Less Hassle, More Fun

Published on February 7th, 2017

When it comes to participation, harnessing ease and affordability will get people on the water. Simon Grain provides this update from Australia.

In Melbourne and a few other places around our continent we have second-hand J/24 fleets. The boats are cheap and most have been owned by a half dozen or more owners. Exotics are limited and costs are low compared to almost any other boat. You can buy and race one for less than the average 29er.

With 20 odd boats in our fleet, we have a 100 or more people involved, ranging from young to old – and the group spirit is amazing. We help the newbies get going and try to hang onto the oldies. The racing is fierce, it’s like a mini nationals every Sunday morning with three races in quick succession. Afterwards, most will sit around a big table on the yacht club terrace and have lunch and drinks, talking about the boats and reliving the races.

No, we don’t foil or scream around with big assy kites. We are not all trying to buy the latest go faster design. We can’t – we are a second hand, one design class – just like around 5500 other J/24s in the world. We love the close racing and most of us also enjoy the odd cruise to places around the bay. And we all enjoy a drink and good times.

If you are wondering what boat to buy next, what class your club could promote, the second hand J/24 is almost perfect. Five mates on each boat, all moving at the same speed towards a cold beer at the end of the race or cruise, and all for less than a new main on the average 40footer. I bet you’ll have a lot more fun and a lot less hassles too.

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