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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Steve Milby Posted - 11/12/2021 : 19:45:24
OK, it's time to start looking for the next boat. I'm looking at two boats currently. The first is an 85 Catalina 25 SR/SK. Based on the photos, it looks nice, but needs some work on the mast lights. It comes with a trailer, and boat and trailer both appear to be in generally good condition. I'd prefer a fin keel and tall rig, but you have to take what's available.

The second boat is a J/24. The hull has been Imroned and looks beautiful, the sails are 1 year old North sails, and the seller has restored the boat. It also comes with a trailer that the seller claims is in top condition. He actually has two J/24s for sale, and he said one has a soft spot in the deck, but the other is in excellent condition. I talked with him on the phone and he clearly knows a lot about boat restoration, and he was forthcoming in describing the good and bad about his two boats.

You've probably guessed which boat has my heart all atwitter so far, but if anyone knows of a good old race boat and trailer for sale in the eastern half of the US, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

I plan to see the J/24 next week, after I return from a quick trip to the Bay. If it's as nice as it looks, and we can make a deal, I might not be boat-less any more.

The plan is to resume sailing and racing at Brookville Lake in southern Indiana.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Steve Milby Posted - 09/30/2022 : 16:42:21
I finally have some photos of the J24. I've raced it in a few club races and done well, despite the fact that it badly needs a bottom job. I've also match raced it against an old friend's J24, and only won a couple races. Next year I'll try to do a fresh bottom job and should be more competitive. My friend is the Cincinnati sailboat dealer and an excellent racer. It has been fun starting, crossing tacks and rounding marks with him, and I have another old friend flying my spinnaker. We're close enough that we both fall back and catch up as we sail up and down the lake. Sadly, I had to haul the boat for the end of the season.

This photo was taken from the committee boat in fresh winds. The wrinkled mainsail is because my cunningham is missing a part and I couldn't use it to smooth out the wrinkles, but I'll correct that by next year.

bigelowp Posted - 08/14/2022 : 18:47:17

So how is he reading going??? I expect that by now you are winning everything! Keep sailing.
Voyager Posted - 06/20/2022 : 16:40:55
Sounds exciting Steve, best wishes to you on your new adventure.
Steve Milby Posted - 06/19/2022 : 12:33:36
After delays getting the boat titled, I finally got it launched and the mast raised and rigged, with the help of two friends. I've sailed it twice now. I need to add a piece or two of hardware, and figure out why the sheets are overriding the winches. I know the angle of the line to the winch isn't right, but I think it might be because I'm not routing the sheet through a turning block. I'll get one of the J24 sailors to help with that. They'll know how the sheet should be routed.

Yesterday I sailed her in winds at 10 kts gusting to 20, and it was great! I used the 100% jib and we were at or near hull speed most of the day. Unlike my C25 and most other boats I've sailed, the J really keeps up her speed sailing downwind on a broad reach. For sailing downwind with white sails, I think broad reaching will usually be the fastest way. The only exception is in strong winds, maybe 18-25, where I think she'll reach hull speed DDW, wing-and wing. What I really liked about her is that her helm is extremely well balanced, with only light weather helm even in strong gusts. When she began heeling too much, I eased the traveler, and she stood up, and when the gust eased, I pulled the traveler to windward to keep her speed maximized. My friend raced a J24 for many years, and he has offered to fly my spinnaker for me when we race.

I've sailed many boats with fractional rigs, but this is the first one I have owned and skippered, and It is really easy to sail in strong winds, either singlehanded or with crew. Because it's primarily driven by the mainsail rather than by the jib, if it gets overpowered, easing the traveler depowers it instantly. Because it doesn't need a big, overlapping genoa except in moderate to light air, it's easy to tack the jib without any snagging on the shrouds or hard grinding of the winches. In 20 kt gusts, we only needed the winches to flatten the jib the last few inches.

The only hard thing about it is putting it away at the end of the day. The mainsail has a bolt rope and can't be flaked down on the boom, so it has to be rolled. The jib will also have to be rolled. That isn't hard with crew, but I'll have to do some heavy thinking about how to do it when I don't have crew. I can probably get a slip for it next year, and that will make it easy to find someone on the dock to help roll the sails. You can't do that on a mooring.
Voyager Posted - 02/21/2022 : 16:50:15
Sounds like a better deal seeing youíll have access to the water and enjoy better accommodations and services.
Steve Milby Posted - 02/21/2022 : 12:11:06
Not yet. The boat is about 4 hours from me, north of Detroit. This week I plan to go to the lake to see about a slip, either at a state dock, or at a private resort. The resort is more expensive of course, but, on balance, it might make economic sense when you add up the costs and labor involved in off season storage. In the resort, the boat would be in the water year around. In the spring I'd just have it hoisted, fully rigged, for $100., pressure wash the bottom, and be ready for the new season.
Voyager Posted - 02/21/2022 : 11:41:55
Hi Steve, have you had any chance to get to know the new boat? Poke around the deck, inspect the cabin, check the hardware and fittings? I realize you inspected before buying, but with a few warmer days, you mightíve had occasion to putter. Hope itís everything you expected and more.
Steve Milby Posted - 02/04/2022 : 06:14:18
If you can beat your rating on a C25, it's likely that you can at least sail to your rating on a J24. It's easy to win races when the overall skill level of the racing fleet is not very high. It's harder to win when the fleet is populated with skilled racers. It isn't much fun to win against easy competition. You don't finish first as often in a highly competitive racing fleet, but it's more fun, and more satisfying when you do win.

The J24 isn't especially fast sailing closehauled, but it's very good downwind under spinnaker. More often than not, my C25 TR beat them around the windward mark. IMO, you need to fly the chute to sail the J24 to its rating, but I'll mostly be racing singlehanded with white sails. The challenge will be to figure out how to maximize its speed downwind with jib and mainsail. I think I can win my fair share of races, but I'll be out there to have fun, not to win races.

The owner says the sails are mostly one year old. They look nearly new.
Stinkpotter Posted - 02/03/2022 : 21:33:34
For purposes of handicapped fleet racing, I'm thinking it might be more of a challenge to beat your rating on a J-24 than on a C-25, since the C-25 is easier to equip, rig, and sail better than its "average". So on the J you might be farther up in the fleet and farther back in the results. But it's fun to be further up, or even racing for line honors! How are your sails?
bigelowp Posted - 02/03/2022 : 19:57:19
J-24 are really fun boats. I have crewed on many and have seen some at attractive prices that, at a time when my son was still willing to race with Dad, I almost bought. With your racing pedigree I expect you will do VERY well wherever you sail.
Voyager Posted - 02/02/2022 : 22:12:10
Best of luck with the new boat! I hope you get some early springtime weather (after this current storm) to work on it and get it up to your standards. Have fun, relax and enjoy! Thatís what life is all about anyway.
dmpilc Posted - 02/01/2022 : 15:53:05
Best wishes and good luck with the new boat. I've raced on one only once, but it was fun. I remember when the J-24 came out. Very exciting then. All of the San Juan 24 skippers gravitated to it at our club. Definitely not an overnighter! BTW, she carries a rating very, very close to the S2-7.9. One particular J-24 with an excellent skipper was always the boat we wanted to finish ahead of when I raced with my S2 friend.
Steve Milby Posted - 11/19/2021 : 16:43:47
My plan is to keep the boat on Brookville Lake. I'd love to go back to the Chesapeake Bay, but I've decided that, while I'm up to the rigors of sailing a boat, I'm no longer up to the rigors of living on one, so I sold my live aboard boat.
Stinkpotter Posted - 11/19/2021 : 14:58:10
Congrats! Will this be for Midwestern lakes, or will you be back on the Chesapeake?
zeil Posted - 11/18/2021 : 10:03:03

Good for you... congratulations
Steve Milby Posted - 11/17/2021 : 17:02:54
Thanks Buzz. Spring can't come soon enough!
Buzz Maring Posted - 11/17/2021 : 16:21:01
Steve Milby Posted - 11/17/2021 : 07:54:43
I bought the J/24. She's a nice boat, not perfect, but she'll suit my purposes. She has good sails, looks good, and a good trailer. I'm looking forward to next spring. Her winter storage is paid for, so I'll leave her where she is until spring.

I can't post a photo of her, but she's crisp white inside and out, and she's spartan down below, but she has upholstered cushions below that are barely adequate for an occasional overnight, as you would expect a race boat to be, and she's very clean.

The owner also showed me a 43' racing yacht named Pendragon, which won its class in the Huron to Mackinac race eight times.
Her gelcoat is chalky with age, but her bottom is still silky smooth and no doubt still very fast.

Here's a little article I found about Pendragon.

About Pendragon...
Mackinac competitors take pride in attaining the status of Old Goat, representing 25 years as a participant in the greatest freshwater yacht race, the Bayview Mackinac Race. This year will mark Pendragon's 47th race, with Owners Greg Thomas and John Trost on board for every one. They are joined by their sons, Ryan Thomas, Kevin Thomas, Karl Trost and Charlie Trost, with the remainder of the steadfast crew being filled out by the most fun-loving and enthusiastic bunch of sailors Bayview has to offer. You may beat them, but you will never have more fun. Pendragon has won her class 8 times. She loves this race!
Derek Crawford Posted - 11/15/2021 : 10:09:55
Steve, I whole heartedly agree.
Steve Milby Posted - 11/14/2021 : 18:10:38
Originally posted by Derek Crawford

We used to have a J24 fleet on Canyon Lake. They were notorious for aggressive racing and playing "bumper boats" around the marks. I once worked race committee in England with an International Judge who had ran the J24 Internationals in Holland. He said that 70 boats entered but after 3 general recalls for race 1, and various DSQ's only 36 actually started.

Aggressive racing isn't smart racing. In the Holland race, half the racing fleet DSQ'd at the start. There's nothing smart about that. The smart racers were the ones who didn't DSQ, and who got to sail the whole race. What's worse, potential new racers are turned off from racing by aggressive racers. Smart racers don't fight for the "perfect" starting position. They find an opening along the line where they can hit the line on time at full speed. While the aggressive racers are busy DSQing each other, fighting for that perfect start, the smart racers are going toward the first mark lickety split. Aggressive racers are the less experienced racers who haven't figured that out yet. Smart racers would much rather give way to another boat than risk any infraction. You really can't commit infractions and win races.
bigelowp Posted - 11/14/2021 : 08:30:25
FWIW -- J-24's are fast and fun if racing, but are really not comfortable for casual sailing. Seat angle, below deck, etc. might become old sooner than you would like.
Derek Crawford Posted - 11/14/2021 : 06:54:53
We used to have a J24 fleet on Canyon Lake. They were notorious for aggressive racing and playing "bumper boats" around the marks. I once worked race committee in England with an International Judge who had ran the J24 Internationals in Holland. He said that 70 boats entered but after 3 general recalls for race 1, and various DSQ's only 36 actually started.
Stinkpotter Posted - 11/13/2021 : 16:28:48
I have to believe the J-24 became the most popular racer in that size range (20-30') ever--lots of 'em around, and some sort of market will be here for quite a while. Have fun in your search!
Steve Milby Posted - 11/13/2021 : 15:20:28
The J/24 comes with 6 North racing sails, so I'd guess that one of them is a symmetrical spinnaker. The hull is cored, and I looked at one J/24 that had crushed coring where it sat on the trailer. Soft spots in decks are a concern with most older boats, but I have a method for checking them that has worked well for me. I walk my 215# torso all over the decks, stepping close to cleats and stanchions, and if they don't give under that weight, they're probably sound. I'll be checking the hull and decks carefully.

I like the Sonar and love its fractional rig, but there isn't a Sonar fleet at Brookville Lake. There probably won't be much one design racing there with either a J/24 or a Sonar.

I could have fun with a C25, even with a standard rig. The Standard rig could be competitive in light air or strong winds. The main advantage of the tall rig is in medium winds, but I've already owned a C25, and would like to try something different. I've sailed and raced against a J/24 enough to think it would be fun to race.

I don't want to spend a lot for this boat. I had lots of fun racing my Cal 25, and gave it to friends when I was done. I can buy a nice J/24 without breaking the bank, have lots of fun, and ultimately, it won't grieve me if I give it to friends or donate it.
zeil Posted - 11/13/2021 : 10:51:35
Good for you Steve... think boats which keep us young (even if it is just at heart)

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