According to designer Alan Johnstone, the brief for the new 36ft 6in J/111 one-design was for a boat that he and the rest of the J/Boats crew would want to sail—and it shows.

During a recent daysail off Newport, Rhode Island, hull #1 reveled in picture perfect sailing conditions, with winds out of the east in the mid to high teens. Sailing to windward, the boat was balanced and easy to drive through the moderate swells. Off the wind, the boat lit up under a massive, but easy to handle A-sail.

Narrow beam and a deep, high-aspect rudder make the boat easy to control, even when it’s on its ear. A bulb keel drawing 7ft 2in provides the righting moment to control the 751ft2 of working sail and 1,410-ft2 spinnaker. Tacking, even in the chop off Newport Neck, was effortless, with precision helm control throughout and never a doubt about making it onto the other tack. In the puffs, the boat accelerated like flicking a switch.

This is a boat that looks impressive just sitting at the dock. The stem is plumb, so much so that in profile it almost looks as though there is a hint of tumblehome. The stern is also nearly vertical, with minimal overhang, in the interest of maximizing sailing length.

Comparisons with the celebrated J/105—the one-design phenomenon that introduced the world to the advantages of bowsprits and asymmetric spinnaker—are inevitable, and the one area in which the J/111 clearly wins out is in the expansive, open-transom cockpit. On the one hand, there is plenty of room for a racing crew to do its stuff. On the other, seats are sized and angled so that the boat will be equally comfortable when daysailing. Strategically placed foot cleats and a well proportioned helm position making driving this boat a pleasure.

Closer inspection reveals a number of useful features, like a new low-profile, FlatDeck headsail furler from Facnor Furling Systems; rod rigging; Harken Radial winches; and a Hall carbon fiber mast that uses cutting-edge nanotube technology to increase stiffness and reduce weight without dramatically increasing cost.

Belowdecks the boat offers standing headroom and a simple, but comfortable layout, with four good sea berths for coastal cruising and racing offshore. Interior finish is another area in which this boat wins out over the J/105—simple and elegant, far from Spartan.

The hull is vacuum infused from e-glass and vinylester. Displacement is 8,900lb, providing a displacement-to-length ratio of just 114. The sail-area-to-displacement ratio is a whopping 28, compared to the J/105’s 24.

This boat has been generating a good deal of buzz in recent months, and having seen the boat firsthand, I can say the buzz is definitely warranted. According to Alan, J/Boats already has 34 orders on the books. It will be interesting to see how this boat does on the racecourse. My money says it’s a winner.

LOA: 36ft 5in
LWL: 32ft 7in
DRAFT: 7ft 2in
SAIL AREA: 663 sq ft
ENGINE: 20 hp
DESIGNER: Alan Johnstone