Review of J-Point Marine Pointer 14 (Phantom clone)

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by vtsailer, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. vtsailer

    vtsailer Member

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    I recently purchased a Pointer 14 from J-Point Marine in Maine. This boat is made from the original Phantom mold. (Note: The Phantom sailboat in Britain is an entirely different boat.) As many of you know, the Phantom was designed by individuals that had worked for Sunfish. The boats were manufactured by Howmar (and perhaps others), although they stopped production some time ago. The Phantom is slightly longer and wider than the Sunfish. The sail area is about ten square feet greater.

    The Pointer 14 is manufactured in Maine. Prior to purchasing the boat, I traveled to Maine to see a demo model. The company representative spent quite a bit of time with me, and allowed me to take the boat out for a test sail. I followed up with some questions via email, and I always received prompt and informative responses.

    There are some features on the Pointer 14 that I liked a lot.

    First and foremost, there is a large inspection hole just above the daggerboard. If any water gets into the hull, it is easy enough to sponge out. There is also a drain plug on the bow. The cockpit has a hiking strap, along with a large water-proof storage compartment toward the stern. I am able to fit a collapsible paddle from Cabellas in this compartment.

    The sail is manufactured by Doyle Sails, and has a window. The sail has sleeves for the spars. This seems like a good design, although it means that I can't use mainstays. There is a rotating jam cleat for the mainsheet.

    There are no wooden parts, which I really like. I'm not sure why Sunfish took so long to figure this out. The tiller and rudder are manufactured by RWO. The tiller sits higher off the deck than a Sunfish tiller. I can't decide if this is better or worse. It really depends on the weather. In light winds, when I sit in the cockpit, the tiller is in just the right position. When you are sitting on top of the deck, it can feel a little high off the deck. One nice feature is that the rudder kicks up automatically when you beach the boat.

    I don't have enough experience with Sunfish to compare differences in sailing. It's been many years since I had sailed. I was able to pick things up pretty quickly, even though I live in a mountainous area with gusty winds. The Phantom is very responsive, and I had very little trouble in 15-20 knot winds on my third time out. I've developed quite a bit of confidence in just four outings. I have only tipped the boat once on a downwind jibe in heavier winds. It was my fault, since I fought the sail when it jibed. Having the daggerboard down did not help.

    Since it's a lateen rig, it's obviously does not point as high upwind as a sloop rigged boat. I am happy to trade this for a boat that is simple to rig, and can be set up by one person in just a few minutes.

    My biggest praise for the Phantom 14 is the customer service that I have received. I had one problem, but it was taken care of very quickly. I emailed the company, and they took excellent care of me. I had a new part within just a couple of days. It is very clear to me that the owners of this company are really working hard to succeed, and that they believe in their product.

    I'm happy to answer any questions for those who are curious about this boat. Keep in mind, though, that I'm not a sophisticated sailor.

    I'd also love to hear from anyone else that has purcahsed this boat.
     
  2. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    I saw Pointer's display at the Newport Boat Show a couple of weeks ago. The boat looks like someone took a Sunfish and tried to improve it. The bow is slightly fuller, and there is a built in inspection port. The cockpit storage compartment has a watertight door on it, and here is no overhang on the cockpit. They had 2 Pointer 14 models. One a standard boat, looking a lot like a Sunfish, and the other was rigged like the old Super Sunfish, with a Laser-type sail, and carbon fiber blades and spars.

    One feature that both boats had that I liked was a daggerboard retainer. It consisted of a padeye on the mast, and another on the daggerboard, with a simple bungie cord. It was a lot cleaner than the Sunfish daggerboard retainers that I've seen.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG][/IMG]

    Oddly, LaserPerformance didn't have any presence at all at the show at all, even though it was only 10 miles from their factory. One dealer did have a Sunfish and a Laser, but they were in the back of their display, because the dealer was pushing RS boats in the prime spots.
     
  3. baseman

    baseman On the Water

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    I've seen the Pointer 14, there is a dealer here in NH. I have an '81 Phantom. They didn't change much. Mine has an inspection port between the mast step and the daggerboard slot. I don't know if it's original or added later. The door to the storage compartment on my boat is not water tight, but it does come in handy. I asked J-Point Marine about getting a sail for my Phantom, but it was a bit pricy (about twice what I paid for the boat and the trailer). As for the sail being larger than a Sunfish sail, I'm not conviced that's true. I use a Sunfish sail (no logo) and it fits perfectly and performs well.
     
  4. vtsailer

    vtsailer Member

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    According to the J-Point Marine website, the sail area for the Pointer 14 is 84.5 square feet. I believe the Sunfish sail is 75 square feet. I am pretty sure that the mast is the same. I don't know about the spars, though.
     
  5. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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  6. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    "I am pretty sure that the mast is the same. I don't know about the spars, though."
    Do you own a tape measure?


    The calculation of sail area is a bit mystical because no one shares their broadseam curvature..., the thing that gives a sail it's 3rd dimensional "draft".

    For example, as far as I can tell, both the Sunfish recreational sail and the racing sail have the same triangle:

    Luff = 160"
    Foot = 160"
    Leech = 170"

    ... but the racing sail has more square footage.

    BTW, those numbers work out to...

    Calculated (flat) Area = 80 sq ft


    _________________________________________

    The P-14 has these numbers on their website:

    Luff = 12' 10" (154")
    Foot = 13' 4" (160")
    Leech = 14' (168")

    Calculated (flat) Area = 77.32 sq ft

    Published Sail Area 84.5 sq. ft.

    __________________________________

    Howmar Phantom (from the sales the brochure)

    Foot = 162"
    Luff = 157"
    Leech = 171"

    Calculated (flat) Area = 80 sq ft

    Published Sail Area = 84.5 sq ft

    .
     
  7. vtsailer

    vtsailer Member

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    The spars are two different lengths. The longer is about 164 inches. The smaller is just a few inches shorter. I might be slightly off, since the tape measure didn't want to stay in one place.

    I'm starting to think that a Sunfish mast, spars, and sail would work just fine on the Phantom.
     
  8. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Masking tape makes a great silent partner.
     
  9. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Something fun to contemplate. . .

    The P-14 is longer, wider and comes with a couple of more accessory bits..., yet it's listed as having the same hull weight (120 lb) as a Sunfish. How do they do that :confused:


    [​IMG]
     
  10. vtsailer

    vtsailer Member

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    That is actually incorrect. The website needs to be updated. According to my conversation with the manufacturer, the weight is 150 pounds. Earlier modes were 120 pounds, but they have recently decided to increase structural support.
     
  11. baseman

    baseman On the Water

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    The Phantom hull is very thin. That's probably where they saved weight. Glad to hear that J-Point decided to beef things up a bit.

    Funny that you should mention clones. I have two that most people have never heard of. A Phantom and a Scorpion.
     

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