Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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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.