Friday, January 8, 2016


Normally I post here about new boats, this one has already 5 years and that means that a new re-make, if not a new boat, should be on the way to substitute it, except I don't think it is going to happen, or even that it is needed  and since this boat is not on this blog (the blog started in 2014) it is time to post about it because I find it one of the most interesting around.

JPK stands for Jean-Pierre Kelbert, the initials of the builder. JPK is a great guy, I knew him personally some years ago while I was looking for my next boat and made a tour of the shipyards that had boats that interested me.

 I meat at that time some very interesting guys but none as interesting as JPK. He was a racer that started building boats and still races occasionally, crewing on his client's boats and he certainly has some top racers as clients. They buy mostly two of his cruiser racers, the JPK 10.10 and the JPK 10.80.

Both boats have already won the Fastnet  and the Transaquadra. The 10.80 won the last Transquadra and its division on the Sydney-Hobart. On both, on the Transquadra (duo Transat) and on the Sydney-Hobart, JPK was part of the crew. So I can tell you that, with a vast experience of crew racing and solo racing, building winning boats, he knows exactly what he is talking about when you discuss with you your particular requirements. He can offer very positive and meaningful suggestions regarding the sailing and cruising needs of any sailor and make them happen on the boats.

That was what I felt when I talked with him regarding having a JPK 110 more adapted to cruising and solo sailing. But in the end I felt that the 110 was just a bit smaller than what I needed, specially regarding storage space and even if impressed with the boat and boat building quality I moved on. If he had already the 38FC probably I would have that boat.

FC stands for fast cruising and the boat seems to respond to all I want on a sailboat. It was not designed with racing on mind but for the ones whose principal enjoyment is cruising on a rewarding and fast boat, including offshore cruising. Compared with the 110 the 38 is bigger, more stable, easier to sail (due to a a bigger transom and more beam), has an option for a swing keel (with all the ballast on the keel), has a much bigger galley and much more storage space.

Its  small weight (5000kg), allow for the use of relatively small sails, easily manageable, the big form stability and big B/D ratio (38%) on a big draft (1.35/2.70m) gives it a huge stability and a very good reserve or final stability. A powerful easy and very seaworthy boat built with infusion vacuum techniques on a cored (20mm) hull using vinylester resins and as core Balsa light and Airex. In fact the  hull is built like the one of a racing 40 class boat (that they built too).

Many times what the builders or designers says about their boats is exaggerated but I don't think it is the case with JPK that "explains" the 38FC better than me.

"The  JPK 38 reunites the cumulative experience of offshore racing, the cruising experience and a desire to voyage combining the pleasure of sailing, the quality of life aboard and safety. Many boats are on the market but none of them really combines all these qualities:

There are boats with a good cruising interior but with a hull limited by weight resulting in a diminished sailing pleasure and an offshore seaworthiness not entirely convincing. And also boats very light, with a minimalist interior and a open type of hull but not tolerant about the overload inherent to offshore cruising. They have very flat hull sections that will be very uncomfortable going close to the wind in a seaway.

The JPK 38 FC measure 11.38 meters to 4 meters wide. It is an ideal size in our opinion in what regards simple management of navigation and boat maintenance. The sail areas will generate little effort and are easily to handle. They are complemented with a gennaker or a code 0 on a retractable carbon bowsprit, allowing an uncluttered front deck. Bow thruster and electric winch remain unnecessary comfort options.

We considered having this boat made on the hull mold of JPK Class 40 , it would be easier and less expensive but Jacques Valer (the NA) immediately felt that it was impossible to achieve a true "good cruise sailingboat" by exploiting the mold of a boat designed to weigh 4500 kg 
 when in Version cruise we would need 5500 kg.

The JPK 38 FC is a synthesis between an "open" planing boat and a "displacement" boat. A beamy and powerful hull but with the frontal sections deep enough for a good wave passage and a deeper central hull, accepting the overload needed for voyaging. The result is a stable boat capable of sailing at a very high average speed in all sea conditions. The super careful construction in infused sandwich allows a large hull volume for a light displacement of 5 T, despite a substantial ballast of 1900 kg in the deep keel version.

The low weight is the key factor on all the architecture of the boat is based. The objective is to obtain a sufficiently rigid and fast hull to quickly exceed hull speed without dragging water even under load. A boat that will be fast upwind, downwind and in light winds.

For the ones that want the best in what regards sheltered anchorage and dream to voyage to the "end of the world" we have developed our swinging keel that allows to vary the draft from 2.70 m to 1.35 m. The keel foil is made of an infused composite web and the bulbed part is lead. It provides a RM similar to the one of the fixed keel with an estimate overall weight slightly lower. The necessary interior arrangements regarding the lifting mechanism don't interfere with the habitability.

In summary, the JPK 38 FC is a true synthesis of a modern voyage boat: Convivial, easy, seaworthy and very fast."

Regarding to be very fast, even if deigned as a cruising boat and with a rating that will not make competitive in IRC compensated racing, on the last Silverrudder, the most famous Nordic solo race, with 330 competitors, a race that experienced almost all wind conditions, a JPK 38 won with such an easiness that leaved all astonished.

That particular JPK 38FC is used normally for family cruising won not only its category, "keel boat large" but was also the fastest cruiser/racer monohull in all monohull categories including fastest than any of the much bigger "XL keel boat" category. And there were some very fast boats among the beaten ones, like for instance a racing J111 very well sailed (Blur), a Xp44 and a Grand Soleil 43.

In real time the boat was only beaten by a race monohull boat and some very race oriented trimarans, beating most of them, including all Corsair and all Farrier. So I guess we can say that JPK is not exaggerating when he states that the 38FC is "very fast" ;-)

If you want to try one these guys have one for charter:


  1. Great to see JPK, I am a fan. I am an ex boatbuilder, with some NA experience (academic only). Love the JPK range and only if I had the cash...

  2. I saw the JPK38 at the shipyard 2 years ago and again just this week at Boot Dusseldorf. I don't see any other boat coming close to the JPK 38 in it's balance of true performance, cruising comfort and Safety. This is my ideal family cruising boat. Some features stem directly from Pean-Pierre's experience and are unique to his boats: the 3rd cabin layout is amazing and very versatile, the galley and salon are spacious and 4/6 people can eat with no need to open the table and leave the passage clear. One of the few boats with watertight aft compartments. Loss of rudder is the cause of many boats sinking in recent years, to me this is an important consideration for a family cruising. I am not talking about performance here for that is a given. What really struck me is the level of comfort despite the performance. A Fan

    1. Until yesterday I could only imagine the 38 interior quality by the photos and the other JPK boats that I had seen. To my surprise a used boat (but in good condition) was at the Dusseldorf boat show and I can confirm what you say about it.

      I had also a look at the Django 980 and I was not impressed at all regarding its interior and also the one of the Italia 998, both very fast boats.

      But I was very impressed with the interior of the new J112e, at least with the same quality, if not more, of the one of the JPK38. Of course, completely different type of hull, even if the two boats are very fast, with different strong points. But in one thing the JPK 38 beats clearly the J112: interior space, since the boat is not only beamier but also longer by a foot...and since both boats cost about the same price it seems to me that for cruising the JPK 38 is a better buy...unless you sail on the Med and really like to go upwind and then the J would be very hard to beat at that, not only by the JPK 38 but by any boat of about that size.