J/65 SAILING Design Review- By Bob Perry

The J/Boat company has come along way from the spartan J/24. The newest of its boats is this ultimate racer-cruiser the J/65 and it looks to me like this is about as close as you can get to the “perfect” boat if you are looking for something big, fast and luxurious.

To begin with this is a very good-looking boat. The freeboard is low, the ends are short and the house contours are well integrated with the hull shape. The sheer initially appears to be dead straight but I detect about four inches of spring. It’s subtle but it works. I like the bow profile with its well-rounded forefoot knuckle just above the DWL. The D/L of this design is 120 and the L/B is 4.03. It’s long, narrow and about as light as you can expect from a fully found cruising boat. Once you add cruising accommodations it’s difficult to get the D/L down below 100. The rudder is big and as far aft as it can be. You can chose from 9 feet or 10 feet, 6 inches of draft. In plan view you can see that the stern is not particularly broad, indicating a hull form that is designed to be effective on all points of sail. It’s a very fast looking hull.

So we have you going fast, now we need to make you comfortable below. Three couples could cruise this boat and each couple would have their own stateroom with double berth and adequate or better locker space. There are two heads and the forward head is accessible from the passageway or the forward stateroom. The aft head, to starboard, is accessible from the starboard quarter stateroom or the main cabin. Both heads have roomy-looking shower stalls. The galley is great. It’s big and it wraps around the cook with plenty of counter space on each side of both the range and the sinks. The reefer has top and side openings and you can access the reefer from the passageway next to the nav station so you don’t have to disturb the chef. The chart table is huge. The saloon area has an L-shaped dinette to port with a pilot berth outboard. The starboard settee has lockers outboard. There is a crew berth adjacent to the forward head. If I were to change this layout I might move the pilot berth to starboard and the lockers to port, but given the layout as drawn I’m sure this would be an easy option. You could even have two pilot berths. In addition to having spacious layout the 65 also has a large fo’c’sle and lazarette for gear stowage for cruising. I know I’d be happy cruising with this layout.

The SA/D for the J/65 is 21.44. This is a pretty sedate number on paper for a big, fast boat but the mast towers 80 feet above the deck so I can’t imagine anyone calling this rig short. For any serious family cruiser this is more than enough rig and if you want to race the boat you will do just fine in any conditions using the overlapping genny for light air. There is an inner forestay dotted in on the sailplan so I would assume you can hang a staysail on that for really heavy going.

The boom is a “Park Avenue” type. This terminology comes from the old J-Class boat Ranger designed by a very young Olin Stephens and Starling Burgess, no connection to these J/Boats. The original idea was to have the top of the boom wide enough so that when fitted with transverse tracks and slides the foot of the mainsail could fall naturally into a nice foil shape that extended the shape of the rest of the mainsail. Given Ranger’s success I would guess it was a good idea back then. Today’s Park Avenue booms are designed to make the mainsail easier to handle when it’s dropped. You can do a boom furler or you can go with a standard boom but the wide, dished out top of the Park Avenue boom makes essentially a cup to catch the main as it comes down. Mast and boom are both carbon fiber by Hall Spars. I have cruised a boat this big with only my wife and the toughest chore on board was wrestling the mainsail back onto the top of the boom so we could flake it. This boom solves that problem. A 125-horsepower auxiliary should give you a solid 9-knot cruising speed when the wind goes away.

The cockpit is well laid out and will work equally well for racing and cruising. The only drawback to this layout is that the helmsman will not be under the dodger but an autopilot remote would easily solve that problem. I like the placement of the traveler and the fact that there is plenty of space forward of the traveler for cockpit dining. The cockpit seats are easily long enough to nap on. The deep swimstep will make climbing into and out of the dinghy easy.

Most of us can only dream of owning a cruising boat this big but dreaming is fun and the J/65 makes a great dream.

More on SAILING here- http://www.sailingmagazine.net/boats/3-perry-on-design/236-j65