Sept 14, 2017
Whether your style is weeknight beer-can racing or competing on the world stage – the J/24 is undeniably the most popular racing keelboat to make waves around the world. This appealing keelboat started with Rodney Johnstone’s desire for a sailboat to accommodate his family and to be a competitive racer in 1975.
“Things really took off with the first J/24 Midwinters in 1978. Twenty J/24s came to Key West, Florida for the event that would unofficially rocket the J/24 into orbit When the week was over, everyone told us not to mess around with the boat, you’ve got a great thing going here,” said Johnstone. This good advice was followed, and J/24 racing today remains the same battle of skill it was in 1978, only now with another 5,000 boats to sail against worldwide.
Close to 40 years later, the world-wide acceptance of the design and the strong one-design class rules have propelled the J/24 into a legend status and has also been the competitive launch pad for the careers of numerous America’s Cup professionals.
When asked about the biggest change he’d seen after 20 years in the class, Vince Brunt, a world champion in the J24 and also in other fleets said, “That’s the beauty of it, there’s been very little change. You don’t have to change for sailing to be fun. It’s the people involved, and the evenness of the boats. If the speed difference between the top five and bottom five is small, that’s the key.”
Hank Killion, a past international J24 class president, noted that, “The J24 class was more about people than anything else. The boat brought us together as a group with similar sailing interests. The camaraderie of the people at both the local and world level have made the class fun; this and the willingness of top people in the class to openly share their ideas with less experienced sailors.”
Brunt concurs and adds. “For between $8,000 to $15,000 and a little bit of work, you can get into a J/24 and have a good boat. It’s a very good return for your investment. The low cost and availability of competitive used boats gives you the variety of sailors and lets the younger people sail.”
While some of the world’s best sailors have the latest version J/24, a well-prepared 1977 model, built to the same shape and weight with rigid end-grained balsa core construction can still win the J/24 Class world championship even after 30,000+ miles of trailering. That’s “One Design” racing! The International J/24 has more than 50,000 people sailing over 5,400 boats in 27 countries.
Come see what it’s all about at Port Credit Yacht Club in September 19-23 when they host the drive HG 2017 J/24 Worlds. There are currently 70 entries from 10 countries (USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Peru, Argentina, Korea and Japan. For more information go to www.2017j24worlds.org
CYOB Preview notes:
Some notable Canadian sailors competing:
1. Rossi Milev (Mississauga, Ontario)– North American Champion, Mid-Winter Championships, Ontario World Series Championships, Canadian Championships
2. Ted Bartelewski (Mississauga, Ontario)– multiple winner of Ontario World Series Championships
3. Jonathan Reid (Halifax, Nova Scotia) – winner of Atlantic Canada World Series Championships
4. Michael Howarth (Burlington, Ontario) – up and coming Junior Sailor with young team he has sailing with from Junior Sailing days
5. Evan Petley-Jones (Halifax, Nova Scotia) – fourth place at Pan Am Trials, winner of Atlantic Canada World Series Championships, multiple winner of Canadian J/24 Championships
6. Peter Dixon (Toronto, Ontario) – up and coming Junior Sailor with a team of Pan Am sailors
7. Katie Coleman Nicoll (Etobicoke, Ontario) – Winner of Canadian J/24 Championships, Ontario World Series Championships, and Ontario Women’s Keelboat Championships
8. Nick Jako (Toronto, Ontario) – Winner of Ontario World Series Championships, Canadian J/24 Class President, Ontario World Championships
– Toronto J24 sailor Katie Coleman Nicoll
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