"Years ago, I spoke with a young naval architect who was critical of J/Boats, because of the fact that all their boats tended to look the same. The only way to tell them apart, he said, was by counting the port-lights in the cabin trunk.
Fair enough: there’s no denying a strong family resemblance among the many models currently making up the company’s product line. However, this criticism completely misses the point that they are all still very different boats—- not to mention, damn good looking!
Take the case of the new J/88, which comes hard on the heels of the J/70 and J/111. Although the newest of these three boats shares very similar lines—- including a plumb, or nearly plumb stem and stern; minimal sheer; a truncated but purposeful-looking cabin trunk; a large open-transom cockpit; and, of course, a trademark J/Boats retractable sprit—- the boat still has its own, distinct personality.
For example, whereas the J/111 is beginning to venture up into “big boat” range with its 9,300 lbs DSPL, 36.5 ft LOA and 663 ft2 of SA, the J/88 remains refreshingly nimble with its 4,990 lbs DSPL, 439 ft2 SA and LOA of just over 29 ft.
Similarly, while the 22.09 ft 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” to starboard just after of the forepeak.
The result, like the J/29 that preceded it, is a boat that is as versatile as it fun, a seaworthy little sloop that is as comfortable muscling its way through a seaway when it’s blowing stink as it is taking the kids out for a sunny daysail." Watch the J/88 SAIL Magazine test video here. Please read the rest of Adam's SAIL Magazine review here