Monday, November 23, 2020

NEW J/9 Day Sailer Announcement!

 NEW J/9 daysailer sailboat

J/Boats' Most Comfortable Cockpit Ever??

(Newport, RI)- Responding to a growing need amongst sailors for a more comfortable, simpler and easy-to-own daysailer, J/Boats is excited to announce a sleek new 28-footer (the “J/9”) with perhaps the most comfortable cockpit and easiest-to-manage sailplan in this size range. 

“With the J/9, we set out to reimagine how to make sailing easier, more relaxing and more inclusive,” said Jeff Johnstone of J/Boats. “This is a boat you can sail by yourself in just a few minutes, or bring along the whole gang with plenty of room to spare. Escaping to the water and enjoying shared family adventure has never been more important, and the J/9 is the perfect platform.”

New J/9 daysailer sailboat
The J/9 cockpit has four great corner seats to nestle into and enjoy the day. With friends and family aboard, everyone can find the perfect place to relax.  And access aboard has never been easier.  A swim platform behind the cockpit allows walk-through boarding, and on those downwind sails home, you can cool off by dragging your feet in the water.

New J/9 daysailer sailboat
Sailing the J/9 is as easy as hoisting the mainsail and trimming the sheet.  Why make it any more complicated?  Look around on the water and you’ll notice 80% of the sailboats are sailing with only one sail. The answer is keep it simple!  One tiller, one sheet. The big difference with the J/9 is you will be sailing with one sail more comfortably and quicker than most others with two sails or under motor.  Ready for the afterburners? Simply unroll the jib and enjoy effortless, stable & smooth sailing from the comforts of the best J/Boats cockpit ever.  

The daysailing community has not benefitted from a dedicated design from J/Boats since the award-winning J/100 (33’), which remains one of the most sought-after J’s created. The NEW J/9 offers the cockpit comfort and sailing features of a larger boat, at a price most will find competitive to the best brokerage offerings. For more J/9 daysailer information.  Call your local J/Boat dealer for further information. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020


 Greg Fisher at Evolution Sails

Another long-time J/Sailor and has gone full circle in the sailing world. First having sailed Lightnings and working for Bill Shore at Shore Sails. Later, helping develop J/24 sails for Shore Sails, Greg Fisher notably took over College of Charleston's sailing program and turned it into a college sailing powerhouse. Now, he's back to sailmaking again!

Universally liked in the sport, Greg Fisher helps people enjoy sailing, and now will be taking his talents to the Sailing Inc. / Evolution Sails team (Sailing Inc is a J/Boats dealer in Ohio). Here’s their announcement:

Sailing Inc., a trusted provider of premium sailing and marine products, services and support, welcomes Greg Fisher as the Evolution Sails Loft Manager for the Sailing Inc. Charleston (SC) location.

Fisher, a Collegiate All-American, has won 25 National, North American or World Championships in 7 different one design classes and is an acclaimed expert in the sailing community for over 40 years. Fisher will head up our Sailing Inc. / Evolution Sails team in Charleston (SC) while working closely with locations in Cleveland (OH), Sandusky (OH), and St. Petersburg (FL).

Fisher will lead the administrative and business development functions of Sailing Inc. and Evolution Sails in Charleston, and help support the further development of the research, design and production of the Evolution Sails product lines. His extensive knowledge as a sailor, sailmaker and coach will grow Sailing Inc.’s capacity to provide expert level service and professional support across the United States.

Fisher will focus on building a stronger relationship between the sailor and the sailmaker, leveraging Evolution Sails championship-caliber sail design and production teams to deliver high-performance, long-lasting cruising and racing sails built by one of the world’s most innovative sailmakers.

“I am enthused to return to my sailing career ‘roots’ with my new position at Sailing Inc. / Evolution Sails,” said Fisher. “Sailmaking is where I started almost 45 years ago! To be able to pursue this new chapter with such a talented and passionate team at Sailing Inc., who share a strong customer focus is exciting.”

Fisher continues, “I’ve sailed with new sails from Evolution and am impressed with the high-performance design and superb quality of construction. I look forward to helping sell and promote this exceptional brand right here in Charleston and across the US. I am fired up to join the Sailing Inc. / Evolution Sails team effort to support all of Charleston’s sailing community!”

Fisher has been active in the sailing industry for over 40 years, starting with his own brand, Fisher Sails, in the late 1980s, and using that early success as a springboard to an accomplished 20-year career with North Sails One-Design.

Fisher spent 8 years as the Director of Sailing at the College of Charleston, where his teams collected Four Fowle Trophies for the “Best all-around sailing team in the Country”. He also presided over 39 All-Americans and Honorable Mentions and 10 Academic All-Americans.

He has long been supportive in the development of One-Design sailing within the United States and served on the Board of US Sailing and was chair of the One Design Class Council. Fisher was the former Chief Operating Officer of Olympic Sailing for US Sailing.

“We are, of course, very excited to have Greg joining the team,” said Rob Ruhlman (owner of the J/111 and J/88 SPACEMAN SPIFF). “Having literally grown up with Greg on and off the race course, I know his competitive spirit, work ethic, and knowledge of the industry. That experience combined with Sailing Inc/ Evolution Sails commitment to excellence will be a great benefit to the sailing community.”

Please reach out to Greg and welcome him to our team! Contact Greg here- email: / cell: (410) 212-4916.Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Beautiful J/121 For Sale- New Orleans, LA

 J/Net Brokerage Specials! Check out our exciting new site for lovingly-owned J/Boats from around the world here:

J/121 for sale brokerage
Race-ready J/121 in pristine condition available in New Orleans, LA.Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/24 Kings Day Regatta Preview

 J/24 sailboats offshore

(Jacksonville, FL)- The Florida Yacht Club and J/24 Fleet 55 have invited all J/24 competitors to a wonderful weekend of competitive sailing with great friends at the 2020 Kings Day Regatta November 21-22, 2020.  

Racing Saturday and Sunday will include top-notch racing on the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville in the traditional fall breezes of Northeast Florida. 

In addition to scheduled racing, Friday afternoon will include a North Sails Clinic hosted by Paul Abdullah, which will include tuning tips, practice races, and on the water coaching.

J/24 sailboat crew
Friday evening will conclude with the famous Florida Yacht Club Low Country Boil (pandemic-compliant outside!) overlooking the beautiful St. Johns River featuring steamed oysters, shrimp and grits and more. After racing finishes Saturday, we will host a banquet in the ballroom featuring seafood, meat and vegetable pasta dishes, salad, and dessert. Both evening events are included in the registration fee and complimentary beer from one of our sponsors Bold City Brewery will be provided all weekend.

Needless to say, after months of living as couch potatoes, working or watching TV, J/24 sailors didn't need much coaxing to fire-up the old Suburban or pickup, toss all the stuff inside, and head down to JAX for some fun in the November sun! Twenty-five J/24 teams have answered the "call of duty" to "live and obey" that Siren's Song attraction of getting together on any puddle of water and have some good'ole J/24 sailing fun and camaraderie with friends from across the Southeast.

Who are some of the "who's who" showing up from the ranks of veteran J/24 sailors? Quite a few, to say the least. Notable teams include TEAM TARHEEL/ NEW ENGLAND ROPES headed up by Paul Abdullah, Robby Brown's famous team on ANGEL OF HARLEM from Davis Island YC, Nadia Daggett's notorious MUSTACHE RIDE, Amar Patel's ROUGE, Bill Winegrove's PIGS IN HIDING, and Erica Trejo's youth team from Chicago Corinthian YC on the "KELLY HOLMES-MOON Junior Boat Grant".  For Kings Day Regatta sailing results and information   For J/24 Fleet 55 information  For more J/24 one-design class information

Saturday, November 21, 2020


 Ched and Judy Proctor

[Ed. Note: Ched has known the Johnstone family for nearly four decades. First meeting was in Pewaukee, WI when Bob & Mary J. and Stu & Drake J. started sailing 470s in 1973 in Chicago, IL. At that time, Ched had just gotten a job working with the famous Finn Olympic Medallist, Peter Barret, at the North Sails loft in Pewaukee. Things were small back then, as the North Sails loft was actually part of the Harken Yacht Equipment building, as well as Harken's boat-building operation. Ched spent a lot of time with Peter and Olaf Harken. And, the Johnstone's spent a lot of time with Ched (and fellow Hingham, MA friend Chuck Millican) tinkering on 470s, learning how to make them go faster at various venues across the Midwest and Northeast, the most popular regions for 470s back in the day. In due course, once Bob and brother Rod J. co-founded J/Boats in 1977 with the J/24, Ched had also moved back to the northeast working for North Sails. In the first year of its existence, Ched was tasked with being the one-design guru for the J/24 class, as well as Vince Brun out West, and later five-time J/24 World Champion Kenny Read. Ched continued to work closely with the Johnstone clan with every new one-design product introduction since, including the J/22, J/70, and J/80- four of the world's largest one-design offshore keelboat classes.]

Herewith, Powlison's interview with our dear friend Ched:

With nearly a half-century of small-boat one-design racing and sailmaking in his wake, Ched Proctor is set in his ways, and his ways are fast.

In 1964, Ched Proctor had a serious case of the slows. He was 14 and competing in Turnabouts in Scituate, Massachusetts, just southeast of Boston. “I remember coming in to the dock and being very frustrated,” he says. There was Bill Mattern, high school teacher, part-time garage sailmaker and unofficial mentor for the junior racing crowd. Proctor asked him what he thought of his sail. Mattern studied it and quickly confirmed the young sailor’s suspicion.

Seventy-five dollars later, with a new sail in hand, Proctor headed for Quincy Bay Race Week. Though he hadn’t been that competitive in his local fleet, he mustered the courage to sign up for the championship division—and won it. With that victory came an epiphany—at least for a 14-year-old—that would determine the trajectory of his life: “I learned then that a sail with the right shape makes the boat go faster.”

Professionally, Proctor would go on to work almost 50 years with North Sails, taking him to lofts in Wisconsin, Australia, Germany and Connecticut. Competitively, he would roll up an unparalleled list of one-design North American and National titles, notching 17 major victories in the Lightning class alone, including that class’s 2018 and 2019 North American Championships. A lot of the one-design sails North Sails sells today were designed by Proctor.

Ched and Judy Proctor and kids
The family sailing unit has always been tight with the Proctor clan, Ched and Judy Proctor and their sons Thomas and Charlie.

Proctor is a waterman who grew up on a bay in Weymouth, just south of Boston. He remembers, around age 5, spending time in an old, derelict rowboat in the backyard. “I pretended to row it using a couple of brooms,” he says. “It got to the point where I wore out the ground under the brooms and wore the bristles right off them. About that same time, my father tried to teach me how to sail and steer a boat upwind. I just couldn’t do it.” There’s a subtle shrug and hint of disappointment in his voice as he tells that story, and then concedes, “It seems that 7 is more the right age to learn that sort of thing.”  Read the rest of the article here at Sailing World:Add to Flipboard Magazine.


 J/145s dueling at San Diego YC Hot Rum Series

J/105s Eclipse Top Seven Overall!

(San Diego, CA)- The first weekend of San Diego Yacht Club's famous Hot Rum Series took place last weekend for a remarkably large fleet of boats, with 114 boats registered for the event. All across the board in a number of divisions, J/Teams had remarkable outcomes, with many dominating the podium.

Rudy Hasl, skipper and owner of the J/145 PALAEMON, had this to say, "it was an amazing day for the J/Family in San Diego. J/Boats finished 1st, 2d, and 3rd place in Division I of the first race of the Hot Rum Series in San Diego. We were thrilled!"

In fact, Rudy's J/145 PALAEMON won their Division I in the spectacular sailing conditions, with winds ranging from 12 to 25 knots inside of San Diego Bay! Flat water, with reaching, running and beating home to the finish. Taking second was Standish Fleming's J/125 NEREID and third went to another J/145- Ernie Pennell's MORE MADNESS. 

In Division 2, it was perennial winner Chuck Nichols' J/120 CC RIDER taking the honors, with Ed Sanford's J/111 CREATIVE finishing in 5th place. 

The so-called "J/105 class" sailing in Division 4 saw them leading a sweep of the top seven! Winning was Jim Dorsey's J-OK, followed by Jeff Brown's SWEET KAREN in second, and George Scheel's SUN PUFFIN in third to round out the podium. In addition, Steve & Lucy Howell's BLINK! took 4th, the duo of Vieregg/ Bermann was 5th, and Bill Quealy's J-RABBIT SLIM was 6th. Next in 7th place was Chuck Bowers' J/29 RHUMB RUNNER. That was quite a tour'de'force for J/sailors in a fleet of 21 boats.

In the overall results, the J/105s nearly swept the top five spots. Winning the J/105 fleet parade was Dorsey's J-OK, with Brown's SWEET KAREN in 3rd, Scheel's SUN PUFFIN in 5th, the Howell's BLINK in 6th place, and the Vieregg/ Bermann duo's ZUNI BEAR in 7th position.  Sailing photo credit- Mark Albertazzi   For more SDYC Hot Rum Series sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, November 20, 2020


 Russian J/70 sailing championship off Sochi, Russia

(Sochi, Russia)- For the 2020 sailing season, PROYachting partnered with TENZOR Consulting Group to launch a new series that gathered together the best Russian sailing teams in the J/70 class. The regatta was run along the lines of the notable sailing leagues in Russia and across Europe. The event was composed of matched J/70 one-designs with new sails, professional refereeing, convenient locations, and of course the best sailors in all of Russia dueling for top honors. The series started in Moscow at the Royal Yacht Club, thereafter to the Konakovo River Club, then to Pirogovo, and then the finale in the famous Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Russian J/70s sailing off Sochi, Russia
After five races, winning the finale in Sochi was the DC Team, followed by Team ARMORED in second and Valeriya Kovalenko's familiar ARTTUBE RUS-1 Team in third. 

As a result, the ARTTUBE RUS-1 team of Ms. Kovalenko and crew of Sergey Avdonin, Igor Lisovenko, and Denis Rozhkov were declared the overall winners for the TENZOR CUP by PROYachting series! The team performed great at all four stages and deservedly took the overall championship. Congratulations! 

PROYachting Russian J/70s sailing off Sochi, Russia
For the balance of the podium, taking the Silver was the DC Team skippered by the ever-competitive Denis Cherevatenko. And, taking the bronze was Team BARS skippered by yet another top Russian woman- Karen Stepanyan.  For more J/70 one-design class sailing information.  For more Russian J/70 Class sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, November 19, 2020


 J/80s sailing off Santander, Spain

(Santander, Spain)- The Real Club Maritimo de Santander (RCMS) is hosting the 2020 edition of the Trofeo MRS Seguros for the Spanish J/80 class off Santander, Spain. Long a hotbed of J/80 talent, it's not surprising to see some of that local talent atop the series lead after the first weekend of sailing in the three-weekend series.

The fleet sailed in westerlies ranging from 275 to 295 all weekend long. Sailing the most consistent regatta so far is multi-J/80 World Champion Jose Maria "Pichu" Torcida with a 2-1-3-2 tally for 5 pts net.  Fellow club members of RCMS are currently filling up the podium. Sitting in second is David Madrazo with a 6-4-5-3 record for 12 pts net. And, rounding out the podium is Jaime Yllera Secades with a 3-7-6-5 scoreline for 14 pts net. 

More racing will take place for the extremely competitive fleet of a dozen boats from the greater Cantabrian region. For more J/80 one-design class sailboat information.  For more J/80 Trofeo MRS Seguros de Cruceros Series sailing information.Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


J/44 sailing SORC Islands in Stream series

(Miami, FL)- The SORC (Southern Ocean Racing Circuit) winter plan for the 2020-21 Islands in the Stream Series in south Florida and the Bahamas has evolved due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event has seen growing popularity amongst enthusiastic offshore sailors in the J/Family. Over the past few seasons, a J/121, J/122, J/109, J/92, J/105, J/30, J/44, J/111, J/120, and J/130 have participated in some or all of the series.  Please see updates below.

SORC Islands in Stream series locations

2020-21 Islands in the Stream Series

• November 12, 2020: (REVISED) The 79th edition of the Nassau Cup Ocean Race, a 180 nm course from Miami to Nassau, leaving Great Isaac and Great Stirrup to starboard, is no longer possible due to current protocols in the Bahamas. Instead, an ocean race of approximately 178 nm will be held starting in and returning to Miami.

• December 5, 2020: (REVISED) The Wirth M Munroe Palm Beach Race, known as the “Race to the Buffett” to Sailfish Club of Florida’s legendary party, feast and awards presentation, is now a course from Lauderdale to Palm Beach and back.

• January 21, 2021: The series then heads south for some "island time" with the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race. The tropics in January provide the perfect spot to unwind with the Conch Grinder Race, and to enjoy the treasures and pleasures of Key West before the awards party at First Flight Island Bar and Restaurant (formerly Kelly’s Caribbean).

• February 17, 2021: It all wraps up with another trip to the Bahamas with the 2nd annual Eleuthera Race, starting off South Beach, Miami and finishing at the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina.   For more SORC Island in the Stream Series sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


J/35 wins Hong Kong Round Island Race

(Hong Kong, China)- Hong Kong’s biggest annual celebration of sail, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s annual Around the Island Race, a 26.0nm circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island, took place last weekend with an impressive entry list of 227 boats from 14 classes including 7 one-design classes, Sportsboats, HKPN, IRC, dinghies and beach catamarans.

Principal Race Officer David Norton set two start lines off of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Kellett Island Clubhouse with the line closest to Kellett Island used to start the one design boats and the outside line for HKPN, IRC and beach catamarans divisions. The race course took the fleet sailing around Hong Kong Island to starboard (clockwise).

J/80s starting off Royal Hong Kong starting line
The first start was at 0830 hrs with the Pandoras and HKPN Monohulls which set off in an easterly breeze varying 4 to 11 kts and there was a race start every five minutes until 1100hrs.

Before a majority of boats could get out of the harbour, a weak northerly breeze was blocked by Kowloon Peninsula leading to a huge fleet of yachts parking up at Lei Yue Mun gap due to the incoming tide. But, later the fleet was greeted with a northeasterly breeze of 8 kts near Shek O. As the fleet made their way around Stanley Head, it was a colorful sight to behold with hundreds of kites on the horizon and the breeze had built to 10 kts at the southern side of Hong Kong Island. 

J/80 sailing Hong Kong Round Island Race
As the day progressed, the wind softened by noon and the breeze was again blocked by Hong Kong Island and another wind hole developed around Ape Lei Chau. PRO David Norton noted that two HKPN boats were well ahead of the main fleet and it was a tough decision then as to whether or not to shorten the course. Norton said, "two fast boats started relatively early and were well ahead, so that limited our choices. By noon, we recorded good wind at Green Island so we made a risky decision to finish at Kellett Island so sailors could do a full circumnavigation.” 

The J/145 REDEYE, sailed by David Mitchell Paul Leese, took the silver in IRC 1.040-1.119 Class. They were followed by the J/122E JINN sailed by Nico Cohen-Addad in fourth place. Then, Steve Devlin's J/111 JUGGERKNOT finished 9th place. 

J/35 wins Hong Kong Round Island Race
HKPN Overall winner and HKPN 1151-1220 Class winner was J/35 NO ONE ELSE sailed by Wing Hung Ng; they won by a considerable corrected time margin on the entire fleet.

In the Sportboats class, the J/70 DAZIBAO sailed by Andrew Ellis took the bronze.

Hong Kong Round Island race sunset
Trouncing the sixteen-boat J/80 Class, by far the largest one-design keelboat class in the race, was the trio on JAMMIN- A. Segaud M. Dubreuil/ J. Ten Berge. Their round-island time was nearly an hour faster over the second place team- Alain Choi's POIEMA. However, it was a battle behind the JAMMIN team for the top five; all separated by less than seven minutes after 26.0 nm of racing.  Third went to Henry Wong's FOOTLOOSE, fourth to Claude Wong's JELIGNITE, and fifth to the duo of Fraser Boyd & Pete Lake on JOSS. A good showing was had by all.   Sailing photo credits- Guy Nowell/ and Vivian Ngang.  For more Royal Hong Kong YC Round Island Race sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.


 J/99 sailing mixed doublehanded offshore

(London, England)- J/Boats has long supported shorthanded sailing in its various forms since 1977, starting with the introduction of the J/24. Designer Rod Johnstone's most favorite form of sailing and racing has been doublehanded, either with his wife- Lucia- or nephew Clay Burkhalter. Rod has done numerous events offshore on Long Island and Block Island Sounds or doing the Bermuda One-Two event multiple times. To that end, virtually all designs at J/Boats have taken into account the desire to make J's easily sailed singlehanded or doublehanded by young and old alike and by men or women.  With the advent of the Olympics 2024 Mixed Doublehanded Offshore event, J/Boats has been supporting the efforts by World Sailing to promote shorthanded offshore sailing. 

World Sailing Mark AllenHere's a recent interview with Matt Allen; currently the Vice-Chair of World Sailing’s Oceanic and Offshore Committee and a respected person in offshore sailing.

The Australian, who has raced in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 30 times, winning on three occasions, provides insight on how Offshore Doubles is growing and why offshore sailing is thriving:

WS: Give some insight on the scope of your committee’s work?
MA: The Oceanic and Offshore Committee at World Sailing brings together many of stake holders in the world of offshore sailing. The Committee assists in coordinating the calendar of events of all the major oceanic races such as the Vendée Globe and The Ocean Race.

We are the final approval body for safety regulations for offshore sailing. This is an extremely important role, especially as we review major incidents and as technology allows improvements to safety outcomes.

Bringing standardization of measurement of a yacht for rating has been an important development. Much of our work in the last year has been focused on bringing mixed double handed sailing into the Olympic Games in 2024 and beyond.

WS: What evidence is there to suggest that Double Handed offshore sailing is growing so fast?
MA: Both global rating systems, namely ORC and IRC, have seen enormous interest and growth in their double handed certifications. Many of our races, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race here in Australia, have included double handed divisions into their races.

New boats are being designed and built and I see some very good yachts coming into this area over the next two years.

WS: What can we expect from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this year with regards to double handed participation?
MA: At this stage I understand that 25% of the entries are double handed. I think this percentage for the first year is underlying how popular this form of sailing might be in years to come.

WS: Mixed Offshore will feature at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. What can we expect from that event?
MA: To bring offshore sailing into the Olympics will be a sensational event for showcasing sailing as it will be the only event to go through the night-time over three days and two nights. It will be a live event in the natural environment, pushing people to the limit of sleep deprivation.

To bring an offshore race with a female and male onboard into the viewing public will transform interest in offshore sailing and create strong growth in our sport. Thanks for contribution from World Sailing.

Monday, November 16, 2020


 J/40 sailing off Marblehead, MA

(Marblehead, MA)- Skipper John “Drew” Plominski is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Plominski, whose boat was destroyed by lightning two years ago, was first in line to register for the 39th biennial Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean race to take place this coming summer.

"We’re thrilled to see Drew back for another try,” said Richard Hinterhoeller, Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron co-race director. Registration is now open for 2021, and we are expecting a robust fleet to compete."

Plominski’s 30-foot vessel, named Perseverance, was just about ready for the 2019 edition. Along with his wife and three friends, he planned to compete in the 363-mile biennial race to Nova Scotia in 2019.

The South Boston resident left his boat moored at the Columbia Yacht Club the night before the big race and was at his house, just a couple of blocks away, when he heard the loud noise that sounded like a boom and a crack, he said. 

“It was nuts,” Plominski remarked at the time, as he went down to inspect his boat.  “All the electronics were completely fried,” he said. As a result, it forced him to withdraw from the 2019 race.

His new boat is a J/40 named ARTEMISIA. He competed in the 2020 Beringer Cup race from Marblehead to Provincetown, MA. A good tune-up for the 363-mile race to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Marblehead-to-Halifax started in 1905 and has been held every other year, except during wartime. Called the “Grand Daddy of ocean races,” it's the premier New England coast sailing event.

The 2021 Notice of Race has been posted on the Marblehead to Halifax website at According to BYC co-race director Karen Tenenbaum, “we think there is a lot of pent-up demand and sailors are anxious to get back on the water.”

The race is co-sponsored by the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron of Halifax. For more information, please contact Ed Bell at Boston YC- email:   For more Marblehead to Halifax Race sailing information

Sunday, November 15, 2020


 Hudson River Community Sailing on NBC-TV

(New York, NY)- The NBC Today Show 3rd Hour ran a piece on Sadia Zaman- a 4th year student at the Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS) program, located at Chelsea Piers (near Hudson Yards) on the west side of New York city.  

J/80 sailboat on NBC-TV for Hudson River Community Sailing
See how this after school program in New York City teaches S.T.E.M. principles of science, technology, engineering, math and life skills through the sport of sailing! An enjoyable and insightful video of the HRCS program and how it has had life-changing impacts on kids lives in the greater NYC area.  For more J/80 one-design class sailboat information.  Watch NBC's Today Show 3rd Hour feature here.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Gorgeous J/100 For Sale- Maine

J/Net Brokerage Specials! Check out our exciting new site for lovingly-owned J/Boats from around the world here:

J/100 for sale brokerage
The elegant "Amazing Grace" is the most recently re-fitted and upgraded J/100 on the market. The J/100 is proven both as a daysailer and for inshore racing. Now based in Falmouth, Maine, Amazing Grace was originally a freshwater boat until purchased and re-fitted as a dual-purpose sailboat in 2017. Her current owner is a highly experienced and successful cruising and racing sailor who knows how to keep a boat in top condition. However, due to a change in family circumstances, she has been used very little since being re-fitted and raced only once (a short club race that she won handily even without her new race sails). Here is a chance to own a true "gold-plater", a gorgeous example of the coveted J/100 daysailer.
Learn more here on J/NET BROKERAGEAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Hamble Winter Series Week IV Report

 J/111s sailing on Solent

(Hamble, England)- The Hamble River Sailing Club worked with local and national authorities in the United Kingdom to ensure that sailing events could take place on the Southampton Water and the infamous Solent while adhering to the covid-19 pandemic guidelines.  As a result, they were able to start up their annual Hamble Winter Series, albeit with a bit of a delay. Here is the latest report from Trevor Pountain and thanks to Paul Wyeth for sailing photos.

"This week should have seen the culmination of the Hamble One-Design Championships, with racing on both Saturday and Sunday. However, the Weather Gods, or Storm Barbara as they were called last week, had other ideas. It was clear for several days in advance, that Saturday would be a complete non-starter. So, competitors were given an early cancellation on Friday lunchtime. With a well-known and respected online weather predictor giving 17-23 knots average, but gusts of 28-33 knots for the Sunday, the Race Team gave another early cancellation on the Saturday to prevent teams travelling and boats being launched.

J/111s sailing on Solent
The Forecast was not bad enough to trouble the IRC Classes, so Peter Bateson took the fleet to the vicinity of " buoy" for a probable start area. The wind was moving between WSW and W, but was otherwise as expected. By 1000 hours it had gone south and dropped to 2-4 knots. There was much head scratching on the committee boat, and the competitors who had braved thunder and hail stones on the way to the start area, began to frantically adjust their rig settings and look for lighter headsails. With Windycator v2 showing 25 knots from the SW everywhere but the Bramble plateau the PRO decided to wait.

After half an hour, the wind was still light and from the south, so Peter Bateson decide it was better for the fleet to do something rather than sit around waiting. New courses were quickly designed to deal with the southerly starting breeze, but with the later legs ready for the expected southwesterly. 

IRC 1 Class and IRC 2 Class got away at 1110 hrs and 1120 hrs, still in shifty, very light airs from the south. IRC 3 Class departed at 1130 hrs, with a building breeze of 10 knots. 

IRC 1 Class were near the third mark at West Knoll when the "proper" breeze returned (10-15 knots) from the SW. IRC 2 yachts were half way from the first mark (East Knoll) to the second, with spinnakers up, when the wind switched from very little from the S (coming from Cowes) to 15+ knots from the NW (direct from Southampton) and several boats had a minute or two bearing off in the direction of Portsmouth before they could drop their kites and get onto the beat, which the leg had become. IRC 3 started on a beat which turned into a fetch, but at least the second leg became another beat! The rest of the race was more-or-less beats and spinnaker runs, as intended!

J/111s sailing on Solent
Big wind shifts nearly always have a snakes and ladders effect on the positions, and so it was in IRC 2 Class. Simon Perry's J/019 JIRAFFE got caught up in the pin end melee, leaving Mike & Susie Yates J/109 JAGO in clear air mid-line, alongside Gavin Howe's J/88 TIGRIS and Rob Cotterill J/109 MOJO RISIN. 

In the end, it was the Yates' JAGO taking line honors and extending their lead for the series with a cumulative 2-1-1 tally for 4 pts and a near-unassailable lead on the fleet. However, "no one is counting their chickens before they hatch", so to speak.  Perry's JIRAFFE team got smoked and ended up taking a 6th place to drop off their "death match" with the JAGO posting 11 pts.  Sailing the most consistently is Gavin Howe's J/88 TIGRIS, hanging onto third overall with the series with a 4th place, for a total of 11 pts. Yet another J/crew sits on fourth for the series, Mark Stevens' J/105 JACANA with a 4-2-7 tally for 13 pts. 

In IRC 3, the amazing Greenhalgh family continues to hang in there. Though they had a disappointing 6th place this past weekend, their series tally of 6-1-6 for 13 pts keeps them in the hunt at the top of the leaderboard. While currently sitting in third place, no one doubts they have the talent and the desire to jump to the top of the class. 

The Key Yachting Prosecco and Chocolates were enjoyed by all the winners, not just Susie Yates.

Next week is the mid series break, and when the fleet returns on November 8th for the real winter bit of the series.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth  For more Hamble Winter Series sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


 Dick Tillman J/24 President

The entire J/Boats family was saddened by the news of Dick Tillman crossing the bar on October 15th, 2020.

Friend, colleague, competitor, and consummate gentleman Dick gave so much more to the sailing world than he ever took from it. Always quick with a kind word and generous with his time helping others, he was the “glue” that kept everyone and everything together.

In 1981, when the J/24 achieved International Status with 3,000+ boats in 25+ countries, the class leaders knew it was time to establish a professionally-managed class office. The key was finding an Executive Director who not only knew one-design, but who would also have the respect of the international sailing community. Even better if it were someone with the temperament to handle a multitude of strong personalities.

The J/24 Class had a lot in common with the Laser Class at the time. One of the first J/24 magazine reviews in 1977 (by Jack Knights) was titled “J/24– is this the Laser with a Lid?” The J/24 Class rules were inspired in part by the Laser Class– in particular the ultimate one-design rule- “unless these rules explicitly allow it, then it’s not allowed.” 

Nearly every other J/24 sailor at the time was an active Laser sailor – and enjoying the newly found luxury of sleeping in a comfortable berth at traveling regattas instead of a tent.

So, in September of 1981, the J/24 Class went big and hired Dick Tillman, the world’s most prolific Laser champion and author. Together with his partner-for-life and wife Linda (who predeceased Dick in 2017), Dick and Linda became the face of the International J/24 Class for 10 years through the J/24’s most prolific decade. 

While Dick handled the class business, Linda published the 100-page glossy J/24 Magazine twice per year. They were an unbeatable combination, a true sailing ‘power couple.’
Dick Tillman and Rod Johnstone racing
Dick Tillman covering Rod Johnstone during the J/24 Legends Race in the Silver Anniversary Regatta in Newport, RI, sailed on Narragansett Bay.

Jeff Johnstone exclaimed, "I had read Dick’s first Laser book a dozen times and built his Laser hiking bench well before first meeting him in 1981. Then in 1984, we had a chance to sail together crewing for my father Rodney in the 1984 J/24 North Americans in Kingston, Ontario, followed by the 1984 Worlds in Poole, England. As only sailing can do, those two shared regatta experiences made friends-for- life and produced more stories that we’d repeat for the next 30+ years. But, my most memorable times with Dick and Linda were during the several long road trips from Rhode Island to Florida in the 80’s when we often stopped into Merritt Island, Florida. Dick and Linda would welcome us in for a meal and some much-needed rest and then send us on our way the next morning. They made you feel like part of the family, and we were, and they were part of ours."

The J/Boats community is forever richer by having had Dick and Linda Tillman such an integral part of its fabric. Fair winds and following seas to Dick and Linda, now sailing together again.   Dick’s tribute wall.


J/24s sailing off Italy(Nettuno, Rome, Italy)- With a trio of victories and a second place for the series, the Italian Navy's Ignazio Bonnano sailed their famous ITA 416 LA SUPERBA to victory in the COPPA ITALIA J/24 off Nettuno, south of Rome along the Mediterranean coastline. Bonanno’s crew included Simone Scontrino, Francesco Linares and Vincenzo Vano. Hosting the event was the Nettuno Yacht Club and the Circolo of Vela Anzio Tirrena, with the technical and logistic collaboration of the Marina di Nettuno, the Circolo Canottieri Nettuno and the Italian Class J/24 and the sponsor support of Margutta Che Frutta!, Life Soup, Bontà Verde Agroama and Mille Gomme.

Taking the silver medal was Luca Silvestri and his ITA 458 team on ENJOY TWO. Then, sitting in third, just one point from the second, was Massimo Mariotti's ITA 502 AVOLTORE.

After the first four National Regattas (Marina di Carrara, Mandello del Lario, Cervia, & Nettuno), Bonanno’s LA SUPERBA is leading with Pietro Diamanti's JAMAICA team in second.  Eleven J/24s have competed so far in the four-event series. 

J/24s sailing off Italy
"Maximum attention was paid to the provisions on containing the spread of Covid-19, thanks also to the active collaboration of the Port Authority and the naval sector of the Guardia di Finanza, who were present and available for every need," explained Valerio Taveri of Nettuno Yacht Club. The President of the Marina di Nettuno- Ugo Lori, the NYC President- Mariano Manenti, and the CVAT President- Andrea Sanzone, strongly wanted to host this edition of the Coppa Italia. The Race Committee was composed of Costanzo Villa, Livia Serafini, Emanuela Proietti, Enrico Ragno, very willing to participate in the event, despite the period we are going through. We also wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Anzio Maritime District Office and the brilliant assistance of the Maritime Finance."

The final regatta of the Italian National J/24 series will be held on November 14th and 15th. Thanks for this contribution from Italian J/24 Class secretary Paola Zanoni.  For more Italian J/24 Class sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


 J/24s off Sydney Harbor, Australia

(Pittwater, Sydney, Australia)- The Australian J/24 NSW Championships was hosted by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Pittwater from October 31st to November 1st on the gorgeous Sydney Harbour. Ten entries participated, but Paul Donnelly's CALYPSO suffered a trailer-related incident and did not compete (it’s a long story but a good one…. ask Paul about it when you’ve got a few minutes to spare).

Those regular boats who chose not to compete missed out on a great event, notwithstanding the weather which threw everything at us from warm and sunny to thunder and lightning and at times LOTS of rain! The venue and facilities were excellent, lots of hardstand space, cranes, a very professional race crew and helpful, welcoming staff. COVID Rules were obviously in place and restricted social activities a little, but it all ran very well.

The RPYC PRO Stephen Merrington managed to get all 6 heats run on a difficult stormy weekend when a lot of other club racing around Sydney was cancelled.

Saturday started with a Northeasterly breeze around 10 kts, but later shifted southerly. Two races had to be abandoned halfway through which was unfortunate (especially for Steve Wright's TINTO, leading both times), but that’s sailing!

J/24s off Sydney Harbor, Australia
Steve Quigley's CONVICTS REVENGE won Race 1, followed by TINTO and Clinton Hood's EL FIDELDO. Then, Race 2 was won by Dave West's ACE from John Crawford's INNAMINCKA and David McKay's STAMPED URGENT. Another race was started, but then the storm closed in and competitors were sent home in the pouring rain.

With the forecast for an early southerly expected to get up to 30 kts, hopes were not high for much sailing on Sunday. But, we were fortunate to get all four races run, in a wind moving from SW to S and increasing from 8-10 kt to well over 20 kts.

Wright's TINTO won Race 3 after a poor first leg, coming from 4th at the last mark to the final margin of 24 seconds from Quigley's CONVICTS REVENGE and West's ACE. Race 4 went to Crawford's INNAMINCKA from CONVICTS REVENGE and ACE. 

With the strengthening wind, all boats we were on jibs for Race 5. This race had the closest finish of the series, with the first five finishing in 6 seconds!! ACE taking first from INNAMINCKA, then TINTO. 

The final race was getting tough with the strong and gusty Southerly really testing everyone. CONVICTS REVENGE got the better of ACE in a tight tactical battle up the second work to win, with TINTO taking third.

Racing overall was very tight and competitive, with most finishing within 2 or 3 minutes each race. However, there were no protests and no (bad) collisions, so a good weekend all round. 

J/24s off Sydney Harbor, Australia
Congratulations to Quigley's CONVICTS REVENGE team that won the series on a tiebreaker/ countback from West's ACE team on 10 points. Wright's TINTO rounded out the podium with the bronze medal. The balance of the top five included Crawford's INNAMINCKA in fourth and McKay's STAMPED URGENT in fifth position. 

The handicap-based PHS sub-division results gave the win to woman skipper Janette Syme's OKAVANGO DELTA crew. Second was Marc Tromp's WATERBORNE AGAIN and third went to Clinton Hood's EL FIDELDO. 

A "Resilience Prize" was awarded to Steve Arnold's SAILMATES. Competing in their first State Champs, they finished every race and flew a kite on every run. Well done!

Finally, special “Thanks” to Bryce at Infinity Rigging, and Shane at Doyle Sails who donated prizes for the event. Please support these locally owned businesses where you can. Thanks for this contribution from Stephen Wright.  For more Australian J/24 Class sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, November 9, 2020

SEAHORSE Interview with Rod Johnstone

Seahorse Magazine- September(Stonington, CT)- SEAHORSE had the opportunity to speak with one of J/Boats co-founders, Rodney Johnstone, as part of the "innovators" series in the sport of sailing. Thanks to writer Carol Cronin and SEAHORSE for this awesome interview!

The most broadly successful performance yacht designer of the last 35 or so years has achieved that status through a laser-like ability to lock onto the requirements of a target market and then deliver the ideal product for it — and which also works off the shelf.   Carol Cronin unravels the creative force that is Rod Johnstone.
SEAHORSE: We all know the story: a budding yacht designer builds a race-winning boat in his garage, then teams up with his marketing-savvy brother to create a family business— which just entered its fourth decade. So, any profile of Rod Johnstone, co-founder of J/Boats, should focus on less well-known details. Childhood, design inspirations, favourite boats? Seated on the properly distanced cockpit seats of Rod's brand-new J/99, I spent two hours enjoying a wide range of stories — too many to fit in here. 

There was the time he fell in the water at six months old — an inauspicious start to a sailing career. The 1970s races he can still recount, tack for tack. Chasing his future (second) wife all the way across the country, just to drag her back to Stonington. Each golden thread led to another worthy tale, because there's much more to this guy than just J/Boats.  So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rod Johnstone — mostly in his own words. 

Rod Johnstone's dinghy
Childhood sailing:
Rod was born in 1937 and spent childhood summers in Stonington — where, after World War II, "every family had a Lightning". He claims the home-built Johnstone Lightning class sailboat was the heaviest: "The old boats were fir plywood decks with canvas over them, but you couldn't get regular plywood — it was all used up by the US Navy. So, what did my father get? Masonite, which is like three times as heavy! And that's what we sailed on from 1947 until I went away to college." (Rod graduated from Princeton- Class of 1958.) 

Nevertheless, despite its weight, Rod credits that Lightning with instilling an early love of sailing in him and his two brothers. "My father was so much fun to sail with, because he had the right attitude. He was the best sailor around here, but his ego never showed; he was always very humble about it. That environment really influences you a lot when it comes to what you like to do." 

Rod Johnstone J/24 designerLearning and teaching: 
Rod majored in history at Princeton, though he says math’s might have been the better choice. "Math’s was a total bore to me; that was the problem. My parents always wanted me to be well rounded. So, I took that to mean that I was supposed to not be bad in anything. I love studying history, but I'm a really slow reader. If I'd been brave, majored in math’s, it sure would have been a lot easier." 

As a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Rod spent six months after graduation at a field artillery school in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. "That's the furthest west I'd ever been until I went out to get Lucia and bring her back to Stonington in 1971. But that's another story..."

When I asked how he met his first wife, Franny, whom he married right after college, he pauses for one of the baritone chuckles that foreshadows another fond memory. "I was a member of the Tiger-tones, a singing group at Princeton. In March of 1957, we were hosting a girls' singing group and I was responsible for making sure they had accommodation somewhere. I also had the option of assigning blind dates. So, I did a little advance research, and fixed myself up with my first wife and the mother of all my children!" He laughs again. "That worked out pretty well." 

After the Army Rod and Franny moved to upstate New York, where Rod taught history at the Millbrook School. "I really loved that job. That's where Jeff and Phil [Johnstone] were born." (Jeff is now President of J/Boats, and Phil is the company's legal adviser.) But, now Rod also started fiddling around with boat designs, which made him realize he needed more education. 

He signed up for the Westlawn School of Yacht Design's correspondence course, though he never officially completed the curriculum. (However, they would eventually award him an honorary degree.) 

Once kid number three was on the way (Al, J/Boats VP and designer), the family moved back to Stonington. Rod ran a brokerage office and they had two daughters, but the marriage broke up in the late 1960s. 

Then in 1971, at a yacht club party, his sister pointed out a cute girl and suggested he introduce himself. "I am totally chicken about stuff like that, so I went up and got myself a cup of coffee. She was sitting with her parents. So, I said, "Hi Tessie, how are you doing? They weren't about to introduce me. They knew I had five kids... and I wasn't married." 

Rod and Lucia JohnstoneHe soon retreated to his own table, but the very next night, thanks to a boat engine that wouldn't start, Rod and Lucia met up at a cocktail party. After three weeks "where I didn't let her out of my sight", Lucia (with two kids from her own previous marriage) went back to her 
assistant headteacher's job in California. 

"I said, I'm coming out to bring you back to Stonington on October 15th. "`She didn't say for sure that she was coming [back], because I don't think she was sure that I was going to come out there. But I just kept making plans, told her when my plane was gonna arrive."  They married in November 1971, three months after that first yacht club meeting.
Honeymooning on a 505 In Bermuda:
After the wedding Rod spotted a brand-new Parker 505 and talked the owner into inviting them out. First, the guy Rod describes as "an archetype of an RAF pilot, handsome guy with a moustache" and he invites Lucia to put on the trapeze harness. "She takes off with this sailor and I was thinking, 'Am I making a huge mistake here? I'm standing on the dock and my new wife is going off with this handsome Englishman!'" 

After the 505 returned the owner then crewed for Rod — a test. "He said, 'You'll do, you can take the boat.' Lucia had never been on a trapeze before, but she took right to it." 

Back home they bought a cheap kit boat and drove it to regattas. There were plenty of husband & wife teams in the 505 class, though probably no others with a blended family of seven kids. Rod says they had a wonderful time but were always too small to be competitive. 

At one of their first regattas they capsized in very cold water. But, thanks to brand-new wetsuits, they could self-rescue and continue racing. "But, on the next leg the race committee came out and said, 'We'll give you your points for last.'"

All these years later, Rod's voice still conveys a mix of disbelief and disgust. Finishing last was not in Rod's DNA, so they sold the 505 and bought a 470.

But now they were too heavy for the top of that fleet. After a very hot and light CORK Regatta (and a bad gybe that prompted Rod to call Lucia an "elephant"), "we're all taking our boats apart, everybody smiling and having a good time, like they do at regattas. Lucia's smiling, too. But, between gritted teeth she tells me, "Rodney, I'm never going to get on this goddamn f#$%ing boat again!" 

Rod admits now he was privately pleased. So, he quickly signed on 14-year-old, 90 1b son Jeff as crew. Father and son did well together. "The most memorable sailing events were when my kids were my crew." 

But Lucia still wanted to race, too. So, Rod decided to build a boat they could compete on as a family. That was the genesis of the fabled J/24. They launched their little 24-footer RAGTIME in May 1976 and immediately started winning all over the Off Soundings Club summer series. When someone asked to buy it, Rod realized other families wanted to sail together, too. Then, brother Bob came sailing, and the rest is J/Boats history. 

J/24 hull stringers and frames
Early designs:
Before RAGTIME, Rod had already designed "a couple of small boats". First, he reminisces about a 9ft dinghy that he built with 10-year-old Al. "That's the boat Al started sailing, and he won a few races. It swept away in a storm off our dock; who knows where it went, but it wasn't going to sink because it had so much flotation!"

Next, he mentions an 11-footer that "you might call to be loosely classified as a Moth," designed while he was teaching at Millbrook. "The building of that boat is what made me realize I needed to take a course. I won't say too much more about it; it sailed perfectly well but looked like hell and I knew that I wasn't doing it right. I knew what I wanted; I just had to learn to draw the lines of a boat." 

Erasers, calculators, planimeter:
Early on Rod says, "I went through a lot of erasers. It was all pencil drawings. No computers, not even a hand calculator — not until after I'd designed the J/24. I think one of the reasons I did so well was I could do a lot of that stuff in my head. Everybody else was on their slide rules."

His most useful tool was a gift— and a piece of history. "My first wife's mother gave me a planimeter; it was her father's, and he'd been an engineer. Crosby Steam Gauge and Valve Company, 1888, it says right on it. I didn't even understand what it was until I started taking the Westlawn course and they said, 'You've got to have one of these because it makes everything so easy." 

"This one was really sophisticated; you could read the results in either inches and feet, fractions, or..." his voice drops, reverently, into a bass register, "millimeters. It was the key instrument to get the areas of irregular enclosures. Now they've got electronic planimeters... AutoCAD basically." 

When I ask how long it took to design RAGTIME, Rod shakes his head. "Many years. I actually built a model, 24in long, in 1965. I hollowed it out and made a sailing model. Guess who I made it for?" Jeff, I guess. He nods, grinning. "And, he probably doesn't even remember!" 

J/24 RAGTIME first launching in Stonington, CT
Design process:
For any new design, Rod starts with "how long the waterline is going to be. For the J/24 I wanted something that was as big as I could build in my garage — and at least 23ft 9in because that was the minimum length for entering the Off Soundings Yacht Club's races!

"It's a numbers game," he continues. "You can't just eyeball it, right? You can't. Guys used to start with a shape they would do by eye, but at some point, somebody has to determine how the boat's going to float and visualize the three-dimensional shape. Otherwise, it's going to take you a lot longer than it should. The most important thing is to know how long the waterline is going to be, plus what the maximum section of the hull is going to be. Just think of the boat going through the water," he continues. "The thing that the water has to get around. How is the water going to get there most efficiently, and then how can it get away most efficiently?"

Sailing well upwind was his first priority, because "a barn door with a bedsheet on a pole will sail downwind." 

The next decision is "what kind of heel angle are you going to tolerate? And when you heel over, your whole hull has to have fewer wave-making characteristics. Wide-ass boats (that look like big wedges of cheese) that go around the world, they're not designed to go upwind — and they don't. They go like hell downwind, but they don't go upwind. So, you have to decide the variables." He shrugs. "That's how I design, anyway. For me it's easy. I've always figured that out from my experience sailing." 

I ask how long it took to design a new model, and Rod has to think about that out loud. "Well, I could design something quick and dirty and have it to you by... maybe not tomorrow, but pretty close. If I don't have to please anybody else, they go a lot quicker. All the research... if I were doing nothing else, I could probably do it in four months. Before computers, more like six months. The lofting and the drawing, so somebody can build it, that takes a lot of time. I spent three weeks on my hands and knees to loft the J/30 in 1977!" He says laughing. [Ed. note- today, son Al prints it out on mylar sheets in less than an hour]! 

J/24 RAGTIME sailing upwind 1976
Favorite design: 
Forty of Rod's designs have been built since J/Boats started. Asked for his favourite, he quickly names the J/105, because it's simple and can be raced well and cruised well. "You can just handle it with fewer people. That's what really prompted the asymmetric spinnaker, because people were complaining about the J/35s. Most J/35 owners had to have 10 people on the rail to be competitive." 

The advent of carbon tubing then made the retractable sprit possible. He adds, "made out of aluminum or wood or fiberglass, it would be just too much weight.:

The 105 started the J/Sprit revolution, but the original priority was price. In the early 1990s a US tax on boats over $100,000 had put a major dent in the new boat market. "We definitely had to come up with our luxury-tax beater."

J/105 offshore one-design sailboat
What turned the boat into one of J/Boats' bestsellers, though, was that asymmetric spinnaker. "You could race with half the number of people, that's what really sold it.' A harder sell was the PHRF committees, who thought the new asymmetric spinnakers should be the same size as symmetricals. "You needed a 20 per cent bigger area to have the same efficiency as a symmetrical chute. You get more efficiency reaching, and not as much running. It took a while to convince them we weren't trying to hornswoggle them." 

After years of dealing with local handicapping, Rod has developed a theory. "If you're really a good sailor, you're better off having a well-established production boat with a rating that they can't possibly change. Right now, that's the best boat for PHRF racing." The last J/105 Rod owned was a 2008 boat that he and Lucia cruised to Maine. Add a boom tent, open the hatches and Rod claims 7.0 ft headroom. "for two people, that worked really well. It's a great sailboat." The only reason he hasn't bought another one is the class restriction on professionals. But, as he's explaining he realizes, "I'm actually not a professional anymore!" (He stepped away from a paid J/Boats position in 2015, though he still consults.) I could almost see the thought-cloud forming above his trademark wide-brimmed hat. 

Even with so much success Rod still has a few regrets. He designed an incredible forty-two 12-Meters for the America's Cup. But, "not a single one ever got built, and I never published anything. I wish I could have been a part of that." 

[Ed. note- Rod also designed a few dozen AC 75's.  Truth be told, between Rod J and Angus Melrose and his famous International 14 naval architect friend Ian Howlett, they were the first team to create the super-long, super-narrow, giant-rigged AC 75 designs that ultimately won the America's Cup in 1995. Guess who that beneficiary was?  

Peter Blake! Because, when Rod and Peter were discussing Whitbread/Volvo Race designs in 1992, Rodney was also explaining to Peter how to make a faster AC 75 boat. Well, for you students of America's Cup history, you may recall that Team New Zealand showed up in San Diego, CA for the 1990 America's Cup with a wide, short, dinghy-like design from Bruce Farr. It did not do well. In fact, it got killed.  

Peter asked Rodney if he could take those design ideas with him. As a very honorable person (backed up I am sure by Pippa Blake, Peter's wife) Peter had asked Rodney's nephew, Stuart Johnstone, at the time if he could remove himself from the nascent J/65 Team Whitbread/Volvo project and take on the role of Team New Zealand syndicate Chief in 1993. Stuart said "yes", of course. Guess who was the beneficiary of that research? 

The American yacht designer Doug Petersen and Team New Zealand. Peter's collaboration with Rod, Ian, and Angus for the "new" super long waterline, maximum lead bulb keel, giant-rigged AC 75 became the new standard of AC 75 design...the net result?  Team New Zealand's Peter, Rod J- influenced, Petersen design called BLACK MAGIC crushed Dennis Conner's USA-designed YOUNG AMERICA in five straight races. The irony of that match was Stuart's good friend Kevin Mahaney, a J/24 World Champion from Northeast Harbor, Maine had the closest boat to Rod J's concept. But, still not extreme enough! The rest is history.... New Zealand's BLACK MAGIC won 5-straight races with margins averaging over FIVE MINUTES! The largest winning margins in modern America's Cup history! That's how the America's Cup went Down Under to New Zealand. Thereafter, J/24 World Champion Ed Baird teamed up with Team ALINGHI and won it for Switzerland! Funny how the world works...but Rod J. definitely had a hand in winning the America's Cup, whether he knew it or not! And, ironically enough, another J/24 World Champion- Terry Hutchinson- is spearheading the New York Yacht Club's current American Magic campaign! Yet another J/24 World Champion leading the world of sailing!]

Rod also wishes he could have been more involved in the aforementioned Whitbread/Volvo Race. The closest he got was working on a one-design class ahead of the 1993 race. "The idea was to build eight boats, and Peter Blake was going to put the teams together and put them through their paces. He was one impressive guy... so knowledgeable, and very good at managing people. You could just tell by sitting in the same room.  Peter gave me all of his proprietary wind matrices from the 1989 race, when he won on STEINLAGER 2. But we never got to build it. In 1991, there was a huge recession in Europe and the USA, plus the luxury tax. Too bad, because it would have been great fun. It was going to be like a big J/70, without the lifting keel. The entire structure built around a frame for the keel, lead on the bottom. We even had talks about whether we should make the sprit retractable!" 

When I ask what he's most proud of, he assumes I'm still talking about boat designs and runs down a list. "The J/90, that was an incredible boat. I owned mine longer than any other J/Boat, five years. It was fun to sail, and we had lots of adventures! The other designs I'd be the proudest of are the J/35, J/44, J/80. And, of course, the 160." 

I rephrase the question: how about life-wise? And then I spoon-feed him the most predictable answer: building a family company. "No, take one step backwards," he says firmly, holding up a hand like a stop sign. "Just building a family. That's what I'm proudest of, if you're talking about everything. I've been lucky in a lot of ways," he continues. "I'm lucky because I love sailing with all my kids. Even my daughter Pam, who was never really into sailing." 

She asked me recently, "Dad, when are you going to take me sailing?" He laughs. "We all have a lot of fun together."

J/99 with Rod Johnstone and son's Jeffrey and Alan.
Next adventure:
Two hours go by in a flash, and as we wind up our conversation, Rod checks the dock for his nephew, Clay Burkhalter. Clay (an off-shore veteran) is prepping the J/99 (seen above L-R: Rod, Jeff, Al J.) for an offshore adventure to Bermuda, to deliver an owner and his friend to his 65-footer that got stuck there. "Then, Clay and I will sail this boat back." A Bermuda 4-2, I joke. "Yeah, a 4-2 is much more fun than a 1-2. Also, when you can pick your weather between here and Bermuda, that's always nice." He pauses until he's sure he has my full attention, then adds, "I never get tired of this. That's why I got this boat." As I turn the recorder off and we stand up from our cockpit seats, Rod's still sharing memories. Even though it's time to go and my brain is full. "You should write a book," I tell him. "You underestimate your influence on the sport!" Because, there's definitely a lot more to Rod Johnstone than a 24-footer that barely squeezed out through a standard garage door. And, all those designs that followed. Thanks again for Carol Cronin's amazing Rod J interview for SEAHORSE magazine!