J/Boat sailors know that they are a part of one of the biggest sailing families in the world, but did you know that when you join the J/Boat family, you’re not just joining a lot of people who sail J/boats, you’re literally joining the J/Boat family…
It is 1977 and two brothers, Rod and Bob Johnstone combine a $20,000 investment and a 24-foot sailboat that Rod built in his garage to start a business. Ragtime was the first J/24 and it marked the launch of what many consider to be the world’s most popular recreational offshore keelboat. As a boat that holds its own in the racer/cruiser category, J/Boats are just as comfortable in the family oriented daysail and cruising category.
The Johnstone brothers’ boat building futures had begun two years earlier when Rod decided to build a sailboat he had been designing since completing a Westlawn School of Yacht Design correspondence course in the 60s. Constructed from left overs, and some new fiberglass and wood, Ragtime became a hit when, with the family on board as crew, Rod’s boat was unbeatable.
In their first year of manufacture J/Boats delivered 136 J/24s. The company has since produced numerous models from the J/22 to the J/122E and more. Still a family affair, the company is now run by several of Bob's and Rod’s sons who together continue to manufacture J/boats with the same passion as their fathers before them.