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1981 J/30 Owner's Experiences Shared

A collection of 1981 J/30 owner’s  experiences by Dell Todd, Temptation hull #311

As I reviewed the J/30 class listing sorted by hull number I realized that there are several hull numbers both newer and older than my hull number. I used the contact info listed on the class site to reach my fellow 1981 J/30 owners with the following note:

“I was perusing the J/30 list and I see that you have a boat built at nearly the same time as mine, hull #311.

How is your boat holding up?

Has anything unusual happened with your boat?

Mine is holding up very well. We seem to have inherited a rebuilt Yanmar, so it has been a trusty runner for us. The topsides were unfortunately “re gel coated” which failed in places so I had to remove, prime & paint, which was a chore.  Most importantly she seems to be dry, which seems to be a real hit or miss proposition.

Dell Todd

What feedback I got!

You can see the enthusiasm for their boats – and what lovely boats. They immediately recall every last thing they did to them during their restoration project.

From Greg Hammond, hull #314, Northern New England:
J/30 Groovin

“Hello Dell

Where do you sail?

Groovin is in great shape. It did see its way through a hurricane and a couple of small dings in starboard side up high that needs a little more work. I do wonder what it is like under the marks but seems dry. It had a nice dark blue finish done at that time and I do not want to do repairs but I do not think I have any choice. Other than that it works real well, this is only the end of the second summer for us and we have been way to busy to do the cosmetic upkeep but have lots of plans for the spring! It can’t come soon enough.



“I hear it can be rough on those (Great) Lakes, I have been to the cork regattas in Kingston. yes another year gone, we hauled middle of Sept too but there are still boats in and sailing! If you ever come this way let me know, great sailing on the Bay. Lots of world class events have been here.


From Paul Magnini hull #312 –  a Texas J/30 sailor:

“Hi Dell,

J/30 Groovin

I bought J30, 312 three years ago.  I bought it with a bad Yanmar.   The price I paid was low.    I put an new 2007 Yanmar in the boat.    I installed it myself with help of one friend.   The hull was sound and the deck had a couple of moist areas and I cut them out and redid them.   I replaced the folding prop with a new folding prop.   I replaced the standing rigging and spreaders this past spring.    I removed the 4 old instruments in the cabin front.    I filled the holes with wood and West Systems fiberglass.    The same method I used on the deck.   I have added new depth, hull speed and compass.    I bought new main and genoa two years ago and a new jib this past winter.    I had a bottom job done three years ago and took the boat down to the gelcoat below the water line.   I faired the hull with West Systems and then gave 4 coats of Interlux Interprotect 2000E and then 3 coats of Petits Trinidad SR.   The boat has improved its performance a lot.   I am now equal to the other 2 J30’s in Corpus Christi, TX.   I just completed my second Harvest Moon Regatta.    Galveston to Port Aransas, TX just out side Corpus Christi Bay.   The race is 160 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.    The boat is good and solid.   I also replace the electrical panel with new breaker panel and rewired where needed with new lights inside where needed about 5.    I replaced the nav. lights with LED port and starb.  I added a boom kicker as well.    I find the boat very comfortable and seaworthy.   A new problem I have just discovered is the stern stanchion needs a repair weld on the starb. side.   I installed a harken roller furler 2 years ago and the added strain from the block attached to the stanchion post has broken the weld.    I will remove it in the next month and get it rewelded and check the other pads.   This is what you get with a 1981 sailboat.     All in all I am very pleased with the construction of the J30.    If you have any other questions.   Feel free to email them to me.   Just a note in Corpus Christi Bay the norm winds are 12 to 25 mph.    We race with winds up to 35 mph.   The boat is very comfortable in the conditions.

Paul Magnini


“Hi Dell,

A couple items that I did not mention in my last email.   I replaced the main hatch and hatch over the head.   Also I repainted the deck and cabin top with non-skid paint after the two deck repairs.   All is good now.    I also replace the 6 winches this past spring.   I went with Harken 2 speed self tailing for the primary and secondary.   It has made sail trimming much easier.

Paul Magnini,  Esperanza II  # 312

From Chuck Dolinskas hull #313, an upstate New York freshwater sailor:
J/30 Groovin


Always glad to hear from another J/30 owner. My boat is doing well but it does have some water in the core. I’ve been trying to fix up some of the soft spots in the deck. The Anti-skid on the deck needs to be replaced so I am interested to hear your experience with the gel problem you had. The most interesting story was I was at a regatta last year and I ran across the boat’s original owner. His first question was “Did they ever fix the moisture problem in the Hull? Oh well.

Keep the old girl shining.

Chuck Dolinskas

From Doug Clark hull #309, a Canadian sailor from Ontario:

“Hi Dell,

J/30 Expressway

Nice to hear from you. I have just had the winterizing completed on the weekend and will hopefully be covering it up for the winter on Saturday, weather permitting.

I have had my J for 10 years and sail it, raced it with a friend for approx. 5 years prior to that.

The boat is in pretty good shape, but does need some refreshing. I recently put new instruments, wind,speed and depth, new gps, new radio & antenna, new lights on the mast (LED), new halyards, and about six years ago had the bottom done with Interprotect. I do need to replace the sails soon, but since I don’t race regularly on my boat it is not essential but would be nice. I race regularly with another friend and trim main, chute and alternate on the helm. He has a C&C 37R.

The hull is Awlgriped, however the deck reeeaaaly needs to be done. The engine is the original Yanmar 2GM and still works strong and gets a good work out every summer. It never fails that the direction we want to go is either on the nose or dead astern, blowing 25-30 knots.

We traveled completely around Lake Ontario this past summer and barely got a full day of sailing in during the two weeks on the water thanks to the winds and rain and rough water. This is the second time this has happened to us. I think next year we will be staying in our end of the lake. We are out of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and will likely venture only as far a Niagara and over to Toronto and back.

Take care and we will talk again.


J/30 Temptation
Lovely to hear the good news from my fellow happy J/30 owners. The 1981 J/30 #311, the Temptation is floating happily in One Design trim with a fresh topsides finish (Interlux Perfection), templated foils, recent barrier coat, decent racing sails, sweet new Lewmar hatches all around, Lewmar rope clutches to update the originals which were sold on the class site to the guy who now owns the J/30 which went through the Fastnet storm (!), new Nx2 steam gauges on the way and many wonderful adventures ahead of her! She, like her fellow 1981’s is holding up very well, thanks for asking!

Broad Reaches To You,
Dell Todd

(J/30s LOVE a reach!)


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