Tell me about the J80.

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Postby Guest » Wed Sep 11, 2002 2:36 pm

If the administrator will indulge me for a moment, I'd like to ask a few newbie questions about the J80, from someone who is looking to get into the game.

First, forgive my ignorance, we sail a Colgate 26- a 2600 pound boat, SA/D 24, conventional spinnaker, deck stepped mast, single spreaders, 100% jib, PHRF racing. The only sport boat I have sailed is a Melges 24.

I've read the information on the Jboat webpage and else where, but have additional questions due to fuzzy trailer photos and a general lack of familiarity.

How difficult is it to step the J80 mast? Does a gin pole suffice or do you need a hoist? How many people does it take realistically? Do you find that you skip traveling to some regattas due to rigging requirements?

Can you launch the boat off of a Triad trailer or do you need a hoist? How much does the trailer and boat weigh combined? 4000 pounds or so?

Any problems setting up or tuning shrouds and tensions with the double spreaders? Can you leave 'em attached at the shroud bases when you unstep the mast for transport?

What's the optimum race crew? Could you flail around the course with two if necessary?

It looks like the chute is hoisted from the cockpit and cleats on the starboard cabin top. Do you need the cabin top winches or at least the stbd winch?

Doesn't look like the boat has any cleats for docklines anywhere. Single on the bow listed in the specs, but I don't see one in the photos.

Does the boat require a long shaft motor?

For the life of me, I can't find the nav lights. Are they on the mast head? If so, is there a quick disconnect plug at the base of the mast?

Our club has three Melges 24's, only real opportunity for one design racing. Any comments from those of you who have sailed both? The Melges is obviously easier to trailer and set up, what about the racing scene in the two respective classes?

I humbly thank you for any comments that you take the time to post.



Postby Guest » Wed Sep 11, 2002 2:58 pm

I am by no means an expert, but will give your questions a shot:
A J-80 mast can be stepped and unstepped by two people unless it is very windy. A gin pole works fine, if it is tall enough and stiff enough. I have never skipped a regatta for this reason.
Lanuching off the trailer is possible, though not ideal. You need a steep ramp and a long rope to attach to the trailer tongue. Even with the J-24 I owned previously, most folks prefer to hoist than ramp launch.
Depending on your trailer choice (i.e. number of axles, etc.) total weight is probably closer to 4500 lbs. You really need a V-8 to tow any long distance.
Tuning is fairly simple and straightforward. Not much more difficult than single spreader rig. Shrouds must be disconnected prior to pulling the mast due to it being keel-stepped.
Optimum race crew is four. Three is OK if it is not too windy. Two would be tough in any real breeze unless you go non-spin, though the boat can be singlehanded if you are not in a hurry to get around the course.
I have a cabintop winch, and use it occasionally, but most folks do not. The boat has a "mooring eye" on the bow and two large padeyes near the stern pulpit. These are quite adequate for dock lines. You definitely need a 20" shaft on your outboard.
My 1994 boat has running lights on the deck near the bow pulpit, but the new boats may have masthead lights instead.
While the 80 is certainly not as fast or easy to trailer as the M24, I think it is a much better all around boat for the following reasons:
1. Easier to sail with non-racing crew.
2. More stable (M24's can flip).
3. More durable (will outlast M24's for sure).
4. Strong international class.
Good luck - I hope this helps!

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 11, 2002 6:09 pm

Not to mention that the J/80 has a real cabin (although not very tall) with an enormous V-berth. This is great for overnighters and as a place for the kids to play (if you have kids). The Melges has a forward sail locker thanks to one of the designers (Reichel or Pugh, can't remember which...) lopping off the cabintop during the final stage of design.

I'm guessing that the J/80 holds its resale value longer due to the durability and International class bonuses already mentioned.

Best of luck!

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 12, 2002 3:14 am

Dear Jay,
To be fair the melges 24 and J/80 are really two different boats each an excellent boat for the target market.
I think there is much more difference than just the way you step the mast. Have a look at spec.
Once is a pure racing machine, build for a specific market and one is a more civilized performance day sailer. (Like a Ferrari and an upmarket BMW both excellent product designed to please a specific market.

Have a look at the typical J/80 sailors, compare it with the typical M 24 sailor, have a good look at you PREFERENCE and you will have no problem finding the best fit.

I have not daubt a j/80 sailor would not be happy on a M 24 and a M 24 sailor would be frustrated on a J/80. They are desigend for very very different market and getting the match right is rather important.

If you like the racing on a M 24, how about you partner, does she want to sail to, do you need a boat which you can use for Twillights?

What about the crew. If you get a M 24 will you get crew good enough to make the racing fun or will more likely end up with middle aged friends who will be more at home on a J/80?

I think you will never find the perfect boat, spend some time to analyse what you really want of you new boat and get the best possible compromise.

Of course I think the J/80 suits my needs better
(48Year old recreational club racers, my two sons who race skiffs at National level would only consider a Melges 24 )

The idea is to get stimulated but not frustrated.

Hope this helps


Postby Guest » Thu Sep 12, 2002 7:26 pm

The M24 crew weight limmit is more generous than the J80.. something to think about.

Postby Guest » Sat Sep 14, 2002 12:30 am

Thanks Gents,

Very good points. All things considered, I think that we'd be happier on a J80, however, I'd have to sail it PHRF for awhile, then probably move to a different lake to sail one design.

Who knows what will happen with the local Melges situation, there are three folks thinking about getting one to add to the fleet, but they have been saying this for some time. Local fleets change over time, perhaps the best course is to acquire the boat that you want, and take it from there.

Thank you for filling in the blanks, have much to think about- Steve Hammerman helped immeasurably by answering my questions a few nights ago.

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