The most recent J/Boats One-Design yacht, the Sailing World’s 2013 “Overall Boat of the Year”, J/70 is already setting new sales records. The question arises, is J/70 going to challenge the position of other acclaimed J Boats in the market?
Well, is J/70 a cannibal rival, born into its family only to demolish its brothers? No, that is not the case. The new J/70 is a high stake endeavor, well thought-out by the J/Boats shipyard, which many times made history of the sailing world with its One-Design boats, bringing them globally right to the top. Their goal was to create and a new model with a strong demand, yet one that would not endanger the position of other J/Boats yachts. Easier said than done. So how did that do it?
The data on J/70’s sales became a subject of wide discussion in 2013 when the boat was nominated for the Sailing World’s most cherished award “Boat of the Year.” The numbers reflect the boat’s immediate success. The first J/70 regatta, which took place at the Eastport Yacht Club at the end of November, brought together 21 yachts only a couple of weeks after the J/70’s realize. 36 yachts have already registered for Key West, and as of the moment J/70 is the largest in number among One-Design boats at this renowned regatta. To understand whether J/70 is truly able to win a place in the market without pushing other J yachts to the side, American press sought out an interview with Tim Healy, a J/24 World Champion and a recent owner of the bright new J/70.
Do you worry about the J/70 cannibalizing the J/24 Fleet?
“The J/24 isn’t going away, and in fact, you can see from the 2012 participation there’s been a bit of resurgence. There are 5700 of them scattered across the globe, they’re well built, and it’s relatively inexpensive to pick one up. Boats have come and gone during the 24’s lifetime (introduced in 1977). Some people will buy a 70 and keep their 24. Some might want to sell their 24, but there will be a buyer for that boat.”
Do you have different thoughts in regards to the J/22?
“I’m not as close to that fleet, but again, it’s a well built boat with global adoption. If people want to sell a 22 and buy a 70, they will find buyers for their boat.”
You participated in the April sea trial of the J/70, initial thoughts?
“It’s quick and responsive. The layout is simple and easy to handle for both men and women. You really only need 3 people in any wind condition. What really struck me was how much bite the rudder has, the steering is amazingly responsive. Expanding on my point about the ease of handling – the jib is non-overlapping and it has the modern asymmetrical spinnaker design. Costs can be kept relatively low – the main and the jib have to be Dacron.”
The comments on the 2013 boat of the year among many contain the following: “This is a multi-generational sailboat – families of all ages can go day sailing fast and in comfort with J/70’s large cockpit and carefully designed ergonomics.”