Since 1994, J
Composites in France has been building
J/Boats, American designed
sailboats from the Johnstone family.
Directed by Didier Le Moal, this Vendee company, in only a few years, became
a benchmark builder for J/Boats – boats that are easy to sail and built both
for cruising and racing.
The boats are
built with an infusion process which was a system mastered since J Composite’s
inception. After the gelcoat and waterline stripes are applied, the fabric is
applied to the mold. The schedule includes the dry fiberglass and foam core and
another layer of dry fiberglass. A special resin is then infused with the
assistance of a vacuum bag. This technique allows more stiffness, strength and
weight control which is very important when manufacturing one-design sailboats.
All the boats are
the same. The goal is to lower the
center of gravity to the maximum degree. For the J/122E and J/111, the ballast
is a mix of iron and lead. On smaller
boats, it is a mix between stainless and lead.
A great deal of importance goes into the finish and reciprocity of each
unit. It is in this context that the
weights are finished with molded composite forms with specially mixed resins.
The composite part of the hull is completed first
with the deck and bulkheads built in separate rooms. The infusion process
includes the hull grid and floor which are adapted along the hull for strength.
Next the engine and exhausts are added along with key elements of
carpentry. At the same time the deck is
built and hardware is installed and work continues with the installation of the
plumbing and electrical. Then the hull
and deck are assembled which brings the process up to the final phase of
finishing. Here they spend a lot of time which is a J Composite trade mark.
There is no
specific adaptation to a one design sailboat between countries. The drawing is completed by J/Boats in the
U.S. and J/Composites follows up on it.
With boats like the J/97 the basic structure is untouched, but the
interior details may be reworked. The
J/122E is a sailboat totally adapted by J Composites.
by J/Composites are built to last a long time and especially in all
conditions. J/Composite boats are
reliable, durable, efficient and comfortable to sail anywhere.
J Dr Jean Marc Fontenot at work and J/122E interior.