Whether your style is weeknight beer-can racing or competing on the world stage – the J/24 is undeniably the most popular racing keelboat to make waves around the world. This appealing keelboat started with Rodney Johnstone’s desire for a sailboat to accommodate his family and to be a competitive racer in 1975.
“Things really took off with the first J/24 Midwinters in 1978. Twenty J/24s came to Key West, Florida for the event that would unofficially rocket the J/24 into orbit When the week was over, everyone told us not to mess around with the boat, you’ve got a great thing going here,” said Johnstone.
This good advice was followed, and J/24 racing today remains the same battle of skill it was in 1978, only now with another 5,000 boats to sail against worldwide. Close to 40 years later, the world-wide acceptance of the design and the strong one-design class rules have propelled the J/24 into a legend status and has also been the competitive launch pad for the careers of numerous America’s Cup professionals.
When asked about the biggest change he’d seen after 20 years in the class, Vince Brun said, “That’s the beauty of it, there’s been
very little change. You don’t have to change for sailing to be fun. It’s the people involved, and the evenness of the boats. If the speed difference between the top five and bottom five is small, that’s the key.”
Hank Killion noted that, “The J/24 class was more about people than anything else. The boat brought us together as a group with similar sailing interests. The camaraderie of the people at both the local and world level have made the class fun; this and the willingness of top people in the class to openly share their ideas with less experienced sailors.”
Brun concurs and adds. “For between $8,000 to $15,000 and a little bit of work, you can get into a J/24 and have a good boat. It’s a very good return for your investment. The low cost and availability of competitive used boats gives you the variety of sailors and lets the younger people sail.”
While some of the world’s best sailors have the latest version J/24, a well-prepared 1977 model, built to the same shape and weight with rigid end-grained balsa core construction can still win the J/24 Class world championship even after 30,000+ miles of trailering. That’s “One Design” racing! The International J/24 has more than 50,000 people sailing over 5,400 boats in 27 countries.
The J/24 2016 North American Championship and J/24 2017 World Championship races, taking place at PCYC, September 2016 8th- 11th 2016 and September 15th-23rd, 2017, will bring sailors from around the world to the GTA. As Title Sponsor, DriveHG.ca will take the J/24 races to international mainstage races. For more information on how you can become involved as a competitor and/or a sponsor go to
www.2016j24nac.org OR www.2017j24worlds.org