With several of us aboard for the test sail, the cockpit still felt roomy. Though today’s design trends call for twin helms even on 30-footers, the J/112E has a single 59-inch-diameter wheel that lets you sit outboard to either side with good sightlines forward, or stand comfortably, which I like to do when sailing downwind. For the record, the chain and wire linkage and deep fin rudder provided fingertip control. The cockpit bench seats end just forward of the wheel and the easily adjusted Harken traveler, mounted on the cockpit sole. On each side of the helm, there’s plenty of room to move past. Better yet, the layout lets the helmsman sit aft of the wheel (when there’s crew aboard to help with sheet trim), straddle it with feet braced on the pedestal, or sit forward of it, so the pair of winches for controlling the tails of the 2-to-1 mainsheet and primaries for the jib sheets are readily within reach. (To reduce clutter, the two ends of the mainsheet are led into watertight boxes in the cockpit sidewalls and then through deck blocks to their respective winches.)
Down below, accommodations are modern and practical. There’s a pleasing mix of varnished walnut woodwork and white side and ceiling panels; portlights in the cabin top, opening overhead hatches, and ports in the hull let in lots of light during the day. In the saloon, the space between the aforementioned table and settees seemed a little tight; Johnstone said the walk-through space will be increased slightly on future boats, and the table will be a little narrower.