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OK, how about the Nordic 40 ??
See now the Nordic 40 is also attractive to me and presents an interesting point of comparison with the J-40. Though the same length overall, the N-40 is slightly heavier (18,000 vs. 17,300 depending upon who you ask), and has a shorter LWL (32.5 vs. 34.0). Standard draft and maximum beam are within 2-3 inches of matching, but the J is slightly narrower and deeper.
Though both boats have sufficient sail area / displacement ratios that are large relative to traditional cruisers, the difference significantly favors the J-boat (18.3 vs. 17.6) and it achieves that sail area in a much different manner. The fore-triangle is comparatively huge on the Nordic and the boom of the J-40 is about the longest Iíve seen on any 40í sailboat!
I have long been puzzled why these relatively subtle differences seem to vastly benefit the sailing speed of the J-40, but I suppose they are compounded to that end. Of course the important mainsail controls are placed more beneficially in the J-Boat.
On the other hand, the Nordic 40 only rates 12 seconds / mile slower (depending upon who you ask). It has that protected keel hung rudder and bigger tanks. With variations, they typically have huge galleys and lots of storage cabinets. Given their greater displacement they can carry more gear without deleterious side effects (as has been discussed on other threads). The only structural defect Iíve heard rumored is a weakness in the mast step area (but would like to hear confirmation of that from other owners).
Once again and as always, it comes down to preferences, doesnít it? Carrying capacity, racing ability, ease of handlingÖ Think about it, but not too long. -Phil