Cape Fear 38
I was on the Cape Fear at the Annapolis Boat Show and had a long chat with Bruce Marek, the boat''s designer. In many ways, I thought this was very close to my idea of the perfect boat. Reasonable displacement and very low center of gravity ideal for good motion, lots of stability and ease of handling. Reasonable draft for a 38 foot performance boat. Nice easily driven hull without a large amount of form stability again for good speed under sail, ease of handling and comfortable motion. Nicely proportioned and detailed fractional rig allowing easier short handled sailing and few sails and sail changes. Vinylester resin with kevlar reinforcing in critical areas for a highly durable and sturdy hull. Foam cored desks for longevity. An interior layout that places the head, galley and chart table near the companionway minimizing the amount of motion for these critical tasks and providing easy access for the on deck watch without dragging water the the rest of the boat. Nice big sail locker accessible from on deck or from down below.
On the negative side, I would have liked a smaller deck area in the main salon and a single passage forward which would have resulted in more usable and lower storage and perhaps a pilot berth. (Although the settees in the main salon were easily converted to a seaberth the lack of which is normally a complaint I have with many other boats that bill them selves as so called ''blue water cruisers''.)
The Cockpit was also an area that left me less than perfectly thrilled. To me a cockpit need to be comfortable for ''hanging out''. I spent a lot of time on deck on the Cape Fear 38. The cockpit looked like a good place to be a racer but the cockpit lacked the comfort that I would have liked to have seen on a performance cruiser. As a contrast look at the Beneteau First 40.7''s convertable cockpit. I am racing on a 40.7 this summer and this is a super cockpit to race in and yet a really nice place to hang out afterward.
In talking with Bruce Marek it was clear that Cape Fear is in a position to customize individual boats, within reason, to a specific owner''s needs. If I could afford a boat in that general price range a customized version of the Cape Fear would be close to the top of my list.