J-40 for Long Distance Cruising ?
Since the introduction of the J-40 I have always viewed these boats with a mixed emotions. There is a whole lot about these boats that I really love. They sail well and have a very workable deck plan. They have a simple but nice interior layout. They are reasonably easy to handle in a wide range of conditions although I would prefer a fractional rig for offshore use. From my perspective, they represent a good compromise between performance and comfort.
But if used for extended cruising they need to be pretty extensively adapted. As they came from the factory they lack adequate water supplies, seaberths and gorund tackle handling gear for example.
Boats like the J-40 need to be viewed differently than is popular when thinking about distance cruisers. Extended cruising in a boat like the J-40 requires a very different mindset. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if you size the J-40 by its a 16,700 lb displacement, this is a pretty small boat. In other words distance cruising in any 16,700 lb boat whether it is 32 feet or 40 feet is bound to be a little spartan. There is only so much payload weight in gear and supplies that a 16,700 lb boat can carry. You do not have the luxury of carrying anything that you might want to drag along. You do not have the luxury of carrying the kind of fuel supply to have ''all of the comforts of home''. It means that you have to be willing to limit the amount of gear and stores that you bring aboard.
This is not so much a short-coming of the boat as it is a decision that one makes about what is important to them. The only other gripe that I have about the J-40 is that they just were not all that robust and I would want to beef up the rudder/rudder post, keel sump and transverse framing.