Greetings J35 Family!
It is early March, and I am in Florida hoping to get out on a sailboat while I am here. When I get home, it will be full on to get my boat ready for launch by the end of April for our first race on May 3rd.
The 2023 season will soon be upon us. Many of the major races are already accepting registrations and boat yards are starting to get active all over the country.
In the eastern Great Lakes region much is happening as several boats are undergoing major repairs and refits as that fleet continues to grow. They are hoping to have as many as 15 J35s on the starting line for weekly OD racing this coming summer which is outstanding. In order to fill these boats up with crew, for the last several years the fleet has been running crew training classes. They run three weekends in the classroom and then two weekends on the boats and on the water. The cost of this training is $750 but here is the catch. If the participant races 5 times om a J35 that season, they get their check back!
One of the local sail lofts has pitched in to help with instructors and advice as well as many of the local skippers acting as coaches.
This is a fantastic program that I think could be duplicated in other areas and has helped introduce people to the excitement of J35 OD sailing. More than one of the students has gone on and to purchase a J35 and all have joined the crew pool for the area.
Big Hats Off to Dean Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulet,Tom Schwandt and I am sure others for making this happen and building a strong fleet on the Easter Great Lakes.
Final details are still to be worked out but the Eastern Great Lakes fleet will be hosting the 2024 J35 North American Championships. This will most likely bey immediately following the 100th anniversary of Bayview YC’s Port Huron to Mackinac Race in July.
This will be an epic opportunity to race in the fabled Chicago YC Race to Mackinac, the 100th Anniversary Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac, and the 2024 J35 North American Championships in just a few weeks’ time. Start planning your trip to the Great Lakes in 2024
In other news our long time class treasurer was unfortunately involved in a collision early last season and his boat suffered significant structural damage. Robert has undertaken the arduous job of repairing and rebuilding his boat with the hopes of returning to the water in 2023. He has documented this with pictures throughout the process which can be seen here https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ee4HeXs3CFHnciRH7 . This illustrates that with dedication and hard work even after suffering major damage, J35’s can rise again! As our boats continue to age with the oldest boat not 39 years old and the newest 30 years old, these type of major refits, whether due to a collision or moisture intrusion are more and more common. The result though is a nearly new boat that is fast and competitive for a fraction of the cost of a truly new boat. With all due respect for our brothers at J Boats and the fantastic new models they keep churning out, I like the J35 and with some TLC and investment, these boat will continue to be competitive and fun to own for many years to come.
My boat was built in 1985 and is still in its original gelcoat and I have had only minor moisture issues to date. I run a dehumidifier on her 100% of the time and store it inside and heated in the winters. Take care of your boats if you want them to last.
Please visit our Facebook Group page, search J35 class association and join the group and post what is happening with your boat and your races around the country. Help build the excitement and the renaissance that is happening in the J35 fleets all over the country.
Also a shout out to Paul and Kathy Matthews who found and forwarded to us an extensive archive of J35 technical documents. This is very valuable to the class and to the members who may be undertaking refits to have the technical behind the boats and parts so that class integrity can be maintained. If you have a question, bring it to the attention of the class technical committee, who have extensive knowledge and experience of our boats. All this and more at www.j35.org . While you are there, please join or renew your class membership!
Have a great spring and see you on the water soon.
J35 Class President