The story of J/Boats is a classic entrepreneurial tale: With a $20,000 investment, and a speedy 24-foot sailboat that Rod Johnstone built in his garage, Rod & his brother Bob Johnstone went into business. That was 1977. Now, that boat (the J/24), has become the most popular recreational offshore keelboat in the world. The Johnstone family has made an undeniable mark on the sailing world. In addition to the 5,400 J/24s cruising the waves, there are over 7,000 more J/Boats, ranging from the International J/22 to the J/65, that sailing enthusiasts have bought at prices ranging from $10,000 to $2,000,000. While other manufacturers may sell more boats, the Johnstones have won the high-end, performance-oriented segment of the market.
Theirs is the so-called racer/cruiser category: boats that perform well on the race course but which are comfortable and easy enough for the family to daysail and cruise. It is with knowledgeable, experienced sailors that the Johnstones have done best.
In Malta, the Ripard family took the Jboat name to the next level with regards to central Mediterranean awareness of that side of the performance sailing world. Every scoreboard of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has a handful of Jboats at the top of the ranks, one or two includes one member of the family at minimum. Our very own Christian Ripard has won many a Middle Sea Race on the J122 ‘Artie’. Moral of the story, these boats are tough to beat.