Feature: A Q&A With Jouster’s Julian Croxall

[This is the 16th in an ongoing series of interviews with J105 owners in the Northeast.]

Julian Croxall fancies himself as something of a Medieval knight at the helm of his 105 (so watch out for that pointy thing at the bow!) Croxall’s Jouster was a newcomer to Fleet 6 events this year. He bought the boat two years ago, joined Larchmont Yacht Club, and eventually gave his 105 (formerly Synergy) a complete makeover, including a sharp dark blue Awlgrip hull. A brief Q&A with Julian follows:

Question: How long have you been racing the 105?
Answer: I bought the boat at the beginning of the 2009 and spent the season just getting a feel for it without refreshing any sails or hardware. For 2010 we completely refitted the boat, it’s quite different now!

Q: What other boats have you raced and when did you first start?
A: I started dinghy sailing in England aged 8, since then I’ve sailed numerous dinghies, large keelboats and tall ships. Since moving to the US in 2001 I’ve spent 8 seasons on a J24 as well as other boats in various events up and down the East coast.

Q: It looks like you’ve done a lot with Jouster. Can you tell us a bit about your refit?
A: It was quite a rush getting everything done for the start of the season, in fact painting the hull with Awlgrip had to be done three times to get it right so we missed the AYC Spring series. The other major items were new UK sails and electronics. Aside from that, an interior refit including a new cabin sole, head & holding tank, replaced the spinlocks, many lines and a whole host of cosmetic upgrades and repairs.

Q: Who is in your crew?
A: Mainly friends I’ve known for a number of years, not all with sailing experience

Q: Are you still looking for a partner?
A: Yes, still looking for two partners. I’d like to move around the boat more instead of driving all the time so having a syndicate with two other owner/drivers would work well for me. Hopefully that will also help us raise experienced crew for events as that is something I’ve been struggling with since buying the boat. Every event we have a different crew which means our results haven’t been as consistent as I’d like.

Q: What do you do professionally?
A: I manage technology for hedge funds.

Q: What do you like most about the 105 so far?
A: It’s my first sprit boat and I enjoy the ease of use. When not racing I’m usually single-handed so it’s an ideal set-up for me. The local OD events are well attended and the other owners have been incredibly helpful getting me started.

Q: Least?
A: It’s a little limited for cruising although it’s that simplicity that helps to make it a good race boat. I’m planning to get a cruising boat too so then I’ll have the best of both worlds.

Q: What’s your favorite event and why?
A: I always enjoy Larchmont Race Week, it’s a great social occasion being my home club. The Larchmont NOODS were great this year, as was AYC fall series, both due to the level of participation. I think we had 20 105’s in the division.

Q: What would you tell a newcomer to the class trying get up to speed quickly?
A: Sail on other 105’s with the their owners to get some tips, see if you can get your sailmakers to come out and talk to you about trim for your particular sails, think about how you will get experienced crew on a consistent basis.

Q: What did you do better at this year?
A: This year with all the upgrades we really found the groove- great boat speed both up and down wind. Our biggest problem now is crew consistency, we lose out at the marks and in tacks on boat handling as we don’t have enough regular crew to execute those maneuvers smoothly every time.

Q: What could our fleet do better in 2011?
A: I’d like to see a weeknight OD series.

Q: Do you have a basic race philosophy?
A: We’re out there to have a good time-we like to strive for good results but it’s more important to develop the team and ensure everyone’s enjoying their time on the boat.

Q: Other sports or hobbies?
A: Too many! Classic cars, motorcycles, snowboarding, cycling, brewing……the list goes on

Q: What sails do you use?

Q: Do you follow the tuning guide or have your own formula?
A: I follow the guide at the moment….

Q: Any story behind the name Jouster?
A: I always find it really difficult to choose a boat name but this came fairly easily-seeing the boat with the sprit extended reminded me of a jousting pole, from the medieval sport of jousting.

Q: What will you do to not miss sailing this winter?
A: At LYC we sail CR914 models through the winter. They are a scaled-down version of an earlier America’s Cup boat. It’s actually really difficult to do well! It’s good for tactical training as you get a good perspective of where the boats are on the course and we get around 10-12 starts in our 2 hour slot which is good practice. It’s great fun for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning and we usually have spare boats if anyone wants to come along and give it a try. This year I’ve also picked up an Interclub for frostbiting at Larchmont which is proving to be good fun too.

Q: What are your plans for next year?
A: Pretty much the same as this year, hopefully with a couple of partners.

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