Monday, May 20, 2019

Thrills for Two, The Clever New J/99

J//99 Yachting World boat test review (Hamble, England)- According to Yachting World’s Pip Hare, “the J/99 is all thrills, no frills on board the versatile 32 foot offshore speedster.” She continued to explain her feelings and perspective in this in-depth test of the J/99 sailing in the Solent in southern England:

“We ghosted down the Hamble River under mainsail alone, the water slipping silently past our red hull in the grainy half-light of a winter morning. We’d hoisted the mainsail in our marina berth, then sailed out into the river, the engine left in tick-over for less than two minutes almost as a token gesture. I felt like a naughty kid, slipping out, while the rest of the world was still waking up; going to make some trouble.

I had come to test the new J/99, sailing double-handed with the British J/Boats importer J/U.K. on a chilly, blustery January morning. Within ten minutes our demure departure was all but forgotten as we came bursting out of Southampton Water, our senses assaulted from all angles by the bitter north wind and our 100m2 day-glo spinnaker. As the sun rose, everything about the day and this little powerhouse of a boat became bright, sharp and dynamic. I don’t know what the rest of the world was doing at 0800 on that January morning, but we were having a blast.

The eagerly awaited J/99 directly targets a growing demographic of sailors who enjoy the fantastic short-handed racing scene available all across Europe. Of the 50+ orders already confirmed, over half of the new owners intend to race short-handed and it was with this type of sailing in mind I arrived to make the test.
J/99 sailing under spinnaker
The new design incorporates some interesting changes for J/Boats, which bring the J/99 into line with its closest rivals in this area of the market. Gone is the retractable bowsprit and furling jib, which have been the stalwarts of J/Boat design for close to 20 years, making way for a beamier shape, a fixed bowsprit and a hank-on jib. It’s different, but despite the new features, this still remains resolutely ‘J’ in its appearance and feel.

From the first moment I stepped into the cockpit, this boat struck me with its no-nonsense approach. Sail handling is simple, the cockpit clean and well laid-out, the helm dynamic and responsive. Just cruising down the river, the boat felt light and seemed to directly translate every puff of wind into increased speed. Compared to the Class 40s I have spent much of the last two years racing, the J/99 felt like a go-cart – a promising combination of agility and power.”   Read the rest of her in-depth review of the J/99 on Yachting World here.   For more J/99 Offshore Speedster sailboat information Add to Flipboard Magazine.