J/108 - Sail Magazine

J/108

It was the perfect test for the new J/108: we were in Key West, and the light southerly breeze was opposing an ebb tide, creating a nasty chop in the shipping channel, so we opted instead to make an end run through the thin water between Sunset Key and Wisteria Island.
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
J108_0

It was the perfect test for the new J/108: we were in Key West, and the light southerly breeze was opposing an ebb tide, creating a nasty chop in the shipping channel, so we opted instead to make an end run through the thin water between Sunset Key and Wisteria Island. Scooting through in a typical deep-draft J/Boat would have been risky, at best. But the J/108 is no typical J. Like the 31-foot J/95, which came out in 2009, it has a shoal-draft keel/centerboard and twin rudders. It shares the hull of the acclaimed J/109, which draws 7 feet. But with the centerboard up, the J/108 draws just under 4 feet—about the same as a J/24.

Sure enough, as we motored out of the dredged channel toward the anchorage in the lee of Wisteria Island, the depth sounder plunged to 14, 10 and then 7 feet. Aboard a J/109 we would have been biting our fingernails. Aboard the J/108, it was a piece of cake.

j108night

Under sail, the J/108 proved equally impressive. Although the light breeze never topped 10 knots, the boat proved nimble on the wind and tacked easily and without hesitation—even when we wandered into the light chop on the edge of the aforementioned shipping channel. As a testament to the boat’s ability, I completely forgot about lowering the centerboard until near the end of the sail. Doing so, via a pair of control lines on the cabintop, was effortless.

As is the case with the J/95, the twin rudders provide fingertip control. The helm is so responsive you have to mentally readjust to avoid over-steering. Under power, you have complete low-speed control, both in forward and reverse.

Though the J/108 shares the J/109’s hull, it is a very different boat. Aside from the different underwater appendages, the 108 features an open transom with a removable dock box, a restyled cabintop, a German mainsheet arrangement, a shorter rig and 500 more pounds of ballast to counteract the effects of shoal draft on righting moment. There is also a fixed bowsprit with a dedicated anchor roller and tack point for a reaching sail.

J108Interior_0

Belowdecks, the J/108 has the same practical arrangement common to many J/Boats: conventional settees in the saloon, a head and shower to starboard of the companionway and a refreshingly large nav station. One of the nice things about the permanent bowsprit is that, unlike a retractable sprit, it doesn’t intrude on the V-berth in the bow.

The 30hp diesel was more than up to the task of keeping the boat on the go as the wind died off toward the end of our sail. (At 2,000 rpm we did nearly 7 knots.) The main traveler is located on the cockpit sole immediately forward of the helm, right where it belongs if you care about mainsail trim, while the J/108’s wide side decks and well-designed cockpit are vintage J/Boats.

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA 35ft

LWL 30 ft 6 in

BEAM 11ft 6 in

DRAFT 4ft (board up) 6ft 9in (board down)

DISPLACEMENT 11,400 lb

BALLAST 4,400lb

SAIL AREA 603 FT2

FUEL/WATER/WASTE (GAL) 22/26/11

ENGINE 30hp Volvo with Saildrive

ELECTRICAL 60AH (engine); 2 x 60AH (house)

BUILDER J/Boats Inc.

BASE BOAT PRICE $249,000

Related

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThink Deeply When chartering, I am always maddened to be told that the echo sounder is calibrated “to depth under the keel, plus a bit for safety.” Such operators seem to imagine that the instrument’s sole ...read more

180612-01 Landing lead

Painful Sailing in Volvo Leg 10

It’s looking to be a case of feast or famine for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean fleet as it continues the epic struggle that has been Leg 10, with it having been all famine thus far. Painful is the only word to describe the light-air start in Cardiff, Wales, on June 10, as the 11-boat ...read more

01-13_07_180304_JRE_03695_4605

Tips From the Boatyard

Within the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard sits a communal sail loft which provides service and repairs for all seven teams sailing in the 2017-18 edition of the race. The sail loft employs only five sailmakers who look after 56 sails in each stopover. If you’re thinking, “wow, these ...read more

sailCarwBasicsJuly18

Sail Care for Cruisers

Taking care of your canvas doesn’t just save you money, it’s central to good seamanship  Knowing how to take care of your sails and how to repair them while at sea is an important part of overall seamanship. The last thing any sailor needs is to get caught on a lee shore with ...read more

Ship-container-2048

The Danger of a Collision Offshore

This almost happened to me once. I was sailing singlehanded between Bermuda and St. Martin one fall, and one night happened to be on deck looking around at just the right time. The moon was out, the sky was clear and visibility was good. Still, when I thought I saw a large ...read more

New-MHS-Promo

Multihulls on the Horizon

Fountaine Pajot New 42The French cat powerhouse has been on a roll these last few years, cranking out new models that not only replace their older line but take a step forward in design and user-friendliness. The New 42’s “real” name had not been revealed as we went to press, but ...read more