26 April 2015

Smiles (J/41 One Tonner)

Smiles was one of about twenty J/41's that were built by J/Boats between 1984 and 1987, and were notable campaigners in the IOR scene in the US over that period. The J/41, designed by Rod Johnstone, was designed to rate as a One Tonner (30.5ft IOR), with a different shape to many of its peers, with a notable rocker, fine ends and low wetted surface, giving it an edge in light airs.

The design first came to prominence in the 1984 SORC, when Dazzler finished third in Class E and third overall, while a fractional-rigged version Alethea finished fourth in class and fifth overall (Alethea and Dazzler were both built by Tillotson and Pearson in a bare nine weeks). The masthead design carried a bit more ballast than the fractional variation, while Alethea carried a larger headsail and smaller mainsail than other fractionally rigged boats of the size.

Smiles in the marina, displaying some IOR optimised bow-down trim (photo Histoiredeshalfs)
The J/41's followed up their 1984 SORC success by taking the first three places in the  USYRU North American One Ton Championships, with Charlie Scott's Smiles winning, followed by Road Warrior, owned and skippered by America's Cup yachtsman John Kolius, with Dazzler taking third. Smiles followed up her One Ton Championship performance by winning the Onion Patch Trophy that year.
The crew coax Smiles along upwind in moderate breeze during the 1985 SORC (photo Histoiredeshalfs)
Smiles went on to win the 1985 SORC overall - a large calm some 60 miles from the finish of the Miami-Nassau race benefited the smaller boats such as the One Tonners and gave Smiles a significant points edge over her larger competition. Indeed, the weather in the 1985 series was lighter than usual and this ideally suited the light air orientation of the J/41 design. 
Smiles in two-sail power reaching conditions during the 1985 SORC
Smiles powers along downwind with spinnaker and blooper set (photo Histoiredeshalfs)
The win by Smiles was an impressive result for a production boat and caused some consternation for the many custom boat owners. Scott had even finished Smiles himself, although he went to some effort to centralise the deck equipment and the internal arrangement amidships to minimise weight in the ends.
Smiles (above and below) sails upwind during the 1985 SORC

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