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Bayfield 36 Review
I did end up getting the Bayfield 36 and really like the boat. It is a comfortable boat to sail. Very adaptable sail plan(we had double roller furling up front) It is solidly built, though not excessively heavy. We put on quite a few miles in varied conditions throughout the Caribbean and found it to track very well, and hold a good steady speed until the wind dropped down too much. They do like the wind, but it would still sail fine down to 10 knots. We added an asym for lighter conditions than this, and I would figure that or a light air genoa is a must for extended trips. We experienced 10-12 foot seas with 30-40 knots and she rode them no problem.
The boat also has great ventilation... With the Butterfly hatch and all the opening portholes, we could usually keep a breeze going through. Also, all the hatches were screened which is very nice. Another bonus was all the room. it feels more like a 38 or 40 footer on the inside to us after looking at so many boats.
Backing up-Not Great... I wouldn't want to back it into a slip. Getting out was no problem, and you could spin it no problem, but getting it to turn one direction while backing was near impossible. That being said, I don't think I have ever backed a sailboat into a slip.
Things we didn't like... Most have an alcohol stove, and we had some difficulties keeping them lit(usually in the middle of baking brownies...) Also, they tend to absorb water from the atmosphere. The galley could be better... My wife could comment more on that. The Butterfly hatch leaked when it rained hard. Also, the engine room could use more sound deadening insulation-one of the projects on the C-list. Oh, and you have to love wood! We took pride in our brightwork, and there is more wood on some boats-at least ours had aluminum cap on the rails, but it is a chore... Also, we have talked to others that had tank problems. Ours had been removed and painted with resin, so hopefully they will be all right....
Also, one day we ended up having to point too high motorsailing into a sharp 2-4 foot sea and she pounded hard... Never had that happen again, I would say that there are boats out there that will out-point her... But as a fella said on the docks before I bought her, you aren't buying her to go around the flags, are you?
Overall they are great extended cruising boats for a couple or small family!
It is also nice that its got great lines and classic looks.
Hope this helps!