Re: Interesting Sailboats
Very good point about the impact of the shift to the 89m2 kites on overall boat performance. Once the sailmakers figured out how to build them, the subsequent generations of the bigger spin allowed the J 105 to sail much deeper angles, rivaling conventional spinnakers for VMG sailing. Indeed in conditions where the crew can get the boat heeled to windward, projecting the luff of the sail in the same direction, J 105s are blazingly fast down to 170 AWA, though obviously you end up sailing the boat more like a Laser in those conditions, carving S-turns to keep the numbers up as the breeze and wave conditions demand.
Surprisingly, to me, the health of the J 105 class in North America has been declining in recent years, possibly due to the economy and perhaps due to people leaving the class for sport boats (which is what we did in 2007, switching to the Melges 24 and, more recently, the Melges 20). At the same time, I'm a bit surprised because prices on older J 105s have come down dramatically, and it's well known that the older, pre-SCRIMP boats are extremely competitive and continue to win major regattas. I don't think there are very many 35-footers that can be had for $85K that are as versatile across the entire range of sailing - buoys, offshore (crewed / SH-DN), cruising, beer can, etc. - and as much fun to sail.
We deal in lead, friend.