It’s hard to put in words just how enjoyable the past three weeks have been sailing the new J/112E. She’s everything we hoped she’d be and more. We had ideal testing conditions – a combination of light/medium southerlies and cold blasts out of the north, along with a scenic backdrop of fall colors and a virtually empty Narragansett Bay to ourselves. And it all went by so fast. It’s said that first impressions mean everything so, while we pour through the many video and still images taken during the sea-trials (video out shortly!), we thought you’d enjoy reading designer Al Johnstone’s account of the first sail aboard the J/112E:
“J/112E Hull #2 arrived at International Marine on October 29th fresh off the ship from J/Composites in France. It was an immediate beehive of activity as George Borges and his team expertly offloaded the precious cargo and unwrapped the protective shrinkwrap covering. His team so efficient they barely spoke as they orchestrated what to them is a very familiar routine – installation of the keel, rudder and steering system. Less than 20 hours later the 112E was delivered to Stanley’s Boatyard and launched. After stepping the mast and connecting the rod rigging, the boat moved out from the travel lift slip to the T-dock where we finished rigging, bending on the fresh Doyle sails, loading on safety gear, and adding a few gallons of diesel. From launch to ready-to-sail was a mere 2.5 hours for four of us (including Hall’s Corey Butlin). How smoothly this new boat went together is a tribute to Didier LeMoal and his J/Composites build team. It would also foreshadow how well the J/112E would perform in the days to come.
The new owner from Chicago arrived just as we were finishing up the last details. It was a great moment to see the joy in the owner’s face at discovering what nearly a year of anticipation looked like in the flesh. I don’t think he ever stopped smiling. His wonderful first impression would soon be echoed by every person who would subsequently board the J/112E. Most would immediately comment on the size of the cockpit, the width of the sidedecks, the great footing along the toe-rail, the elevated steering platform (for all size drivers), the efficient mainsheet set-up, the protected cockpit seating – and that was before discovering the roomy, styled interior.
We powered out from Stanley’s, snaking through the narrow Warren River channel into open waters on the bay. It was immediately apparent that this boat responds confidently to the large rudder and wheel combination. At 2800 RPM and flat water we charged along at over 7 knots. The floor step-up detail on the centerline in the cockpit gives great visibility over the cabin and leverage over the wheel large. The leather cover is soft to the touch and the feel is light. As nice as powering a sailboat can be.
We cleared the last green channel buoy, raised the mainsail in 10-12 knots of wind, trimmed the sheet, shut down the motor at the keyless panel and set off on a beam reach. The boat accelerated quickly under main only with just a touch of weather helm. It was a balanced, light feel. The boat slipped along very quietly, with minimal turbulence off the transom. We continued along under main-only trading off at the wheel. With the owner happily driving, we then jumped around the deck to check the rig, adjust controls and get to know the boat under sail. The smile on the new owner’s face was priceless. We then unfurled the 105% jib and found another gear.
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Murray Yacht Sales is your Gulf Coast Beneteau & J/Boats Dealer and has been serving the Gulf Coast Boating Community since 1974