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ccnightsail 03-03-2003 10:11 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
My wife and I are looking to upgrade to a larger sailboat. We would like to live aboard. I am 6''2" tall so head room is a must. We were looking at a 1981 cal 38'' with Sparksman Stevens style - nice lines. The hull is very beamie. I understand this is a faster boat (sailing) but has only a 25hp
universal atomic. We live on cape cod and
would like to travel the canal. I understand that 38 to 50 hp is desireable to motor.
The Hull is a # 108. The cockpit is long but
narrow. the the aft is swept back and not
wide. What are your thoughts on this boat.
Asking $44k. But I think $33k would be more like it. Is the motor too small ?
What I am looking for is Room, no slug sailing, and a generally good boat.

Denr 03-04-2003 04:00 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
With no due respect, what the hell do you mean "Sparkman Stevens" style? S&S never drew ugly lines like the Catalina 38, give me a break! If you''re worried about the engine, I''ve got one word for you......TRAWLER.

SailorMitch 03-04-2003 04:25 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens

Not to confuse the issue with too many facts, but there is a Catalina 38 made in the early ''80''s that was designed by Sparkman and Stephens (at least the hull was.) I came across one during a race here on the Chesapeake a few years ago. It was ghosting along next to the boat I was crewing on close enough for us to chat for a bit. The C-38 crew made it clear they were there for the beer. IOR influences in the (pinched) stern as described in the first post. Not sure how this S&S design made it into the Catalina line up either.

This model is not to be confused with the WAS (wide ass stern for the uninitiated) of the newer C-38''s or 380s or whatever they are called.

Humbly submitted,


tsenator 03-04-2003 05:02 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
Yep, SailorMitch is correct.

There are two 38 foot boats from Catalina. The current C380 and the older C38 (Actually three now, they changed The C380 slightly and its now a C387).

The original boat was designed by Sparkman and Stephens to be built as a one-off racing design. The hull form was then purchased by the Yankee Boat Company in Marina del Rey, California. They built approximately 30 Yankee 38''s before the business failed. Frank Butler of Catalina Yachts purchased the molds from Yankee, and started building the C38. He also, so the story goes, called Sparkman
and Stephens for permission to advertise it as a Sparkman and Stephens design. He made the Catalina 38 a faster boat than the Yankee 38, and as a result for years it replaced the Cal 40 as the official Congressional Cup boat, one of the top match
racing regattas in the world. It was, in turn, replaced by the Capri 37, also made by Catalina Yachts .

An interesting article on the racing configuration of the Catalina 38 can be found in the 8th edition of Royce''s Sailing Illustrated.

Here is a picture of one

ccnightsail 03-04-2003 05:32 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
None taken, Denr.
I own a beginner boat Oday 22'' for the last 4 seasons - so I have an excuse about not knowing about Catalina''s. As to my comments about the motor, my brother in law owns an Endevor which has a cockpit the size of a living room and has 50 hp for motoring. Since the Endevors displacement is an extra 7000 lbs, from the Cal 38 I was describing, it probably needs the extra 25 hp to push the thing around. He likes to motor everywhere so he reccomended to me that the 25 hp sounded insufficent to make thru the Cape Cod Canal in an efficent manner. I don''t think motor sailing everywhere is my idea of sailing. While I have taken almost every course the cape cod power squadron has to offer, I dont claim to be an expert but I was going on what the Broker told me about the hull design. And Yes, a trawler might be faster than my Oday 22''. Sailor Mitch - Thanks for your input. How did you think the C38 did when you were sailing along side it? If you recall, how did it look in the water? Displacement: 15900 Thanks

SailorMitch 03-04-2003 06:07 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens

I can''t offer an opinion on how well the boat sailed since the winds were so light at that particular moment. plus, I was in a friend''s (slow) Newport 31, so almost anything else would''ve been faster in light air. Plus, the crew of the C-38 was drinking quite a bit. :)

As for the engine size, 25 HP for a boat that displaces 15900 lbs is skimpy by today''s standards, but about what you''d expect in a boat from that era. Today the rule of thumb is 1HP for each 500 lb of displacement, meaning the C-38 "should" have at least 32 HP. Personally I wouldn''t let that 7 HP stop you if the boat otherwise suits your needs/desires. My 2 cents anyway.

ccnightsail 03-04-2003 06:23 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
Tsenator - Many thanks for your info. I am still considering this boat (1981 Cal 38) over my friends Oday 34 1981 ( mint cond)
it looks like a lot wood work is required on the inside but may prove to be a fast sailing boat. What are your ideas on this boat as to Blue Water - as I would like to sail from Cape Cod to Maine coast for summer vacations.

tsenator 03-04-2003 08:13 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens

Are you saying its a Cal38 or a Catalina 38. I reeally don''t know anything about the Cal38?

As far as the original Catalina 38''s, it''s considered a bit more of a racing type in its heritage as compared to other Catalina''s. Its relatively fast as compared to other Catalinas also. I have heard, on a run down wind with some seas running it can be a bit "squirley" and a little more to handle with a short handed crew than a heavy type boat. As for Blue Water - That is a whole debate in itself, and I guess its how you define Blue Water. But suffice it to say the Catalina 38 has probably one of the best reputations of the Catalina out there, but remember these boats are getting older, so a good survey is in always in order.

Go here for some info and contact info

tsenator 03-04-2003 08:21 AM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
ccnightsail, one more thing. I have to agree with you as far as the engine, Yes even though nobody wants to motor everywhere. Sometimes a good strong healthy motor is a necessity, especially when you are faced with the currents up around our area. Places like Hell''s Gate on the east river or the CC canal with 5-7 knots current, can at times make it a necessity.

I heard from a couple that chucked it all and went Cruising (They write for cruising world now) and they said if there was ONE thing they wish they could have modifyed on their boat, it would be to have a "bigger engine". Even though they sail thousands of miles, they still used that engine, and they have said that when they really needed it, it would have been nicer to have more HP. If your a day sailor it matters a bit less.

Silmaril 03-04-2003 12:24 PM

81 Catalina 38 '''' Sparkman Stevens
While the horspower rating is a major factor to concider, it''s the PROP that gets the power to the water. On many of these racer/cruiser designs, a feathering Martek was the standard. These props, when folded give little or no drag. Great when racing, however they have reduced "push" when in forward and will downright scare you in reverse! If you are mostly cuising, go for a PROPERLY sized three bladed fixed prop. The formula for sizing a prop can be quite intimidating and is usually best left for the professionals. Although I recall a good article from Sail Magazine a few years ago that shed some light on the process. And remember, hull speed is a major limiting factor, once hit, a displacement hull takes a huge increase in power to go beyond it, so with a good three blade prop, your 25hp should be sufficient.

The Catalina 38 is a really nice sailing boat. IMHO, superior to many of today''s floating motels. Back then, IOR was the International OCEAN Racing formula, where boats were expected to compete in long distance off-shore races. The "Squirely" running before the wind problems were more when the wind was 25kts+ and you were carrying your 1.5oz radial ''chute in large (8''+) following seas. Plan on doing any of that?

Good luck, hope this helps!

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