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Old 01-09-2004
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J 30 good boat ? Jeff, please let me know

I think I have made my mind about the "new" boat, and the lady seems to like it too. I am looking at a J 30. My budget is 25000 ( thats it, though, I need to get the boat in the water into Lake Carlisle near St Louis and get vc 7 done and so forth inside this budget).

What shouldI look for? any problems known ?

THANKS Thorsten
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Old 01-10-2004
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J 30 good boat ? Jeff, please let me know

J-30''s are complicated to categorize. They, like the earlier J-24, were real pioneers in the evolution of yacht design. In their day they were about as fast as a 30 footer could get. Compared to other 30 foot race boats of that era they required pretty small crews and were very easy to handle. Over the years there have been (and in some areas continues to be)a strong one design class. Because of their one design status, sail makers know how to cut fast sails for these boats and know how these boats should be tuned. The hardware, sails and deck gear on boats that are raced are often in near perfect condition. The fractional rig is really nice for shorthanding. That is all of the good stuff.

On the other hand, this was a very early design of its type. They really require a lot of rail weight to keep this boat on its feet under a full sail plan. The deck layout and cockpit are quite exposed and uncomfortable. They offer a nice interior when compared to a modern race boat but it is pretty spartan by cruising boat standards. The earliest ones lack ventilation. Later ones added several opening ports and hatches.

These were reasonably well constructed boats but they were pioneers in using balsa cored hulls and so delamination and core rot are distinct possibilities. I have heard of problems with mast steps and keel sumps but I am not clear on what those problems really were. Many of these boats are approaching 20-25 years in age and so have the usual older boat litany of things that might need work.Unless very well maintained and updated by a previous owner (which these boats often are), as with any boat this age, you might expect to need to address some combination of the following items:
∑ Sails, chainplates, mast step and associated suporting structure, standing and running rigging that are beyond their useful lifespan,
∑ an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,
∑ worn out or out of date deck, galley, and head hardware,
∑ worn out upholstery,
∑ Out of date safety gear
∑ electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
∑ electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or replacement.
∑ Blister, fatigue, rudder, hull deck joint or deck coring problems
∑ Keel bolt issues.
∑ And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic issues.


As to sailing these boats, while they were fast for their day, their day has passed and of course there are much faster race boats out there. I really don''t like the feel of the helm on these boats, and frankly as a J-30 owner once said to me, compared to later designs sailing a J-30 is about as thrilling as kissing your sister. Still they sail well. They offer good performance in a wide range of conditions. They are reasonably forgiving.

I guess to summarize, they are not my idea of an offshore boat but are reasonably good coastal cruisers and racers, they were reasonably well built but many are now starting to show their age, and they are not state of the art race boats but they still are a raceable boat.

Jeff
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J 30 good boat ? Jeff, please let me know

Thanks, as usual a wonderful report, even if I didnt want to hear about the problems.

Some of them are of course age related and therefore pretty universal applied to all older boats.

Dont have any problems of fixing small stuff and continue to upgrade stuff while I am enjoying the boat. Same with cosmetics, no problem. Kinda problems to spend all I have and than have to spring for a large sum though.

I am sailing on a relative shallow inland lake. No offshore stuff. Usually with 2 people ( wife and I ) for racing I can get another couple but am un-willing to "hire" a 6 man crew. No one design racing in the future but PHREF only. We are serious about racing, but not anal. Meaning we will run most races in non spinaker class. Maybe 8 - 10 races a year. We are racing our old german boat right now ( phref 295 ), doing pretty good with it in our 2nd year racing, but I am tired to arrive 30 minutes later and than "perf" over a lot of others.

The wife wants standing room inside and an enclosed "necessity" room. We are not planning on a 2 week cruise, but like to have a big well insulated icebox.and enough to make breakfast while coving out

Because the money I am spending on a new old boat it has to be carefully planned, so the boat doesnt loose value like crazy. And as I said 25000 are upper ( uppest :-) limit.

Would be nice to have a trailer, to save on transport costs, and to be more flexible, if work and home might change location.

We were looking at a 90 Capri 26 before, but these boats are relative rare and expensive for what they are.( at least my opinion ) and also they look like Catalinas
( forgive me Catalina Owners, its personal and I dont have anything bad to say about Catalinas, just that I like to have something a little different than 200 other boats on the lake.)

Anything jumps up you want to comment on, Jeff? ( or others of course )

Having said this, I really have to give you ( Jeff ) a huge "Thumbs up" for all the well informed help you are providing. You are the backbone of this board. If I would be closer to your home I would like to invite you for a beer.
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Old 01-10-2004
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J 30 good boat ? Jeff, please let me know

J/30 seems to fit the bill in a number of areas. One-design fleets, as JeffH mentions, help them keep their value by maintaining a relatively steady market for used boats. You may be able to get away with a trailer behind a big car the yearly haulout (they''re a bit wide for regular road use, as my brother found out while having his boat moved from Texas to Washington state) . My brother had to repair some bulkhead/chainplate water-entry problems, but hasn''t reported any big-ticket items since. He routinely cruises & races with just his wife aboard, though more is merrier. Practical Sailor has a write-up on the J/30 in their Used Boat Buyers Guide that would be worth reading. You can buy the book, or download the article (and/or others) for a price from their website.
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Old 01-10-2004
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J 30 good boat ? Jeff, please let me know

Thank you for your kind words. I try to be helpful. In many ways a J-30 might actually be a good boat for what you are doing. The compartively small jibs are easier for a small crew to handle. J-30''s are easier to handle than many of the ''brute strength race boats'' that are out there and for casual racing you might get by with the two of you as long as you are willing to pick the right sail for the conditions meaning stepping down to a #2 or # 3 when things pick up.

In many ways a Laser 28 would be a good boat in the light air conditions. I raced mine as a couples boat and it was great in that role. Laser 28''s are easy to tow being 4100 lbs vs the J-30''s 7500, and the Laser is a legal width as well. In a breeze the Laser takes a bit more skill and an understanding how to ''shift gears'' but the nice thing is that all of the tools are there to do so quickly on the fly.

Another good choice might be an S2 9.1. These are well rounded boats with good sailing ability in a wide range of conditions. They generally require a stronger crew but if you aren''t racing with a spinacker they can be raced by a couple.

Kirby 30''s make good bargain racers and offer a middle ground between the Laser 28 and the J-30.

Regards,
Jeff

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