The J/105 is the perfect boat to rehab. First, it is a great sailing boat that is the perfect daysailor. The cockpit is bigger than many 45 foot boats. The sails are easy to handle and it is a pleasure for your guests to sit on while just sailing around. It is also a great racer. Finally, J/boats hold their value and thus it makes sense to fix these boats up. But, know what you are getting into before starting.

Three Vintages

This is a one design boat but there are three distinct vintages of J/105’s. From 1993 to mid-1996 the boats were hand laid up fiberglass. Also in this vintage there are two interiors. The older model have the galley aft. The newer boats have the galley forward and access to the lazerette area. It is really personal preference on which is better it doesn’t seem to affect the selling price.

In mid-1996 the boats began to be made using the SCRIMP method of resin infusing. This method encapsulates all the core in resin and greatly reduces the chance of getting a boat with rotten core. Because of this the SCRIMP boats many times demand a $5,000 to $6,000 premium over the older boats. This is not to say the new boats are better. There are people who think that some of the older boats are faster than the SCRIMP boats, but you have to be careful of the core.

In 2008 the boats changed again. There is a new mold with some pretty cool features. One most noticeable is an anchor locker. The hull is the same but it is once again hand laid up and then vacuum bagged. The new hulls interior is different than the old boats but really just a nice upgrade. There are some stiffeners in the boat and a new mast that make the new boat really cool.

Get a Survey to Evaluate the Core

Have the boat surveyed and find out if there are any wet spots in the core. There will likely be at least some. Be afraid if they are under the engine or in really hard places to get to, but otherwise replacing core is really not that bad.   

A boat with some core problems is not going to sink in the short run (unless it is like my hull #5, but that’s another story). I have seen wet core boat sail for years.  However, at some point you will want to make a winter project out of it or the problem will spread and make it that much harder it fix. In the meantime, don’t leave a boat with a wet core outside in the freezing winter. Ice can bust the fiberglass and delaminate the boat.

You can also have a yard replace the core but it will cost you. You get what you pay for.

Crazing

J/105 from the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s can have a gelcoat crazing problem. The gelcoat is more brittle than the fiberglass below and cracks in a pattern. It is not structural at all, but it can be unattractive and may therefore affect the value of the boat. It was a common problem for all boat builders in that period. 

The good news its that at this point any crazing problem with a boat will have already happened, so you’ll know it when you look at the boat.

Crazing is different from a stress crack, which will mostly show as a line or lines radiating from a penetration or a point of impact.  A surveyor can help you tell the difference.

The Keel

The keels on the boat vary a bit. For most people it won’t matter, but obsessive racers will want a keel that just fits inside the templates (which determine what is allowed by the Class). Very few are actually that thin. We are talking an 16th of an inch each side, sometimes a bit more.  Other times the two sides slightly different. A good keel is worth a bunch of money to a racer. It can cost $10,000 or more to get a real templated keel job. That means full closing templates not half template that can close around the keel. I won’t go there now and you probably won’t have templates to check the keels out anyways. But I think it is important to know for pricing a boat.

The Interior

Some J-105’s have gotten a bit smelly below. Here are some hints to improve it:

  1. Take everything out of the interior wash it.
  2. Fill the boat up to the floorboards with water that includes detergent (something that cuts grease and oil).  Let it soak overnight.  Then, with all the floorboards out, give the interior of the hull a good scrub.
  3. Check inside the the headliners in the main cabin.  Over time, leaks in the deck penetrations can cause this to get wet and grow mildew where you can’t see it.
  4. Replace the head hoses. They might look OK but if they are older they’ve likely permeated and they stink!

Pricing

As of 2024 most J/105s are selling for $45,000 to to $70,000. Some exceptional boats sell for over $100,000. Of course, there are also duds that sell for almost nothing.

There are a few rules of thumb.  First, a fresh water boat demands a $4,000 to $6,000 premium. Each year older a boat is it is worth about $1,000 to $2,000 less. So a fresh water 2002 boat might  be worth $5,000 more than a 2001 salt water boat. Tiller boats are generally worth less than wheel boats, although you could argue they are better for racing in light to moderate air. They are much harder to sell. However, I have changed my boat to a tiller — it’s just a personal preference.

In any event, if you need to move a boat, don’t forget the cost of shipping it. Figure $3,500 to $5,000 at least.