J/Boats J/70 Review

topRik experts talk about their experience of racing on a J/Boats J/70, share their impressions of the yacht and invite you every Sunday to participate in sailing on this sailing legend (details in the review). The article also provides reviews of famous yacht racers, with the main characteristics of the sailboat, photos and videos attached so that you know what you will have to face this or next Sunday in the Bay of Kotor (Montenegro).

J/70 Review

Features of J/70

  • Brand: J/Boats
  • Hull type: Sailing yacht
  • Overall length, m: 6.93
  • Width, m: 2.25
  • Draft, m: 1.5
  • Displacement, t: 0.794
  • Exterior design (Architect): Alan Johnstone
  • Interior Design: J/Boats
  • CE Certification: C
  • Mainsail type: Fully battened
  • Jib type: Genoa
  • Mainsail area, m²: 11.47
  • Jib area, m²: 9.55
  • Engine: Outboard
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The Never-Fading Star of J/Boats

The year when a new star was born is 2012. But to this day, J/70 remains the brightest in the constellation J/Boats, even though this 7-meter keel sailboat is the smallest in the history of the shipyard.

After the first tours, tests and reviews in the US it was extremely well received. The boat was shown to European customers in December at a yacht show in Paris. By this time, the first regattas with the participation of the new class had already taken place in the New World, which, without administrative levers and lobbies, gathered more than 20 crews.

At the very first yacht exhibition in Düsseldorf following these events, the sailing boat J/70 was awarded with the title of European Yacht of the Year 2012/2013 in the Special Yacht nomination, besides the boat collected nominations 2013 Boat of the Year in the US and UK.

At the same time, the traditional Key West Regatta was held, in which 40 crews chose the J/70, and this is despite the fact that the first hull was sold only 6 months before that. The new class enters the European racing calendar just as quickly, starting with the Primo Cup Monaco regatta. The shipyard reported that it had received about 400 orders from 18 countries. No model of a 7-meter keel racing yacht has yet demonstrated such growth in popularity.

J/70 by topRik Team

What kind of boat is this and what is the cause of such a high demand? Based on their own experience of participating in the J/70 regattas, the experts of the topRik team tried to answer these questions in as much detail as possible.

J/70 Review

All Things Are Known by Comparison

Due to hereditary proximity, the new boat is best compared with its predecessor J/80 and closest competitors Melges 20/24 and SB20.

Compared to the J/80, the new boat is almost twice as light, while the sail area has not significantly decreased. It is easy to transport, it does not require special equipment for launching and installation of the mast is not needed (the complete carbon mast weighs less than 25 kg). Crew from 3 to 5 people, no weight limit (according to class rules). The J/70 enters planing much earlier than its predecessor, easier to manage too.

The ban on the use of foil sails and more than one set per year keeps the class open to everyone. The popularity of the J/80 and J/24 class in the world has attracted strong world-famous riders to the new class!

The high cost of ownership and excessive "acrobatic" Melges 24 did not provide much development to the class. For 10 years, the class could not catch up with the J/80 in terms of mass. The appearance of the M20 on the market should have changed the ratio, but this did not happen. It was J/70 that immediately occupied a niche between the M24 and M20, being just as fast and dynamic, but at the same time being cheaper and easier to set up and manage. In addition, it is more accessible to beginners, as it does not require them to be athletes.

Comparing the new class with the SB20, it should be noted that the SB20 itself is a very successful boat. It is as dynamic, fast, easy to handle and transport as the J/70. But the T-shaped keel collects all the nets and debris in coastal areas and it is also more difficult to use in an incomplete crew, for family outings and for training young people. In addition, in terms of build quality and hull strength, the SB20 is significantly inferior to J/Boats products.

J/70 Review

Features of the Design and Sailing Equipment

The J/70 is the first lifting keel racer from J/Boats, which has ushered in a new era not only in NYYC but in organized sailing in general.

The carbon fiber mast is very easy to mount. A simple sail plan includes a square-topped mainsail, a roller staysail and a gennaker on a retractable bowsprit.

If you wish, and for insurance in case of little experience in sailing, you can install an outboard engine with a power of 2.5 HP on the transom.

The yacht is easy to attach to and it is just as easy to launch from the ramp of the car. For such meager dimensions, she has a surprisingly large cockpit, where the entire onboard life of the regatta crew takes place.

J/70 Review

The Crew of the Yacht for the Regatta and Their Tasks

You already know that the J/70 is in most cases purchased for racing and is a team yacht. The composition of her crew is usually limited to 5 yachtsmen (maximum) – and if this is a training vessel, then add an instructor.

As a rule, the roles on J/70 are distributed as follows:

  • forward - controls the setting and cleaning of the gennaker, is in the cockpit along with the rest of the team;
  • trimmers – they work with staysail and mainsail;
  • helmsman - controls the yacht with the help of a tiller.

At amateur regattas, like those that the topRik team holds every Sunday, a professional skipper-instructor manages the yacht, he also distributes roles between crew members and gives commands to each of them.

In professional teams, the yachtsman working with the mainsail plays the role of tactician. In amateur teams or a team of beginners, the skipper is responsible for tactics, he is also an instructor.

Don’t Expect Luxury

Yes, this sailboat does not promise a luxurious life on board. Here, everything is subject to speed and maneuverability, which means minimizing weight, including at the expense of furniture. For yachtsmen who prefer active yachting, adrenaline and physical activity, such a niche in the cabin is enough to equip a sleeping place for two.

J/70 Review

The J/70 is a challenge for experienced sailors, but at the same time, the yacht remains interesting for less ambitious yachtsmen who prefer an active holiday with friends or family, without the need to set speed records.

J/70 101 – Tips From the topRik Crew

Participants of J/70 class regattas will be interested in the principle of crew selection. The topRik team consists of 4 people weighing from 79-81 kg each, with a total weight of 320-322 kg. Exceeding this weight, in our opinion, can lead to unnecessary resistance.

The yacht weighs 794 kg, so it is easily towed using the trailer of an ordinary car. After the crew learns how to set up the mast, preparations for launching will take less than an hour.

If your trailer is not designed for a lowered keel, it is usually raised before the yacht is lifted out of the water. On the road, we recommend securing the sailboat with softwood wedges. This is necessary to prevent the keel from rocking and to prevent damage.

The J/70 class is limited to three sails: mainsail, staysail and spinnaker (or gennaker). In most cases, you can further limit your use of sails to just one of them. But you can take advantage of the developments of various companies producing sails, which for this class have developed variants of the staysail and mainsails that are suitable for different weather conditions.

Good News for You

We can happily announce that the racing sailboat J/70 completely won the hearts of the topRik team in full force, including the skipper. Therefore, we decided that everyone who is devoted to sails and the wind in their hair should experience these sensations.

Every Sunday, supported by SimpleSail and Porto Montenegro, you have the opportunity, together with our yachtsmen, to participate in races on J/70 yachts. We set the distance, go through 4-6 starts, and at the end - a small barbecue party.

It is not necessary to have experience in regattas - experienced yachtsmen of the topRik team will be in your crew. They will help you to join this amazing sport in the Bay of Kotor (Montenegro). You can see fragments of such Sunday races with topRik in the photos below.

J/70 Review

Advantages of J/70

The main advantage of this sail racer is the thrill during each race. After all, the distances separating the leader of the regatta from subsequent boats are minimal if we are talking about professionals. This suggests that the design and handling of each boat is similar to the others , so that the skill of yachtsmen is clearly demonstrated during the competition.

The simplicity of the rig combined with the tiller ensures not only easy and intuitive handling, but also makes it easy for beginners to learn quickly.

The quality of materials ensures the durability and safety of the yacht:

  • precisely selected composite materials for the body (sandwich based on infusion composite construction);
  • stainless steel for retractable keel;
  • bulb made of lead;
  • carbon mast and other autoclaved carbon alloy parts.

There is nothing superfluous here - you can fully devote yourself to sailing, since the weight of the boat and the minimum wetting area allow you to develop high speed with a quick switch to planing and excellent maneuverability.

Such minimization in dimensions, sailing equipment and luxury elements was reflected in the decreased price tag, which, undoubtedly, is another important advantage of the J/70.

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Reviews of J/70 from Professionals

Traditionally, we provide the opinions on the J/70 sailing racer from yachtsmen-journalists working for professional yachting magazines and popular websites dedicated to yachting, boats and naval architecture.

First, we decided to post excerpts from an interview with Peter Rendle, a yachtsman and correspondent from Sail-World, in which he talks to Ray Entwistle, the Australian distributor for J/Boats.

Here's Ray's response to a question about the history of the J/70. This sailboat has been designed to meet the demand for a boat that is easy to handle, safe for family sailing, yet with high performance. At the same time, it was required that the yacht could be easily towed, mounted effortlessly on the frame and launched from it into the water. These tasks were assigned to Al Johnstone, naval architect and designer for J/Boats. He coped with the task perfectly, considering that over 20 years her popularity has not only not decreased, but continues to grow. She repeats the glorious 40-year history of the J/24, which is still a hugely popular one-design racing yacht. The J/70 is the next generation and has already played its part in the single-design racing classes.

He noted the J/70's popularity with sailors of all ages, from teenagers to 70-year-olds, families, and single-class yacht racing enthusiasts.

The splendid design is complemented by the latest generation of carbon rigging and advanced construction techniques, making the yacht extremely light and durable with sufficient rigidity.

The seaworthiness of the J/70 makes it suitable for youth and women's teams. The strict rules of the J/70 regatta prohibit walking, which means that even less experienced crews can compete on equal terms with those who train intensively. The J/70 is full of surprises.

Adam was part of the crew that tested the J/70 to determine the Best Boats 2013 winners.

He began his review with an intriguing statement that could indicate a negative assessment: the author announced that he was disappointed with testing a high-octane sports boat in a drifter. But it turns out that this in no way about the J/70.

The crew went sailing in sustained winds of 20 knots, with gusts in excess of 25 knots, with strong rip currents off Bristol, Rhode Island. On the way towards Popasquash Point, the boat proved to be nimble and manageable. The sailboat accelerated quickly in the gusts, and the light steering was maintained even when it dug into waves to leeward.

Even when they overshot the tack and the boat capsized momentarily, the crew didn't feel it was out of control. Here the ballasted keel and the large tiller rudder placed on the transom played their role.

Thanks to the spacious cockpit, which quickly cleared the water and a fairly high boom, moving from side to side was easy, which could not be imagined on the famous J/24.

Then J/Boats company’s president Jeff Johnstone decided to see if the sailboat could take off with just a mainsail and staysail. And was the crew delightedly admiring the foam trail, similar to the one left by Volvo Ocean Race 70 at high speed. But what impressed Adam more was how easily the team did it. At the same time, the skipper was not at all worried, because he received effective feedback to control the sails, but only tried to make the yacht move even faster.

Adam devoted a significant part of the review to describing the design, equipment of the yacht and their manufacturers. He noted that the efficiency of the boat's rudders and the shape of the hull, with its sharp bow and flat planing sections, are complemented by a carbon fiber mast with steps on the deck, a boom and a retractable sprit, made by Southern Spars.

Deck equipment on the test boat was provided by Harken, with rigging from Ronstan. You can rely on Dyneema's poles and lifelines to brace your back against when your legs are inward. On the keel there is a seaweed cutter. For safety, a solid side is equipped on the bow deck. The quality of construction is excellent throughout.

J/70 Review

Dave describes his impressions of the J/70 while testing a sailboat for the 2013 Boat of the Year nominations.

He reports that the judges noted the versatility of the boat in the field of application: both single-design and club racing. Among racing yachts, this is not a very common occurrence. Among the best qualities were noted: a quick set of speeds, stability, ramp launch and, interestingly, the rapid development of the class just a year after the world premiere.

One of the testers, judge Greg Stewart, noted that the boat sailed really well in wind speeds of 10 to 15 knots. There was a slight feel from the helm both when driving upwind and downwind. It was immediately noticeable that the yacht was strong and stable - she sailed well on the waves, and with the kite up the crew got the angles they needed.

The stability of the J/70 is a key feature that the judges singled out immediately after ten miles. As Jeff Johnstone said at the jury briefing, stability was a fundamental concern for the developers. He added that there were originally two completely different designs: a recreational sports boat and a club coach. As a result, the choice settled on a sportier option that could be easily modified for sailing sport programs.

The location of the winch caused a discussion between the shipyard representatives and judge Tom Rich. Even though the 3.3-meter cockpit allows three adults to move freely, Tom reported that when he chose the most comfortable position to steer the boat - forward of the traveler, he was pressed against the winch.

Alan Johnstone joked that everyone who used the boat would like to get rid of the winches. But they will have to be tolerated, because they will be needed when driving in the wind, as the helmsman changes position.

Judging by the fact that the J/70 received the title of Boat of the Year 2013, the rest of the judges considered this moment insignificant.

Mike describes his impression of the J/70 he received on Fremantle Sailing Club's opening day when WA's first J/70 made its maiden voyage.

The J/70 sailboat has a respected pedigree and is the product of a shipyard that has already given us the very successful J/24. The length of the new racer under seven meters combines 21 m² of sail area with a displacement of 794 kg - 36% of this weight is ballast at the end of the 1.5-meter keel. All this math results in an easily manageable, productive and stable boat. The 2.5 HP auxiliary power unit makes this operation even easier.

The J/70 was launched from a trailer, made possible by the lifting keel. The crew quickly mastered the whole procedure: lowering and securing the keel, raising the carbon mast, tensioning the standing rigging and tilting the sails. After some practice, it turned out to be so easy that the team could complete the preparation in 20 minutes.

Light winds with little gusts and a daytime crew of 4 big men were the test conditions that day. When the speed approached ten knots, the sailboat rose and hummed, depicting a light boat. The performance can always be improved by adjusting the crew size depending on the strength of the wind.

The J/70 will also enjoy life outside of racing. In many parts of the world, this thriving boat has become a popular yacht for families, couples or a small company for fun without speeding up. Experienced loners can enjoy playing the lone skipper. For recreational, social and casual racing, the cockpit can accommodate eight or more people.

In a small forward cabin with a V-shaped berth, children can be accommodated if they are present on the deck, and if not, two adults can lie down freely there.

The sailing layout is simple, you can control it with one hand: an experienced skipper can control the backstay, mainsheet and staysail from one position. But to extend the bowsprit and set up an asymmetric spinnaker, you need a couple more hands. A pair of winches will be indispensable in strong winds.

Video Reviews of J/70

Just so you can enjoy the view of the J/70 sailboat in motion - this is a series of videos where both amateurs and aces of sailing regattas will demonstrate the boat's seaworthiness on camera.

First, sailing footage of J/70 at Bristol RI, Spring 2012:

Team Rosebud shows off their skills at 2020 J70 Midwinter Championship:

Best features of J/70 boat summarized:

Great explanation of various boat handling techniques from Vince Brun:

Quick walkaround tour at 2020 Boot Dusseldorf:


As you can see from our review and feedback from famous J/70 regatta participants, this is a very fast, maneuverable and safe sailing yacht, ideal for speed and tacking competitions. It is no coincidence that more than 3,000 cases have been sold to date.

But do not think that all of them were purchased for the crews of the regatta. The boat is also in demand among those families and friendly companies who do not strive to break speed records under sail, but love adrenaline and wind themselves. And J/70 is one of the best options, combining all these preferences.

The cost of the yacht allows her to become in demand among those who dream of their first boat. This is a great opportunity to immediately learn all the best that active sailing has to offer.

J/70 Review

Where to Buy J/70 at a Bargain Price

We are sure that by the end of our review, you have already understood where to buy the J/70 at a bargain price. Since you are here, you will immediately get a free consultation from topRik marketplace experts about what benefits you are entitled to on our trading platform.

If you represent the crew of the regatta, there is special good news for you: we have programs for the joint purchase of yachts, which is important for the team.

If the J/70 is your first sailing racer, you will also receive great offers: join our Sunday amateur regattas and take a course at our SimpleSail Yachting School to get Bareboat Skipper qualification, which allows you to automatically receive an International Certificate of Competence (ICC).

In any case, the marketplace team will provide you with the following services:

  • search for a yacht that will exactly meet your preferences;
  • negotiations with the manufacturer or dealer/owner in order to achieve favorable conditions for manufacturing, purchase, cost;
  • on-site control over the assembly, inspection of the state of the yacht;
  • preparation and execution of all required documentation for the sale and purchase, insurance, customs clearance, warranty, etc.;
  • transfer of the sailing yacht J/70 to the specified location.

We have extensive experience in acquiring yachts on various terms for our SimpleSail fleet and are well aware of all possible reefs and undercurrents along the way. Take advantage of our skills - and you will pass the entire route quickly and without financial losses. Call, send a message to [email protected] or through the website feedback form.

J/Boats J/70 Get Price
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