J/70 “This is a boat designed bysailors and it shows…”

Beneteau First 20 Twenty new 2013
August 2, 2012
Lake Pontchartrain 2012 Great Lake Race; September 22
August 4, 2012

J/70 “This is a boat designed bysailors and it shows…”

Our Friend and fellow J Boat Dealer, Don Finkle, sharded his thoughts on the J/70 below. click her for the Full story

J/70 Edited Sailing Report, by Don Finkle:

Walking down the dock it was apparent that the 70 is a modern, cool-looking boat, slick carbon rig and a hull reminiscent of the latest grand prix shapes…

The cockpit is awesome as advertised, almost 12 feet long with comfortable side deck seating and a molded in hat-section footrest that runs down the center of the sole…

There is no need to go forward of the mast when sailing so the lifelines drop down forward… No interference with the jib as a result.

The interior was a very pleasant surprise, it is roomier than I had expected.

The rig is built by Southern Spars in Sri Lanka, and includes a black carbon package of mast, boom, spreaders, masthead crane and sprit. The track on the mast is suited to either a bolt rope or cars.

The jib furler is a new model that Harken created for this boat. It has a
below-deck swivel so the jib tack is very close to the deck. The jib rolls around the forestay but can be dropped with the forestay in place. The jib sheet is two-part and we had no trouble trimming it without the winch in the solid breezes we had (mostly mid-teens withpuffs to maybe 20). There are winches in the cockpit for the spinnaker sheet but which could also be used for the jib when daysailing. They were smart to include the winches, it makes it much easier for small and average sized crew to handle the asymmetric kite…

This is a boat designed bysailors and it shows…

OK, so how does it sail? Well I expected a lot and it was every bit of that and more. We had four of us aboard, the two guys from Maine, myself, and Al Johnstone was also along to make sure we did not run into and rocks. The boat is intended to be sailed by three good size guys, or a combination of 4 smaller people, maybe two couples, some kids, etc. They are going to sail the boat for awhile before coming up with a class weight limit. We were a bit heavy because all four of us were about 180 or above but the boat did not seem to mind. My sense is that the boat could be pleasure sailed anywhere from single-handed up to a half-dozen aboard because the cockpit is so roomy and the boat is so easy to manage.
First of all the 70 is a ton of fun. The boat accelerates quickly. It is easy to drive with plenty of rudder control. It pops up on a plane and you don’t have to pile the weight aft, as Al says that is because of the shoulders in the hull design. I was extremely pleased with the stability, much more than in other boats of this size I have encountered, both upwind and downwind under chute. We carried the chute in plenty of breeze on a tight reach… The J folks wanted the boat to be fast and fun but also easy to handle, safe and comfortable for a broader audience, not only the serious race crowd. As
such the rig is big enough but not too big, the boat has plenty of stability and is not at all threatening. I am excited because older guys like us (those aboard were well into our 60s, except Al) can bomb around in a modern planing hotrod that provides thrills while still being easy to handle. The boom is high enough that tacking and jibing was simple without throwing my creaky back out. I still smile when thinking about the fun we had that day.
In the stronger morning breeze we hit over 13 knots downwind on Al’s GPS iPhone ap, and the other 70 sailing nearby said they got up over 14. There may have been some current helping but we were not at all pushing it and we also were a bit clumsy having not sailed this boat before, or even been sailing period in the last 5 months. The day before in heavier air they recorded 16 knots. These speeds might sound intimidating to some but the boat felt like it was on rails when planing, all kinds of control and actually very easy to handle. Al has said earlier that the 70 has the feel of a larger boat and that is very true. It would be a simple matter for someone accustomed to a bigger boat to move down to a J/70 without feeling like a fish out of water, so long as you love to sail. They have hit on a super combination, a boat small and lively enough to be affordable, fast, fun and easy to handle, yet stable and comfortable as a larger boat would be. The 70 brings the joy back into sailing, it was hard to give up the tiller…

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