This past weekend, the J/111 was launched in Barrington, RI in northern Narragansett Bay. Sailing on the 111’s maiden voyage was Joe Pimenta of builder CCF Composites, Ben Hall and Corey Butlin of Hall Spars, Didier LeMoal of JB Composites (J builder in France), designer Alan Johnstone, and other J family members including Rod, Stu, Jeff and Matthew.
The weather forecast was partly cloudy with spotty ESE breezes from 0-12 knots, which is exactly what we saw for the 111’s first quick shake-out. It was a good initial test of the boat’s balance and acceleration capabilities in the low wind ranges. As designer Al Johnstone commented, “even with a #3 jib flying, we could tell right away that the J/111 has all the elements we were hoping for in terms of speed, acceleration and a feather light touch on the helm both upwind and downwind.”
On day 2, the full Doyle weaponry (including #1 jib) was bent on and a five person crew took the J/111 upwind in a steadier 12-16 knot southerly to test the balance, responsiveness and stability. Grins all around as the J/111 sliced effortlessly upwind with minimal wake and very easy steering/trimming with helmsman able to drive and play the mainsheet (fine-tune) like a J/80. Two people could handle the tacking duties, and the jib trimmer was in heaven being able to freely adjust the fore/aft/inboard jib leads with the cockpit led controls.
Jeff Johnstone added “we then hoisted the large A-Sail (130m2) and took right off. The boat balanced great and we felt we had equal opportunity to either go deep and rotate the kite out, or heat up to double digit speeds. We threw in several jibes, including a double-handed one in 15-17 knots with Rod on helm and mainsheet and Al on both kite sheets.”
This week the commissioning continues with sailing electronics install, engine trials and final commissioning at Bristol Marine with sailing starting again this weekend in Newport.
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