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:
Updated:
Original:
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

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Relieve the load  One of the ancient arts of the sailor is setting up a “stopper” to relieve a loaded rope without letting anything go. The classic use for a stopper is to take the weight off the genoa ...read more

05

Ask Sail: Water Getting into Coax

Q: While inspecting behind the nav station for my spring cleaning, I discovered water behind my chartplotter and VHF radio stack. Freshwater to boot! Do electronics leak? I didn’t think so. — Everette Gracy, Norton Shores, MI Gordan West Replies  Last winter your region was ...read more

Instrumentation-Vakaros-Atlas-Head-On-(New-Main-Screen)

Gear: Vakaros Atlas

Small-boat Race Instrumentation The compact Vakaros Atlas provides real-time, on-the-water performance data as well as off-the-water analytics aboard smaller raceboats. Among the parameters measured are GPS speed, magnetic heading, time-to-line, VMG, pitch and leeway. The system ...read more

JeanneSocrates02

77-Year-Old Completes Solo Circumnavigation

After 320 days at sea, British sailor Jeanne Socrates, 77, arrived in Victoria, British Colombia, on Saturday, completing her latest circumnavigation and in the process becoming the oldest person ever to sail solo, nonstop around the world. Prior to the voyage, Socrates was ...read more