Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

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.

PredictWind.com 2014Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted today at 5:44 pm
Variety, inclusion and National Sailing League at Kieler Woche
A huge variety, never seen before, inclusion in real life with the Para World Sailing, the first competition of Nacra 15 A huge variety, never seen before, inclusion in real life with the Para World Sailing Championships, the first competition of the Nacra 15, the Eurocup of the junior class 29er, the European Sailing Series of the Melges24, the rendezvous of the classics
Posted today at 5:42 pm
Vendée Globe – Day 79 – Beyou due, Thomson talks of 2020 vision
Jérémie Beyou is expected to cross the finish line of the solo round the world race this evening to take third place Jérémie Beyou is expected to cross the finish line of the solo round the world race this evening to take third place after spending three days slowed by extremely light winds, arriving in Les Sables d'Olonne from the north west.
Posted today at 5:30 pm
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted today at 5:07 pm
Miami World Cup challenge awaits British crews
The 39-strong British cast of both seasoned Olympians and new pairings will be competing against more than 450 sailors The 39-strong British cast of both seasoned Olympians and new pairings will be competing against more than 450 sailors as the 2017 World Cup series kicks off.
Posted today at 4:28 pm
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series closing ceremony
Hundreds of competitors, guests and local dignitaries were treated to a sumptuous banquet at the glitzy Beach House Hundreds of competitors, guests and local dignitaries were treated to a sumptuous banquet at the glitzy Beach House, St James last night to mark the conclusion
Posted today at 3:06 pm
Team Al Mouj sets sights on victory in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
Team Al Mouj Muscat were the new kids on the block with ambitious plans to spring a surprise, which they duly did Team Al Mouj Muscat were the new kids on the block with ambitious plans to spring a surprise, which they duly did when they finished on the podium in the opening round of the epic two-week quest for honours.
Posted today at 2:28 pm
Alinghi return to defend Extreme Sailing Series™ title
Last year's season-long battle with Oman Air saw the fight go right down to the wire with the Swiss team's victory Last year's season-long battle with arch-rivals Oman Air saw the fight go right down to the wire with the Swiss team's season victory only confirmed in the penultimate race of the final Act, and now the team return for another slice of the action.
Posted today at 1:12 pm
World Sailing News - February 2017 and December 2016
Catch the latest World Sailing month video magazine - February 2017 edition Catch the latest World Sailing month video magazine - February 2017 edition is just out featuring a wrap-up of the main sailing events of the December-January period including Thomas Coville’s new world record; the 2016 AON Youth Worlds; Rolex Sydney Hobart, Vendee Globe updates and a spectacular 49er crash while training in 27kts plus and big seas.
Posted today at 3:07 am
You spin me right round
Vinyl records went the way of the dodo with first CDs, and then now with the likes of MP3 and streaming. Vinyl records went the way of the dodo with first CDs, and then now with the likes of MP3 and streaming. Recently, we have had unbelievable records set by Thomas Coville and then Armel Le Cléac’h. Soon (with over 1200nm in the bank as it were), it would seem to be the turn of the crew on board IDEC Sport for a record after their spin right round, as well. This is quite simply, terrific stuff.
Posted today at 12:56 am