The J-24 Class was admitted to SSA as a sponsored class in 1983 and has a strong local presence. The Annapolis area has over 25 boats actively sailing, making it a large and competitive fleet. SSA hosted the 1992 J-24 World Championships, and annually hosts the J-24 East Coast Championships (where 70 boats typically compete). There is a full schedule of J-24 racing in the area (both at SSA and through CBYRA) as well as opportunities to travel to J-24 regattas elsewhere on the Chesapeake. With all of this activity, it's not surprising that many of the top J-24 sailors in the world have hailed from Annapolis at one time or another.
While the J-24 is not truly a dinghy, it is quick and responsive (and, from the crew point of view, is probably more fun to sail since there are no trapezes or hiking straps). The international class rules are very tight, designed to keep the 5,000 J-24s worldwide within fixed one-design limits. So as to keep the cost of sailing the J-24 within the financial reach of mere mortals, sail inventory is limited to 4: 1 main, 2 jibs, and 1 spinnaker.
The maximum crew weight is 882 lbs., and most boats sail with five crew members. Skippers are often looking for additional crew, so opportunities to get involved in J-24 sailing are definitely not limited to boat owners! In fact, the local fleet keeps a list of people interested in crewing on the weekends and/or Thursday nights. Many of the best boats have women either as crew or at the helm.
While local J-24 racing is known to be hotly competitive, J-24 sailors tend to be very helpful to those just starting out. It's not unusual to see some of the top sailors in the area showing newer owners and crews how to make their boats go faster. There are also plenty of off-the-water activities, both during the racing season as well as during the off months.
For more information on the class, visit the fleet web site or contact the SSA Fleet Captain at firstname.lastname@example.org.