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Old 10-07-1999
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Micca Hutchins is on a distinguished road
The J/46

J46 Sail

J/Boats is currently introducing a 46-foot sloop that promises to be an exceptional cruising boat — and one particularly liberating for a couple eager to go anywhere under sail, without the need for additional crew.

Interestingly, the new J/46, while something of a spin-off from the J/44 brought out 10 years ago, is different in that it augurs simpler, easier, faster, and more versatile sailing — in two words: more manageable sailing.

Rod Johnstone, whose J/44 design broke the way as a cruising boat with performance capability on all points of sail, took his concept up a few more rungs. He sought to create a boat that couples could sail with confidence and relaxation. He went further, though. The J/46 is set up so that one person can sail the boat her or himself, "allowing the other to relax and read a book," Johnstone says.

"There just aren't too many boats that you can do this with. The difference is the way the boat's set up." Indeed, with its small foretriangle and large, moderate aspect main, the boat will drive with plenty of power in the light stuff. When it puffs up, the design can sail with reefed or full main alone, or full or partially rolled in jib. An extra bit of buoyancy in the forward and aft sections was incorporated, while pitching affect has been retarded through the choice of rig: made of carbon fiber. The 240-pound lighter mast is standard on the J/46.

The J/46
Principal Dimensions
LOA 46'
LWL 40' 5"
Beam 13.8'
Draft 6.1' or 7.5'
Displacement 24,400 lbs.
Ballast 9,350 lbs.
Sail Area 1,021 sq. ft.
Price: $404,000
J-Boats
Box 90
Newport, RI 02840
For information: www.jboats.com
Tel: (401) 846-8410

The carbon fiber rig weighs 375 pounds, versus 625 pounds that an aluminum mast would weigh. The center of gravity for the boat is lowered by 3-1/2 inches, and that equates roughly about a foot deeper keel.

The hull, an inch beamier than the 44, maintains the high sailing length to beam ratio of the 44, and likewise, a low to moderate displacement to length ratio. But, in fact, the 46 sail area has 25 fewer square of sail area, though the sail-area-to-wetted-surface ratio is very close to the 44's.

The 46's amazing draft of only 6'1" will be viewed by many owners as the ultimate return from the carbon fiber rig.

The J/46 was "designed from the outside in," the J-Boats folk say. "The priority is sailing quality: how well the boat balances, how well she sails through waves with minimal commotion and how well she treats her most valuable cargo, her crew." Nonetheless, the interior leaves little more to be desired with its two-private cabin layout. The forward cabin is particularly spacious, featuring a head with separate show stall, and expansive storage and hanging space.

J46 Deck View

The main cabin has a large centerline settee. The starboard half is in an L configuration, practical for using with one leaf open. There is a seagoing pilot berth to port and large navigator's station. The keyhole galley features ample cook preparation space. The interior is finished in cherry and teak laminates and joiner work.

On deck, all lines are led aft, even the spinnaker snuffer line. The asymmetric chute sets out its compartment at the anchor well. With the spinnaker halyard 18 inches below the headstay, the snuffer can swing from side to side, and be doused from the cockpit. The seagoing T-shaped has a separate helm area. The double-ended mainsheet is within grasp of the helmsperson, and the traveller spans right in front of the binnacle. With the electric Lewmar winches an available option, tacking can be entirely automated by letting off on the sheet and engaging the windward preloaded winch. The jib is small enough that the winch can get it in fast enough.

The rig stands 60.50 feet, adequate to make it under Intracoastal Waterway bridges (65 foot clearance).

Construction is by Tillotson/Pearson in the patented SCRIMP molding method which uses less resin and about twice the fiber.

As on the 44, the 46 has hefty auxiliary power. A Yanmar 76 horsepower 4-cyclinder diesel, turning a folding two-bladed 20-inch Max prop is standard. Steaming speeds of around eight knots are expected.

Among the lengthy standard items are: Hall spars carbon fiber mast with aluminum boom and carbon fiber whisker poll, full Harken and Lewmar package of winch and deck sail handling gear, Technora halyards, three batteries, 120-gallon water tankage, two manually operated bilge pumps in addition to electric, anchor windlass system.

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