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Newbie (AKA, willing to listen)


New Member
Hi All,

I've just got myself into a J24. Been sailing on other people's boats for several years (not J24's) and figured it's time to take the plunge. She's in good nick functionally, but cosmetically needs a bit of TLC. usual culprits, bad topside paint job, bad deck grip paint job, poorly maintained bright work, old lines. Figure 40-50 hours or so will have her shining like a diamond.

Troubles I'm facing stem from general unfamiliarity with a new boat, so some of this is up to me to get myself accustomed to her, but I'm hoping this forum will be a good resource.

One thing I've noticed immediately, is that the mainsail balloons near the top of the mast, preventing me from pointing closer to the wind than about 30-40 degrees. Is this normal? I was of the impression that the J24 was a strong upwind sailor. Also, I've found that, even with the aft stanchion tensioner as loose as possible, I've still got significant rake in the mast. Is this normal? Possibly a cause of my ballooning issue? Potentially just an old sail problem too, but the main and jib are nice and crisp, so I'm doubtful this is the case.

Another worry is every time it rains, I'm getting a lot of water in the cockpit, with everything buttoned up tight. Seem to pump out 5 gallons every time it rains (she's on the hard, so it's definitely not a hull leak). Any ideas on preventing this?

Anyway, that's just two things of a long list of many things. Look forward to learning more as I get more time aboard and hope to see some of you out there.



So the first thing I'd recommend is reading either the North or Quantum Sails (or both) tuning guides for the J24. It's a historical document that will take some of the guess work out of basic mast setup, which is critical to the performance of the boat. Your "main is too deep up top and rake seems extreme" sounds like the butt of your mast (on the I-beam inside the boat) is set too far forward. That will result specifically in a mast that is 1) setup too straight and 2) looks unusually raked. This will result in 2 things. First your main will look unusually deep. Second, your headstay will be unacceptably tight for J24 racing standards. The tuning guides will help you address this issue.

That said, in the best conditions, the J24 tacks through about 60 degrees, and in less than ideal conditions it's not unusual to be tacking through 90 or more degrees (depending on sea state and wind velocity). So 30-40 degrees is normal relative to true wind angle.

Water in the boat (bilge, down below) is pretty normal during rain. The mast has a lot of holes in it, and usually it takes a bit of effort to actually button up the partners against rain. If you're storing your boat on a trailer, just make sure bow is up a little bit so the cockpit (deck) can drain out the transom. Everyone in our fleet here in Newport will be found bailing out with a bucket after a good bit of rain, so you're again within normal tolerance for J24 sailing!

Remember that if it isn't on your mast or below your waterline, it doesn't really count towards speed. Spend your time on the water and your dollars where it will really matter until you're up to speed!

Welcome to the class.