The J Class is an awesome and venerable racing design. They go back to at least 1929, with roots extending back to the origin of the America’s Cup. They were the stuff of inspiration for many a noted marine photographer (including Stanley Rosenfeld).
Now, they’re back! Modern renditions of this traditional design are out shredding up the race course, so to speak. To my delight, I saw that they are holding a world championship.
The J-Class design, sometimes called a J Boat, should not be confused with the modern designer and manufacturer J/Boats. This very successful line of racers and racer/cruisers is altogether different. The very popular J/24 is one of the most important sailing designs ever created due to how extensively it was raced, but it made a piss-poor learning platform. It is still widely used for that due to the abundant availability of cheap older boats – not because they are well suited to teaching sailing. There are over 5,500 of them around the world.
There are over 5,000 International Folkboats, too, and we have one – but wouldn’t use it for learn-to-sail instruction, and we wish people would steer clear of J/24’s for that purpose as well. The Folkboat has very traditional lines that are reminiscent of J-Class yachts.
I was struck once again by the simple, elegant beauty of these large beasts of boats when I saw some pics by Ingrid Abery. I’ve taken the liberty of pasting one of her copyrighted images here to tempt you to see more on her site.
Click the pic, or go here…
Also, check out the J-Class Association web site for more history, current events, photo galleries, etc…