Boat Review: J/124

The folks at J/Boats always march to the beat of their own drum, and they have thousands of sailors who hear that beat and follow. They designed and launched the J/124 to appeal to sailors who want something pure and simple in their boats. Bucking the trend to fit out a boat with every modern convenience possible from air conditioning to dishwashers and elaborate home entertainment centers, the concept behind the J/124 was to do away with all of the gadgets and get back to the essence of sailing and cruising: a couple’s boat that sails very well, is comfortable if Spartan and is dead simple to keep.

Long and lean and very stable, the 124 will stand up to a breeze and will handle nicely under mainsail alone. Because of the narrow beam and efficient underwater appendages, pushed by a powerful rig, owners will be sailing while others are motoring and will get to their next landfall, or complete a distance course, well ahead of their compatriots. With the standard 100-percent jib, the boat will be a cinch to tack; a Hoyt jib-boom is also available to make the boat self-tacking. Hoist an asymmetrical spinnaker and the 124 will fly downwind while steering like a Porsche on a mountain road.

Down below, the layout evokes cruising boats of the past with a V- berth forward, two settees in the cabin and a double quarter berth aft. This is a place for friends to gather after of day of fun sailing to share a simple meal, swap sailing yarns and enjoy the peace of being on the water – and not the rumble of a generator.

As the Johnstones say in the 124 brochure: “The idea is to enjoy life, not be a slave to complex cruising systems.” Whether you are heading off for the weekend, or sailing to a regatta, or bugging off to the Caribbean for the winter, the 124 will get you there swiftly and safely and will leave you a lot of maintenance-free time to enjoy the cool places you visit.

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