North Sails NEWS

Fifteen years after the first J/109 was launched, the class is experiencing a resurgence as second- and even third-generation owners buy up used boats. The 2015 North Americans (run as part of Block Island Race Week) had twenty-five boats on the line.

The 109 is still the same boat: a simple racer-cruiser that can be raced one design or under IRC. And with the newest crop of owners making racing their top priority, improving performance is considered more important than keeping the boats ultra-simple. Beginning with the 2016 season, the class will allow the use of in-haul systems on jib sheets. The goal is to help light air performance, and to help make the class jib more competitive for handicap racing. The in-haulers are rigged between the clew and the lead block, deflecting the sheet inboard.

To take advantage of the new performance possibilities, North Sails J/109 expert Jack Orr spearheaded the design of a new class legal jib, the AP-6. The new model allows for sheeting angles of eight to nine degrees, significantly inboard of the standard J/109 tracks. It also has a higher clew, so that the sail doesn’t hit the coach roof when it’s deflected inboard. And the luff has been increased to the maximum legal length allowed under class rules.

After extensive on the water testing and a few recuts, the new sail design is now ready for production. Jack notes, “We also tested a new, external roller batten pocket that rolls better and will reduce the chance of the battens compressing towards the leech and breaking.”

In order to see the benefits of tighter sheeting angles across the entire wind range, performance-oriented owners will also want to upgrade their heavy air jibs. The new HA-4 is built out of North Sails 3DiTM and can do double duty as a handicap #3 jib.

“We think the new class jib designs, combined with 3Di construction, will provide a faster setup and a longer lasting sail,” Jack explains. “Customers that want to stick with 3DL to save some cost can get the same new designs.”

In addition to the new class-legal one design jibs, North also offers the APG-4 145 percent genoa for PHRF/IRC racing, which is built out of 3DL. The 2016 J/109 regatta season gets started in April with the American Yacht Club Spring Series. The North Americans are scheduled for June 12-16 in Newport, RI.

For more information about the North Sails J/109 product lineup, visit contact Jack Orr. | 203 887 7621

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