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Sunfast 3200 v J/105

wannabeeskipper

New member
Joined
22 Jul 2021
Messages
11
Am in the market for a Sunfast 3200 or J/105 for Hamble/Warsash/Cowes round-the-cans , RORC weekend offshores and possibly leisure trips to Guernsey, Scillys & Ile de Re - but mainly for racing, without the burden of finding a full crew.

Which do you recommend?
 

Ingwe

Member
Joined
7 Jul 2015
Messages
204
I would also add the A35 to your list. The key decision is whether you want a good offshore boat or a good inshore boat - its hard to have both.

Certainly if you want an offshore 2 handed boat I would pick the sunfast, but having owned one for a couple of years it is a tough boat to do well on a windward leeward inshore course.

But if I wanted another boat along these lines now I would probably get an A35, set up main IRC rating and sail plan for fully crewed inshore racing and then sail offshore 2 handed using a sightly different setup on an IRC two handed certificate - you would then stand a decent chance of winning races inshore and offshore - which you would struggle to do with most other boats without spending more and getting a JPK.
 

flaming

Well-known member
Joined
24 Mar 2004
Messages
12,664
Firstly welcome!

Absolutely awesome to hear someone wanting to get into racing in this size/rating bracket for those sort of round the cans events. I've raced in the Solent in those events in that sort of rating bracket for the best part of 15 years, so if I can help in any way to assist another boat into the fleet, I'd be delighted to. I've run our crew finding for the last decade so may be able to help in that respect as well.

The good news is that both boats have a history of being fairly competitive in round the cans racing, although I think for that use the 105 has the edge. Certainly over the recent years the 105s "Jelly Baby" and "Jos of Hamble" have been turning in lots of good results. "Jacana" has been a thorn in our side lately as well. "Cora" the 3200 has had some strong results as well, but they don't do much round the cans. I did a lot of sailing in a 105 several years ago, but I've not actually sailed a 3200. It does appear that the "R2" versions of the 3200 are a little better round the cans than the original.

But, the 105 is a pretty pants cruising boat... Sitting headroom only and nothing you'd really call a separate cabin.

If you have a keen interest in these boats, then a good look at the results from Cowes this year will be interesting. In IRC3 there are 4 105s and 3 3200s entered, one of which is an R2. 1 of each are not boats/owners I've come across before, so should be interesting.

But... you mention "without the burden of finding a full crew " as a reason to go for these boats... I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your aim is to be competitive round the cans at Cowes, or Hamble winter series etc, then even in these boats with stellar shorthanded reputations you won't be on the pace sailing with 4 or 5 people on board. A full crew of at least 7 will be needed, you just won't be able to hang on upwind without the crew numbers. The good news with the 105 though is that the boat is really easy to sail and you don't need 7 experienced people to get you pretty far up the fleet. The other good news is that finding good crew has never been easier, social media is an absolute godsend for the crew organiser....!
For around the same money I would echo Ingwe's suggestion to at least look at the A35, which can be a super competitive IRC machine, but be aware that compared to the 105 I found it to be a much tweakier boat, the one I made the occasional appearance on never really got on top of the boat and unlocked its potential and the owner got disillusioned in the end. Plus you will need 8/9 bodies to race round the cans and most of them need to know what they are doing. If this is your first race boat then unless you're bringing with you people used to working up a boat then I'd struggle to recommend it over a 105. And I'd assume a 3200, though like I say, I've not sailed a 3200 to know how accessible the performance is.

Other boats to look at would be the ubiquitous J109 - often maligned but still a force under IRC and with the benefit of class racing at Cowes and some other events. Not as exciting as either the 105 or the 3200 downwind in the breeze but better than both in the light and much more comfortable for the other part of the use - the cruising.
Slightly smaller, but the J97 is a great IRC boat. You won't be sailing against the same boats as in the other boats most of the time though, as it rates a fair bit slower. Same with the SJ320. Another great option, and there's at least 1 owner on these boards if it's a boat that interests you.

And then if budget is less of an issue, the use case you've described is basically the design brief for the J99. Pretty new boat so prices will be high, or you'll have to buy new, but it does seem to be a pretty solid round the cans performer, winning in strong fleets in France and Ireland.
Plus of course, if you can find one, the JPK1010, which is simply an astounding boat. But I'm a bit biased there....

And that's the other bad news, there is an absolute chronic shortage of boats for sale at the moment.
 

wannabeeskipper

New member
Joined
22 Jul 2021
Messages
11
I would also add the A35 to your list. The key decision is whether you want a good offshore boat or a good inshore boat - its hard to have both.

Certainly if you want an offshore 2 handed boat I would pick the sunfast, but having owned one for a couple of years it is a tough boat to do well on a windward leeward inshore course.

But if I wanted another boat along these lines now I would probably get an A35, set up main IRC rating and sail plan for fully crewed inshore racing and then sail offshore 2 handed using a sightly different setup on an IRC two handed certificate - you would then stand a decent chance of winning races inshore and offshore - which you would struggle to do with most other boats without spending more and getting a JPK.
I had forgotten the A35, thanks for reminding me - I had a look but her lines are not to my taste.
 

wannabeeskipper

New member
Joined
22 Jul 2021
Messages
11
Firstly welcome!

Absolutely awesome to hear someone wanting to get into racing in this size/rating bracket for those sort of round the cans events. I've raced in the Solent in those events in that sort of rating bracket for the best part of 15 years, so if I can help in any way to assist another boat into the fleet, I'd be delighted to. I've run our crew finding for the last decade so may be able to help in that respect as well.

The good news is that both boats have a history of being fairly competitive in round the cans racing, although I think for that use the 105 has the edge. Certainly over the recent years the 105s "Jelly Baby" and "Jos of Hamble" have been turning in lots of good results. "Jacana" has been a thorn in our side lately as well. "Cora" the 3200 has had some strong results as well, but they don't do much round the cans. I did a lot of sailing in a 105 several years ago, but I've not actually sailed a 3200. It does appear that the "R2" versions of the 3200 are a little better round the cans than the original.

But, the 105 is a pretty pants cruising boat... Sitting headroom only and nothing you'd really call a separate cabin.

If you have a keen interest in these boats, then a good look at the results from Cowes this year will be interesting. In IRC3 there are 4 105s and 3 3200s entered, one of which is an R2. 1 of each are not boats/owners I've come across before, so should be interesting.

But... you mention "without the burden of finding a full crew " as a reason to go for these boats... I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your aim is to be competitive round the cans at Cowes, or Hamble winter series etc, then even in these boats with stellar shorthanded reputations you won't be on the pace sailing with 4 or 5 people on board. A full crew of at least 7 will be needed, you just won't be able to hang on upwind without the crew numbers. The good news with the 105 though is that the boat is really easy to sail and you don't need 7 experienced people to get you pretty far up the fleet. The other good news is that finding good crew has never been easier, social media is an absolute godsend for the crew organiser....!
For around the same money I would echo Ingwe's suggestion to at least look at the A35, which can be a super competitive IRC machine, but be aware that compared to the 105 I found it to be a much tweakier boat, the one I made the occasional appearance on never really got on top of the boat and unlocked its potential and the owner got disillusioned in the end. Plus you will need 8/9 bodies to race round the cans and most of them need to know what they are doing. If this is your first race boat then unless you're bringing with you people used to working up a boat then I'd struggle to recommend it over a 105. And I'd assume a 3200, though like I say, I've not sailed a 3200 to know how accessible the performance is.

Other boats to look at would be the ubiquitous J109 - often maligned but still a force under IRC and with the benefit of class racing at Cowes and some other events. Not as exciting as either the 105 or the 3200 downwind in the breeze but better than both in the light and much more comfortable for the other part of the use - the cruising.
Slightly smaller, but the J97 is a great IRC boat. You won't be sailing against the same boats as in the other boats most of the time though, as it rates a fair bit slower. Same with the SJ320. Another great option, and there's at least 1 owner on these boards if it's a boat that interests you.

And then if budget is less of an issue, the use case you've described is basically the design brief for the J99. Pretty new boat so prices will be high, or you'll have to buy new, but it does seem to be a pretty solid round the cans performer, winning in strong fleets in France and Ireland.
Plus of course, if you can find one, the JPK1010, which is simply an astounding boat. But I'm a bit biased there....

And that's the other bad news, there is an absolute chronic shortage of boats for sale at the moment.
Thank you so much for this great reply. it is much appreciated. I know the 109 very well indeed, but I think I want something that is generally a bit lighter on its feet and a sail area that is more manageable with reduced-skill crew. I have raced a J88 a few times but that is sportier than I am looking for. The 97 is too slow and the 99 too expensive!! It is hard to shake the 105 - I have wanted one for a while ...but I am kind of feeling that the SF3200 is going to be the one... if I can find one!

Thanks again.
 

Boo2

Well-known member
Joined
13 Jan 2010
Messages
8,220
Am in the market for a Sunfast 3200 or J/105 for Hamble/Warsash/Cowes round-the-cans , RORC weekend offshores and possibly leisure trips to Guernsey, Scillys & Ile de Re - but mainly for racing, without the burden of finding a full crew.

Which do you recommend?
No idea which is the best boat but there's a J105 on eBay atm at a shade under £40k.

Boo2
 

flaming

Well-known member
Joined
24 Mar 2004
Messages
12,664
Had another thought. Have a look at the A31. Bit smaller than either boat, but good reputation for being a lot of fun.
 

flaming

Well-known member
Joined
24 Mar 2004
Messages
12,664
If you have a keen interest in these boats, then a good look at the results from Cowes this year will be interesting. In IRC3 there are 4 105s and 3 3200s entered, one of which is an R2. 1 of each are not boats/owners I've come across before, so should be interesting.
And the answer was....

Buy an A35.

Jos, the 105 were 3rd. Jacana 7th. The 2 3200s were 9th and 11th, sandwiching the J99.

But... Mostly the wind was light, and the 3200s are notoriously sticky in the light. Jos was the only boat that really threatened the top 2. On the windy day Jos and Jacana beat the A35 fairly comfortably. Mostly because the final leg was a very long - Yarmouth to home - reach.
Arcus' (the A35) crew were really on it this year though, I think they'd have been tough to beat overall in any boat.
 

wannabeeskipper

New member
Joined
22 Jul 2021
Messages
11
Firstly welcome!

Absolutely awesome to hear someone wanting to get into racing in this size/rating bracket for those sort of round the cans events. I've raced in the Solent in those events in that sort of rating bracket for the best part of 15 years, so if I can help in any way to assist another boat into the fleet, I'd be delighted to. I've run our crew finding for the last decade so may be able to help in that respect as well.

The good news is that both boats have a history of being fairly competitive in round the cans racing, although I think for that use the 105 has the edge. Certainly over the recent years the 105s "Jelly Baby" and "Jos of Hamble" have been turning in lots of good results. "Jacana" has been a thorn in our side lately as well. "Cora" the 3200 has had some strong results as well, but they don't do much round the cans. I did a lot of sailing in a 105 several years ago, but I've not actually sailed a 3200. It does appear that the "R2" versions of the 3200 are a little better round the cans than the original.

But, the 105 is a pretty pants cruising boat... Sitting headroom only and nothing you'd really call a separate cabin.

If you have a keen interest in these boats, then a good look at the results from Cowes this year will be interesting. In IRC3 there are 4 105s and 3 3200s entered, one of which is an R2. 1 of each are not boats/owners I've come across before, so should be interesting.

But... you mention "without the burden of finding a full crew " as a reason to go for these boats... I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your aim is to be competitive round the cans at Cowes, or Hamble winter series etc, then even in these boats with stellar shorthanded reputations you won't be on the pace sailing with 4 or 5 people on board. A full crew of at least 7 will be needed, you just won't be able to hang on upwind without the crew numbers. The good news with the 105 though is that the boat is really easy to sail and you don't need 7 experienced people to get you pretty far up the fleet. The other good news is that finding good crew has never been easier, social media is an absolute godsend for the crew organiser....!
For around the same money I would echo Ingwe's suggestion to at least look at the A35, which can be a super competitive IRC machine, but be aware that compared to the 105 I found it to be a much tweakier boat, the one I made the occasional appearance on never really got on top of the boat and unlocked its potential and the owner got disillusioned in the end. Plus you will need 8/9 bodies to race round the cans and most of them need to know what they are doing. If this is your first race boat then unless you're bringing with you people used to working up a boat then I'd struggle to recommend it over a 105. And I'd assume a 3200, though like I say, I've not sailed a 3200 to know how accessible the performance is.

Other boats to look at would be the ubiquitous J109 - often maligned but still a force under IRC and with the benefit of class racing at Cowes and some other events. Not as exciting as either the 105 or the 3200 downwind in the breeze but better than both in the light and much more comfortable for the other part of the use - the cruising.
Slightly smaller, but the J97 is a great IRC boat. You won't be sailing against the same boats as in the other boats most of the time though, as it rates a fair bit slower. Same with the SJ320. Another great option, and there's at least 1 owner on these boards if it's a boat that interests you.

And then if budget is less of an issue, the use case you've described is basically the design brief for the J99. Pretty new boat so prices will be high, or you'll have to buy new, but it does seem to be a pretty solid round the cans performer, winning in strong fleets in France and Ireland.
Plus of course, if you can find one, the JPK1010, which is simply an astounding boat. But I'm a bit biased there....

And that's the other bad news, there is an absolute chronic shortage of boats for sale at the moment.
This is great information. Thanks
 

wannabeeskipper

New member
Joined
22 Jul 2021
Messages
11
And the answer was....

Buy an A35.

Jos, the 105 were 3rd. Jacana 7th. The 2 3200s were 9th and 11th, sandwiching the J99.

But... Mostly the wind was light, and the 3200s are notoriously sticky in the light. Jos was the only boat that really threatened the top 2. On the windy day Jos and Jacana beat the A35 fairly comfortably. Mostly because the final leg was a very long - Yarmouth to home - reach.
Arcus' (the A35) crew were really on it this year though, I think they'd have been tough to beat overall in any boat.
I can't bring myself to 'love' the A35! Apart from that, I prefer a boat that has a bigger local class. The 105 is such a great boat... just getting a little old these days and the lack of cabin space will be a problem if I end up doing more adventure sailing than round-the-cans. ...then as you start thinking seriously about buying a boat, it is amazing how quickly one starts trying to justify to oneself busting the budget you originally set... ! We'll see how it goes.
Thanks again.
 
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