“It’s always a pleasure to go sailing with the new owners in their new boats. The J/70 is no exception. With 4 days of sailing the first two J/70's in Qingdao this past weekend, we got the opportunity to work with the Qingdao Maritime School practicing on their new J/70 and do some two boat testing and training.
First impressions of a new boat in the water are always important. The J/70 impresses in many ways. The lift keel is quite easy to use. The amount of space down below is impressive for the overall size of the boat and the cockpit is very easy to maneuver in. I had the opportunity to sail around the boat by myself one afternoon and found that setting the spinnaker solo and retrieving it was quite easy. With the spinnaker halyard mounted on the mast with a swivel cam, it made hoisting the halyard and releasing it much easier. The spinnaker design is also a huge bonus with a much more high aspect ratio sail the jibes are a piece of cake. The only thing you need to consider is that the jibing angles are a little greater in lighter air since the boat tends to want to sail higher angles to obtain better VMG's.
With the first boat in the water for about a week without bottom paint on the keel or rudder I felt it was the perfect time to try to scrub the bottom without getting wet. Wow, this was easy!! First, we lifted the keel with the keel crane. The main halyard is quite long on the J/70. By securing just the very end to the cleat on the mast and taking the main halyard around the spreaders, out on the dock and around to the other finger dock, I just tied it off. Then I released the dock lines and tied them at the very end of the line. Went back over to the main halyard on the other finger dock and pulled it with one wrap around the cleat. The boat slowly slid into the middle of the finger piers and when the dock lines became tight, I leaned into the halyard enough to give the boat about a 10 degree heel. Then I just walked over to the bow and stern lines and pulled the boat over close to the dock. As I pulled the boat healed over more. With about a 30 degree heel and the boat right up close to the dock I had full access to the bottom of the boat to scrub the bottom and keel! After I was done I repeated this on the other side. This took 1 person about 15 minutes to do both sides without getting wet. When I was pulling the dock lines to really heel the boat over the overall load on the dock lines was not that great. One arm could hold this. It could not be any easier to clean the bottom of the J/70! It’s wonderful to have this option of scrubbing the bottom and not getting wet. :)
I have been to many launching ceremonies before, but the Qingdao Maritime Collage had everyone out for this launching with champagne, Maritime students standing at attention, sailors ready and the cruise ship attendants in blue that also study at the schools. After the ceremony, the President of the school and the sailors all went sailing in the two J/70's. We look forward to deliver a few more to the Qingdao Maritime College soon!”