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J/24: The World's Most Popular Keelboat
Tell Tales' first featured Vintage Insignia hails from the J/24 Keelboat; check in every Monday to learn more about the history and sailing adventures of the many boats that fuel the authenticity behind the Vintage Insignia Collection.
Each Monday we will kick off the week by highlighting a vintage sail tote from our most recently launched collection to provide a bit of fun sailing history. This week's featured recycled sail bag from the Sea Bags Vintage Insignia Collection is the J/24 - hailed as 'The Worlds Most Popular One-Design Keelboat.' Here at Sea Bags, we may be partial to the J/24 because it was the first one-design sail boat to race for the Sea Bags Sailing Team, but that story is for a future post.
The J/24 Class originated in 1975 as a single twenty-four foot sail boat named "Ragtime". Designed and built by Rodney Johnstone out of his garage in Stonington, Connecticut, "Ragtime" became the blueprint for all J/24 hull thereafter. Rodney's love for sailing and boat building evolved into what is known today as J-Boats.
The true test for the J/24 came in 1978 when the first ever J/24 Midwinter Classic was hosted in Key West. In just a three year window of time, twenty boats were built and gathered together for the regatta. For the first time, the J/24 was to be assessed by the world's most distinguished sailors. The resounding response was that the Johnstones had created something special, and there was nothing to change about the J/24.
Thirty-eight years later the J/24 has cemented itself as a cornerstone of the sailing community with over 50,000 people sailing and nearly 5,500 boats on the water. The astounding growth of the J/24 is widely due to the fact that one can sail it at age seventeen or seventy, on a lazy Sunday, a weeknight friendly, or the world stage. One-design sailing is more about the people sailing the boat, than the boat itself; and the J/24 brings them all together to form the camaraderie that makes the class so special.