Sunday, January 19, 2014

J/88 Strictly Sail Show Update

J/88 family speedster- sailing offshore under spinnaker (Chicago, IL)- The new J/88 has arrived in Chicago and is getting ready for the Strictly Sail boat show which runs from January 23 – 26 at Navy Pier.  The Stearns Boating booth will feature the new J/88 along with the J/70, J/111 and J/105, all of which are well represented classes in Southern Lake Michigan.  Here’s the latest update from J/Midwest dealer Rich Stearns from Stearns Boating:

“As many of you know, J/Boats has been updating its line of boats for the past few years. The J/111 has turned into one of the most successful offshore boats ever to sail on Lake Michigan (the Lake Michigan fleet is Fleet #1 and has 12 boats).  In the last three Mac races the J/111's have placed 5 or 6 of the top 10 overall and has it's own section!  The J/70 is the most successful small sportboat ever developed, selling over 350 in its first year with over 500 sold as of today. We already have 25 boats from Holland, MI to Madison, WI.  The J/70 was the first boat under 25 feet J/Boats had introduced in 30 years!

Now J/Boats is introducing the J/88 a fast, fun, stable, easy–to-sail (and tow) 29 footer. It has been 32 years since the J/29 was introduced, so I guess it’s about time for a boat this size again! What makes the J/88 a unique boat and appealing to everyone? It’s simple: it’s a boat perfect for a day-sail with the family, can be rigged and launched easily by two people, can be towed by a normal size vehicle, AND can be sailed in the Mac Race (speed is about the same as a J/105).

J/88 sailboat- towed behind Jeep Grand CherokeeThe biggest surprise so far is how easy it is to tow this boat. I just finished pulling the boat from Bristol, RI to Chicago (through the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania) during winter storm Hercules without a problem. Our car is a Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel, with a towing capacity of 7,400 lbs, it easily handled the payload (read about Richie’s amazing adventures in the J/Community section below).  We will be towing to South Carolina for Charleston Race week and also plan to drive back from Mackinac with the boat.  With the mast deck-stepped and on a pivot, two people can rig it, and with the single point lift the J/88 can be launched without a travel lift. The crane at Belmont should launch it easily.

If there is one problem with the boat, it’s that they’re sold out through the summer! There will be two in Chicago this summer and we are working to get more in stock. The J/88 will be available for test sails in the spring and summer (before the Mac Race). If you are interested please give me a call (847-404-2209 ) or drop me an email ( to set up a date/ time to check it out and sail it this summer.  Check out the J/88 sailing video on the Stearns boating web site