J24 in open water - SailNet Community

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Old 06-12-2007
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J24 in open water

Has anyone sailed a J24 in open water? How is it's performance in moderately rough stuff? I have been told it sails like a big dinghy, that isn't too reassuring for use outside the breakwall.
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Old 06-12-2007
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They've held the Nationals at Key West a couple of times, so they can take some rough stuff. It depends what you call rough, too. It's not designed to cross oceans, but you'll often see them racing in 25 knots or so if the crew knows what they're doing. The cockpit is big enough to sink the boat with if you fill it with a wave. IIRC, there was an issue on some of them with the cockpit lockers opening into the quarterberths. A wave coming in could lift the seat up and dump itself inside the boat, too. The next wave hits, and... At a nearby club, they found out that you need to race with the forward hatch clamped shut too. On a spinnaker leg, the bow submarined into the wave ahead of them. The weight of the water on the deck held it down as it found the open hatch and proceded to fill the boat. It went down so fast the crew was left treading water exactly where they had been on the boat. That one's still there, as far as I know, with the sails hoisted 70' down. Generally, they seem to take a good deal of abuse, but people tend to sail them close to someplace they can put into before conditions get too crazy.
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Old 06-12-2007
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Friends of our that cruise the Caribbean have met a group of hardy J24 sailors that sailed their boats from Barbados to Carriacou for a regatta - and back afterward. The trip home would be a long open ocean slog to weather in the trades - a tad over 60 nm as the albatross flies, IIRC.

It's true that J24s have been known to quickly sink after a knockdown or a broach, big difference in consequences if that happens in the local harbour or out at sea!!

Can it be done? yeah..... is it wise or prudent?
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Old 06-12-2007
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If you're going to be taking the boat out in fairly rough conditions, it is really important to batten down the companionway and hatches, as they can sink pretty quickly if water gets down below.

Just because some people take the boat out on open water, doesn't mean that it is really all that suitable for sailing in those conditions.

If you're regularly going to be sailing out in open water, I wouldn't recommend the J/24 as the boat of choice. There are so mamy better choices. It would help if you said where you are sailing.
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Thanks for the input so far

In answer to the where I am sailing...I am in the Los Angeles area, sailing out of the Port of LA. We have several islands off the coast here, nearest is about 26mi.
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Old 06-13-2007
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With a flattish bottom and plumb bow, they slam in rough water. It won't be a luxury car ride.

And yes, some have sunk including at least one fatality in a squall some years ago, because of the large lazaette allowing flooding. Good seamanship dictates the lazarettes on ANY boat be secured in the closed position whenever you aren't using them, and for a J/24 offshore I'd suggest either adding foam under them, or duct taping over them, to prevent water from intruding (i.e. during a breach) and flooding the boat.

And of course, any 24' boat will be problematic as you move from 2' waves to 8' waves. Choosing a weather window, and being willing to sit it out and wait if you have to, are important. 26 miles could just be a sweet day trip--given wind and weather for it. And sufficiently secured fuel in case you need to motor.
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Old 06-13-2007
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Check the Laz, put in the companionway boards and make sure the for'ard hatch locks down before going offshore.
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Old 06-13-2007
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Speaking of companionway boards...it doesn't hurt to check the ORC regulations. They may seem way more than is needed for a 26 mile hop, but they are the result of accidents and investigations, not just random rules, and all worth considering. Even the easy ones, like drilling the hatchboards and using fast pins, so the hatch boards can be secured against loss in a roll over. And simple offshore habits--like keeping the companionway hatch closed unless you are passing through it.

If you've got a typical J/24, at least you don't have to worry about through-hulls, leaking or otherwise.
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Old 06-13-2007
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Besides the possiblity of sinking one...it will beat you to death sailing upwind in a good 2 foot chop. It's a lot of fun to surf downwind.
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Old 06-14-2007
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The J24 is a fast fun responsive boat when sailed under the conditions it was designed for. It sure as hell wasn't designed for rough conditions in open waters. It will absolutely beat you up and if you're in a steep chop will prove very difficult to maintain head way due to the dinghy hull. I'd certainly think long and hard about taking a J24 offshore. Jim L
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