J/88

Although the new J/88 has very similar lines to the J/111 and J/70 that precede it, the boat still has a personality that is distinctly its own.  For example, whereas the J/111 is almost in “big boat” range with its 9,300lb displacement, 36ft 6in LOA and 663ft2 of sail area, the J/88 is refreshingly nimble with its 4,990lb displacement, 439ft2 of sail area and a LOA of just over 29ft.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
J88-600x_0

Although the new J/88 has very similar lines to the J/111 and J/70 that precede it, the boat still has a personality that is distinctly its own.

For example, whereas the J/111 is almost in “big boat” range with its 9,300lb displacement, 36ft 6in LOA and 663ft2 of sail area, the J/88 is refreshingly nimble with its 4,990lb displacement, 439ft2 of sail area and a LOA of just over 29ft.

Similarly, while the 22ft 9in J/70 is almost dinghy-like, with its lifting keel and minimal cuddy cabin, the J/88 feels dramatically more substantial, with 6ft 4in settees in the saloon, a fixed head, an inboard 14hp auxiliary, and a kind of “micro nav station.”

The result—like the J/29 that preceded it—is a boat that is fun and versatile, a seaworthy little sloop in which you can muscle your way through a choppy seaway or take the kids out for a sunny daysail.

During our test sail we had a fluky 11-knot easterly under cloudless skies out on Narragansett Bay. J/Boats’s Stuart Johnstone apologized that the bottom hadn’t been scrubbed in a couple of weeks. But the boat still did just fine, easily hitting 5-plus knots sailing at apparent wind angles in the high 30s and 7-plus knots on a reach.

Equally impressive was the way the boat handled, both when sailing a course and going through maneuvers. The transom-hung rudder is deep and powerful, providing so much control you have to be a bit careful—almost like in a dinghy. I suspect the boat will also prove forgiving, yet powerful in a blow.

The rig provides plenty of horsepower for driving the slippery hull in light air, but is not so big that you can’t muscle it under control when things get hairy. The A-sail, while enormous in relation to the boat, can still be handled by mere mortals.

As for the cockpit and deck layouts, these are vintage J/boats, complete with in-hauler rings on the cabintrunk to create close sheeting angles for the headsail, a Harken belowdeck jib furler and a vang that sheets to both port and starboard. The mainsail sheets to a traveller on the cockpit sole and includes both gross and fine tuning for optimal control in a wide range of wind velocities. According to Johnstone, the cockpit itself is essentially the same as that of the J/111 (recognized in SAIL’s 2011 Best Boats), only about a foot shorter. See the video of the J/88 undersail here.

The build quality and overall look of the J/88 are spare, but solid. The hull and deck are both cored for lightness and rigidity, and the layup appears to be neat and tidy, even in those nooks and crannies where it doesn’t have to be. The carbon mast is deck-stepped for easy handling when trailering; the retractable sprit is also carbon fiber. All in all, it’s another sweet-sailing speedster that does justice to its predecessors.

j88

Related

101218BTSC-9887

Just Launched: Little Big Boat

Peter Nielsen looks at Beneteau’s latest entry-level boat and a new cruiser from Tartan Group Beneteau’s commitment to entry-level boats has been reaffirmed over the last year with the assimilation of the sporty Seascape line of pocket cruisers and the ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more