14 months have already elapsed since the J/121 was formally announced in December 2016. Five boats are shipped with a 6th leaving in a few days and there’s nearly a year of backlog to follow. Most of 2017 was devoted to bringing the J/121 project to life, including tooling up 48 unique molds that would eventually be used to produce all the composite parts that make up the J/121. Couple this builder effort with the simultaneous tool-up of custom parts from major suppliers such as Southern Spars, Jefa, Carbonautica, Broomfield Metals and others, and one can appreciate that it takes more than a village to introduce a new 40 footer today.
And we couldn’t be happier with the result. The J/121 is piling up accolades and creating a wave of excitement amongst owners, potential owners and the entire J network. This boat is inspiring people to live out their sailing dreams by way of sailing in their dream events. It doesn’t get better than that!
We had a great team involved with the sea-trials of hull #1 which included demo sails, boatshow displays, sail testing, and two offshore passages. This enabled us to undertake a continuous improvement program that resulted in every J/121 (from hull #1 on) benefitting from the collective knowledge gained – reflected in the latest J/121 Specifications. Here are a few specification items of particular note:
Thermal Image Scanning – It’s not listed in the specs, but each J/121 molded to date has undergone a full thermal image inspection of the hull by Hi Tech Marine Surveys of Elliot, Maine. This is an extensive process where a surveyor with an infra-red camera scans every square inch of a hull’s surface to identify any anomalies (dry spots/voids) not otherwise detected by normal acoustic tapping. We routinely have the first hull (#1) of all new models thermal scanned to verify 100% hull laminate integrity out of the new molds. For the J/121, we’ve committed to continue the practice for each hull, making the scanning part of the standard “best practices” for J/121 production.

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Keel Faired to Templates – Just one word (“faired”) was added to the specs but one word can make all the difference. Each keel begins life at Fairmont Foundry where the fin is cast, then Broomfield Metals sets the fin into the master mold and pours the lead bulb to form an integral two metal keel. The keel is then shipped to International Marine in Bristol, where the IM team begins a 3-week finishing process which includes fully wrapping the keel fin with two layers of biaxial fiberglass, building out the trailing edge in G10, applying WEST System build-up and fairing material, fairing the entire surface to computer cut aluminum section templates furnished by J/Boats, and finally finishing the keel surface with several layers of sprayed Interlux Interprotect primer. It’s the most extensive fairing job ever offered on a J/Boats keel, and one that most specialty shops would charge $7-8k for, but it’s standard with each new J/121.
There are several new options available:
Transom Fold Down Swim Ladder (4 step) – mounted on the transom on centerline (see picture to the right). There’s an ORC pull-out emergency swim ladder already standard on the J/121 but it’s not suitable for normal swimming off the transom.
Opening Port (1) in Cockpit Well into Port Aft Cabin – This is a single opening port in the cockpit well to provide ventilation over the berth.
DC Refrigeration – We have just added a new air-cooled refrigeration system from Frigoboat (the Capri 35R) which is top-rated by Practical Sailor.
Jefa Direct-Drive Auto-Pilot Kit – Unit DU-DD1 drive with all the components from Jefa (rudder feedback, brackets, etc) plus a RI fabricated custom mount (to fit the hull stringer). The kit ships loose.
3 Blade Gori Prop in lieu of Std. – This option was requested by two current owners. Gori rates their 3-blade prop at slightly less drag than the 2 blade and a better performer as low speeds and when motor-sailing.
Systems Group Option – This option is modified to include the hot and cold pressure water system with extendable shower in aft head. The cockpit shower is now a separate option. The standard configuration as of hull #17 is a manual fresh water system in the galley and head.
Harken Remote Panel Backstay – This is a new option as of hull #17 while the Harken Integral Adjustable Backstay becomes the new standard. With the predominately reaching conditions seen in most offshore sailing/racing, backstay tension is adjusted much less frequently than in closed course coastal racing. The integral system is easier to maintain, simpler to troubleshoot/replace, leak-proof (there are no thru-deck fittings), and doesn’t impede into the port aft cabin.
Ubi Maior Code Zero Furler – FR150 with custom 2:1 tack fitting – the same unit that performed so well on hull #1.
Ubi Maior Inner Jib Furler – FR150RW ratcheting Furler with custom 3:1 tack fitting – this unit worked like a dream on hull #1 and the 3:1 tack set up allowed us to get as much stay tension as the primary forestay.

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