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Q&A on the awesome J/70: We speak to Ray Entwistle, the Australian distributor for J/Boats

by Peter Rendle, Sail-World.com 7 Jul 22:00 PDT
The awesome J70 © J Boats

Peter Rendle spoke to Ray Entwistle of Yachtspot, the Australian distributor for J/Boats, to find out more about the hugely popular J70 to find out why the class has taken off and what it offers.

Sail-World.com: When was the first J/70 launched?

Ray Entwistle: The J/70 one-design sailboat was launched in 2013. The J/70 was designed to fulfil a growing need for an easy-to-own, high performance yacht that is exciting to sail, stable enough for the entire family, easy to tow behind the family vehicle, to rig in the parking lot, launch and sail. The J/70 was designed by Al Johnstone from J/Boats. As everyone knows, J/Boats have been instrumental in one-design classes. The J/24 was designed 40 years ago, and was and still is an exceedingly popular one-design yacht with over 5,500 J/24's worldwide and strong one-design racing. The J/70 is the next generation.

Sail-World.com: How many have been sold globally?

Ray: Over 1,400 J/70's have been sold globally in less than 5 years. J/70's have been purchased by a wide demographic of sailors. Sailors of all ages from teens to 70 year olds, families, one-design enthusiasts, are all sailing and enjoying the J/70.

Sail-World.com: What makes the boat so successful?

Ray: With the J/70, you get to choose how you want to use her: a sporty, no pressure family escapade or one-design racing on equal terms. Her lightweight design means you can quickly enjoy the delights of slipping along and her contained sail plan makes the J/70 totally safe and accessible. In addition to the great design, the strengths of this yacht also rely on its latest generation equipment, with a carbon rig and top of the range construction technology, which make it lightweight and stiff with great longevity.

The characteristics of the J/70 make her accessible to all. She is perfectly suited to all sailors including youth and women's crews. The strict rules on no hiking (2 crew legs out) mean that those who don't take part in intensive training can still easily compete against more honed crews.

Sail-World.com: What are the key features?

Ray: The J/70 is delivered with a carbon mast and boom, benefiting its handling, particularly upwind, and making it responsive and stiff. Furthermore, the mast weight means it can be easily set up by 2 persons.

The retractable keel comprises a 316L stainless steel structure and a lead bulb which is encapsulated in a molded structural composites form.

Key features include:

  • Large comfortable cockpit with open transom.
  • Deck-stepped lightweight carbon mast for easy rigging & stepping.
  • Inexpensive three sail inventory with masthead A-Sail.
  • Small cabin for storage and personal privacy.
  • Controls such as powerful van g and backstay, traveller, adjustable jib cars – all to provide easy adjustment to power up and de-power the rig.
  • Furler for the jib.
  • Easy to trailer to regattas, ramp launch and store at home for winter.
  • Single point lift to crane and ramp launchable.
  • Only 795kg & low road height so easy to tow.

Sail-World.com: How many are there in Australia?

Ray: We have 20 J/70's in Australia with the main fleets being on Sydney Harbour and Port Philip Bay, Melbourne. Our owners enjoy one-design and mixed fleet racing. As an example, J/70 'Spike' entered in Division One of the Australian Women's Keelboat Championships on Port Philip Bay this month and won the event! Some of the photos of the regatta are amazing, with the 7m J/70 mixing it with 35-40ftrs.

Our owners have enjoyed sailing in World and European Titles against the best sailors in the world. The last J/70 Worlds was held in Costa Smerelda in Sardinia with 165 J/70's on the start line. Our owners have been able to compete internationally as J/Boats make J/70's available for charter with preference given to international crews. Just take your sails and enjoy the fun.

Sail-World.com: In Europe, Russia and the USA there are J/70 leagues, could that happen here?

Ray: The SAILING Champions League was founded in 2014 and the format was the idea of a marketing agency in association with the leading German yacht clubs and the German Sailors' Association. The concept took off like wildfire and it wasn't long before it started capturing the attention of sailors in other countries. As of 2018, 17 countries in Europe and the USA are running their own National Sailing Leagues, culminating in competing for the Champions League. Also, this year has seen the creation of Women's Sailing League and Youth Sailing League. It's all about making sailing as accessible and attractive as possible to a wider group of sailors, as well as increasing the appeal to sponsors and commercial partners.

Sailing J/70's in a Champions League format would definitely work in Australia. It simply needs backing from some keys clubs and support from member yachting associations. This would provide the base and opportunity for Australian sailors to compete in the one-design class that is taking the rest of the world by storm, and offer the prospect of racing on the national and international stage.

Sail-World.com: How does a potential buyer go about obtaining a J/70?

Ray: Treat yourself to a genuine icon of one-design sailing! The J/70 is the perfect combination of an accessible design and unquestionable performance. It's THE most widely distributed yacht in the world and for good reason. Contact Ray at Yachtspot via email at or call 02 9997 7158 / 0406 562262.

www.jboats.com.au

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