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Old 07-13-2002
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To Jeff and others with experience and/or opinions on the J/30.

Friends here in Miami looking for J 28s and not being able to find them are talking up the J/30...

Obviously if it can survive the Fastnet it can handle most Biscayne Bay weather, there are a few questions I have.

I see that it is apparently underballasted (2100/7000 lbs or 30%) which brings visions of having the mother-in-law stuck out on the rail all the time (is this an unknown marketing tool of the Johnsons?) But then I see that it is a little beamy (11.18/29.83 feet) which is said to make up for the heeling issue. So, is this a reasonable boat for a small crew or family to own and not be concerned with working all the time to keep it upright? What are the other issues?

Boat prices look very attractive. Comments please.

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Old 07-13-2002
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To begin with the J-30 and the J-28 are very different boats. The J-28 was purposefully designed as a small cruising boat. Its layout and detailing were planned to make them work well for that purpose.

The J-30 was more than a 10 year older design that was intended as a state of the art MORC race boat circa 1978. Its rig and general layout were really centered around being a race boat. The cockpit is cramped and somewhat exposed and its interior, and tankage are pretty basic.

I have always found J-30''s a lot of work to sail for a 30 foot fractional rig boat. They really do thrive on a lot of weight on the rail but they can be sailed with smaller headsails and smaller crews.

While 30% ballast ratio is a little on the light side this is a very common ballast ratio for many popular cruising boats. At least the J has this weight pretty low. The wide beam does present some problems. They actually have a fairly narrow waterline which means that their motion isn''t too bad but in a severe knockdown offshore this extreme beam and low deck structures can be a real liability.

Issues with J-30''s involve delamination and core rot in the balsa cored hulls, decks, keel stub, issues at the rudder attachment points, antiquated deck hardware and electronics, a PITA Volvo aux. engine, Rot in the main bulkhead and the kinds of abuse that one might expect in a 20 year old race boat.

I believe that the J-30 surviving the 1979 Fastnet Disaster is only a myth. I have heard that said a lot of times but I believe that someone had checked the Fastnet report on one of these BB''s and could not find a J-30 in the list of entries.

All of that said, Herb McCormick, the editor in chief of ''Cruising World'' has a J-30 that he bought a few years back to go cruising on with his family. Can''t be too bad.

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