Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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You don''t say what your budget is but if you are looking at new boats, both the C&C 90, and the new J-109 both look like nice boats. The C&C 90 has a nice layout but is a little less cruising oriented in terms of seaberths, water capacity, and storage than I would expect out of a true dual purpose boat. I am not a fan of the C&C 90''s somewhat dated rig proportions for cruising although the large masthead chutes can be an advantage for dead down wind racing (But who ever goes dead down wind in boats with this hull form except perhaps in heavy air). I am also not a big fan of sail drives.
I really don''t like the C&C 110 at all. They seem to be a lot of glitz without the ''go''. These seem to be a throw back to an earlier design period and one that was not a very good one. I also dislike some of their goofy deck layout details which makes no sense on an easily driven hull where ease of sail trim can yield big speed rewards. For example why put a cabin top mounted traveller on a boat that is clearly intended as a performance boat, especially when it pushes the mounting point on the boom that far forward.
From a design stand point, I like the J-109 better. I like its rig and deck layout better than any of the C&C''s in that size range. The 109 carries more water and has avery workable interior layout. I think that the assymetrical chute is a nice feature for short handed racing (although I think that symetrical chutes offer more flexibility for cruising, especially short handed where a wrap can prove fatal.) I like the head and galley aft layout of the J-109 but don''t like the lack of storage compartments on the J-109. If I bought one I would probably have a series of ''soft lockers'' made that could be packed at home and brought on board, or easily removed for racing.
I have had a lot of opportunities to observe J-32''s underway and although they have a nice interior layout, I have not been impressed with their sailing abilities, especially at either end of the wind range.
If you are considering used boats, I am a big fan of the comparatively rare J-34c and J-35c (not the same as the racing J-35), both of which are very well thought out performance cruisers. Another rare but sometimes quite reasonably priced racer/cruiser is the J-110. I have not seen enough of these to really have a clear opinion on them.
Other options in your general size range might include an Dehler 36, (1980''s era) Express 37, Aerodyne 38, and the Farr designed Beneteau First 36.7.
Before you react to the Beneteau from a quality standpoint I strongly suggest that you at least look at these boats. I have been racing on a Beneteau First 40.7, the big sister to the 36.7 for several years now. The boat that I have been racing is close to 5 years old, she has been raced quite hard including the SORC, Key West Race Week, and the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle, and has done very well. She has close to 10,000 offshore miles and still looks and goes like a new boat. I have been very impressed with how solid and flex free she felt when driven hard upwind in a strong breeze and a short chop. The 36.7 offer a very nice layout and excellent sailing abilities.