The J/99 was a favorite and a serious Boat of the Year contender. The judges sailed it on the snottiest day on the week, and as the breeze ratcheted ever higher, the boat, they said, comes alive. They’ve come to expect nothing less of a J Boat, because designer Alan Johnstone is on a roll. For J devotees and owners, of which there are many, the J/99 will feel like home.
“We’ve been missing a sweet spot in the 33- to 35-foot range with a performance boat that combines headroom and accommodations for family sailing, but is also purpose-built for owners aspiring to do doublehanded sailing,” J Boats’ Jeff Johnstone tells the judges.
While tempting to cater to an emerging shorthanded market with a highly specialized boat, he adds, they didn’t want a one-trick pony with the J/99. “That’s not how we, or our owners use our boats,” Johnstone says. “We like a boat that can day sail well, have room for a full crew and set up right for shorthanded sailing.”
To that end, he points out, everything in the halyard and sail-control department is within reach of the tiller; at the same time, the cockpit can accommodate a busy five- or six-person crew for hustling around the cans.
Johnstone’s preferred model for comparison is the company’s big seller of earlier days. “Think of it as a modern J/105, with more headroom,” he says. “In terms of interior volume, it feels like twice the boat of a 105. But it’s quicker. It’s 2 feet smaller, and it’s more stable. It’s also slippery in light air.” Read on here on SW BOTY review.