Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The NEW J/112E @ Paris Show

J/112E at sunset
(Paris, France)- The new J/112E sport cruiser will be featured at this year’s Salon Nautique at the Parc d’Exposition on the south side of Paris.  This will be the innovative design’s debut in continental Europe. The 112E has received tremendous praise for it’s unique set of features- a refined Scandinavian-style interior of warm woods and beautiful natural light from the expansive windows and hatches; enormous cockpit for entertaining with seats long enough to sleep on; and an evolutionary hull and blades design developed from the famous line of J speedsters.  The combination makes for an exciting sports cruiser that is streets ahead of its contemporaries in the 34-37 foot cruising range.

J/112E sailing upwindThe 112E is a joy to sail.  Here is the “first sail” report from her designer, Al Johnstone: “It’s hard to put in words just how wonderful the past three weeks have been sailing the new J/112E.  She’s everything we hoped she’d be and more.  We had ideal testing conditions- a combination of light/medium southerlies and cold blasts out of the north, along with a scenic backdrop of fall colors and a virtually empty Narragansett Bay to ourselves.  And, it all went by so fast. 

J/112E #2 arrived at International Marine on October 29th fresh off the ship from J/Composites in France.  It was an immediate beehive of activity as Jorge Borges and his team expertly off-loaded the boat.  His team was so efficient; they barely spoke as they orchestrated a very familiar routine- installation of the keel, rudder and steering system.

Less than 20 hours later the 112E was delivered to Stanley’s Boatyard and launched.  After stepping the mast and rigging the sails, the boat was ready-to-roll in a mere 2.5 hours from launching! The unbelievably smooth and near glitch-free commissioning is a tribute to Hall Spars (shrouds perfect), Doyle Sails (they all fit), and Didier LeMoal’s J/Composites build team.  It would also foreshadow how well the J/112E would perform in the days to come.

Chicago J/112E owner sailing on Narragansett BayThe new owner from Chicago arrived just as we were finishing up final details.  It was a great moment to see the joy in the owner’s face; especially since he was anxiously waiting for nearly a year to see what she was like in the flesh.  I don’t think he ever stopped smiling.  His wonderful first impression would soon be echoed by every person who would subsequently boarded the J/112E.  Most would immediately comment on the size of the cockpit, the width of the side-decks, the great footing along the toe-rail, the elevated steering platform (for all size drivers), the efficient mainsheet set-up, the protected cockpit seating– and, that was before discovering the roomy, stylish, brightly-lit interior.

We powered out from Stanley’s, snaking through the narrow Warren River channel into open waters on the bay.  It was immediately apparent the 112E responds confidently to the deep, high-aspect rudder and wheel combination.  At 2800 RPM and flat water, we charged along at over 7.0 knots. The floor step-up detail on the centerline in the cockpit gives great visibility over the cabin and leverage over the large wheel; perfect for motor-sailing!

As we cleared the last green channel marker, we raised the mainsail in 10-12 knots of wind and set off on a beam reach. The boat accelerated quickly under main only with just a touch of weather helm.  It was a balanced, light feel. The boat slipped along very quietly, with minimal turbulence off the transom.  We continued along under main-only, trading off turns steering.  With the owner happily driving, the smile on his face was priceless.  We then unfurled the 105% jib and went into overdrive!

We hardened up on the wind to see how she would perform.  Between our five iPhones and the Navionics apps, we confirmed an easy 7+ knots with only two sitting on the windward rail.  It was NW 10-14 kts and just enough chop to get a sense for the boat’s smooth, responsive motion and very solid feel. With only a limited window to sail, we cracked off sheets under main and jib and headed towards the channel entrance; quickly surging to over 9 kts before stowing the sails and powering back into the harbor.

Once back at Stanley’s docks, we parted ways with the happy owner, who drove off to the airport for the flight back to Chicago.  Afterwards, we relaxed in the cockpit until sunset, popped a few ‘greenies’ to celebrate the first sail, and reflected on how much effort had gone into creation of the J/112E, how thankful we were for everyone’s support, and how we couldn’t wait to go sailing the next day!”  To learn more about the J/112E, please visit here.