In recent years J-Boats has offered a proliferation of 36-footers in its line up, including the hugely successful J/109 one design racer cruiser; the J/108, a lifting keel design based on the same hull; the more recent J/111 lightweight racer; and the J/11S, which uses a modified 111 hull but is optimised for short handed racing.

The J112/E is a new design that’s primarily aimed at different buyers – those who want to cruise a boat that’s quick, fun and rewarding to sail, but that also offers the kind of creature comforts that make live on board comfortable and civilised. See our First Look Video below.

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Key attributes of the J112/E


Although aimed at the cruising market, up to date design and material usage means displacement is impressively light, giving a displacement length ratio of just 157. This puts the J/112E right at the lightweight end of the cruiser-racer spectrum. While traditionalists may continue to contend that heavy is best, there are plenty of arguments in favour of a light boat, an important factor being that a smaller sail area is needed to drive the vessel, and so it also becomes easier to handle.

The light displacement is partly achieved with a low vertical centre of gravity two-part keel, with an encapsulated cast iron fin, plus a lead bulb. It’s also a function of the hull and deck construction. This is of end grain balsa sandwich, with biaxial and unidirectional glass and vinylester resin using J-Boats’ SCRIMP resin infusion system. The main bulkhead is also moulded using a resin infusion process. A heavy-duty fibreglass floor stringer grid distributes loads from both the keel and from the keel steeped mast.

J/112E review: lightweight design

The J/112E is still an ultra-lightweight design.



 

Below decks


Anyone accustomed to the sometimes utilitarian appearance of J-Boats’ more out-and-out race oriented models will be pleasantly surprised by the interior of this boat – it falls very firmly into comfortable and stylish cruiser territory.

The saloon is a bright, inviting and open area, enhanced by walnut joinery with a satin varnish. Hull windows in the topsides, in addition to the large coachroof windows help provide plenty of natural light. The two generous settees are parallel to the boat’s centreline and so will also make first-rate sea berths – a feature that’s all too often missing on cruising yachts. There’s also a proper navigation station, with a dedicated forward-facing seat and above average stowage. The spacious L-shaped galley is well appointed, including twin sinks and decent stowage, while both sleeping cabins are of a good size, each with generous double berths.

Commendable effort has also been made to keep water out of the boat – for instance the electrical wiring exits the mast above deck level, allowing for a better watertight seal, and unlike some of J-Boats’ racing models the retractable sprit is completely sealed from the accommodation.

J/112E review: light below deck

Windows in the J112/E's coachroof and topsides allow light in down below.



 

On deck and performance


On deck features in keeping with the J/112’s cruising ethos include a solid toe-rail around the entire deck (instead of only the foredeck), a large self-draining chain locker with space for an optional electric windlass, plus a removable bathing ladder below the aft end of the cockpit floor. The starboard side of the cockpit has a dedicated liferaft locker, while there’s a voluminous full depth locker on the port side.

The J/112E hull has a deeper canoe body than the J/111 and J/11S, which means it does not plane as easily. However, performance is more rounded across a wide range of conditions, as befits a serious cruiser that must also perform well in light airs and when going to windward in a big blow.

The combination of a well balanced, easily driven hull shape with lots of stability, along with a first class deck layout, makes this a boat that you can be sure of providing plenty of fun. At the same time, it will be easier to tame the power in the rig than it is on many ostensibly more sensible out-and-out cruising designs that lack decent deck gear.

J/112E review: enhanced control

Good deck gear and a deeper hull shape should enable the J/112E to perform better and be more easily tamed in a wide range of conditions.



 

Equipment and options


There’s an impressive standard inventory including a 115 Ah alternator, folding prop, discontinuous rod rigging, adjustable jib cars with a 6:1 purchase and LED navigation lights. Nevertheless, there’s also a long list of extras to enable owners to customise their boat to exactly meet their needs. These include leather interior cushions, cockpit seat cushions, a composite wheel, an additional battery taking the total capacity up to 300Ah, and a sprayhood with removable side curtains. Further options include carbon spars, an electric main halyard winch, teak decking and a shoal draft keel.

 

What the J/112E does best


The J/112E offers a very enticing promise of efficient, fun and rewarding sailing combined with comfortable interior accommodation, along with plenty of style.

 

Compromises


To achieve this aim, a number of compromises are needed compared to a design that seeks to maximise accommodation volume for a given hull length. A sensible compromise, for instance, is that there is no three-cabin option. Another compromise involves cost – there’s no escaping the fact that comprehensive and efficient deck gear systems are significantly more expensive to buy and to fit than the basic equipment of many budget priced cruisers.

J/112E review: cruising in comfort

The J/112E is aimed at buyers who want to cruise at speed in comfort.



 

Other models in the range


This design sits in the range alongside the 32ft J/97E and the 40ft J/122E, both of which are also conceived as comfortable performance cruisers. With the 109 and 108 having now been discontinued, the other J-Boats around the 36ft mark are now the J/111 and the J/11s.

 

Alternative boats


For a racier alternative there’s Jeanneau’s Sun Fast 3600, a broad transom chined design with twin rudders and a more utilitarian interior finish. Beneteau’s First 35 is also worth a look – this is now an older design, originally dating from 2009, but still offers a good balance between sailing qualities and interior comforts.

 

J/122E specifications


LOA: 10.99m.
LWL: 9.68m.
Beam: 3.60m.
Draught: 2.10m.
Displacement: 5,125kg.
Ballast: 1,73kg.
Fuel tankage: 85 litres.
Water tankage: 200 litres.
Sail area: (100 per cent foretriangle) 65sq m.
Spinnaker: 120sq m.

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Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.
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