Best Boats 2013: J/70

There’s nothing more disappointing than test sailing a high-octane sport boat in a drifter. But that wasn’t a problem with the new 22ft, 9in J/70. For our sail trial we had a steady 20-knot southerly, gusting over 25 knots and kicking up a sharp chop off Bristol, Rhode Island.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
J70Trials4

There’s nothing more disappointing than test sailing a high-octane sport boat in a drifter. But that wasn’t a problem with the new 22ft, 9in J/70.

For our sail trial we had a steady 20-knot southerly, gusting over 25 knots and kicking up a sharp chop off Bristol, Rhode Island. Because J/Boats was only about a week into its boat trials at the time, company president Jeff Johnstone decided it might not be prudent to fly the A-sail, but it didn’t matter.

Beating out toward Popasquash Point, the boat proved both nimble and manageable. It accelerated in the puffs and had an easy helm, even when we buried the lee rail. At one point we overshot a tack, and the boat was momentarily knocked down. But we never felt we were completely out of control, thanks to the boat’s ballasted keel large transom-hung rudder. The fairly high boom and spacious 11-foot self-draining cockpit made getting from one side to the other while tacking a piece of cake—a far cry from the 24-footer that first put J/Boats on the map.

Then it came time to bear away.

“Let’s see if we can get up on a plane with just the main and jib,” Jeff said, and next thing we knew the boat was hissing over the water leaving a wake that bore an incredible resemblance to that of a Volvo Ocean Race 70 at speed. Even more impressive was how easy it all was. Not only did the helm feel light, providing just enough feedback to let me know what the foils were up to, but there was never any question of wiping out. There we were, sailing up in the double digits, and I wasn’t worried a bit. All I wanted was to try and make the boat go as fast as possible.

Complementing the boat’s effective foils and efficient hull form, with its sharp bow and flat planing sections farther aft, are a deck-stepped carbon-fiber mast, boom and retractable sprit, all built by Southern Spars. Deck hardware on our test boat was mostly Harken, but with Ronstan jib tracks and cars. The J/70’s double-ended backstay purchase system will play a central rolling in fine-tuning the powerful fractional rig. Twelve-inch stanchions with padded Dyneema lifelines provide back support when your feet are inboard and keep you out of the drink when hiking. There’s a kelp cutter on the keel and a substantial toerail on the foredeck. Construction quality is excellent throughout.

The J/70 is equipped with a vertical lifting keel, which is raised and lowered with a removable worm-gear crane. This is J/Boats’ first ramp-launchable keel boat, and in addition to creating new options for the racing set, it opens up a world of possibilities for daysailers. And, yes, this boat is a legitimate daysailer. The same qualities that make it easy to handle in a blow also make it a stable platform for taking out the kids. J/Boats has even included a small cuddy so they’ll have a place to get in out of the weather.

Expect big things from this great little boat.

For more on the new J/70 click here. For the J/70 sailplan, click here.

SPECIFICATIONS 

LOA 22ft 9in

BEAM 7ft 5in

DRAFT 4ft 9in

DISPLACEMENT 1,750lb

SAIL AREA 226 ft2 (100% FT)

ENGINE 2.5hp outboard

DESIGN/MARKETING J/Boats Inc., Newport, RI; 401-846-8410; jboats.com

DESIGNER Alan Johnstone

U.S. BUILDER CCF Composites, Bristol, RI

Related

GMR19_F53_0539

Boat Review: Beneteau First Yacht 53

Luxury performance-cruising isn’t entirely new. You can go fast and still be comfortable. You can even race if you make the right tradeoffs—or so says Groupe Beneteau, which recently launched its First Yacht 53, in the process also reinventing the company’s “First” brand. ...read more

BirdonBoard

Cruising: Birds of a Feather

One of the neatest things about sailing offshore is the other lifeforms we encounter. We smile when we see flying fish skimming over the surface of the sea. We cheer when dolphins leap and dance in our bow waves. We are duly reverent when mighty whales sound and spout, and ...read more

pirate-marlin-logo

Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament

This Spring has felt a bit like a slow day of fishing but it’s almost time to time to Bait…and Switch. The Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournaments offer something for every member of your crew. Exceptional fishing, fun times with family, old friends and new. Our run is short, our ...read more

Tusk.00_00_16_21.Still001

Tusk by Spyderco

Spyderco's Tusk knife combines a blade and marlinspike to create a multitool perfect for marine use. Made with corrosion resistant materials like titanium and LC200N steel, a nitrogen alloyed steel, and Spyderco-exclusive locking mechanisms, this knife is one of the toughest ...read more

IY11.98_fTaccola©DJI_0200

Italia 11.98 Performance-cruiser

This past winter, SAIL principal editor, Adam Cort, check out the new Italia Yachts’ new 11.98 performance-cruiser at the boot Dusseldorf show in German, and says he can attest to the fact it’s a boat more than worthy of the attention of North American sailors. Available in ...read more

01-LEAD-2017_IDALEWIS_0219

Racing: Doublehanded

I was born in 1955, and although I was a tad young to actually follow the first Observer Single-Handed Transatlantic Race, I grew up in the age of the pioneers of solo offshore sailing—Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnson, Alec Rose, all Knighted for their singlehanded ...read more

newport-400c-updated

Spectra Watermakers

The world's quietest and most energy-efficient watermakers. Our product line ranges from hand operated desalinators that can make 6 gallons a day to our largest system that produces 20,000 gallons of fresh, potable water per day. Spectra Watermakers has the complete package: ...read more

CAPE-COD---Under-sails

Boat Review: Cape Cod

The concept of “daysailer” has grown ever broader over the years. These days the label can be pasted on a boat as small and simple as a Sunfish, as fancy as a 40-footer with a nice big cockpit and plenty of brightwork, or any number of concoctions in between. This Cape Cod ...read more