Monday, May 30, 2016

J/24 40th Anniversary Celebration!

J/24 40th anniversary party

(Stonington, CT)- The J/24 celebrated its 40th anniversary on May 15th in Stonington, CT- a notable milestone for a boat that has seen 5,500 copies launched around the world in that time frame and, as a result, became the world’s most popular recreational offshore keelboat ever.

J/24 Ragtime launching- Stonington, CTA wonderful reception was hosted for family and friends by Dodson’s Boat Yard in one of their boat storage sheds.  On hand to commemorate the 40th anniversary were Rodney Johnstone and his three “helpers”, Jeff, Phil and Alan Johnstone who were instrumental in helping scavenge parts, wood, nails, glue and other stuff to help build the original J/24 RAGTIME in their garage back in 1975 to 1976, a nearly two year building project.  In fact, all the Harken blocks aboard the original RAGTIME came from the Soling called BESS, originally owned by the famous Olympic sailing gold medalist from Denmark, Paul Elvstrom.

Lucia Johnstone christening first J/24 RAGTIME in 1976A great time was had by all and Rodney had the opportunity to re-tell the story of how the boat was created and how it became the foundation for the founding of J/Boats Inc back in the fall of 1976 with his brother- Bob Johnstone, and how they formed the partnership with another family to build the production boat- Everett Pearson of TPI Industries, in Warren, RI.  Over 30 people were on hand, many of whom were part of the beer and spaghetti party that saw 20 people hoist the original onto the keel bolts!

After the festivities, a number of the sailors walked over to the famous Dog Watch Cafe on Stonington Harbor to continue the celebrations- the Dog Watch was founded by cousin Clay Burkhalter and cousin Wendy Burkhalter Eck, in partnership with her husband Dave Eck (see  Some of the crew recollected that RAGTIME won 15 of 17 races that summer in the ECYRA (Eastern CT YRA) offshore circuit- the picture here is of the family team (Rod with sons Jeff, Phil and Al) winning one of those races by a country mile.