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Jeff Johnstone’s AYC Visit

It all started with the legendary J/24.

Jeff Johnstone recounted to the AYC November monthly meeting how his father Rod chose the size of the J/24 40 years ago for one critical reason: he could build a 24 foot long by 7 foot wide boat in his garage. Anything bigger wouldn’t fit. When they rolled it out, it not only floated, but beat all comers with a family crew on board.

Since then, there have been over 14,000 boats with the famous J/ on the side, a record of success they could never have imagined back then. Jeff recalled the path from J/24 to J/121, the company’s latest offering, a 40-footer designed for comfortable ocean cruising and racing with a smaller-than-typical crew. Instead of six crew hiking, the J/121 has water ballast that Jeff says “you never have to feed.”

Jeff made a lightning fast trip to Arizona for the Tuesday night meeting, flying in Monday, working in his hotel room Tuesday morning, playing a round of golf at Rolling Hills in the afternoon and then taking the red-eye home in order to make it to a scheduled sailing session in Rhode Island Wednesday morning. AYC members showed their appreciation by filling the room at the Caddy Shack.

What kind of event brings out large numbers of boats? Jeff ran through the list of some of the most-attended regattas in the world, regattas that bring hundreds: the Fastnet, the Around-the-Island (the island of Wight), the Chicago-to-Mac, the Bridges race in San Francisco Bay and several others. How about a 600+ mile race in the Grenadines? Jeff says people buying the J/121 are looking for interesting races in interesting places and that doesn’t have to mean wet and cold!

Jeff Johnstone recounts the history of J/Boats, from the legendary J/24. Photo: Mike Ferring

That’s the famous Fastnet rock, the rounding point of one of the most popular sailboat races in the world. Photo: Mike Ferring

November Meeting: J/Boats President Jeff Johnstone

Every performance sailor knows J/Boats, the premier company for fleets of fast boats that began with the legendary J/24 and continues today with a host of sailboats that start with the letter “J.”

J/Boats President Jeff Johnstone

On Tuesday, November 14, the president of J/Boats, Jeff Johnstone, will be our meeting speaker. He’ll trace the path of the company from the groundbreaking J/24 to the latest hull #1 of the new J/121 (which I know you’ll want to order immediately).

It was Jeff’s father Rod who started it all with $400 worth of fiberglass and wood plus some leftover rigging from brother Bob’s Soling. The result was Ragtime, which proved an amazing race winner and launched a series of J/24s that eventually sold an astonishing 5400 boats.

Since that beginning, the brand has produced 7,000 more J/Boats. A total of six of Rod and Bob’s sons keep the company in the family and sailing fast.

The meeting is Tuesday, November 14, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Ruth Beals Cup 2017

Ellen Wesley is the 2017 Ruth Beals Cup champ, taking the overall honors at Lake Pleasant Saturday, November 11. Ellen sailed on one of Victor Felice’s J/24s and led much of the race, falling behind in light air rounding Balance Rock and then making it up with a bold move along the western shore when the wind died entirely. Counting on a whisper of thermal air movement, they ghosted up the shore and to a shortened course finish at “no name” island.

The scores for the 2017 Ruth Beals Cup are posted on the results page, or click here.

Maryellen Ferring finished second in her J/80 and Ryane Griffis was third in an Etchells. Eight boats were set to start the race, but Debbie Barlow’s Siren 17 lost a main halyard on the way to the race course and didn’t start.

We thank Fleet Captain George Sheller and Mark Howell for their work as the volunteer race committee. For speedy race results, they texted the finish times to scorekeeper Dave Christensen, who posted the results right after the finish.

Ellen Wesley won the Ruth Beals Cup despite the two characters flanking her.

Bob Whyte trims during the Ruth Beals Cup. Photo: Mike Ferring

Help ASF with Each Amazon Purchase

Do you shop at Amazon? Turns out the huge online merchant will give .5% (one-half percent) of the money from each of your purchases to the Arizona Sailing Foundation.

Your purchases cost the same. Amazon Prime still applies, if you’ve bought that service. ASF just gets a cut of all your dollars.

It’s simple. Instead of buying from amazon.com, you buy from smile.amazon.com. Sign up to have your purchases credited to ASF. That’s it. Takes less than a minute.

If you buy from Amazon, begin buying from smile.amazon.com instead. Route .5% of your money to ASF.

If you buy from Amazon, begin buying from smile.amazon.com instead in order to route .5% of your money to ASF.