Twenty Years of Excellence
Exclusivity. Heritage. Lifestyle. Craftsmanship. The Owners. These are the cornerstones of the J Craft brand of retro-style runabouts built for kings, billionaires and aficionados.
She’s a runabout fit for a king, with a style befitting Brigitte Bardot and the technological sophistication à la James Bond. She embodies the raw performance of her Viking heritage, but she’s all La Dolce Vita – a striking 1950s/60s retro vintage-style boat that can’t help but turn heads and be desired by all who see her. She is the J Craft.
The J Craft story is long and winding, a tale that has, for two decades, been carried on and propelled forward by a shared passion to create the most exceptional, beautiful, high-performance vessel on the water.
The story began 20 years ago on the Swedish island of Gotland, where for centuries local craftsmen have constructed robust, manoeuvrable vessels – dating back to Viking longships – that can withstand the punishing elements of the far north. It was here
that entrepreneur Björn Jansson had the idea to build his own dream boat, a fibre glass hull with a mahogany veneer inspired by the beautiful lines and styling of the wooden sport boats of the 1950s and 60s.
The Cabrio Cruiser
Björn consulted with local boat builder Johan Hallén – who worked at the time in the development department of the leisure boat building company Nimbus – about the methods and tools for building such a boat. Björn quickly realised that in order to justify the cost of the GRP hull mould, he would need to build a series of them. With great determination, within ten days Björn had gathered several orders – the first of which would be built for the King of Sweden himself. J Craft was born in August of 1999 with three employees – including Johan Hallén – and quickly grew to a team of 35 builders and craftsmen, who worked around the clock to build the first boat for the Swedish Royal Family.
One year later, in the summer of 2000, the 11.6m (38ft) Cabrio Cruiser, Polaris, was delivered to her owner, His Majesty Carl Gustaf XVl, King of Sweden. At just under 12 metres in length, the Cabrio Cruiser featured a GRP hull with a mahogany veneer and was powered by Yanmar Engines.
In the years that followed, J Craft went on to build seven Cabrio Cruisers for discerning clientele around the Mediterranean. But for Björn, the J Craft story would pause in the early years of the new millennium due to his unfortunately fast declining health. For a time, the mould and assets were stored and laid on ice. By the middle of 2005, however, a group of passionate J Craft aficionados would resume operations. Caught up in the J Craft spell, one of the original group, Johan Hallén, together with Johan Attvik embraced the J Craft brand and lifestyle and began promoting the company in Monaco and St. Tropez.
The J Craft Torpedo
In 2007, hedge fund manager and entrepreneur Radenko Milakovic and his wife Kristina would quietly acquire J Craft and rebuild the J Craft team around Johan Hallén as CTO to pick up from where they had left off. Having chartered a Cabrio Cruiser the previous summer, Radenko recalls that they were both so drawn to the J Craft styling, build quality and performance that they enquired about building a J Craft of their own - albeit one with some important modifications with a clear focus on the propulsion package. The enquiry led to them acquiring the company and its assets and continuing Björn Jansson’s quest for yachting perfection.
“We are never owners of the J Craft brand, but rather temporary custodians of Björn’s vision,” Radenko says of the acquisition. “The old cliché is true, you never really own a wooden classic of this quality; rather you’ll safeguard it and pass it on to its next steward.”
The biggest modification to the original Cabrio Cruiser would come in the form of the propulsion system - the straight shaft design with Yanmar engines was replaced with the Swedish Volvo IPS pod drive system with joystick control. The Cabrio Cruiser’s original 11.6m (38ft) hull design and drive system was redesigned into the new Torpedo hull and IPS drive system, incorporating a series of new technological features into the now slightly larger design, while maintaining the beautiful, classic lines of the original Cabrio Cruiser.
Johan Hallén accepted the challenge of propelling Björn Jansson’s vision of retro styling, cutting- edge technology and superior performance into the 21st century. Tens of thousands of hours of research, design, testing, evaluation and finally mould and tool building by many members of the original J Craft team resulted in the revolutionary 12.8m (42ft) J Craft Torpedo, fitted with IPS drives and joystick control. The first J Craft Torpedo was unveiled to the world in Saint Tropez at Pampelonne Beach on July 19, 2009.
The Torpedo is an exquisite combination of craftsmanship, power and performance.
Unrivalled in her timeless styling with a commanding presence, under the waterline each J Craft is anything but traditional. The Torpedo’s hull allows for excellent stability and performance in any sea state as well as an impressive 240nm range. Her driver can gracefully navigate coastal Mediterranean waters, easily cruising from breakfast in Monaco to lunch in Porto Cervo. True to her Viking heritage, the Torpedo has made some remarkable trips, be that in the South China Sea, crossing from Hong Kong to Hainan and back, or the Med, frequently crossing from Monaco to Corsica, Sardina or Ibiza and back, or in the Baltic Sea where J Crafts regularly travel from their home base in Gotland to Stockholm and back. The Torpedo, powered by the IPS, yields virtually no vibration, noise or smell and joystick control allows for confident and effortless manoeuvring in port.
The Torpedo can be fitted with the IPS 400, 500, 600R, or the new 650RS systems. The IPS drives quickly propel the J Craft up to 47 knots, allowing for pirouettes and daring high-speed turns. Not only does this system guarantee expert manoeuvrability, it allows for a 20% higher top speed and 30% less consumption and emissions than a traditional propulsion system.
The fixtures and fittings of the J Craft Torpedo are second to none. The Torpedo comes with a hand carved, wooden “Nardi” steering wheel, the same as that used in the 1960s Ferrari 250 GTO. Interior and exterior spaces are beautifully appointed with cloth by Loro Piana, treated with their Rain System to repel stains, with finishes such as diamond stitched upholstery available.
J Craft works with each owner to individually tailor areas of the Torpedo for specific tastes and desires. A stunning addition available to owners is the exclusive picnic set. This exquisite collection includes silver cutlery designed by Prince Carl Phillip of Sweden, J Craft china by Rosenthal, J Craft glassware, Global knife set and a sommelier set. The J Craft Torpedo has been designed and fitted out to sleep four passengers in two queen size beds.
In the decade that followed the launch of the first Torpedo, J Craft went on to build a further 19 Torpedos - the later versions fitted with Seakeeper gyro stabilisation. To date, no fewer than five of the world’s billionaires are J Craft owners. Twenty years after the first J Craft was delivered to the King of Sweden, Hull 18 was delivered in his presence in the gulf of Saint Tropez. Hull 19 of J Craft’s Torpedo range is currently under construction and due for delivery Summer 2020.
In 2020, J Craft also partnered with Sportmer and established a sales and service presence in the iconic Vieux Port of Saint Tropez, opening a new chapter in the J Craft story.
Building upon two decades
With its order books full through 2021, J Craft continues to build its boats on Sweden’s island of Gotland, capitalising on the island’s strong heritage and tradition of quality boat building and the presence of skilled craftsmen. Led by Johan Hallén who has been instrumental in building this iconic brand over the last 20 years, each J Craft takes around 8,000 man hours, or 1 year to build and starts at Euro 1.2M, depending on the customisations requested. All boats undergo extensive seatrials and are tested in the fierce Nordic waters that surround Gotland.
“Exclusivity. Heritage. Lifestyle. Craftsmanship. The Owners.. These are the cornerstones of the exclusive J Craft brand. Built for the few. Appreciated by the many. Now celebrating 20 years, J Craft has quietly continued producing bespoke works of arts for the yachting aficionado. This is not a mainstream production boat; it is a passion project for the meticulous yachtsman who demands detail, style and performance.”
J Craft Milestones
1999 – The first J Craft, the 11.6m (38ft) Cabrio Cruiser named Polaris is built in Gotland, Sweden for and on behalf of His Majesty Carl Gustaf XVI, King of Sweden
2008 – J Craft pushes the boundaries of motor cruiser hull design and introduces the 12.8m (42ft) Torpedo, equipped with the cutting-edge Volvo IPS pod drive system.
2009 – J Craft’s first new generation Torpedo, La Decadence, is unveiled in Saint Tropez at Pampelonne Beach July 19, 2009.
James Bond - 007, Sir Roger Moore, christens the J Craft Torpedo, Neptune, during the 2009 Monaco Yacht Show.
2010 – In September 2010, J Craft introduces the Torpedo R, adding the more powerful IPS 600 engines to its range which comes with a rose-polished stainless steel instrument panel, leather dashboard top, an exclusive Torpedo R luggage set and a Nardi steering wheel finished in stitched leather.
2012 - J Craft delivers Garcon, tender to Ace, the first J Craft with a single-point lift system, affording effortless launch and retrieval.
2013 – The year of the J Craft Torpedo Bourik. This was the most advanced Torpedo to date, designed and engineered to split the aft section into two, at the push of a button, opening an even and uninterrupted walkway from the cockpit through to the swim platform, thus facilitating access without disturbing her beautiful lines.
2017 - J Craft introduces the three-tiered Mastervolt electric system, allowing for power via shore power, generator or the standard lithium ion battery pack.
2018 – The Seakeeper gyro stabilisation system is introduced into the Torpedo design.
2019 – J Craft celebrates the launch of its 18th Torpedo *C*A*B in the presence of His Majesty Carl Gustaf XVI, and Queen Silvia of Sweden.
2020 – Entering its third decade of yacht building, J Craft is building Acheron, which will be delivered in the summer of 2020.
Simultaneously, J Craft has partnered with Sportmer to set up a “home away from home” and a dedicated sales and service presence in the iconic Vieux Port of St. Tropez. Sportmer, the original guardian and early promoter of classic wooden runabouts, continues this proud tradition by embracing J Craft’s modern interpretation of the wooden classic, an endorsement J Craft is extremely proud of.