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The J/99: Versatility? Check!

Excelling in double-handed offshore sailing, crewed inshore racing, as well as family cruises, the J/99 is a great all-rounder. 

There were three standout boats that got the sailing fraternity talking at Spi Ouest back in April; the Sun Fast 3300, the JPK 10.30, and the J/99. The marketing campaigns for all three new launches focus on their double-handed offshore racing potential. However the J/99 boasts a much more versatile character.

The concept originated in the French J Composites shipyard, the builder for all European-delivered J Boats. The design stage was then carried out by the historical architect of the ‘J’s, Alan Johnstone. Frédéric Bouvier, Marketing Manager at J Composites explains “The development work was a joint effort. We didn’t want a specialist boat. From the outset we were finding a balance between crewed and double-handed racing and cruising.”

J Boats and J Composites relied on the recognised strengths of the existing J/70, J/112E, and J/121, and enhanced the new boat’s versatility with increased stability, whilst controlling the wetted surface. In practical terms, the hull is slightly beamier and flatter, to increase lift when sailing with slightly eased sheets. “We’ve pushed the hull towards improved offshore performance with form stability when reaching, without focusing too heavily on the open ocean aspect. We have also retained the sharp lines,” continues Frédéric Bouvier.

It was important for the design team not to compromise on the excellent upwind performance J Boats are renowned for. Instead they ensured that the J/99 is capable of lengthening her stride on a reach. Fred states “We want the J/99 to be accessible to the amateur offshore sailor.”

 

A cruising interior

Austerity has no place aboard a J/99. The cabin doesn’t serve as a ‘sail locker’. Featuring two aft cabins, a proper, comfortable saloon, an L-shaped galley and a chart table, she is a cruiser in short, featuring a generous space up forward that is entirely dedicated to wet gear.

“My wife and I went to Ile d’Yeu this summer, the idea is that I can enjoy myself both with family and racing with friends,” states Daniel Robin, whose J/99 is based in Les Sables d’Olonne. With headroom worthy of a true cruiser, a sailing trip is synonymous with comfort. “Quite frankly, the J/99 has no cause to be jealous of so-called comfortable cruisers. And what fun she is to sail! The boat makes great headway upwind and the minute you bear away it’s sheer pleasure,” adds Daniel.

The yard offers several versions of the J/99 (single or twin rudders / bulb keel or fin keel / symmetrical or asymmetrical version. “I went for the radical single rudder option, but I wouldn’t rule out double rudders, should I to want to perform well offshore”.

 

 

 

Preserved aesthetics

“It’s the look of the J/99 that thrilled me. I don’t like the competition’s new coachroofs. To my mind, it’s important not to favour performance at the expense of aesthetics,” admits Daniel Robin, owner of the J/99 Jafa since last summer. Our man, with two Transquadras to his credit on a JPK 10.10, is very familiar with double-handed and crewed offshore racing and chose the J/99 for her versatility. “My programme? A few double-handed races like the Armen Race, as well as the Spi Ouest in crewed format or cruising with my wife.” Any campaign is possible with the J/99.

 

Spi Ouest-France la Trinité sur Mer, baie de Quiberon le 20 avril 2019, photo Jean-Marie LIOT

 

A track record that stretches beyond her bowsprit!

The J/99 reflects a history of building boats that dates back over 40 years. IRC has always been the main concern of the American and French yards. The J/99 fully adheres to this specification so cherished by the brand. Judge for yourselves: in IRC, the boat finished 3rd in the Spi Ouest France – Destination Morbihan 2019, and 2nd in the Duo Catamania (double-handed race). She also finished 2nd in the World Championship for ORC boats under 10m, and achieved a clean sweep of the prizes in crewed racing: Tresco Trophée, Tout du Finistère and Lisboa Series.

 

 

Well-positioned on the market

€115,000 ex.VAT, with an aluminium mast specially developed by AG+ Spars, is the base price of the J/99.

“The boat is very well positioned in relation to the competition, which is another reason that inspired my choice, backed up by a very detailed study of what I get for this price. I looked at the fittings, the cockpit ergonomics and the bowsprit, and this was the obvious move. I really like the easy rope handling in the cockpit. It’s simple and clear. The price is certainly attractive too!” sums up Daniel Robin. Equally, with every part of the build made in France, the J/99 doesn’t suffer the additional cost of transport and can boast optimisations right down to the finer details by J Composites’ subcontractors in Les Sables d’Olonne. “We fully control the build and we work hand in hand with the manufacturers of the mast, the sails and the deck fittings,” explains Frédéric Bouvier.

Six months after the J/99 was launched back in April, the results are very positive, exciting even! Great results on the racing circuit, well-positioned pricing, fun on the water, happy owners. Yes indeed, the J/99 has that je ne sais quoi that just inspires you to get out on the water!

Key Yachting have one J/99 available for February delivery. Please get in touch for more details.

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