The JS9000: A Racer’s Racer! By R. J. Mitchellette This boat is the quintessential solution to a racer’s “Dreamboat!” It gives a whole new meaning to the expression “harnessing the wind.”
he crowd began to gather even before the boat was off the trailer. The location for the sea trial, or better yet, the lake trial was Lake Sydney Lanier in Georgia. The dates were October 9-11. The occasion was the 30th Annual Sea Dog Barefoot Regatta where more than 60 boats were registered to compete in two classes, the time and distance class and the one-design (or near as possible) class, where the JS9000 took overall third place against two Melges 24s. Because the JS9000 is so new to the United States, the estimated PHRF of 75 is temporary, as most PHRF committees have no benchmark to rate the boat, as of yet. Thus the JS 9000 was placed in the one-design class, although it could have and possibly should have raced in the PHRF low nonspinnaker fleet. Eventually, the JS9000 will most probably race in a true one-design competition as there are already six boats owned and operated here in the United States since its introduction last year. There may be a seventh boat purchased by a couple in North Carolina as they are intending to take delivery in late December. Somebody is going to have a great Christmas!
JS9000 SPECIFICATIONS LOA 29’11” LWL 27’11” Beam 5’8” Draft (keel down) 6’9” Draft (keel up) 2’2” Displacement 2,028 lbs. Ballast 1,543 lbs. Main Sail Area 205 sq.ft. Jib Area 108 sq.ft. Asym. Spinnaker 568 sq.ft.
America’s Cup Designer The roots of the JS9000 began with naval architect John Swarbrick, the boat’s designer. In fact, the boat’s company name, JS YACHTS, and model designation of the boat are the first letters of his name, JS. The company is known for building seaworthy sailing craft designed for “short-handed” sailors and twice set records for single-handed aroundthe-world endeavors. John’s design experience in the America’s Cup and Whitbread races, including Taskforce and Kookabura I, II & III, respectively, with the Kookaburra III winning the Louis Vuitton Cup in 1987, provided the impetus to design the JS9000. Therefore, it is no surprise that the JS9000 looks like a mini America’s Cup racer. The JS9000 is extremely light at only 2028 pounds, consisting of a hull, which weighs a mere 485 pounds, and a retractable keel that weighs 1543 pounds, making this boat virtually unbroachable (I may have coined a new word). The boat is very responsive and points incredibly well. Its 29’11” length and 5’8” beam combined with a LWL of 27’11” trims down to an even leaner water plane with a waterline beam of only 3 feet. The high aspect ratios coupled with a simple rig (fractional), simple sail plan, tapered carbon mast and graphite sails combine to give the boat exceptional speed and explosive acceleration. The tacking ability of this boat is executed easily with a self-tacking (traveler) furling jib, along with all lines leading to a single control station located in the cockpit, all of which adds to its single-handed capabilities. Easy Trailering The optional lifting keel and removable rudder adds to the ease of trailering this boat without any appendages exposed and/or susceptibility to damage, although dropping and raising the 1543-pound keel, with a chain hoist mounted on an aluminum post and removable, takes some getting-used-to. The hull speed calculation of 6.5 knots (the SQ.RT. of the LWL x 1.25) is totally out of synch with the outstanding performance this writer experienced on the day he sailed with the skipper. In fact, on the day we sailed with moderate winds of five knots, the boat was racing downwind with an asymmetrical spinnaker at 7.5 knots, and it sailed close hauled at 6.8 knots. The next day, I was told the boat did 11 to 12 knots downwind in heavier air of 8 to 10 knots. No Need to Hike-Out on this Racer I was also very surprised to find that none of the four bodies aboard needed to “hike-out” to balance the boat, as the windward/leeward crew-positioning, if the skipper even needs a crew, makes little difference in the boat’s performance. Our test boat was extremely well-balanced, apparently due to its slender hull shape with a destroyer bow and high prismatic design resulting in lateral resistance moving aft