Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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This is sort of a funny question. Which of the three, Little Harbour 38, Bristol 38.8, Hood Wauquiez 38, would be best for a possible circumnavigation. As you note all three are very similar. The Little Harbors seem to be the best constucted of the three. The Brostol seems to be the worse with the Wauquiez falling in between. That said it is only subtleties that distinguish these boats. The Little Harbors have a more offshore friendly galley and better storage comparments, albeit high in the boat which means less usable for heavier objects (can goods and the like). Of the three the Little Harbor is the heaviest which is bad news for offshore (more roll and the need to carry more sail in a blow). The Little Harbors have better ventilation and more fuel capacity which are both good for distance cruising. They have a lot more teak on the exterior which is bad.
Wauquiez built several variations on the Hood 38. Since John Drake bought his boat I have been curious about these boats. I have been on two of them that each had very different deck plans. Neither was very good for offshore. The one has a very wide and high bridge deck that made it very awkward to enter the companionway with the dodger rigged and the other had a very low bridge deck that would make swamping a real risk in a pooping. The Wauquiez had a less offshore oriented galley. I was generally impressed with these boats all around.
The Bristols seem to have the highest prices of the bunch. They seem to be closer to the Little Harbors in layout. They are the lightest of the three. They have more tankage than the Wauquiez and less than the Little Harbors. Unlike the other two they do not come with teak decks. I consider teak decks to be a deal killer for a long distance cruising boat. There was an optional pullman style forward cabin which I think is a pretty poor setup for distance cruising. There are a number of details on the Bristol that put it on the bottom of the three build quality wise But all three are so close thatI would not let that chase you off.
Now then one really odd part of your question of the implication that these are circum-navigating offshore cruisers. I think that these were really high quality coastal cruisers. They would be reasonable boats for offshore cruising but they were not designed or detailed for the kind of abuse implicit in a circumnavigation. I think that the rig proportion is really not a very good offshore set up (huge genoas and small very high aspect mainsails make pretty inflexible rigs.)
The other odd part of your question is the other two boats that you throw in for comparison. The Crealock represents a more offshore oriented design albeit less suitable as a live aboard. The Com Pac 35 is a lightly engineered simply constructed coastal cruiser.