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jascal 08-24-2006 08:32 PM

Bristol 24 Corsair
Is there anyone on the forum who can shed some light on the Bristol 24.7 Corsair? I have had my eye on this design for quite sometime now, but there is little information about them online compared to other similar-sized and designed boats of the same era, for example, the Pearson Ariel, Cape Dory 25, and 25D, among others.

The specs and build quality of Bristol in general seems to point out that these boats would be equally capable of the kind of sailing the Cape Dory 25D and others are capable of, but I can't find much info about anyone making any significant cruises in one.

The Bristol 24.7 was offered with an outboard in a well or a Yanmar 8HP diesel. LOA: 24.6, LWL 18.1, BOA 8, Disp. 5920, Capsize Screening ratio: 1.77, Motion Comfort Index 28.39 (this last is a lot better than most boats this size or many bigger ones).

Can anyone tell my why I shouldn't consider this design for some serious cruising, coastal and offshore (at least island-hopping)? Jeff? I'll be mostly single-handing, sometimes there will be two of us.

They are readily available, good-looking, (to my eyes) shallow draft 3'6", and offer almost 6' of headroom, which is quite a feat on a 24' boat that still looks good.

Anyone ever owned/sailed one?



Maya1969Bristol 05-03-2010 06:21 PM

Maya 1969 24' Bristol
I Have Sailed One Infact I Just Bought One And She Is Great. Maya Is 1969 Bristol 24' With An 8hp Outboard And She Is Great Really Really Great Shes My First Sailboat And I Know I Made A Great Decision To Buy Her

tomwatt 05-04-2010 07:13 AM
Bristol Owners' Association Home Page

Not a high speed boat by any means, but reasonably seaworthy.
Biggest drawbacks I see to it are:
- non-lead keel in some model years
- lack of weather deck in cockpit to prevent flooding down below in the event of being pooped.
- storage space for offshore travel is a bit cramped.

There were more than 600 made. Designed by Paul Coble, the only civilian boat he is responsible for... he moved on to work on military warships from there.

Jeff_H 05-04-2010 07:50 AM

I know the Corsairs reasonably well. Like the the Pearson Ariel, Cape Dory 25, and 25D, these are nice little coastal cruisers. Depending on the year and individual build quality (more on this later), although slower than the Pearson Ariel, Cape Dory 25, and 25D, my sense is that I would suggest that the Corsair generally sails better than these across a wider windspeed range.

Build quality on these boats vary very widely and in significangt ways. I had a chance to talk to the former production manager at Bristol, who worked at Bristol during the period that these boats were built. These boats began life as a Sailstar Corsair. When SailStar got into finacial trouble, the bank asked Clint Pearson, then owner of Bristol, if he would take over production of the Sailstars. According to the production manager, as originally designed the Corsair had lead ballast. In a cost savings move, Sailstar had gone to leadshot in concrete for ballast. When Bristol took over, as a further cost savings move, Bristol went to iron boiler punchings in concrete, with leadshot as an option.

Now this is where it gets dicey. Although poured as a concrete matrix, the keels for the Corsairs were actually cast in a mold and then put into the boat. As the production manager described it, there was a cement mixer at Bristol and there were a couple laborers at Bristol who made extra money mixing the cement and pouring the ballast after closing hour. These guys were pretty careless mixing the proportions of iron to concrete pretty much by eye and so the proportions varied very widely. And if there wasn't enough iron on hand, or there was no iron on hand, they poured the ballast anyway. In at least one case, the boat owner complained that the boat was dangerously tender and when it was investigated no iron was found in the concrete. This boat was repaired by glassing in some lead pigs above the concrete.

Based on that story I have always been leery of the Bristol built Corsairs. My other concern is with the builkhead construction. The original Corsairs had mahogany marine plywood. Later boats had formica over plywood. I understand that some of the last boats also went back to teak or mahogany faced ply as an option. The problem with formica over ply is that the ply can rot out or delaminate and not be visible until it fails. I have helped repair boats on which that has happened.

I personally would not consider the Corsair, or with the possible exception of the CD 25D, the other boats on your list, to be particularly good offshore boats. But in a pinch, assuming you mean the Bahamas and Carribbean they may be acceptable for Island Hopping.


danjarch 05-04-2010 07:23 PM

Had one, it was a good boat but I wouldn't buy another one. A little to heavy for day sailing or coastal cruising in my opinion. But I won't want to be to far from land on it either.

The other short coming was that it was a bit too heavy for towing. At 25' it would have been nice to buy a trailer to skip the haul out, yard and storage fees for what really is a small boat.

billsull 05-04-2010 09:39 PM

Everything that Tom, Jeff and Dan said about the B24 is true, but once their flaws are addressed, they are a lot of boat squeezed into 24 feet. I'm looking forward to sailing mine this summer.

I think that any boat worth owning has to pass the very subjective "look back" test. She must instill in you the irresistible desire to stop and look back at her one more time before you leave her at the mooring or dock. The Bristol 24 has always passed that test for me.

tomwatt 05-05-2010 05:56 AM

Boats representing a series of compromises anyway, it's always a toss-up how the designers manage those compromises. In the B24, the upswept prow creates a fair amount of overhead in the forward berth, making that area more usable than the B27. I would imagine that would also contibute to a tendency to pound the bow if headed into heavy seas.

okawbow 07-16-2010 02:29 PM

My 1976 Bristol 24 has a solid chunk of lead in th keel, encapsualated in resin. I've actually seen the lead while repairing a void in the keel. My boat came with a diesel, and has a 12" deep bilge, compared to the 2" or so bilges on the concrete versions. My bulkhead is good marine, mahogany ply, and well tabbed in.

Overall, my B24 is well built and a solid performer for the size. I've had her offshore in 3'-6' seas and 15-20kt winds, and felt safe and relatively comfortable. i've averaged over 5knots on a 32 hour passage.

The Bristol 24 with the diesel and lead ballast makes a great little pocket cruiser.

sailstar24 09-26-2010 07:53 PM

I actually own two Sailstar 24's. The one of which is being restored I have not sailed yet but I know it has a lead keel. The other is a slightly newer one (about a year younger) and I just as of a few days ago discovered it has a lead keel as well. As everyone has already mentioned not every boat is perfect, however the problems associated with this boat are all easily fixed. The main problem would have to be with the chain plates I would move them to the outside just to avoid any headaches down the road. The other problem I would say is the hull to deck connection, instead of it being screwed together and bedded down with sealant, personally I would fiberglass the two together and be done with it. However I am pretty biased being that I am fitting my sailstar out for long passages. Which brings me to the performance of this boat, its not fast but it is stable, seakindly, and safe. I personally have never sailed such a smooth, stable, stiff boat and I am confident to say a boat with the specs of this boat given good condition and the proper offshore cruising gear and most importantly....good seamanship and judgment, this is a boat that truly can take you anywhere you want to go.

mtpollard 03-29-2011 07:40 PM

Mysterious lead pigs in 1967 b24 (sailstar 24)

I just picked up a 1967 bristol 24. It appears to be a transitional sailstar 24. The papers say Bristol 24, the electrical panel says Sailstar, the sails have a sailstar insignia.
I was cleaning the boat out and found many lead pigs (2-4 lbs) stowed in various locations around the boat. These are not secured in any way, just stowed under the sole and in the chain locker. obviously someone thought t hat she was a touch tender. My concern is that I have an inadequately ballasted keel. what is the best way to check to see if the keel is lead?

BTW-this is a sweat boat. lots of room below. I do not expect taht she will set any speed records but it looks like she will always get you home.

I am hoping that my 6HP longshaft Yachtwin will be sufficient to push her around.


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