It’s trick to hop aboard a new-model J/Boat because these guys always have something new, tweaky and refreshing up their sleeves. Whether it has to do with a modified deck system, an unprecedented sail plan, a different attitude about cruising amenity or simply an out-and-out quest for a little more speed, the J/People never fail to give you a reason to check out a new concept. In the continuum of sprit boats, the J/110 represents number six, but that doesn’t make it the same old thing in a slightly different size. This is a really neat boat in its own right.
At 36 feet it falls into that popular category of sailing vessel large enough to carry a modest amount of “stuff” and to count for something in wind and waves, yet small enough to remain manageable, maneuverable and sensitive to trim.
What this means in a cruising context is that it will accept the gear and provisions you’re apt to require on a typical summer coastal cruise — within reason, of course — and it will make getting to where you want to go as fast as it is fun.
Needless to say, there is a performance agenda associated with this boat that may not appeal to dyed-in-the-wool cruisers, gunkholers and live-aboards whose realistic need for displacement outweighs the need for a playful lightweight ride. On the other hand, the J/110 gives you back in pure sailing what it might fail to provide in the realm of payload, and for many this is a worthy compromise.
Hull and deck utilize Baltek Contourkore end-grain balsa sandwiched between biaxial and unidirectional glass with vinylester resin on the outer layer of the hull to retard osmotic blistering; the boat comes with a 10-year warranty against the dreaded pox. J/Boat construction is undertaken at TPI in Warren, Rhode Island, using the builder’s exclusive SCRIMP resin-infusion process which optimizes glass content and so saves weight by reducing the amount of resin needed for wetting out.
The deck is bonded to the hull along a three-inch inturned flange by means of Plexus MA550 glue, another successfully proven TPI procedure. All bulkheads are tabbed to the hull and deck for stiffness; in fact the main structural bulkhead is a molded fiberglass element designed to carry chain plate loads and reinforce the area around the mast with the integrity of a ring frame.
The mast step at the keel is a custom fabricated aluminum I-beam; solid glass L-beam floors promote hull rigidity and carry the keel itself, a fixed 4,500-pound lead-and-antimony fin bolted and epoxy bonded to the molded-in sump.
The cockpit area is optimized for easy sail handling. All halyards and reefing lead back to the after portion of the cabin top. Lewmar primaries occupy the cockpit coaming nearer the helm, and the main traveler with a double-ended mainsheet is located immediately forward of the steering pedestal. Standing behind the wheel you have all major running rigging at your fingertips.
The cockpit itself is T-shaped, with a dedicated area for the helmsperson and comfortable seating for four between the traveler and companionway. Local instrument repeaters cleverly installed on canted sections of the coaming port and starboard allow you to steer from either side with convenient access to performance info and feedback. The cockpit is too short to sleep in, but it is comfortable and functional. A molded-in deck dam just forward of the companionway provides for the secure installation of a virtually weatherproof dodger.
The decks are open and clean. You do tap dance a bit around the helm to get to the transom swim platform, but there is plenty to hold onto en route. A Danforth- or Fortress-type anchor lives in a molded deck locker on the starboard side at the chain plates; a removable bow roller for the stemhead is available as an option. The carbon fiber J/Sprit deploys out of the starboard bow with a simple tackle arrangement, and it is gasketed to thwart the ingress of seawater into the forward cabin below. Deck storage is addressed in a gigantic cockpit locker on the port side that features additional access from the main cabin through a bulkhead door at the galley. There is a smaller lazarette farther aft.
The 110 has an easygoing traditional interior of teak trim and optional teak ceilings complemented by white Formica on all bulkhead and counter surfaces. Portlights along the cabin trunk combine with five opening deck hatches to promote ambient light and ventilation.
Forward is an owner’s V-berth with its own chest of drawers and hanging locker, plus a head and shower with entry from both the main saloon and the owner’s enclave. The saloon includes an L-shaped settee to port and a straight longitudinal to starboard, separated by a hefty folding dinette amidship. The galley is L-shaped, tucked in to port alongside the companionway, and it has access to the port cockpit locker as discussed above. On the starboard side is a very nice aft-facing nav station with a chart table and plenty of adjacent vertical surface area for electronics, communication equipment and a DC distribution panel. Also to starboard are a wet locker at the base of the companionway and a double berth aft in the hip.
Access to the Yanmar 3GM30 beneath the companionway is excellent with the easy removal of the stairway unit. The engine spins a 16-inch Martec folding two-blade wheel on a one-inch stainless shaft. A 50-amp alternator feeds two 8G24 deep-cycle gel cells. This 12-volt DC system is standard; a complete 110-volt AC shore power package and battery charger are available optionally. Tankage includes 65 gallons of water in two baffled tanks beneath the settees, 21 gallons of fuel in a single tank, and 18 gallons of waste.
Sailing the boat is delightful. The standard rig is a two-spreader aluminum spar by Hall with kite hoist at the masthead and headsail hoist a foot or two below the black band. The optional carbon spar by Hall saves you 100 pounds aloft. Standing rigging is Navtec continuous rod. It all adds up to smooth, sophisticated performance on virtually any point of sail.
Upwind in only 10 knots of breeze we tacked easily inside 85 to 95 degrees on the compass and held speed through the water at six knots. Cracked off on a reach with the asymmetrical flying off the sprit we hit the high sevens consistently. With the jib on a roller furler and the spinnaker in a sock, handling the sail plan was well within the means of two people. Steering was sweet and responsive with ideal feedback.
In short, the J/110 is a very likable 36-footer. She sails virtually to her numbers, which means that given Disp/Length of 190 she remains light, quick to accelerate and spry, and given SA/Disp of 19.9 she retains good horsepower without an intimidating sail plan.
Configured for a couple and the occasional guest, she offers any cruising type who loves the dynamic of pure sailing and is willing to forgo unlimited storage capacity a thoroughly rewarding ride.
LOA: 36’0″ (10.97 m.)
LWL: 30’0″ (9.14 m.)
Beam: 11’1″ (3.38 m.)
Draft: 5’11” (1.8 m.)
Ballast: 4,500 lbs. (2,041 kgs.)
Displacement: 11,500 lbs. (5,216 kgs.)
Sail area: 633 sq.ft. (58.8 sq.m.)
Mast above water: 52’0″ (15.9 m.)
Fuel tankage: 21 gal. (79.5 ltr.)
Water tankage: 65 gal. (246 ltr.)
Holding: 18 gal. (68 ltr.)
Auxiliary: Yanmar 3GM30 28-hp diesel
Cabin headroom: 6’1″ (1.85 m.)
Designer: Rodney S. Johnstone
Base price: $157,000
P.O. Box 90
557 Thames St.
Newport, RI 02840