J/105 Fleet 5, Lake Michigan

Promoting Competition, Camaraderie, & Seamanship

 

Why J/105?

The J/105 is the largest one-design keelboat class in the world among boats over 30 feet. Here’s why the owners and crew of Fleet 5 love it:

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Exciting to sail

If you’ve sailed downwind on a 105 in 15-20 knots, you’ve experienced the thrill of surfing under its asymmetric spinnaker. It’s addictive!

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Small enough for buoy racing, big enough for the Mac

The J/105 is agile enough to be fun in buoy races. But, it is also big enough to handle Lake Michigan’s fury during longer races like the Race to Mackinac.

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Doesn’t need a huge crew

Most J/105s race “fully crewed” with five or six people. It’s totally possible to race with only four against other fully crewed boats if the weather isn’t too sporty. Owners don’t need to be full-time crew managers and crew are sure to be active participants, not just “rail meat”.

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How about a crew of one?

Our Fleet includes several owners who prefer singlehanded or double-handed racing. The boat is that easy to handle!

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Active fleet in Chicago

Virtually every major regatta in Chicago includes a J/105 section. We race against identical boats, so we don’t have to worry about handicaps. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins!

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Large national one-design class

There are active J/105 fleets in about a dozen other North American cities. This makes it easier to sail when you travel or move, and the sheer number of J105s creates a helpful national network. Should you need to make a repair to your boat, there’s almost always someone else who has shared his or her experience online or who is willing to help.

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Affordable

(OK, relatively affordable.) J/105s typically sell for between $60,000 and $100,000. That’s not pocket change, but other racing boats of this size are 2-5X more expensive. We also have limits on sail purchases and on professional sailors as crew, so winning isn’t just about who has the most money.

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Not too austere

All J/105s were produced between 1991 and 2008, with most made in the early 2000s. As with any boat, maintenance is important, but most 105s aren’t major project boats. The boat’s interior is functional for overnighting after a distance regatta or “camping” with the kids. Everyone appreciates the toilet. Save your buckets for cleaning.

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Fleet 5 at The Southernmost Regatta

Fleet 5 at The Southernmost Regatta

I was lucky enough to get an invite from Jon Weglarz to sail with him in Key West for the Southernmost Regatta. Its timing was impeccable as it aligned with a cold snap in Chicago. The crew was Jon on Helm, Sean Wilson on Main, Joey Sacconi on headsail trim, Beth...

Why we bought a J105

Why we bought a J105

My focus towards everything has been about improvement, proficiency, and expertise. I enjoy applying this to a wide range of hobbies and sailing is no different. I started out learning to sail through basic training offered at any yacht club, spent some time learning...

Transport to Cleveland (and Back)

Transport to Cleveland (and Back)

The 2024 J/105 North American Championship will be held in Cleveland, Ohio in September. Most of us going will probably want to ship our boats from Chicago over land rather than sail them there.

Why Not Lithium (Yet)

Why Not Lithium (Yet)

When we did the electrical upgrade on our J/105, Kinship, we chose not to use lithium batteries, despite many potential advantages.  What are those advantages, and why did we forego them?