The J/109 has firmly established herself as the boat-to-go-for if you’re sailing in Ireland and want a 34-36 footer which offers surprisingly good accommodation with an excellent competitive performance, and often with a virtually one-design racing option writes W M Nixon.
But we Irish being the thrawn people we are, there are folk out there who simply don’t want to be put into the J/109 straitjacket, yet they want a race winner with some cruiser potential around this size. The Archambault A35 might have been created with them in mind.
Of course, any comparisons with the up-coming J/109 design was probably the furthest thing from the minds of Michel Joubert and Bernard Nivelt in France when they were working up the design of the A35 towards a first-production date of 2006. But since then, we all know that when the most successful A35 in Ireland - Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Dunmore East - turns up for a major open regatta, it’s her showing against the J/109s which is going to be the most ready yardstick for seeing how well she’s doing.
Not that the McConnell team – mostly from Waterford Harbour SC – need to prove anything any more, as their list of successes include a notable domination of the Scottish Series. But although this other well-looked-after A 35, for sale through Crosshaven Boatyard at €85,000 - hasn’t quite scaled the same peaks of victory, she’s had her wins over the years nevertheless, and her owner has liked the boat so much he has stayed with her for nine years from new.
One A35 option he chose which the J/109 doesn’t offer is tiller steering. Some of the most seasoned one-design helmsmen who have moved up into the J/109 admit to finding that the mandatory wheel takes a bit of getting used to, whereas others – not quite as agile as they used to be - find it’s a real bonus after being thrown across various cockpits by unruly tillers. Well, this boat in Cork is tiller-steered, and so too is Fool’s Gold, but another Irish A35 went for the big wheel, so it’s a matter of personal choice in seeking out the Cork boat.
Certainly the A35 is a boat of character, and with traditional offshore racing on the up-and-up again as people discover they really do need a form of sailing which puts them at a worthwhile remove from the everyday concerns of shore life, she has much to offer.
See the full advert for the Archambault 35 for sale on Afloat.ie here