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Old 03-02-2015, 07:16   #46
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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OK. I'll be the one to rain on this parade and take the heat for what I'm about to say.

The deep draft .... go around the shallow spots. The failing rudders ..... fix it.
The part of these boats that would seriously concern me is the absolute stupidity of TPS mounting winches and deck hardware right through balsa and sealing it with some kind of crappy goop instead of relieving the core in those areas. Same for some seacock installations. I have seen a mainsheet winch pulled out of the rotten balsa on a 2 year old J-boat

These boats are light weight toys and anybody who survives bluewater cruising in one of them is either seriously lucky (please buy my lotto tickets for me) or has spent an ungodly amount of money to keep them going. These were built for Wednesday night club races then sitting on the dock enjoying a glass of chardonnay and they do that very well. Buy a boat that was built for your purpose.

OK let r' fly boys
Don't forget that J-Boats uses balsa coring EVERYWHERE! Lots of reports of spongy decks and $$$$$ spent to repair wet hulls. One (J-44 IIRC) had to have most of the hull peeled and replaced the wet balsa. I don't think I would feel safe on a boat that is balsa cored below the waterline.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:10   #47
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Just a few additional points on the J44 as a cruiser.
First of all I have never owned one however owned a J35 for 4 years and sailed it in the one design circuit extensively which demanded a lot of heavy racing at times in heavy air.
The only reason I mention that is the rig is not that different regarding Check Stays (theses are not runners) than on the J44. The bottom line is the rig will not come down if you miss a jibe.
Check stays come into their need when you put on enough back stay to tighten the forestay and this in turn causes too much flattening of the main luff curve which results in de-powering the main. By simply putting a little tension on the runner will pull the rig straighter and "pow" the boat comes alive with the powering up of the main. No big deal and that alone would not keep me from cruising a J44.
As far as TPI as a builder goes........it is hit or miss. They are obviously capable of building a solid boat however at times they may just churn them out a little too fast to meet demand. I had a later model J35 and discovered with some routine maintenance that they "forgot" to bed a lot of my deck hardware so lucky for me I discovered their little mistake and fixed it myself.
Which brings me to my next comment. Certain J boats are mostly raced and raced hard so you need to think about such things as de-lamination/ loose bulkheads/ wet decks/rudder etc. Also all standing rigging should be replaced prior to going offshore!! Race boats take a lot of beating.
Last but not least until you have experienced going upwind and pounding for hours (days) on end you may want a little more of a sea kindly boat for a cruising family. My bowman on my J35 had been to Bermuda about ten times and when the conversation would come up on the J44 as an ocean boat he would always role his eyes and state it was one of the most uncomfortable boats he has ever sailed in the ocean because of its constant pounding. And this is because of its flat entry on its underbody.
Don't get me wrong I love J Boats and have owned several and given the right need I would buy one again.
However for your needs my advice is there are more appropriate boats out there. I will let others on this forum guide you on that search.
You are entering a very exciting part of your life so choose well and I wish you the best.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:30   #48
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Don't forget that J-Boats uses balsa coring EVERYWHERE! Lots of reports of spongy decks and $$$$$ spent to repair wet hulls. One (J-44 IIRC) had to have most of the hull peeled and replaced the wet balsa. I don't think I would feel safe on a boat that is balsa cored below the waterline.
There are all kinds of wonderfully built cruising boats that are cored hulls and have been going for close to 30 years with few issues so that doesn't bother me in the least although one would want to get a very good survey done. As far as winches pulling off, well that's not very cool but we have had reports of the new production boats that use a fender washer under main sheets, etc that have failed and no one gets too excited about that. I think if you raced some of the newer entry level production boats as hard as some of these J boats there may be things breaking off them as well. No I don't own a J boat but I have sailed on several over they years and they do sail like witches.
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Old 03-02-2015, 14:28   #49
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

TPI is a reputable builder but has gone through through some huge ups and downs over the last 20 years so it depends on when the boat was built. They have been quite stable for the last decade or so as did many builders, but during the multitude of changes that took place in the 90's and early 2000's there were some personnel changes, this would explain some of the inconsistency that was seen.
Like all builders they also work to a price point put forth by the company contracting them (like J) so some of the smaller models with lower price points will not necessarily have the same level of build quality as the larger, pricier models.
The performance aspect of the boat is a different issue altogether, having cruised with a racer cruiser I can tell you that it is more work than a more conservative design. Also you can't really tap into the potential performance advantage until you get more experience with sail trim and rig management. The boats are a hoot because of the amount of tuneability in the rig but they can also be a bitch for the same reason. I loved the boat I had before but didn't want to do extended cruising with a larger family unit, which is where I'm at now. That boat also needed a lot of work to bring up to snuff and add some systems that you will need to add, if your able to do the work yourself ( I was) that's great, but if not it gets really pricey.
Mine had a much finer entry which made going to wind a joy not a chore, I was reminded of this last year when I helped transport a friends newly acquired racer/cruiser which had a much flatter entry and newer plumb bow, similar to a J, it was fun to sail but loosened my teeth going upwind in rough conditions. Don't think I'd want to do that with the family, the queen might not think it's as fun as I do, and if the queens not happy, nobodies happy.
My wife was also intimidated by the previous boat in rough conditions, even though it was flying reduced sail it's still a thoroughbred and reacts to every input. Something to think about when cruising shorthanded.
Even though the new boat is 10 feet longer and more than double the weight she feels much more confident at the helm in the current boat. That peace of mind alone was worth the hassle of buying the mew/old boat and all the work that goes with getting it up to spec. Remember, you'll be splitting watches and your wife will be standing watch alone at times, a more sedate boat will be much easier to handle. Any boat you choose better have the ability to steer easily with an auto pilot or even better windvane steering. A different boat is still a buttload cheaper than a divorce, trust me on that one.
There are some nice performance cruisers out there that would fit the bill, you don't necessarily have to go right to a full keel lead sled, you can have your cake and eat it too. Afraid of using the motor too much? How bout an asymetrical spinaker with a doffing sock? Or a code zero on a roller furling? There are affordable cruising schute options that can enhance a cruising boats light air ability.
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Old 04-02-2015, 13:17   #50
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Nice looking boat, and wonder how it would perform with all of the 'essential' cruising gear added. Being a wimp I think a full enclosure is a must for long passages and for that think the traveller should be on the cabin top. I'm sure I'll be shot down on this!


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Old 04-02-2015, 14:17   #51
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

At 24 years old, she's due for a refit. That does not mean all new equipment, but it does mean a whole bunch of expensive invisible stuff. New thru hulls, rebedded stanchions, rebedded port lights and hatches, probably rebuilding the steering pedestal and system, new domestic water plumbing, blah blah blah. You can do all this yourself, but it's going to be a bit of a time suck so prepare for it.

I love J boats. They are wonderful to sail, are generally well made, and for offshore racing some models are da bomb. Would I cruise RTW on one? No, unless I was a rabidly performance oriented sailor and was willing to put up with all the compromises that come with a boat designed primarily for racing.

For example, life with a traveller that spans the middle of your cockpit is just a big pain in the ass. It's great for racing and putting the pedal down going to windward. It just sucks the rest of the time. The 8' draft is doable, but it's going to make some places really anxiety provoking. How much time are you going to spend crossing oceans and making long passages, and how much time island/coast hopping? Do you really want to buy a boat that excels at 4% of what you'll be spending your time doing at the expense of the other 96%? There is a HUGE difference between 8' and 6' in terms of how it limits you.
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Old 04-02-2015, 14:41   #52
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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TPI is a reputable builder but has gone through through some huge ups and downs over the last 20 years so it depends on when the boat was built. They have been quite stable for the last decade or so as did many builders, but during the multitude of changes that took place in the 90's and early 2000's there were some personnel changes, this would explain some of the inconsistency that was seen.
Isn't this an oxymoron? Reputable BUT...isn't everything after BUT, BULL?
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Old 04-02-2015, 15:16   #53
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Isn't this an oxymoron? Reputable BUT...isn't everything after BUT, BULL?
I think it means that many of us were brought up to believe certain boats were better than others and when some of them don't pass the test of time its hard to suck it up and accept that just maybe they were not built so well after all. I have always really loved J boats and have raced on them and against them but I also know some of them have had failures that most of us would not expect from the brand. Its easy to bad mouth some boats and harder on others because of our bias's.
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Old 04-02-2015, 15:16   #54
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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OK, let's get this boat ready for cruising, spending my money.

Here is the boat: Swiftsure Yachts (Seattle, WA)
If you're set on a J/44, buy the one in Westbrook CT. I've seen it, it's a stunner. Totally kitted out and exceptionally well maintained. That Brewer yard is one of the best.
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Old 04-02-2015, 16:05   #55
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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I am not a fan of Island Packets but if you can disregard the added-on hard dodger that price makes the boat a steal!
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:16   #56
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Isn't this an oxymoron? Reputable BUT...isn't everything after BUT, BULL?
Every boat builder I've know has had their share of hits and misses, unless your talking big money, top dollar builders I can't think of one who's had a perfect record.
In my search through auction and insurance boats I've ripped into just about every production makers and many "custom" makers boats, the variance in build quality and practices is stunning. In all that I've seen they have all had better and worse periods in their build quality standards, whether pushed by economics, new production managers, new engineering managers or new design philosophies they have all produced some fine boats and some stinkers.
Design parameters change, people change, public demand changes, did I mention economics? Any boat builder who's been around since the 60's or 70's has seen some very challenging times, if their still here they've probably seen at least one or two financial upheavals. To tar a maker with a broad brush would pretty much put all builders in question. Unless you can afford a very expensive, custom built boat built under the strict supervision of a paid personal project manager your in the same boat as the rest of us, having to judge the particular model based on it's own merits.
Trying to compare the J44 to the J24 is an apples and oranges kind of comparison, one is built as a price point boat made for Wednesday night beer can racers, the other an upline model built for well healed boy racer/cruisers.
I've been surprised over the years by the consistency of some makers and the lack thereof from others in the production market, the price of the boats being in the same ballpark, lets just say there are some I would never head to sea in and others I would have no problem with. J's have boat models in both those categories, but they weren't all designed for open ocean use in the first place.
TPI also built hulls for Sabre sailboats, until Sabre went to the dark side and stopped building sailboats and no one has questioned the quality of their hulls. I've gone through a number of Sabres and the design and finish quality of the hull and finish was held to a high standard. Is it the builder or the design criteria put forth by the boat designer/ marketer?
I've been in the engineering/ manufacturing business for 30 years and know that we can only build to the needs of the end user within the price point they are willing to pay, contract boat manufacturers are under the same constraints as we are, so in the end you gets what you pays for.
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:33   #57
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

nicely said Lifeofreilly57.
however not to drift but it would certainly be educational to me and maybe others if you could state why so many of the Barry Carroll boats of that era delaminated?
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:35   #58
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

You guys would make lousy yacht brokers, no boat would ever be sold. My brother just bought a j44, so we will some real world experience with the conversion to cruising status this summer. One thing for sure. I will need to leave 2 days ahead with Idora if we want to hang out in the anchorage together.
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Old 06-02-2015, 14:00   #59
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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nicely said Lifeofreilly57.
however not to drift but it would certainly be educational to me and maybe others if you could state why so many of the Barry Carroll boats of that era delaminated?
I'm afraid I'm not as familiar with Carrol Marine, they went out in 2003 at the beginning of the recent recession, prior to the housing crunch. Carrol Marine built mainly race boats so maybe it was the ultimate pursuit of light weight? But that's just a wild guess on my part.

TPI I'm more familiar with since it came out of the remnants Pearson Yachts, sideways, sort of, and know people who work there currently. There's a huge custom boat building industry in the Portsmouth, RI area and a lot of cross breeding goes on in that sector, in that area, everybody knows everybody else. I've had a lot of work done by people who work for a number of those companies who do side work, especially when it comes to laminate work. There's a large skilled workforce in the area, mainly Portuguese skilled boat workers who work for the different build houses so you get a pretty good picture of what's going on. The last recession really hurt a number of the smaller guys who didn't have the large numbers and wide range of price point boats to offer. Several large race boat hulls stopped dead in their tracks mid build when the buyers backed out, etc,etc. IF you had cash you could pick up some really good bargains, if your in the $1,000,000.00 market that is.

Sabre, who had a number of sailboat hulls built in the area also "suspended" sailboat production due to market forces when they found their powerboat business was more profitable and viable as an ongoing business, with the promise to restart the sailboat side when the "market conditions improved". Not sure if that will happen since it's kind of a chicken or egg kind of thing, but I do give them credit in this respect, rather than try to make their boats manufacturing cost cheaper and cheaper by cutting corners they simply decided to cease production. Not all builders have that option.

TPI was able to ride out the worst of it since they diversified and built custom laminate products for a number of markets, they used their laminate engineering expertise to go into other markets. Wind turbine blades, reinforced noses for military Humvees, FRP/Kevlar structures, as well as contract hulls for boat manufacturers.

Think of it this way, your a sailboat manufacturer, sailboats are all you make, you've been through a few market upheavals, you've survived but been burnt financially and seen your capitol drained to a very dangerous point. Now the market is good, do you take your money and expand your manufacturing facility in the expectation that the good times will be never ending or do you build what you can in your yard and contract out the excess hulls to a reputable contract builder?

Short answer is, contract out the excess, hire one or two project managers to oversee the production at that contract builder and keep your capitol where it counts. If the market goes south in 5 years you don't have to support an ever larger overhead, you can simple cut back production and bring it all back in house. My career has been in capitol equipment which is directly tied to the same market forces boats are, actually the boat market is much more volatile since it is essentially a luxury item, even worse, since the advent of FRP construction there are a ton of decent used boats around and the sailing community has not grown at the same rate as the rest of the economy.

The company I work for does the same thing, it would be ludicrous of us to expand our production facilities to the size required for some of the business surges we see. The flip side to that is managing the quality of the work being done outside, it's a huge task requiring lots of oversight.

May not answer your question on Carrol Marine but it will point to some of the causes of "less than perfect" boats or workmanship. All builders/ contractors build to a price point, if your pencil isn't too sharp the results may not be good. I would love to work in the marine boat building industry but I'm not that masochistic, it's tough business, I can make more money doing what I do and buy a boat from someone else.
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Old 06-02-2015, 14:11   #60
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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You guys would make lousy yacht brokers, no boat would ever be sold. My brother just bought a j44, so we will some real world experience with the conversion to cruising status this summer. One thing for sure. I will need to leave 2 days ahead with Idora if we want to hang out in the anchorage together.
Didn't talk down the J44, I just tried to differentiate the differences in the model line. Trying to compare the J44 to the J24, as some have tried here, is an apples and oranges kind of comparison, different design era, different design intent. Does the J44 have some areas that need attention if cruising is the intended use? Sure, but if you address them and set one up right it can make for a fast, competent cruiser, it is however a bit more effort to cruise than a slower, heavier boat with less sail area.
More of a cruiser for a more experienced performance sailor. Like many things, it's not for everyone. On the flip side, many cruisers swear by the Westsail 32, while a good, rugged, competent boat it's not my cup of tea. Different strokes for different folks.
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