It’s not often that you get to sail in a brand new boat, especially one that has been in the water for less than 48-hours. But, as luck (and some help from our good friends at J/Boats), editor Peter Nielsen and senior editor David Schmidt got invited down to Portsmouth, RI in late March for an early season sail on the new J/95, a twin-rudder, lifting centerboard rocket ship. Even better was the fact that we got to test sail the boat with designers Rod and Alan Johnstone on hand to field technical questions, offer tips on how to make the boat really shine, and give us a full-on demonstration of this unusual boat’s qualities.
What’s unusual you ask? Well, for starters, the boat has a lifting centerboard, making it ideal for shoal-water sailing. Because of this design brief, a deep rudder wouldn’t do, so Rod ingeniously used twin rudders (each are 55% the size and surface area of a standard rudder for a boat of this size) to facilitate steerage. How does it sail? Magnificently! The boat proved a true pleasure to helm, to sail, and to be aboard. While its accommodations are somewhat Spartan, the boat provides everything that a couple or a few friends need for a weekend getaway, and, given its performance attributes, the getaway will be a quick one. Here’s a short video of our test sail; stay tuned to an upcoming issue of SAIL for the full-on review.