New 2012 J Boats
New 2013 J Boats
The story of J Boats is a classic entrepreneurial tale: With a $20,000 investment, and a speedy 24-foot sailboat that Rod Johnstone built in his garage, Rod & his brother Bob Johnstone went into business. That was 1977. Now, that boat (the J/24), has become the most popular recreational offshore keelboat in the world.
While other manufacturers may sell more boats, J boats have won the high-end, performance-oriented segment of the market. Theirs is the so-called racer/cruiser category: boats that perform well enough to race but which are comfortable and easy enough for the family to daysail and cruise. It is with knowledgeable, experienced sailors that J boats have done best.
Enter Everett Pearson, the owner of Tillotson Pearson, Inc, a highly respected boat builder in Warren Rhode Island. He was quite taken with Rod's design and agreed to produce the boat on spec in return for the U.S. building rights. Display ads in Soundings got the word out. That winter they set up a makeshift factory in an old textile mill in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts, and began popping out J/24s.
Enter the marketing experience of brother Bob, a vice president of marketing at AMF/Alcort (the makers of Sunfish sailboats at the time). He saw the potential in the boat Rod had designed. From 1975 to 1977, Bob had helped to take Alcort from the red into the black, and then began trying to convince AMF to start producing a boat similar to the J/24. But, he says, in spite of overwhelming market research results showing 50% purchase intent in a boat like the J/24 , AMF really didn't care anything about gaining share of market or investing any more in sailing. So, in February of 1977, at age 43, Bob left AMF and threw in his lot with J Boats.
With Rod contributing the design and his prototype 'Ragtime' and Bob investing $20,000 to cover start-up costs, office space, and advertising, their 50-50 partnership of J boats was launched. Expecting to sell 250 J/24s that first year, they sold 750. Each successive year marks unique achievements in the sport and industry.
2007 - A record year for J Boat owners with major offshore racing wins across the US and Europe. The introduction of the new J/122 built by J Boats of Europe taking the IRC circuit in France, the UK, the Netherlands and the USA by storm achieving several overall wins both inshore and offshore. J Boat owners are class and overall champions of numerous offshore events including Ft. Lauderdale-Key West Race, Pineapple Cup, Bayview Mac Race, Annapolis-Newport Race, Charleston Bermuda Race, Transpac, Chicago Mac, and several RORC offshore races. J/133 is awarded “Best Series Produced Yacht” and J/122 wins IRC 1 class overall for the entire season in the 2007 RORC series. J/80 production races by the 1,000 hull milestone with over 1050 boats built. A record 120 J/80s sail at the World Championships in La Trinite France. The J/105 Class sets attendance records on both US coasts culminating in a 69 boat fleet at the North American Champs in Annapolis. J/105 also wins RORC 2-handed season trophy. J/109 class activity thrives in the US and UK. Clay Burkhalter successfully sails his Rod Johnstone designed Mini 6.5 ‘Acadia’ across the Atlantic from France to Brazil finishing 12th overall out of 89 entries. The J/80 debuts at the Asian Sportboat Championship placing 1st and 2nd overall. J Boats of Europe increases factory capacity by 40% thanks to increasing demand worldwide for new J Boats. Several J boat Owners actively engaged cruising their boats through the oceans of the world. Congratulations to J Boat Owners for an incredible year!
The J/92S makes its USA debut. The J/100 reaches 100 boat milestone and production begins in Europe. New 40’ J/122 development begins with J Boats of Europe. J boat owners win 12 trophies in the Centennial Newport to Bermuda Race with the J/44 and J/42 classes the largest in the fleet. Glenn Darden captures the J/80 World title in Galveston Bay, TX, while fellow Texan Jon Halbert wins the inaugural J/109 North American Championships at New York Yacht Club. J/109 and double-handed J/105 finish 1-2 in Rolex Middle Sea Race. The York family completes a circumnavigation aboard their J/46 Aragorn. The J/22 North Americans returns to Fleet #1 Lake Minnetonka, MN with Terry Flynn crowned champion. The J/80 reaches 900 boat milestone and new fleets are established in Spain & Italy. The J/105 is awarded the Serendip Trophy for the Best Series-Produced Yacht in IRC by RORC for 2006 and Sean Murphy’s Slingshot is named RORC 2006 Yacht of the Year and wins the Somerset Memorial Trophy for outstanding achievement of a 2-handed yacht. The J/122 is introduced and displayed at the Paris Show to rave reviews with a December launch in Hamble, UK and successful
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