Interesting question given that all three boats are essentially the same design. But Jeff H raised some very good points. Tankage is important as is stowage. There are some minor differences between the three. The most significant difference between the three hood''s is exterior teak and the second stateroom. The Wauquiez has the least amount of ''ornamental'' exterior teak. Just enough to show the boat off, but not too much to make maintenance arduous. Also, instead of a teak caprail, it has a slotted aluminum toe rail. VERY handy.
The Wauquiez also has a second private stateroom, the aft qtr cabin. While this does essentially block off that part of the cabin and delete the separate nav sta, it does provide for significant privacy for quests and even sailing companions. For me, that has been a very good thing. And, for a circumnavigation, its a nice ''garage''. This feature is personal preference, but I do not see ANY modern 38 footers that do not have two private staterooms these days.
In addition, the Wauquiez has nice broad flat decks that are terrific for working on. Very solid and sure footing. Easy to run up and down on. The Wauq does not have the more traditional appearance of the other two, this again is personal preference.
As for the bridge deck. The high and wide bridge deck Jeff talks about is the Mark I ver. These boats have a Baltic/Swan style sub hatch companionway. And I agree with Jeff. Offshore, I am not going to be happy having to jump up on the coachroof, watching out for the boom, just to get down below. But...these boats can be had for 20k less than the mark II ver with the more traditional companionway.
I have a lot of respect for Jeff H''s opinion and he is well informed. I would differ on some of the points he raised. I do not think the MK II ver companionway is low to the cockpit sole at all. And I think it is Jeff''s opinion when he states that these boats may not be good for a circumnavigation or good offshore. The experience of the owners of these boats is quite the oposite. There are Many Hood 38''s being used to circumnavigate and many many that are sailed offshore, including the Southern Ocean. The SailNet Wauquiez list has nothing but accounts of people going offshore with these boats. Hardly a soul on there is doing just coastal cruising. The Wauquiez Hood 38 has as strong a build quality or better than most of the boats you will find of that vintage, LOA and cost.
I would agree with Jeff that are other boats to consider for a circumnavigation, but they all have there own issues. I disagree that there are any better boats of the same cost, quality and accomodation. The Hood 38 is in the middle of the road as far as displacement/LWL. To me, this is ideal. She has a very powerful rig and is one of the few boats that provides power, speed and comfort. She is much faster and goes to weather better than heavy asian full keel boats and has a nicer more comfortable motion in a seaway than lighter race oriented or production boats. There are people who do not favor a masthead rig, or even a sloop design for offshore work. And there are people who would be just as passionate in the other direction. In a perfect world, you might want to chose a boat with a different rig, a longer boom, fractional rig (but then I chose liked this rig for other considerations...especially the shorter boom as I consider it much much safer). But....everything has a cost. Boats with those rigs might have other less desireable characteristics or might be too expensive.
With great respect, I would add that all boats are compromises. When you are considering a boat that has yacht like joinery down below, can take a beating offshore while providing a comfortable ride for her crew....all in a certain price range....I have found very few options. The Hood 38 is one.
I also think her motion ideal. I have sailed quite a few boats and many offshore. Since getting Invictus, I have only been in the Chesapeake bay, but have sailed in challenging conditions there, including 30kt winds and short steep chop. She was very very stable. People who sail with me marvel at the comfortable motion of these boats.
The Crealock 37 is a very nice boat. But she is far slower than the Hood 38 and her accomodations are no comparison.
Obviously if you have come to a short list that includes the Hood 38, you have done the thinking involved in thinking about which compromises to make in getting an offshore boat with good accomodations.
I have had my Wauquiez Hood 38 for only 2 yrs. I looked at hundreds of boat before getting her (and have sailed and raced for some time). Since getting her and getting to know many people on the Wauquiez list (many of whom have friends who sail the B38.8), I now know why there are very few Hood 38''s for sale. There is a reason.
My best regards to all.
Wauquiez Hood 38 MK II