Skip to content


  1. Andreas
    Dec 21, 2020 @ 22:13

    First question valid for me would be;
    Purpose ? Race, cruising, fully crewed or shorthanded?

    Main differentieses
    -Genoa or jib?
    -Spinnaker or gennaker

    For me none of the boats has both jib and gennaker which would be important for me.

    But my feeling is the x35 is the most fun boat to sail.


  2. Jimmy
    Dec 21, 2020 @ 23:20

    J vs X. I haven’t sailed either of them but if I analyze the data, my view on the matter is the following (we’ll see if Peter agrees):

    First of all, the difference between the boats is not huge, but still, there is a difference.

    The J/109 has a heavier keel and a higher displacement both of which adds to the stability of the boat. She is also wider adding extra form stability. The stability/righting moment is one of the biggest performance drivers of a yacht, next to water line length, all things being equal. In both cases the J/109 is favored. However, all things aren’t equal as the the X-35 is quite a bit lighter and carries slightly bigger sail area (upwind) giving her a lower displacement/length ratio and a higher sail area/displacement ratio, meaning slightly better potential in heavy downwind conditions and upwind in light wind conditions. One might say the X-35 is a bit sportier, which also shows on the rating where she is slightly faster, despite the fact that she’s actually somewhat smaller.

    The sportier a yacht is, the more sensitive she is to sail trim and handling. Now this might sound like fun times but it also means it’s harder to sail the boat to it’s full potential.
    Stability works in the same way, a stable yacht is easier to get up to speed than one that heels a lot in every gust, meaning you have to be more agile on the trim and work the gears more frequently.

    A mediocre crew can race quite well in an IF-boat but if the same crew would race a 49:er they probably wouldn’t make it around the course. The rating is one thing, but how well you’ll be able to sail the boat around the course is something totally different.

    What I’m trying to say is that I believe the J/109 to be slightly more forgiving and easy to sail to her full potential and even more so shorthanded. And she should always have the edge upwind in a breeze thanks to her extra righting moment and slightly longer water line length, even though she’s heavier.

    If you plan on sailing predominately full crew with a really competent crew the X-35 will be more fun, challenging and rewarding.

    But as I stated initially, the difference between the boats is not massive


    • Pelle Pedersen
      Dec 22, 2020 @ 13:48

      I pick up from Jimmy but at the other end of the scale!! Don´t (by far) have that tech-skills as Jimmy but I have actually sailed both of them at several occasions.
      My experiences confirm Jimmy; J109 is easier to sail but needs genoa in the lower range (sub 6-8kn range). Upwind in general is easier in the J, X-35 is quick and fun upwind but needs attention in upper region. X-35 main is NOT small…
      Downwind; so much easier to use assy!
      Don´t ask me about interiors; not my area of interest… :)
      BTW; Jimmy´s skills overall as sailor /techguru is in another league than me…


  3. Andreas
    Dec 22, 2020 @ 21:10

    The X-35 is extremely fast in light winds!! Beautiful lines and a aftersales and service from the X-Yachts yard is worth mention.

    I would go for the X-35 and add some lead bricks to the steelframe (major adavangtes btw)… And look into a gennaker system? and how to down power the boat in diffrent wind conditions.

    Be prepared to reef early, but you have very fast boat in light conditions which are must fun!


    • Christiaan
      Feb 19, 2022 @ 23:49

      Hello , we sail an x35 in belgium .I gave the boat a bowsprit of 45 cm and two gennakers of 75 and 100 m2 and it is much better in heavy winds . We added some 30 kg of lead but this is not enough , my question : how many kg is best ?for light wind the 100 m2 gennaker was not enough , the class symm of 105 is better then . Next year we sail with a 130 m2 . Lets see …
      Mister sandman is the name .bel 3515


      • Bjørn V
        Jul 5, 2022 @ 10:21

        No adding of weight to the keel, if you want to keep the boat as an X-35.
        Regards from the Class Measurer


  4. Peter Gustafsson
    Dec 22, 2020 @ 21:47

    I’ll have to disagree with the “extremely fast in light winds” comparison. The X-35 has an edge of approx 4% VMG upwind in light air, and 2% upwind/downwind in most conditions. But as said above, not that easy to achieve in reality…

    Probably the best benchmark was ORCi Worlds in Copenhagen 2016, which was a really light wind regatta. My report here.

    Looking at the results in Class C, the Dutch J/109 Jai Alai finished 4th on handicap w X-35s in 16-19-21-24-34-50. An X-35 was faster in 5 of 8 races by an average of 5%. The J/109 was faster than the fastest X-35 in 3 races by an average of 3%.

    Jai Alai was racing w a 140% genoa for rating reasons (rating cert), so not fully powered up.

    So yes, the X-35 is marginally faster in light air.

    And no, not everyone can get that performance out of the boat.

    Our own racing with the J/109 supports this. At the Norwegian (notorious light wind race) Færderseilasen we raced in the R36 class against a number of X-35s, generally beating them both on the water and on corrected time. At home in Gothenburg I would say 50/50 against the well sailed X-35s.


  5. Olle Nordin
    Dec 23, 2020 @ 10:28

    Percentages and race data above are all well and good, but having sailed both I’d go for the X-35 every time. It is very fast in light winds (no matter who’s sailing it), and adding a bowsprit & a Code 0 makes it even faster.

    I thought it worked well singlehanded in the Baltic, with a good B&G autopilot and 2 reefs in the mainsail it always felt balanced and under control. A furling headsail and an assymetric kite would make things even easier. Hard to touch it for line honours in most club races but also hard to win on handicap I would think.

    I think the days of X-35 OD are gone and that most will now end up modified for comfortable shorthanded sailing and cruising. The overall standard of X-Yachts build quality puts it a notch above the J boats in my opinion but others will disagree.


    • Peter Gustafsson
      Dec 23, 2020 @ 10:33

      Felt under control downwind under spinnaker in 20 knots as well? 😉

      Have we seen any X-35s doing well with assy?


  6. Olle
    Dec 23, 2020 @ 11:44

    Depends what you mean by “doing well”

    The stories of X-35 scaryness downwind are overrated in my opinion. It’s no worse or harder to sail under spinnaker in a breeze than anything else I’ve sailed that wasn’t a French sled (Pogo, RM) 😅


    • Peter Gustafsson
      Dec 23, 2020 @ 11:52

      As in “X-35 with assy, and here’s a link to results that doesn’t suck” 😀


      • Olle
        Dec 23, 2020 @ 14:33

        Fair enough, as an out and out racer there are lots of better options these days.

        If I was in it to win it under the various handicap systems, a JPK 1010 (or a 1030 if budget was bigger) is what I would be looking at in 2021.

        If I just wanted to get myself the best bang-for buck cool cruiser, that’s fast and fun to sail, and with an interior that doesn’t scare the wife and kids, the X-35 would be very high on my list.


  7. Curt Gelin
    Dec 23, 2020 @ 12:31

    Build quality on x 35 we sailed to and in Tjörn Runt left a lot to wish for – leaking windows and stanchions was a surprise. Also to fill water was awkward. Good fun to sail though.


  8. Christian X41 Kwanza
    Dec 23, 2020 @ 16:22

    Since you mention cruising in your question I would like to throw a third alternative into the potential options, the First 35. We sailed the First 35 Kwanza from 2010 to 2016 including the Worlds in Copenhagen 2016 and in Kiel 2014. The First 35 is significantly larger than the X-35 inside with two roomy separate cabins and all the comforts you may wish for cruising. We were able to match the X-35 on speed in most conditions and especially light downwind with our large mast head spinnakers. As with all boats, at least with our experience, it takes a few seasons, upgrading of sails, fairing of the keel and knowing your numbers with a stable crew before you get top international results. But that is also the great fun and why many years in the same boat will pay off.

    We are now in the middle of this journey with our X-41 and hope that we shall come higher up amongst the X-41 fleet in the Worlds this summer.


  9. Morten Sollerud
    Dec 25, 2020 @ 20:54

    What about a Bavaria35 match. How does that compare to both the J109, x35 and First 35


  10. Anna Rossander
    Jan 1, 2021 @ 16:29

    We have a J/109 that we use for cruising and short-handed club- and occasional offshore racing. The boat is in Gothenburg so same waters as you are planning to sail in.

    We are happy with our boat and find her manageable doublehanded, beautiful and fast :) We don’t perceive her as underpowered as someone mentioned above. We have an all-round jib and a Code0 for upwind. On the contrary, this winter we are getting a smaller jib on an inner stay to use in heavier winds.

    We really appreciate the bowsprit and find handling of the asymmetric downwind sails easy and use them more than we thought we would, even when cruising.

    You are welcome to come test sail or just have a look on board if that would be of interest to you.

    Per and Anna


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.