It’s been an official secret for some time. Our successful J/109 was for sale and the plan was to get a J/111.
We went to check out boat #1 in Newport and recently we’ve test sailed boats in Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. But we also needed to sell the J/109 and now she’s got a new owner, a keen J/boats-sailor who will race the boat actively. We’ll be doing the spring races on the west coast before transporting the boat to Stockholm to do ÅF Offshore Race (aka Around Gotland Race) as crew for the new owner.
The J/109 have exceeded all my expectations, so it wasn’t an easy decision to upgrade. When I bought it five years ago I had a few top priorities:
The boat should be easy to race shorthanded. Check. We’ve done a number of shorthanded races, and we’ve learned to sail the boat to her targets. The only time we’re struggling is in very light air (as we race double handed with just a #3 jib) and in heavy downwind conditions when she can be a handful. With the J/111 we will have even bigger focus on double handed racing and hopefully challenge the 40- and 50-footeras for line honours and course records.
Asymmetric spinnaker was something new that we wanted to learn and master. After an initial year of frustration we’ve come to love the downwind legs. We got speed, are able to sail as low as the symmetric boats and have become much more active tactically. Now there’s no turning back.
We had planned to do more IRC racing, but due to “political differences” there hasn’t beet that many chances. We won the highly competitive Big Boat Challenge in Denmark, and convincingly won both IRC and SRS-at Göteborg Offshore Race. So a perfect score there. Other victories under local rules include class wins at Bohusracet, Hermanö Runt, HH Skagen Race, Oset Race, Poly Skagen Race, Septemberseglingen and Tjörn Runt.
We won many of the local races with our former boat, the Albin Nova as well, but with the J/109 we managed to challenge many of the semi-professional teams as Feelgood, Manix, Teknova and some international ones as well. With the J/111 we hope to be able to expand our horizons even more, without loosing touch with the local club racing that we enjoy so much.
We wanted a boat that was good looking, and in every harbor we get comments on the 109. And I’m sure that the new J/111 will get turn some heads as well – both sailing and looking fast at the dock.
Finally there’s a new important criteria that’s been more and more important – fun!!! More and bigger smiles on the crew! Thundering along in a pitch black night to win the Skagen Race by 50 minutes. Light air affairs beating IMX-40 and Elan 410 on the water. Taking line honors double handed in front of fully crewed Mumm 36 and First 40. Or just solo sailing with the big asymmetric up and the stereo pumping.
After sailing the J/111 I’m sure we’ll get many more moments like this. And to me that matters more then getting the sensible cruiser/racer or playing the rating game with a heavier boat with small spinnaker.
We haven’t made the final decision, but we have the possibility to get the boat delivered to Trinite Sur Mer and the Spi Ouest Regatta in April. This will be the first one design race for the J/111 in Europe, and it’s possible to get 10-15 boats.
Fore more info on the boat, check out J/boats site. There are about 58 boats delivered and 70 boats sold in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Colombia, UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden.