Join Date: Dec 2000
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As you know, I have a Wauquiez Hood 38 MK II and am very happy with it. Mine does not have teak decks, Wauquiez built their boats with and without, at the owners option. The non-teck decks boats tend to be a bit more than the teak deck ones.
There are really only some minor differences between the Wauquiez, Bristol and Little Harbor models. The LH is not much different than the Bristol in terms of layout and quality, and they are most rare, so I will only talk about the Bristol and Wauq.
First and foremost, the Wauquiez Hood 38 was built in two models the MK I and MK II. The main difference being the companionway. The MK I has the less desireable Baltic/Swan style "submarine hatch" companionway. You have to climb out of the cockpit, up on the bridge deck to the coachroof and then down the hatch (while avoiding the boom). There are reasons you might want this, but if you are married....no need to go into it...you will not want this. This accounts for the large difference in prices you are no doubt seeing on YW for the Wauquiez Hood''s. This and the teak deck. A MK II with the original glass deck is usually much higher in price.
By and large the underbodies are the same with exactly the same foil. The Bristol 38.8 keel continues a little further aft and attaches the rudder to it, having a keyhole for the prop. The Wauquiez is a cutaway aft with an open prop and separate rudder. I have not sailed the bristol but I would prefer the Wauquiez design based on performance and...more importantly maintenance. Having just taken off the prop shaft to replace the cutlass bearing and shaft seal...I think it would be much easier in the Wauq. (by the way, the Wauquiez has a Perkins 4-108 bullet proof engine with a Hurth V drive....making it very easy to access the shaft and shaft seal....which is really great)
The Wauquiez Hood 38, both MK I and MK II ver''s have a good sized private aft stateroom with a nice double berth. The Bristol 38.8 ONLY comes with a quarterberth (unless there is a custom one out there). I wanted this private space to offer friends that come sailing or just to visit for the weekend. I also like having a private cabin for a cruising partner... I think it helps relationships and gives your girlfriend or wife a place she can make her own and go to when she wants some space. No boat, even a 50 footer, has the space of a one room condo...so privacy on a boat is a significant issue and, in my mind, enhances it.
Bottom line is that the Bristol 38.8 asks a much higher price than the Wauquiez, in my mind, without justification. The joinery in the Wauquiez is beautiful and very well done. The quality of the Wauquiez is first class...it is a very very well thought out and engineered boat. I have been on many Bristols and while they are very nice boats, I do not think their quality is better than a Wauquiez of the same vintage.
If chosing between the two boats, I would think the choice would depend almost solely on looks. The Bristol obviously has a moer traditional look with a higher coachroof. I actually prefer that style, but was quite taken with the Swan style low coachroof of the Wauq. I have also found it more funcitonal when working on deck. Also, if you really don''t want or need a private aft stateroom, then perhaps the more open main saloon of the bristol would be your choice. The Bristol is about 2000-3000 lbs lighter displacement and suppose to be slightly faster, but the PHRF numbers are not much different.
Sorry if this is long. I hope others will reply and give you some balance in understanding. There are better boats, faster boats and bigger boats. All in all, I like mine for the price, performance, quality and comfort.
Hope this helps
Wauquiez Hood 38