaper" one design racing in this size range. Thanks for the input though :D

#44 ~HHN92~

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 12:19 AM

Some that have a 35 buy these because it fits their budget, since they are not in the market to purchase the 105's, 109's, etc. and campaign at that level. I know, I was one. (in a partnership)

Sure, we would have loved to do Key West Raceweek, for instance, but even though we could sail the boat down it was still a chunk of money that we did not have to outlay for a relative 'home' game.

Being in FL. the cost to find and trailer the boat up to the Bay or Lakes was not even thinkable for us.

We did have 4 at our club at one time, and we lined-up as often as possible, but one boat sold, and the other is on the block (a good boat actually that has been sitting for 4 years). We did the St. Pete NOOD's one year with the 4 35's, the 109, and a Tripp 33. It ended-up being pretty good with the 109 finishing right there with us in a tight points total.That has left two of us that, along with the 109, we had some good competition and probably could hold our own at an NA's. Our crew started with a core of 3 and built from sailors of various experience at our club. At first we only did fixed mark distance races and then moved to closed course action. Boy did their eyes open wide the first time we were lined-up with the 109, a Farr 395, and the other 35 all overlapped coming into the leeward mark! Needless to say that ended-up as a bad one but they started to get the idea pretty fast. Our foredeck guy was a 50yo that had never sailed before coming out with us. We started him in the middle but he, for some unknown reason even after I tried to persuade him otherwise, decided he wanted to do foredeck. It was a little rough at first but he caught-on relatively quick and things got better with time. My 13yo 60lb daughter was the 'Sewer Rat' and was always on the rail until the finish, no matter how long the race was. So it can be done, our weakness was having to spend more time inside the boat, and not looking outside to develop our tactics. We knew it, discussed it with the crew, and they understood that when we got to that point we would be a threat to win at any time. We had our moments when things went right, but were not consistent with it obviously.

I had the same issue on participation when I ran the local Sunfish class series. Some at the back of the fleet got tired of losing to the same guys, not understanding that sailing consistently with those guys was making them better. We were always sharing info and set-ups. We had (and probably still have) plenty of boats around to get 20-30 boats locally, but as things happen the activity has died down. Whenever we travelled our series regulars were going to be in the hunt and represented our area well. Some that did not travel but did the Midwinters, etc. when they were in town had top finishes also. But, could not beat the top dogs and grew despondent over it. It is a tough nut to crack.

I wish I could add to the J35 fleet and class race the boat. It's a good one and has lots of life left in it. Keep with it.




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