Again I DO challenge you statement that the CS is the best Canadian Boat. I beleive they are equal with the C&C being a faster boat in general. Facts seem to prove that.
What facts prove that? The CS's are very, very well put together. As one who initially wanted a C&C, and looked at lots of them from Maine to Florida, and who has surveyed, worked on and raced on many I can assure you that they are great boats but not built to the level of a CS, as Boatpoker has pointed out.
I pulled my meter and very closely examined four C&C's in my search and every one of them had hull core moisture, two of them so severe I wondered how they were even still standing on the keel. I did find one that was dry but the rest of the boat was a basket case. After the fifth one I gave up and began widening my search to other high quality builders.
My sail maker just spent over 40k on his C&C to have the entire bottom re-built. Was in the shop from October until just about three weeks ago. The entire bottom, 100% of it, was re-cored a process that is very, very time consuming as you need to do small sections at a time. Core damage can and does happen, with no core, this can not happen..
The Merlin only has core above the waterline and a vacuum bagged deck construction. These boats were also bedded with butyl tape a process far more time consuming and labor intensive than marine sealants other builders used. This stuff never hardens and has kept many a CS bone dry beyond the 30 year mark. My own CS has over 80% of her deck hardware un-rebeded. I pulled the chain plates this winter to inspect, test and replace or re-install. They are all going back in, as they were still bone dry at 31 years of age, with zero leaks. Part of this success is the sealant choice and the other part is the way CS attached, built & designed their chain plates. There are few builders, at any cost, who attached chain plates the way CS did. This design came directly from Ray Wall who was CS's first designer and the ex chief designer for Camper Nicholson. Camper Nicholson was one of Europes highest quality builders.
The stringers in our boat are glassed to the hull, massive, and are solid fiberglass U-shaped beams with no core to rot. Engine beds are also solid glass with no core to rot out.
The chain plate knees of the CS-36 are made of solid fiberglass, are massive, and are integral to the hull not the bulkheads. The inward flange for the hull to deck joint also covers these knees and creates a solid fiberglass deck at the chain plate penetrations with no core to rot, if a leak developed.. This inward flange covers the entire chain plate knee so no water can get in from the top. This means that in the areas of the knees the inward hull flange is some 12 - 13" deep. The chain plates are not attached to free floating screwed in place bulkheads or even tabbed bulkhead which can rot if exposed to a leak. Inside these knees is a massive ss backing block laminated into place. Every bolt came out with zero issues 31 years after being put in place due to the well thought out sealed design.
The bulkheads are also tabbed directly to the hull and then a 1/4" teak veneer facing is laid over the actual bulkheads. This type of detail yields a very strong boat and also a boat not prone to chain plate leaks and the resulting bulkhead rot. I have never once heard of a CS that needed to have the bulkheads replaced due to rot but there most certainly is one out there somewhere.
Stringers on our boat are also solid fiberglass U shaped beams glassed & tabbed in place. Morris Yachts does the same but at a HUGE cost. The hull also has longitudinal foam cored stringers and an engine bed that also has no wood core in it and no "lag" bolts holding the motor in place,. A hull liner was then added but because of the construction this was not for structural rigidity.
The ice box was factory insulated with poured in closed cell foam giving nearly 4" or more if ice box insulation. 35 minutes a day of running our Sea Frost system keeps the ice box below 40 degrees for roughly 24 hours..
Also, take note of the keel bolt backing plates. The keel bolts are of very high quality and show no signs of any corrosion or rust even at 31 years old. CS used 316 SS and massive backing plates when other builders used standard washers and a lesser grade of bolt.
The picture below is just as I found the knees after being covered for nearly 31 years by teak cabinetry. I was the first to remove these cabinets for the re-wire I am undertaking. There is no sign of leaking, even at 31 years old.
Here's a photo of the underside of the starboard deck. The bolts directly over head are for the genny track. These bolts pass through solid fiberglass with no core and in 31 years have apparently never leaked. They also show no signs of it. You can hardly find a three year old boat with no signs of deck leakage let alone a 30+ year old model. The track is still bedded, as is the hull to deck joint, with factory butyl tape. In the background you can see the hull to deck joint with through bolts 4" on center that is also bone dry along it's entire length.
If you look to the third bolt down from the top of the pic you will see a line in the udeside of the deck radiating outwards towards the deck flange. This is another hidden gem of a detail CS used. It is a core break. This break prevents large areas of a deck fro getting wet as it creates an internal solid fiberglass dam keeping sections of core isolated..
Little details such as the thickness of the veneer on the cabin sole are big issues when it comes time to re-finish. My buddy with an Ericson simply had to replace his entire cabin sole, at a HUGE expense, because there was no room for refinishing with the paper thin veneer they used my Catalina 36 was the same way. CS used a full 1/8" think teak & holly veneer. This can be stripped and refinished multiple times before wearing through. I still have lots of meat left after refinishing in 2008..
There is no perfect boat and all boats are a series of compromises but I do tend to agree with Boatpoker on the CS. Ours has many, many hard ocean miles on her as she was liveaboard cruised for five years from Newfoundland to South America thought the canal and up to Alaska and back. The deck has virtually no crazing and she shows no visible signs of wear and tear, all tabbing is 100% intact and just as it left the factory.
Having built boats, worked part time with a marine surveyor and worked in multiple boat yards I have learned to look at the tiny details that most miss or don't know what to look for. When I first really looked, in detail, at a CS, had not seen many as there were no dealers close to Maine, I was amazed at the high level of construction and the well thought out attention to design, much of it hidden away for no one to admire but the designer and builder. No boat is perfect and the CS's do have some draw backs, namely the use of solid conductor 110v wiring but I am unsure when they stopped doing this or if they ever did.
All that being said the C&C is a great high quality boat, as is the Merlin, so I would base any assessment on current condition & maintenance. My preference, after seeing so many wet core re-builds, over many years, is that I now stay away from them if it extends below the waterline, but I do know of many cored hull boats that are dry..
P.S. I installed some seacocks and a transducer on a C&C 35 MKII and she had a solid glass hull..