Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

The J Composites’ signature

by Tanguy Blondel on 12 May 2014
Jean-Marc Fontenot J Composites
The J Composites’ signature - Based in Les Sables d’Olonne, since 1994 the J Composites yard has been adapting and building the J Boats designed by the American Johnstone family. Completely independent and managed by Didier Le Moal, this company in the Vendée-region has, over the years, become a reference in terms of sailboats that are easy to sail and high performance for both cruising and racing. But what is J Composites’ recipe for success? We get the low-down from Jean-Marc Fontenot, head of production within the company…


1) How are the Js built in Olonne-sur-Mer?
Our sailboats are built using the resin infusion method. We have been experts in this particular technique since our creation. After adding a gel coat to the hull mould, which incorporates gel coat waterline strips, we lay the material over the whole mould. We then lay more directional material this time (dry lay-up) and foam (sandwich core), before finishing off with the internal layer. After that we infuse with a special resin using a bag spread over the mould. The resin migrates through the lay-up materials thanks to the vacuum. This technique enables increased stiffness, resistance and a consistent, guaranteed weight, which is important when you’re manufacturing one-designs.

2) The ballast, namely the keel, is also one of the yard’s specificities.
On each of our sailboats, all of which are fast, our focus is on reducing the centre of gravity as much as possible. For the J122E and the J111, our ballast is a mixture of cast iron and lead. On the smallest boats, it’s a mixture of stainless steel and lead. We attach a great deal of importance to the finish and matching of each craft. It is within this context that the ballast tanks are finished off as moulded composite shells or using a special resin infusion as a complete moulded unit.

3) Can you describe J’s different production phases, from the hull to the finish, to the joinery?
Initially, we commence with the ‘composite’ element of the hull, the deck, the bulkheads and the adjacent components. We’re talking infusion. We continue to use this technique, albeit rare, for the hull floor and the floor frames. The latter are infused at the same time as the hull. Secondly, we focus on the hull outlets such as the engine seacocks. Then we proceed with installing the engine and the implementation of the main joinery elements. Running concurrently to this process, we make advances with the deck whilst continuing to work on the deck hardware, the plumbing and the electrics. Finally, we assemble the hull, with reinforced lamination around the bulkheads. The final phase is the finishing off. We spend a great deal of time on it. It’s one of our trademarks.


4) J Composites has its own style. When you receive a Johnstone design, how do you adapt it to your European and even your Asian clientele?
For one-designs like the J70 or the J111, we don’t add anything to the design put forward by J Boats in the United States. However, on other craft like the J97, we rework numerous details, even though elementally the boats remain the same. Meantime the J122E is a boat that has been totally adapted by J Composites.

5) The deck layout is also an area that has been highly studied at your yard. How do you go about working it out?
We pay a great deal of attention to the elements that we don’t manufacture in-house. This is true for the deck hardware, which has to be faultless. We also attach considerable importance to the evolution of certain points so as to provide high performance sailboats. This is the case for elements like the jib furler, the top-quality pulley systems proposed and obviously the rigging.

6) Finally, how would you define a J Composites yacht?
Sailboats from J Composites are boats designed to sail in all weathers and all kinds of conditions for long periods. J Composites is synonymous with reliable, solid, high performance boats, which are of course comfortable.

Naiad/Oracle SupplierNorth Technology - Southern SparsBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

North Atlantic Record - François Gabart is off!
François Gabart waited for first day of July before he set off on an attempt to secure North Atlantic crossing record This is it! François Gabart waited for the first day of July before he set off on an attempt to secure the North Atlantic crossing record, held by Francis Joyon, who sailed it in 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds (26.2 knots average true speed), in June 2013. “My challenge is to sail well from the start.
Posted today at 4:45 am
Azzurra is in third place at Audi Settimana delle Bocche
On the fourth day of racing in Costa Smeralda winds were light, never over ten knots. On the fourth day of racing in Costa Smeralda winds were light, never over ten knots.
Posted on 1 Jul
Quantum Racing stages a big comeback at Audi Settimana delle Bocche
It was a difficult day of racing. The light SE’ly breeze was uneven up the course. After poking their bow over the start line too early Quantum Racing restarted smartly and fought back from their tenth at the top mark to fourth and so maintain a two points lead going into Saturday’s finale.
Posted on 1 Jul
2016 52 Super Series – Action shots from Day 4 by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day four. Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day four.
Posted on 1 Jul
François Gabart to attempt the North Atlantic record in under 5 days
As the standby period approached, a weather window looked possible early in the week and was confirmed this Wednesday. As the standby period approached (2 July), a weather window looked possible early in the week and was confirmed this Wednesday. The skipper and his team arrived in New York on Thursday morning. The departure procedure was stepped up to level four this Friday, confirming the departure window.
Posted on 1 Jul
2016 TP52 Super Series – Images from races six and seven by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races six and seven of Audi Settimana delle Bocche Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races six and seven of Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 1 Jul
A jam-packed, fun filled stopover awaits the Clipper Race fleet
Seven teams have completed the Ocean Sprint in the LegenDerry Finale, in a bid to get the final bonus points on offer. At 0900 UTC, Daniel’s team holds a one nautical mile lead overClipperTelemed+ which has chosen a more northerly route, and has stretched to 14NM over third placed LMAX Exchange, whose Skipper Olivier Cardin is looking forward to big surf off the west coast of Ireland.
Posted on 1 Jul
Entries open for Invited Classes at Sailing World Cup Final
Racing for the 14 classes begin on 8th December, except for the 2.4mR non-classified class who will begin on Tuesday six This year, event organisers have catered for sailors who would usually compete in the Laser Standard, Laser Radial and 49er FX Olympic Classes but were unable to make a top 20 position. These sailors will have an opportunity to be part of the Sailing World Cup scene and compete in close proximity to the highest rated sailors in their class.
Posted on 1 Jul
BoatUS asks boaters to say “no” to more ethanol in 2017
EPA is asking for comments on proposal to increase amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline supply for 2017 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for comments on a proposal to increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply for 2017. If adopted, these proposed levels will require the use of a record amount of ethanol, forcing higher-level ethanol fuel blends (including E15 or 15% ethanol) into gas pumps and at more gas stations.
Posted on 1 Jul
Two ways to buff up on boating hurricane preparedness
Of the 26 “major” hurricanes (Category three or greater) over the last decade, remarkably none have struck the US. Of the 26 “major” hurricanes (Category three or greater) over the last decade, remarkably none have struck the US. However, with Tropical Storm Colin — the earliest third storm on record when it struck Florida June 5 — BoatUS recommends taking time now to develop a plan for the boat to weather the next storm.
Posted on 1 Jul