J/88 - Sail Magazine

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:
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

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more