Originally Posted by petmac
"Bermuda 40-without question the greatest fiberglass boat of all time" Ferenc Matte The World's Best Sailboats
I think she belongs on the list.
Petmac, I know that you love your boat, and that is what counts. But if someone is evaluating boats with the main criteria being 'Is this one of the 40 greatest cruising boats?' then the day has long passed where the Bermuda 40 would come up on a fair assessment as one of the greatest cruising boat that one can purchase.
Im my mind its like this, in the 1880s Kunhardt described a 12 ton, 37 foot, gaff topsail yawl with a dipping lug mizzen and a 12 foot bowspit as his idea of the perfect small small cruising boat. No one today would even begin to think that Kunhardt's beloved yawl would qualify in a forty best.
This is similar to my view of the Bermuda 40. Once upon a time these were state of the art race boats which could also be cruised. She was designed by Bill Tripp who was one of the leading edge designers of the day, and built by a yard known for simple solid construction and nice details. They could hold their own on the race course of their day, and had enough amenities that they could be cruised in a comfortable manner for the day.
In the 50 plus years since the Bermuda 40 was designed, many of these boats have been updated or even built with modern improvements such shifting to a taller sloop rig in some cases with carbon fiber spars, diesel engines and modern electronics, and refrigation added, some of the last Bermuda 40s built have added deeper keels with better shape.
And yet, when all is said and done, when compared to a comparatively conservative but modern quality cruiser like a Hallberg Rassey 40, the Bermuda 40 has a comparatively uncomfortable motion rolling and pitching through large angles, relatively tender (your picture makes that case, sailing nearly rail down in what looks like less than 12 knots of wind, and pushing a bow wave that you can surf). Carrying capacity is tiny. Interior space is cramped. Speed is relatively slow. And compared to better versions of modern cruising boats, these old girls throw up a bunch of spray that make for a tough slog to windward.
And those are my main points. Now then, I personally love to look at boats like these. I think they have a place in history. They are even enjoyable to sail, but are they one of the top 40 state of the art cruising boats? I don't think that case can be made.