Southeast Michigan has traditionally been a very conservative market in most respects. With a vast network of professionals in automotive related fields our highways and interstates are filled with domestic cars and trucks that were often built close to home. This conservative buying philosophy is also reflected in the boats in southeast Michigan. Most of the one design fleets in the area are either aging or downright ancient designs. NA40s, Melges 24s, Cal 25s, just to name a few. Even the faster and newer classes like the J120s and Level 35s are still far from cutting edge. However, this doesn’t mean that the people sailing these boats aren’t talented yachtsmen and women. On the contrary, Michigan produces some of the most talented sailors in the world. With a close knit sailing community steeped in tradition and dedicated to both fun and excellence on the water this is an ideal breeding ground for some of the world’s best sailors. Michigan sailors have gone on to sail in such prestigious yacht races as the America’s Cup, and the Whitbread among others. But this trend may be waning with young people’s time being divided up in many different hobbies, there is not the same interest in sailing that there was twenty years ago. Many yacht clubs are doing membership drives and trying to appeal to a younger demographic in order pass Michigan’s sailing traditions on to the next generation. Well the J70 is the answer. This boat is new, it’s fast, but most of all it’s fun. It’s not your dad’s old J24– this is the newer, faster, better version.
The excitement over the J70 and its exploding one design class is contagious, and Michigan needs to catch the proverbial bug. Introduce two or more J70s into a youth sailing program at a yacht club and the participation will skyrocket. But beyond the speed, and newness, this boat also has that definitive J Boats feature of being a joy to sail. It is well balanced, well thought out, and the crew work is simple allowing the whole team to hone their tactical skills and really enjoy the ride instead of the head down ass up style of crew work often necessary on more complicated rigs.
The ease of the boat coupled with growing fleets across the country makes the J70 an optimum way for Michigan sailors to race on a national level. With strong fleets in southern Lake Michigan and Lake Erie there are a multitude of opportunities to race this boat against well-appointed competitors and have an amazing regatta experience. The experience makes all the difference – the excitement surrounding the J70 and the enthusiasm of the sailors creates a terrific experience for all involved. Just read feedback from each regatta to feel the passion for this boat radiating off the page. The fast growth of the J70 one design class is unprecedented, and pardon the pun but it is time for southeast Michigan to get onboard. Check out the video reviews below and see for yourself then contact Port Sanilac Marina to set up a sailing demo as soon as the weather permits. Hey – if you already had a J70 you could be trailering it to a sunny southern state for the winter and avoid all this snow! Hmmm…something to contemplate as we all stare out at a frozen lake….