I haven't been posting much lately as I've been on the road doing some racing. While I was in SF at the Melges 24 Worlds, I had the opportunity to meet the owner of a fairly new Archambault 35. He graciously invited me aboard and gave me the grand tour of his lovely boat, as well as the complete history.
The boat competed in the TransQuadra race, and was then put up for sale in Martinique upon arrival. The current owner flew down with two friends, bought the boat, then sailed it to Florida. It was then trucked across the U.S. to San Francisco and recommissioned.
Unfortunately, during the Richmond YC "Great Pumpkin Regatta", in October 2012, the boat was hit amidships by a Sydney 36 and suffered considerable structural damage. However, after consulting Jim Antrim and the KKMI boat yard, the decision was made to repair the boat, and the insurance company went along with it.
I can tell you, from first hand viewing, that the boat is immaculate. The only way you can tell that any repair work has been done is by the fact that the quality of the repair in several areas is better than the original factory finish in the same area on the other side of the boat.
And as to whether or not the boat's performance was affected, it won its class in the 2013 Rolex St. Francis YC Big Boat Regatta, sailed in typical SF Bay breezy conditions. So it seems that Jim Antrim and KKMI certainly knew what they were doing.
Anyway, all that aside, I was totally impressed with the boat's layout and its massive interior volume for a 35-footer. With tiller steering, the cockpit was luxurious, and suited to racing or simply lounging about with a glass of wine (which is what we were doing). It looked to me like it would be quite dry in open water sailing. Down below was equally spacious and filled with light. The absence of a formal bulkhead separating the forepeak from the rest of the cabin accentuated the sense of space, and you would never feel claustrophobic in this boat. Since it featured a symmetrical spinnaker set-up, there was no sprit box intruding the bow (though the owner indicated that he is considering adding a fixed dolphin nose and switching to A-sails for IRC).
The aft cabin, on the port side, is also roomy and well-ventilated. The heads is on the starboard side, which is basically a large storage / work space. Access to most systems can be had there, while overall engine access from both sides and the front (companionway lifts up) is excellent. I figured you could probably re-build the engine without removing it.
According to the owner, the only thing that is less-than-optimal is the galley layout, where Archambault decided to put two coolers, one to either side of the stove. Looking at the pictures of the galley on the updated A35, due in 2014, they've addressed this issue by removing the cooler on the left of the stove and shifting the stove aft alongside the bulkhead. This creates more countertop space and allows for a larger single cooler.
As noted, the finish quality everywhere on the boat was terrific, and you would never guess the boat had raced across the Atlantic, been trucked across the U.S., then spent nearly a year in the boat yard being structurally repaired.
Indeed, a very interesting boat, and on my short-list of potential performance cruisers I'll be taking a look at when the time comes, particularly when the 2014 model hits the water. Also fond of the A31, which would probably be my preferred choice if I didn't want to go offshore beyond the Caribbean.