I'm that J/120 owner mentioned earlier. We've put about 10,000 offshore
miles on our boat in the last 3 years and absolutely love, love, love the boat, but it is not the right boat for everyone. We are racers at heart, have owned several boats before the J/120, have cruised up and down the West Coast
before, and lived aboard for 5 years on a few different boats. We value performance over all other factors. Comfort is a distant second. High comfort and poor performance... may as well stay at home on the couch. Equally as boring. Actually, our 120 meets our comfort standards extremely well. That's why we bought her. It was the fastest boat we could comfortably cross oceans in within our budget
. Like I said these are our personal values and we don't expect nor care if many people agree with us. We have plans to continue sailing across oceans and have no doubts that our boat is up to the task.
That said, we looked at J40's before buying
the J120. The J40, of course is very similar to the J44 design. The J44 is certainly a monster upwind boat. Very, very few boats can go upwind as well, even if you include full on race
boats. Very few. We found the age of the equipment
on the J40's to be a notable detraction. Hardware
was close to or needing replacement.
Now I reach the point that made me post. Like I said we've sailing our J/120 10,000 miles offshore
. All double-handed. My wife & I raced, just the two of us from SF to Hawaii
last summer. I've been sailing for almost 40 years and owned a large handful of boats. All that to say the J44 intimidates me. It is almost twice as heavy as our J/120. The headsails are huge. The mast
is huge. The loads are huge. I wouldn't want that to be my second boat.
If I were looking for a serious cruising boat for a family
without a lot of experience, I wouldn't choose a J44. It's a great boat for a small segment of the community and you know with confidence if you are in that segment.
For performance cruising, with an emphasis on cruising I'd be looking at the Saga 43, Outbound 44, Nordic
44, some of the Perry Custom 40-50 footers, or something similar.
And for the record
big J/Boats don't heel excessively. That is just nonsense. They have deep draft
and a very high ballast/displacement ratio. You can sail the boat heeled way over if you want, or you can reduce sail, sail at a comfortable angle and go 1-2 knots faster than most other cruising boats of a similar size.
All that said, we averaged 170 nm/day for 20 days crossing the Atlantic, double-handed, shortly after buying
the boat, and the autopilot
drove 99% of the trip. It was AWESOME! Exactly what we wanted, but not for everyone.