boat check - to Jeff H and others
The J-30 is a tough boat to classify. In its day the J-30 was revolutionary. From the viewpoint of the late 1970''s, they provided excellent performance, on the par with racing 40 footers of the day. They could be raced one design or cruised by a couple. The fractional rig and bendy rig made them a good single-hander as viewed from a 1970''s context. They were reasonably well constructed and low maintenance boats.
But they are a 25 year old design and a lot has happened in those 25 years. For one thing J-30''s were incredibly beamy and lightly balasted. As a result they counted on a lot of crew on the rail in a breeze. They are actually comparatively heavy which means that they are a little less forgiving than they might have been. I have always found them sommewhat of a blunt instrument compared to boats like the J-27 and J-22 that followed them. Thier cockpits are quite cramped and as originally delivered their hardware was not the most user friendly. Compared to slightly later boats, (Laser 28s for example) sailing them was sort of the sailing equivalent of kissing your sister. There are construction issues with these boats that are reasonably well understood.
Still and all, they are basically good boats. They can make a good family cruiser or single-hander. They offer reasonably good performance and accomodations as compared to slightly earlier designs like a Pearson 30 and are certainly easier boats to short-hand.