I can tell you a lot about the Carroll Marine Frers 38. I currently own "Vanishing Point" and previously owned "Dragon", both Frers 38s. The first was a 1989 version with a medium length keel, and the forward placed mast. This version had two design flaws, first, the mast was moved 6 inches forward of design specifications, by Carroll, in order to get it to fit inside the head. Additionally, the 1989 was ordered with the 6' 9" keel. That boat also had the traditional fiberglass hull, a complete forward and aft stateroom, with closing doors and additional wood trim. She was essentially a cruiser.
The new Frers (the 1991) has an "S"-glass / kevlar hull and deck, special ordered for weight savings and additional stiffness. She also has a 7' 6" fin keel. This boat also has an aft bunkroom with no door, and the forward section is for sail storage (no forward cabin). This boat is a lot faster, points like no boat I have ever sailed, and is so stiff, you really don't need a lot of crew to keep her relatively flat in nearly any wind.
The Frers is a very comfortable cruise and occasional racer. They seem to have trouble being competitive in PHRF. The boat has a very low rating, and generally the serious sailors are all sailing the newer technology boats. I single hand the boat frequently, and she's really a pleasure to sail. Everything is led back to the cockpit, and the loads on the sheets are relatively light. My boats both had way oversized winches, so that could be part of it. I motor out of the harbor, put on the autopilot, set the main, shut off the engine, and then I let go of the roller furling line and pull in on the job sheet and I am sailing.
They are relatively light boats, with a good design, and a very sea kindly ride. They can take heavy seas well, with a very dry ride, and they can also sail in light wind without seeming like they are drifting. I do race the boat, but we are not serious racers, so we have not had a tremendous track record. When we are doing things well, we are passing larger boats, left and right, but we always seem to mess up something, and end up finishing in the middle of the pack.
I would suggest, of you are buying one, that you think about 1) the location of the mast; 2) the keel configuration and 3) the interior layout (depending on whether you are cruising or racing). For keels, the 7' and 7'6" fin keels are the best fit, and you want one with the mast in the main salon.
Other than that, they are all very similar. There are some good deals out there, but don't pay too much.
I am available to talk more about the boat at 617 557 0060.
Sounds like you would be a wealth of informaion on the Frers 38, enjoyed reading your tread. I purchased a Frers 38, been a racer most of it's life, but I'm looking into refitting the boat more as Racer/Cruiser. In process of having boat trucked up North to PA for refit. The boat had many wins in the Fla Tampa area and I became good friends with it's previous owner who raced her for 5 yrs. He provide me with the original articles advertising the boat back in '82'. It has kevlar grid work, hull mainly S & E glass solid core construction. Very light weight for it's size, 60ft mast raced well in light air.
Would be great to have the opportunity to speak to you some more on the 38 Frers. Getting close to retirement and plan to work on the boat to get her refit, so info from an experinced 38 owner would be great to formulate some ideas. Thx!