J/24 – The world’s most popular One-Design Keelboat
Whether your style is weeknight beer-can racing or competing on the world stage – the J24 is undeniably the most popular racing keelboat to make waves around the world. This appealing keelboat started with one man’s desire for a sailboat to accommodate his family and to be a competitive racer. Twenty-seven years later, the J24 has become a legend. A stable sailboat for family togetherness, the J24 has also been the competitive launch pad for the careers of numerous America’s Cup professionals.
The world-wide acceptance of J24 design, the strong one-design rules and the strength of the International J24 Class Association have led to the J24 to be selected as the platform for the International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) Nation's Cup, the ISAF Women’s World Match Racing Championship, the Rolex Women's International Keelboat Championship and US Sailing's St. Francis International Masters Championship (aged 55+).
While some of the world's best sailors have the latest version J24, a well-prepared 1977 model, built to the same shape and weight with rigid end-grained balsa core construction can still win the J/24 Class world championship even after 30,000+ miles of trailering. That's 'One Design' racing! The International J24 is presently built in the US, Argentina and Italy and has more than 50,000 people sailing 5,200 boats in 27 countries.
(Above detail courtesy of the J24 Association of Ireland)
Afloat's Graham Smith wrote, in March 2009, of the J24: "Since it first hit the scene in the late 1970s, the J24 has grown slowly over the years to the present recorded number of 60, although new Class chairman Robin Eagleson would be the first to acknowledge that the Class doesn’t know where they all are (a common problem with many classes here!). The class is keen to bring an international event like the Europeans to these shores in the next few years and that might generate some additional interest.
In the meantime, it plans to continue its programme of regional events where the format is eight windward-leeward races over two days, for short, sharp racing where only minutes separate first from last. Mickey McAldin from Lough Erne won the Westerns and Autumn Trophy and David Taylor from Carrickfergus took the Northern title on home waters.
In addition to winning the Easterns, Flor O’Driscoll of the Royal St George also had the distinction of taking the ICRA Class 3 title on IRC to really get the tongues wagging when the Saab-sponsored championships was held in Howth early in the season.
At the other end of the year, a small turnout of 14 boats (but from five different clubs) contested the Irish Championships on Carlingford Lough and Malcolm Ennis from Carrickfergus mastered the widely varying conditions to take the title. National Champion 2009: Malcolm Ennis, Carrickfergus SC."
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