Just bought a J/24. Now what?


New Member
Yesterday I bought a J/24, and should have it delivered in a couple of weeks. Overall the boat seems to be in OK shape, but like any 40 year old boat is going to need some work. Ray who has some J/24s listed for sale on here is getting me quotes for some items I asked about taking care of before he delivers the boat. I sailed and raced Hobies for many years previously, bareboat chartered lots of Moorings' Beneteaus in the Caribbean and South Pacific, and going out sailing a couple of times this year made me realize how much I miss sailing on a regular basis. I plan to store the boat on a trailer someplace with a hoist. The sails are decent and perfectly usable. I'm not sure if I'm going to race it, but if so, definitely nothing more competitive than local around they buoy racing.

Are there any J/24 unique things I need to look at? The front hatch looked kind of funky, like it was made of yellowed fiberglass. What does everyone do for electronics for wind and boat speed? And depth? What about anchors? Any regular maintenance things to pay attention to?
I am eager to see what info gets provided to you.

I just purchased a J24 from 1979. My bow hatch is also yellowed fiberglass and a central project his winter would be a replacement for increased safety and confidence.
I think it's safe to say, very little. He asked the question 14 months ago. The problem is that the question is awfully broad.

The fact that your front hatch is yellowed is probably the least of your issues with a boat that old. For not very much money though you can stiffen it up if it seems too flexible. A few 3 in. wide strips of cloth with some epoxy resin, done from inside, will suffice. Probably some of the polyester resin has eroded away exposing raw glass fibers after all these years. It can be improved by rolling on a thin, clear resin, like Silmar 249A, but it won't completely fix it. The fibers can't be really wet-out again. Clean it first with a strong detergent, then bleach, scrubbing, and plenty of rinsing. You'll be amazed at how much dirt comes out.

Used J/24 buying guide at the class website is pretty good: Used boat buyer's guide. Points out many possible issues.
Spend plenty of hours browsing and reading technical articles from old J/24 quarterly magazines. They're here: J/24 Archives Particularly issues from about 1980-~1993 or so have lots of technical or maintenance articles that will indicate possible problem areas with the boat.

Here's a list of things to consider as possible problems off the top of my head, but it's all structural stuff that is most important.
1. Vermiculite in the keel sump? Sodden and needing removal along with a proper sump filling? If it's soggy, your keel bolts may be loose.
2. Condition of the bulkheads? Rotted and needing replacement? They are structural and help maintain the shape of the boat and hold up the expensive mast.
2. (a) Are the chainplates well sealed? Leaking will for sure lead to bulkhead failure. Should at least look at the sealing annually. Easy and very important.
3. Deck condition? Check it out with a pinless moisture meter to see how bad it is. For sure there are areas with moisture in them. Probably some will need repairing. Check especially closely around places where things are fastened to the deck. It can be kind of a big deal.
4. Spars and standing rigging-check particularly around rivets and fasteners for corrosion and cracking.
5. Rudder pintles & gudgeons. A 'new' style of rudder mounting was introduced in about 1981 using four gudgeons on the transom, and two on the rudder, with separate pins to hold them all together. Expensive but sturdy hardware, as is the rudder (expensive) itself. At least be aware of the condition of what you have. Original style was prone to failure and old rudders can be waterlogged.
6. Sealing of deck to hull joint. Is it leaking? Early boats used a bedding compound with no resiliency or adhesive quality. My '78 leaked like a sieve until I scraped all that stuff out and re-caulked with polyurethane caulk. I once bailed about 50 gallons out of the boat after it sat a hundred or so miles away over the winter, from November to March. That will rot your bulkheads for sure [it doesn't matter if they're marine plywood or not]. Best fix I ever did. FWIW, I replaced my main bulkhead TWICE!

Good luck!