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I am glad we could provide some input and give you a diversity of opinion. Sailing and boat design in general seems to me to be about diversity. So many sailors have differeing ideas of what makes a perfect boat.
I respect Jeff''s knowledge on boats a great deal but did want to address his post above.
The Wauquiez''s were a strange semi-custom build. As you know, there is the MK I and MK II models, then there actually was an American ver and a euro ver...with different traveler positions and some other changes. The companionway being one. And they were available with or without a teak deck. I have the MK II American marker boat, glass deck which is the most sought after.
As for many being on the market....I know the story on just about each one for sale on YW. There are only a handful for sale. Of that handful, 2 or 3 have already been sold and 4 are duplicate listings. I would need to check again, but I think there are really only 2-3 for sale in the entire country and only 1-2 MK II''s.
The issue of encapsulated ballast is one where I think reasonable sailors differ. Having researched this extensively, I became of fan of this method for any type of sailing. In a hard grounding, an external bolt on keel can be forced through the canoe body and hole a boat. This happened right in front of me on the Ches. Unreal. Also those bolts can leak and be a constant source of water in a boat. An encapsulated keel keeps a boat water tight. Jeff is certainly right that is done WRONG, a hard grounding intruduce water into the keel area making that needs to dry. The Wauquiez''s are built right. The lead ballast (MKII) is glassed in. Making it all but impossible for water to penetrate the keel (as it is one big piece of epoxy).
If you desire a shoal draft boat, 38-42 ft with yacht like accomodations, I honestly think you would be hard pressed to find a better boat.
You could consider a Valiant 40 for only a bit more money. But then the Valiant in that price range will likely be 10 yrs older, have blister problems and might have been rode hard and put away wet. But then look at the numbers (sure, they don''t tell the whole story but..), the Valiant 40 and Hood 38 are less than 2ft apart LOA, maybe 3ft apart in LWL, have similar PHRF''s and are the same displacement. The Hood is newer, has a much nicer cabin (except for the galley), larger aft stateroom and larger more comfy cockpit (you will spend a lot of time at anchor watching the sun set in the cockpit). The Hood 38 will also point higher with the board down and draws 4.5ft vs 6 ft board up.
The above is just illustrative that all boats have issues and thus boat choices is a matter of trying to get the attributes the individual sailor wants. There is no perfect boat as there is no free lunch.
At any rate, I hope this helps. I am glad both Jeff and I could contribute.
My best to all.