Review J/45 - New 13.7 m (45 ft) Sailing Cruiser Yacht

In this review we will talk about the new cruising sailing yacht J/45, presented by the shipyard J/Boats as an offshore racing sailboat, which can be successfully used for long autonomous family sailing. An unparalleled level of comfort ensures the convenience of life on board. High speed, as well as other seaworthiness qualities, including the comfortable control of the yacht, complete the picture.


This vessel is the culmination of three years of work by the J/Boats North American team, as well as the J/Composites shipyard division based in Les Sables d'Olonne. Later they were joined by Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design represented by the famous designer of large yachts Isabelle Racoupeau, who developed the interior design, layout and ergonomics.

Review J/45

A manufacturer of racing cruisers with a proven track record in offshore and inshore racing, J/Boats is trying to take things to new heights. The task was to create the most comfortable cruiser without losing the seaworthiness of a racing yacht.

Since the introduction of the new boat in the spring of 2021, based on nothing more than documentation and brochures, it has become clear that a group of naval architects and designers seem to have coped with their task. Further testing at sea of the first samples fully confirmed these hopes.

Today we clearly see that the J/45 sailing cruiser is primarily intended for long-term sailing of a family of 4 or a small group of friends who can not only live on board in comfortable conditions on the high seas, but also participate in offshore racing.

J/45 was highly appreciated by the yachting community. She straightaway became the owner of two most prestigious awards: Cruising World’s “2023 Boat of the Year” and "Best Performance Cruiser", as well as Sailing World’s “2023 Boat of the Year” and "Best Crossover Winner".

 

Features of Review J/45

  • Brand: J/Boats
  • Hull type: Sailing yacht
  • Overall length, m: 13.85
  • Width, m: 4.25
  • Draft, m: 2.32
  • Displacement, T: 9.9
  • Air draft, m: 2.3
  • Water tanks, l: 2 x 200
  • Exterior design (Architect): Alan Johnstone
  • Interior Design: Isabelle Racoupeau
  • CE Certification: A
  • Mainsail type: Fully battened
  • Jib type: Genoa
  • Mainsail area, m²: 180
  • Jib area, m²: 121
  • Engine: Volvo 60HP
  • Optional engine: Volvo 75 HP
  • Fuel tanks, l: 200
 
 

J/45 Review by TopRik Team

TopRik team saw the J/45 racing cruiser for the first time at Cannes 2021. Then we already realized that the yacht would become the flagship of the shipyard.

Review J/45

In this motley crowd of yachts, flags and advertising posters, it was difficult to see the elegant lines of this stunning sailboat, which combined North American pragmatism and French charm. The first manifested itself in the nautical characteristics of the boat, and the second - in its ergonomic contours and elegant interiors of the living quarters.

All the extra comfort required extra volume and weight, but the architects tried to keep the displacement low, although the J/45 is still heavier than some cruising sailboats of this size. The developers have ensured that when the yacht is fully loaded, the performance is optimized in such a way that the weight of the boat does not affect its handling and speed.

Review J/45

When making the hull, the method used was vacuum injection of vinyl ester resin into the composite fiberglass materials from which the boat is made. The vacuum infusion method prolongs the life of the yacht as it prevents the osmosis process. Hull lamination provides the necessary structural rigidity, which improves maneuvering and other sailing properties, and increases resistance to mechanical stress.

Review J/45

 

Two Helms for One Rudder

Traditionally, let's start with a survey of the cockpit, where two control posts are installed. J/Boats is a single rudder lover and the J/45 is no exception.

The main tools are placed on the helm panel - a multifunctional marine display, control of the thruster, autopilot, etc.

Immediately behind the helms are large winches. Halyards and sheets do not clutter up the deck, they are placed in a separate panel, the backstay is hydraulic. A large locker is intended for the cables. Two more winches are located on the sides of the cabin roof.

Safe movement in the cockpit and on deck is provided by the bulwark and handrails on the deckhouse roof.

Review J/45

The cockpit and decks, as well as the cockpit’s benches, are covered with anti-slip material.

 

Offshore Race or Cruise?

With this yacht, such a question is trivial - it’s both. You can also use it for pleasant long passages, using sails or an engine if necessary.

You just have to decide on the layout of the cabins. For family cruising, two cabins are ideal, each with its own bathroom. The owner's cabin is located in the bow of the yacht and provides significant living space.

And if you choose the option with three cabins, then the inhabitants of two of them will have to use a shared bathroom.

Review J/45

If you opt for the two-cabin version, you also get a huge cockpit locker, where you can store not only all your diving equipment, but also an inflatable dinghy.

Another large locker is located on the bow, it is designed to store the sails. There is also a box for the anchor chain and water tanks. This apparent oversaturation of equipment in the stern and bow of the boat, and not in its center, just serves to optimize the handling of this sailing cruiser.

 

Comfort of Life on Board

If we are talking about a cruise, then we assume that people (or the sole traveler) will spend a fairly long time on board. The cabins on this boat are clearly designed for maximum comfort for sailboats of this size: large cozy double beds, wardrobes and shelves for storage.

In the owner's cabin of the 2-cabin version, a peninsula bed and an additional pouffe are provided. In this case, as we noted above, the residents have separate bathrooms for each cabin.

Review J/45

Review J/45

All rooms located below deck have sufficient comfortable height. They have access to natural light through the side and ceiling windows.

The same can be said about the saloon, which is just filled with light. This is a fairly spacious room, which includes a skipper's place with a separate table and seat. The navigation spot is equipped with a chartplotter, communications equipment and other useful things.

Opposite to it is a full-fledged galley with a stove, refrigerator, sink, where fresh water is supplied, and table for cooking.

The dining area has a folding table, which, if desired, can be transformed into an extra bed. Around it are soft sofas and seats with pillows. Opposite is another sofa. The vibe is conducive to communication and relaxation in a pleasant environment.

Review J/45

Review J/45

Sitting in the saloon, the skipper can watch the sails through the large hatch in the roof. A ladder with wide steps provides quick access to the cockpit.

 

Comfort under Sail

Who says it's impossible on a racing sailboat? It all depends on what you put into this concept. We liked that the sailing yacht J/45 did not require to use excessive force for managing it. We came to the conclusion that the sailing rig is equally comfortable and easy to manage both at wind speeds of 7 and 20 knots. In both cases, a combination of mainsail and staysail will be enough for you, and when the wind speed changes, you do not have to change sailing equipment, as is required by heavier cruiser sailboats.

It is also important that even with a light wind you don’t have to use engines, which allows you to save on fuel and avoid polluting the environment.

The rudder is obedient to the helms, and the helms respond to the lightest touch. This ease of handling is due to the low center of gravity, the ergonomic shape of the hull and the intelligent distribution of equipment below deck, as mentioned above. As a result, the draft and wetted area are minimal for a boat of this size and weight, which pleased us with excellent maneuvering in various wind speeds.

Review J/45

 

Advantages of J/45

I don’t even want to trifle and note some noticed shortcomings, since they are far outweighed by the advantages of this magnificent sailing cruiser. Well, except that one can note a tendency towards a larger roll angle, which is explained by the presence of one rudder. So-so disadvantage, you see, not even worth attention. It noted by our afficionado of boats with two rudders. Another crew member wished there was more storage space.

Yet the advantages of the sailing racing cruiser J/45 were appreciated by all those who conducted the review, including the picky ones.

  1. Security. This point is especially important, since the boat is primarily intended for family cruises. Safety on board is facilitated by the hull manufacturing method, which eliminates the osmosis process and provides the boat with high impact resistance.
  2. Quality. The team of architects and designers has carefully selected the required marine equipment, engines, sailing equipment, galley and bathroom equipment from the best manufacturers in each field.
  3. Complete set. All reviewers of the J/45 note the impressive list of standard sailboat equipment. It even includes parts that other shipyards consider optional, and for which the buyer must pay on top of the cost of the boat. On the J/45 you can sail with confidence even with standard equipment.
  4. Multifunctionality. The J/45 can serve as a reliable cruiser for the family, as well as an offshore racing sailboat for a group of friends or rented out for commercial purposes.
  5. Cabin options offer a two-cabin/two-bath version or a three-cabin/two-bath version.
  6. Upholstery options for furniture and walls, including furniture finishing with white oak, teak or walnut veneer.
  7. Large list of options for on-board equipment and additional comfort.

Review J/45

 

Reviews of J /45 from Professionals

When Toby Heppell wrote this review, the first copy of the J/45 was just under construction. This was the first review by a professional yachtsman and journalist of the sailing yacht announced by J/Boats in 2021. The review was posted in Yachting Monthly in May, and by the beginning of summer the first J/45 had already been presented to the maritime community and did not disappoint them.

Toby Heppell noted back then that this sailing yacht was intended for sailing enthusiasts. As the author writes, the J/45 confidently maintains the high seaworthiness that is so valued in J/Boats sail cruisers. After all, the shipyard, known for its racing cruisers, pays more attention to the racing performance of these popular models than to their cruising qualities.

But the latest yacht, presented by J/Boats, pleasantly surprised even the most experienced yachtsmen, successfully combining all the qualities for safe cruising and high-speed sailing in this swift and elegant model.

The author is sure that this new high-performance cruiser will be fun to operate, and at the same time, in a long autonomous voyage, you will be provided with increased comfort for life on board.

Toby Heppell cites the shipyard's assurance that the majority of vessels built by J/Boats are used by owners specifically for cruising, despite the fact that the brand is usually referred to as manufacturers of yachts for racing, which provide relative comfort on board.

Review J/45

In the case of the J/45, the shipyard catered to yachtsmen and cruising yacht owners who wanted a more spacious sailing racer with high performance and the highest level of comfort possible.

We see, that three years of cooperation between naval architects from the American and French departments of the shipyard, as well as the involvement of the famous yacht interior designer Isabelle Racoupeau were not in vain. Their brainchild meets all the requirements for the perfect combination of a sailing racer and a cruiser.

The minimum possible wetted surface area and displacement were achieved under such conditions. This ensured good seaworthiness in light winds and the possibility of a minimum engine usage even during long passages.

Thanks to these solutions, the overall weight of the yacht has been reduced also. This made it possible to use sailing equipment of a smaller size and make it more convenient to control.

The fact that the boat is able to withstand adverse weather conditions is indicated by its ability to withstand roll (ballast ratio is 42%), the presence of a bulbous keel and a draft of 2.3 m.

Toby Heppell noted that even the J/45's standard equipment and control systems provide efficient maneuvering, high seaworthiness and comfortable living on board. Standard equipment includes high power winches, gennaker deck equipment, carbon bowsprit and other marine equipment that other manufacturers list as options that can only be ordered in addition to the main specification.

Correspondent of the Yachting World gave a brief and precise description of the new J/Boat already in the title of their review. Rupert called the J/45 "fast cruiser with timeless appeal". And as an addition, the review was illustrated with a video of testing the yacht at sea from Toby Hodges, who is also the author for the Yachting World.

Being on board the yacht, Rupert Holmes noted that the J/45 is a classic J/Boat that any yachtsman recognizes at first sight. But it’s 13.7 m (45 ft) cruiser that's more comfortable and comes with luxury extras like air conditioning.

During the voyage, sailing at 7.5 knots, the test team caught up with the 16.8 m (55 ft) yacht. But then they lost speed on the leeward side. And then, with the help of a mainsail spin, the yacht moved closer to the wind by 5 degrees, and the team again outstripped the big boat.

The author does not see revolutionary changes, but notes a significant evolution of the J/45 compared to its predecessors. She remains true to the shipyard’s classic feel, as evidenced by her moderate beam, low freeboard and a single rudder.

Review J/45

Design features provide a pleasant sailing in light winds, and at the same time - the ability to overcome problems in adverse weather.

The new J/Boat is just as responsive to sail trim, accelerating well in 8 knots true wind. The author claims that the team accelerated at a speed of 7.5 knots upwind.

When the wind speed increased above 10 knots, the team reduced the power by increasing the backstay tension. With a true wind of 13 knots and an angle of 42°, the speed of the boat reached 8.4 knots. In strong winds, the optimal tacking angles slightly exceed 70°.

The German mainsheet system facilitates the adjustment of the sail trim against the wind thanks to winches, installed very conveniently in front of the helm stations. By adjusting the backstay tension, which changes the shape and power of the mainsail, it is easy to reduce the power of the sails when the wind increases.

The author paid tribute to the shipyard J/Boats, which, according to him, was never afraid to go its own way. And although the J/45 concept, according to Rupert Holmes does not break the established boundaries, that is exactly what the fans of the brand will like.

The author is confident that yachtsmen committed to the brand will appreciate the responsive handling that provides directional accuracy with given parameters, high performance when changing angle and speed of the wind, as well as the ability of the yacht to travel on engines during light wind, which is especially important for long voyages.

In conclusion, Rupert once again dwelled on the impressive standard specification and attention to detail. He singled out one of these details in particular – you are able to fasten down the cabin sole board, exactly in accordance with the rules of World Sailing for offshore racing which also applies to cruising rallies such as ARC.

 

Video Reviews of J/45

Here’s what this yacht is able to show off on camera.

In this one you get more full explanation of different features of the boat, including life on board:

Very detailed review by Yachting World – a lot of valuable information in 15 minutes:

Simple walkthrough of the interior:

More incredible footage both at sea and on board:

 

Conclusion

TopRik team's review of the J/45 racing sail cruiser, the results of which are confirmed by other authoritative sources - journalists and yachtsmen of the leading yachting media - allow us to conclude:

  • the yacht perfectly combines the properties of a racing sailboat with excellent seaworthiness and a comfortable cruise ship;
  • thanks to convenient and simple control, the boat is perfect for lovers of high-speed sailing alone (for experienced sailors) or a small team of yachtsmen;
  • the speed characteristics and maneuverability of the J/45 confirm that the boat can successfully participate in offshore yacht racing;
  • ease of handling, careful selection of safe and reliable equipment, increased comfort on board, elegant interior, layout of cabins at the request of the owner allow the yacht to be used for long cruising by both a married couple or a family of any size;
  • the boat is ideal for a romantic sailing for two, especially if the couple loves speed;
  • this is an excellent investment choice for those involved in the charter industry - such a versatile and comfortable yacht, capable of accommodating up to 10 people, will not stay idle waiting for clients.

Review J/45

The J/45 sailing racing cruiser is a prestigious acquisition for corporate use, which will emphasize the commitment of the company's team to a healthy lifestyle and will strengthen its team spirit.

This reliable and safe yacht is suitable for anyone who loves sailing, who loves the speed and romance of the sea, who enjoys the opportunity for energetic sports, who feels the joy of steering a powerful vessel and those entrepreneurs, who are ready to provide others with all these feelings by renting out a magnificent J/45.

Review J/45

 

Where to Buy J/45 at a Bargain Price

When you decide that it's time to buy a J/45, just visit our marketplace and the topRik team will take care of everything else.

All employees of the marketplace are professional current yachtsmen who have a combined knowledge of all yachts, boats, motor boats and marine equipment that are presented on the website. We provide our clients with a full range of services before the purchase of a J/45 yacht:

  • we provide comprehensive consultations on all issues of selection, configuration, cost, design and delivery;
  • we give practical advice on each model so that your expectations are fully justified;
  • we never impose unnecessary options or equipment - we only suggest how to improve the capabilities of the yacht in full accordance with your needs - the choice is always up to you;
  • we select not only convenient, but also the most profitable payment option for you;
  • we ourselves negotiate with the manufacturer of the package that you have approved;
  • we deliver the yacht to a specified place;
  • we provide the yacht with all the necessary equipment and accessories that are not provided in the standard configuration and options - cables, fenders, watermaker, etc.

Review J/45

If necessary, we will provide professional training in our yachting school SimpleSail, after which you will receive a certificate for IYT Yacht Training Course "International Bareboat Skipper".

Contacting the topRik team eliminates all the problems that may arise when purchasing a sailing yacht J/45. Use the feedback page to reach out to our employees, call the specified phone number or send a request to our email address.

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