At the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, I had a chance to spend a great deal of time at the J/Boats display. Included in that, was the opportunity to speak to Rod, Jeff, and Stu Johnstone. They all had tremendous experience to share, and stories of different boats, regattas, designs and modifications to boats. While I was there I spent a lot of time on hull #12 of the J/112E. “E” stands for “Evolution” and “Elegance”. I would have to say it hits both of those words spot on. The E Series is designed to differentiate from its nearest relatives (the J/97E from the J/95, the 112E from the 111, the 122E from the 120) towards a true racer/cruiser, and to project a very comfortable interior.

J112E J/BoatsJ/Boats have made some sailboats in the past that have bridged the gap between all out racers and cruising boats, but the E series is designed with performance cruising in mind. From the moment you walk on deck you feel the familiar J/Boat touches. Evident are the little things that are unique to J/Boats, such as a mainsheet system that does not run up the mast, but simply from a block at the end of the boom, to two sets of sheaves, to the aft winches. Those sheaves are sealed from the rest of the boat, and drain back to the deck, not into the boat. Nicely executed idea. This model has the carbon fiber wheel, and you can feel the bearings and the action in the helm are silky smooth. Also on board are a molded in toe rails that run well forward and a cockpit life raft hold. You can see the pedigree in the lines. Although comparable the J/112E is a considerable departure from the J/111.

When discussing performance, you immediately think J/Boats. The 112E lives up to that thought. In the Chicago to Mackinac Race, the new J/112E “Mary Gail” from Chicago Yacht Club hit a reported 16.8 knots while screaming down the Manitou Straits, placing 2nd in Section 5. Word is, they had the boat for only a short time (less than two weeks) before the race. Expect the 112E to be roughly on-par with the 111. It does carry a bit more weight and has more freeboard, but this contributes to the cruising side of this boat.  Plus, there will be many a “cruiser/racer” that sees nothing but the stern of this boat.

Below deck you get a pleasant surprise. It has a clean, comfortable, well thought out design. It is light, airy, and has plenty of windows to let in natural J112E J/Boatsdaylight. The boat gives a nod to European design with the very simple, uncluttered setup and this model is built in France.  The interior is reminiscent of a cruiser more than a “typical” J/Boat. There is American Walnut trim throughout the salon and the cabins. There is sconce lighting on the forward wall of the salon. Yes, I said sconce lighting.  LED lighting is standard on all fixtures. Accent lights are in the cabin. Rectangular ports forward in the main cabin so you can see things closer to water level. Real mattresses in both cabins. Refrigeration and a stove/cooktop are part of the amenities. The v-berth is a good size, and the aft cabin to starboard is deep and will allow anyone under 6’ 2” to sleep very comfortably. The bow sprit is enclosed. It has a stand-up head with shower to port, massive storage aft of the head with additional access via the lazarette in the cockpit. To show the pleasant surprise the of the interior, one only needs to sit inside and wait for someone to come down the companionway. I heard a lot of comments such as “Wow!”, “This is not what I expected!”, or from many of the ladies, “I could do this!”.  It definitely hit a sweet spot for the couples who want speed without having to submit to pipe berths and a bucket.

Steve Bayless
Sailboat Enthusiast & Yacht Broker
Port Sanilac Marina
(810) 622-9651



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