Its nice to be back in this forum, I have been away for a while. Work, and thankfully a ton of sailing. Nice to see old friends.
I think my good virtual friend JeffH will likely submit some really great advice, but I happen to sail one of the boats you are interested in and so will comment on it. The Wauquiez Hood 38 (Ted Hood design, not the Centurion). I certainly like the Centurion design, but it is geared a little more towards racing, has a deeper keep and is more expensive and harder to find (cabin is the same). I think you will have an easier time finding a Hood 38, as well as a tremendous amount of information on it as well as great respect for her.
First and foremost, the Hood 38 (and her sisterships the Bristol 38.8 and Little Harbor 38) are very different boats from the J/37c. I have raced aboard several J''s and know that are wonderful boats, with many virtues...not the least of which is excellent construction. I think the same is true of the Wauquiez''s in general and the Hood 38 specifically. But the similarity ends there.
The Hood 38 has a LWL of 31, displaces 22,000 lbs with 11,000 lbs of ballast. That is a heck of a 38 footer. I don''t want to speak for JeffH but I think he would correctly point out that the penalty you pay for that is larger sails, both main and (large) genoa jib
. But...having said that, I must say that at 48 yrs old (this monday...please send cards and letters :O), I have no trouble single handing this boat. I will admit that smaller crew might. I do know a couple in their young 70''s who sail one extensively. The upside of that great a displacement is more comodious accomodations down below and a greater mass with which to negotiate the sea.
I differ with some posters here on the value of displacement. As a scientist and former naval officer, I have a firm belief that force=mass*acceleration. Thus when meeting a wave (remember that a 4 ft wave could be have a mass of 10,000lbs)...I want to have mass and acceleration to get through it (or it just slaps me around). And yes, hull form is also a factor...but do keep in mind that for a price of under 100k, we are looking at 80''s boats and not highly modern hullforms.I hasten to add that I agree with posters who state that dragging around a lot of mass in the form of an inefficient hull form and full keel is simply a waste and does nothing for a boats sailing ability.
I must say that the motion of this boat as spoiled me. I have sailed since I was a kid and just love the ride on this boat. This is due in part to Ted Hood being a terrific designer and part is due IMHO to mass (I know there will be disagreement here).
The Hood 38 has a PHRF of 129, so this is no slow boat from China. She is fast and powerful and sails extremely well. She is a keel/cb design and without even using the CB will point to 30* apparent and tack through 80*. That said, she will not perform like a J37 or a Farr 38. But...let''s be fair, the Hood 38 has a draft of 4.5ft, it can go into places in FLA and the islands that the Farr will look at from a distance :O)...and the Hood 38 has two private staterooms down below, wonderful teak joinery....she is designed and built to be a long distance cruiser/liveaboard....and offshore racer. That is a tough bill to fill. She does it nicely.
I personally find her appointments to be elegant and useful. The cockpit has 7+ft long benches that are wide enough to sleep on. Her Swan like decks are great for working around in a seaway and her rig
is as beefy as it gets. At the end of the day, you can slip into a vee berth that is 6''6" long and 7ft (!!!) wide at the base, almost 2ft wide at the forepeak! Biggest vee berth I have seen on this vintage boat.
I am sorry if I am doing a sell job, I really do not mean too. No boat is perfect and every boat is a compromise. The Hood 38 could have a larger galley and a separate nav sta. But then I find this galley perfectly fine for living aboard and having the nav sta integrated in the port settee makes a great end table in port (where we all spend most of our time).
There are many other boats in your price range you could consider. I do think you should keep the Hood 38 on your short list. After 3 seasons and a ton of sailing (day trips and longer overnights), I am quite happy. And yes, I have thought about having a much larger yacht, I could handle it, perhaps even afford it (maybe)...but then a larger yacht in the same price range would have to be of lower quality and greater age. Probably not sail as well and probably cost a great deal more to keep. So, you will see me out there about a Wauquiez Hood 38. Happy and unchained to a bank. :O)
Yes, they are rare, but they are dear.
Hope this helps.
My best to all.