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  #1  
Old 11-22-2003
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Boat choices....

Hi, looking for a boat for cruising when retired, possibly for circumnavigation. In what order would you put the following 3 choices and why? (they are all basically the same design)
Little Harbour 38
Bristol 38.8
Hood Wauquiez 38
They are all available at approx. the same prices, but for different years.
If I were to add 2 more non centerboarders to the list, where would they fit in:
Crealock 37 and Com-pac 35
Thank you in advance for any input.
Richard
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2003
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Boat choices....

This is sort of a funny question. Which of the three, Little Harbour 38, Bristol 38.8, Hood Wauquiez 38, would be best for a possible circumnavigation. As you note all three are very similar. The Little Harbors seem to be the best constucted of the three. The Brostol seems to be the worse with the Wauquiez falling in between. That said it is only subtleties that distinguish these boats. The Little Harbors have a more offshore friendly galley and better storage comparments, albeit high in the boat which means less usable for heavier objects (can goods and the like). Of the three the Little Harbor is the heaviest which is bad news for offshore (more roll and the need to carry more sail in a blow). The Little Harbors have better ventilation and more fuel capacity which are both good for distance cruising. They have a lot more teak on the exterior which is bad.

Wauquiez built several variations on the Hood 38. Since John Drake bought his boat I have been curious about these boats. I have been on two of them that each had very different deck plans. Neither was very good for offshore. The one has a very wide and high bridge deck that made it very awkward to enter the companionway with the dodger rigged and the other had a very low bridge deck that would make swamping a real risk in a pooping. The Wauquiez had a less offshore oriented galley. I was generally impressed with these boats all around.

The Bristols seem to have the highest prices of the bunch. They seem to be closer to the Little Harbors in layout. They are the lightest of the three. They have more tankage than the Wauquiez and less than the Little Harbors. Unlike the other two they do not come with teak decks. I consider teak decks to be a deal killer for a long distance cruising boat. There was an optional pullman style forward cabin which I think is a pretty poor setup for distance cruising. There are a number of details on the Bristol that put it on the bottom of the three build quality wise But all three are so close thatI would not let that chase you off.

Now then one really odd part of your question of the implication that these are circum-navigating offshore cruisers. I think that these were really high quality coastal cruisers. They would be reasonable boats for offshore cruising but they were not designed or detailed for the kind of abuse implicit in a circumnavigation. I think that the rig proportion is really not a very good offshore set up (huge genoas and small very high aspect mainsails make pretty inflexible rigs.)

The other odd part of your question is the other two boats that you throw in for comparison. The Crealock represents a more offshore oriented design albeit less suitable as a live aboard. The Com Pac 35 is a lightly engineered simply constructed coastal cruiser.

Jeff
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Old 11-24-2003
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Boat choices....

Interesting question given that all three boats are essentially the same design. But Jeff H raised some very good points. Tankage is important as is stowage. There are some minor differences between the three. The most significant difference between the three hood''s is exterior teak and the second stateroom. The Wauquiez has the least amount of ''ornamental'' exterior teak. Just enough to show the boat off, but not too much to make maintenance arduous. Also, instead of a teak caprail, it has a slotted aluminum toe rail. VERY handy.

The Wauquiez also has a second private stateroom, the aft qtr cabin. While this does essentially block off that part of the cabin and delete the separate nav sta, it does provide for significant privacy for quests and even sailing companions. For me, that has been a very good thing. And, for a circumnavigation, its a nice ''garage''. This feature is personal preference, but I do not see ANY modern 38 footers that do not have two private staterooms these days.

In addition, the Wauquiez has nice broad flat decks that are terrific for working on. Very solid and sure footing. Easy to run up and down on. The Wauq does not have the more traditional appearance of the other two, this again is personal preference.

As for the bridge deck. The high and wide bridge deck Jeff talks about is the Mark I ver. These boats have a Baltic/Swan style sub hatch companionway. And I agree with Jeff. Offshore, I am not going to be happy having to jump up on the coachroof, watching out for the boom, just to get down below. But...these boats can be had for 20k less than the mark II ver with the more traditional companionway.

I have a lot of respect for Jeff H''s opinion and he is well informed. I would differ on some of the points he raised. I do not think the MK II ver companionway is low to the cockpit sole at all. And I think it is Jeff''s opinion when he states that these boats may not be good for a circumnavigation or good offshore. The experience of the owners of these boats is quite the oposite. There are Many Hood 38''s being used to circumnavigate and many many that are sailed offshore, including the Southern Ocean. The SailNet Wauquiez list has nothing but accounts of people going offshore with these boats. Hardly a soul on there is doing just coastal cruising. The Wauquiez Hood 38 has as strong a build quality or better than most of the boats you will find of that vintage, LOA and cost.

I would agree with Jeff that are other boats to consider for a circumnavigation, but they all have there own issues. I disagree that there are any better boats of the same cost, quality and accomodation. The Hood 38 is in the middle of the road as far as displacement/LWL. To me, this is ideal. She has a very powerful rig and is one of the few boats that provides power, speed and comfort. She is much faster and goes to weather better than heavy asian full keel boats and has a nicer more comfortable motion in a seaway than lighter race oriented or production boats. There are people who do not favor a masthead rig, or even a sloop design for offshore work. And there are people who would be just as passionate in the other direction. In a perfect world, you might want to chose a boat with a different rig, a longer boom, fractional rig (but then I chose liked this rig for other considerations...especially the shorter boom as I consider it much much safer). But....everything has a cost. Boats with those rigs might have other less desireable characteristics or might be too expensive.

With great respect, I would add that all boats are compromises. When you are considering a boat that has yacht like joinery down below, can take a beating offshore while providing a comfortable ride for her crew....all in a certain price range....I have found very few options. The Hood 38 is one.

I also think her motion ideal. I have sailed quite a few boats and many offshore. Since getting Invictus, I have only been in the Chesapeake bay, but have sailed in challenging conditions there, including 30kt winds and short steep chop. She was very very stable. People who sail with me marvel at the comfortable motion of these boats.

The Crealock 37 is a very nice boat. But she is far slower than the Hood 38 and her accomodations are no comparison.

Obviously if you have come to a short list that includes the Hood 38, you have done the thinking involved in thinking about which compromises to make in getting an offshore boat with good accomodations.

I have had my Wauquiez Hood 38 for only 2 yrs. I looked at hundreds of boat before getting her (and have sailed and raced for some time). Since getting her and getting to know many people on the Wauquiez list (many of whom have friends who sail the B38.8), I now know why there are very few Hood 38''s for sale. There is a reason.

My best regards to all.

Respectfully,

John
s/v Invictus
Wauquiez Hood 38 MK II
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Old 11-24-2003
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Boat choices....

Wow, thanks Jeff and John for taking time to input. These are the boats I am leaning toward, but Jeff, if you don''t think these boats would be up to the challenge of a circumnavigation, what would you recommend for under 40 foot with a cruising or shoal keel (prefer encapulated lead) that does not have weight like a battleship?
Thank You, Richard
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Old 11-24-2003
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Boat choices....

It is not that I don''t think that these boats are suitable for a circumnavigation, from my point of view, they just were not optimized for that kind of useage.

On the Mark II companionway, the sill was maybe 6 or 8 inches above the deck on the one that I was on. On the other hand the photos on Yachtworld show them higher. One thing that I have noticed is that the Wauquiez Hood 38''s must have been near custom boats as there are large variations in their deck layouts.

I was surprised at how many of these boats there are for sale. There were something like 120 to 150 of these boats made depending on who you believe. There is quite a large percentage of those on the market.

By the way, I consider an encapsulated keel totally unsuitable for the abuses of long distance voyaging. Encapsulated keels place the water tight membrane right at the most vulnerable position at the bottom of the keel. Once that membrane is damaged and water gets into the encapsulation, they are next to imposible to permanently repair. Encapsulation is a cheap and easy way to build a boat, but not a good one.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 11-25-2003
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Boat choices....

I am glad we could provide some input and give you a diversity of opinion. Sailing and boat design in general seems to me to be about diversity. So many sailors have differeing ideas of what makes a perfect boat.

I respect Jeff''s knowledge on boats a great deal but did want to address his post above.

The Wauquiez''s were a strange semi-custom build. As you know, there is the MK I and MK II models, then there actually was an American ver and a euro ver...with different traveler positions and some other changes. The companionway being one. And they were available with or without a teak deck. I have the MK II American marker boat, glass deck which is the most sought after.

As for many being on the market....I know the story on just about each one for sale on YW. There are only a handful for sale. Of that handful, 2 or 3 have already been sold and 4 are duplicate listings. I would need to check again, but I think there are really only 2-3 for sale in the entire country and only 1-2 MK II''s.

The issue of encapsulated ballast is one where I think reasonable sailors differ. Having researched this extensively, I became of fan of this method for any type of sailing. In a hard grounding, an external bolt on keel can be forced through the canoe body and hole a boat. This happened right in front of me on the Ches. Unreal. Also those bolts can leak and be a constant source of water in a boat. An encapsulated keel keeps a boat water tight. Jeff is certainly right that is done WRONG, a hard grounding intruduce water into the keel area making that needs to dry. The Wauquiez''s are built right. The lead ballast (MKII) is glassed in. Making it all but impossible for water to penetrate the keel (as it is one big piece of epoxy).

If you desire a shoal draft boat, 38-42 ft with yacht like accomodations, I honestly think you would be hard pressed to find a better boat.

You could consider a Valiant 40 for only a bit more money. But then the Valiant in that price range will likely be 10 yrs older, have blister problems and might have been rode hard and put away wet. But then look at the numbers (sure, they don''t tell the whole story but..), the Valiant 40 and Hood 38 are less than 2ft apart LOA, maybe 3ft apart in LWL, have similar PHRF''s and are the same displacement. The Hood is newer, has a much nicer cabin (except for the galley), larger aft stateroom and larger more comfy cockpit (you will spend a lot of time at anchor watching the sun set in the cockpit). The Hood 38 will also point higher with the board down and draws 4.5ft vs 6 ft board up.

The above is just illustrative that all boats have issues and thus boat choices is a matter of trying to get the attributes the individual sailor wants. There is no perfect boat as there is no free lunch.

At any rate, I hope this helps. I am glad both Jeff and I could contribute.

My best to all.

John
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Old 11-25-2003
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Boat choices....

JohnDrake,

RE: "In a hard grounding, an external bolt on keel can be forced through the canoe body and hole a boat."
An external lead keel on a properly constructed solid glass hull will take a lot of abuse with no material damage. E.g. this hauling we found a half inch deep, foot long gouge in the bottom of our external lead keel, due to bouncing over a rock in a five foot seaway. If this keel was encapsulated, any sheating would have been removed and we''d face the subsequent risks described elsewhere. As it is, after a half hour with a grinder and some epoxy filler, and we''re ready to paint, no worse for wear.

This keel is mounted on a heavily reinforced solid glass stub connected to a grid system. The keel could not be driven through this mounting area. Abuse adequate to break the framing and drive the keel with the entire reinforced stub area through the surrounding hull would probably also be adequate to similarly destroy an ecapsulated keel. (More severe grounding could damage the grid system which can be expensive to repair...)

I have seen external keel impacts damage the surrounding hull laminate in several cored hulls, so I offer my comments only regarding solid glass hulls.

I think the design question of an encapsulated keel is in fact similar to that of cored hulls, recognizing there a re different schools of thought for both subjects. Beautiful boats can be designed and properly constructed with encapsulated keels or cored hulls, and give their fortunate owners many years of excellent service. However, should these boats experience not unusual impacts, the owners hmay have material problems to deal with, which would not occur with alternate forms of construction.

So what my thinking comes to, with the unavoidable risks inherent in boating, why include any big ones that can easily be avoided? Sort of like choosing gas versus diesel, although the market has spoken on that choice. Just my point of view.

Good luck.
(Those Hood designs are beautiful boats, and well worth bending opinions and points of view to consider...)
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Old 11-25-2003
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Boat choices....

Sailing - I agree that a properly constructed bolt on keel boat should not have many problems in a grounding. But there are quite a few production boats being used for offshore sailing that the owner will never know how good the construction is until such a grounding. The same may be true of encapsulated keel boats. In my opinion, the Wauq''s have an excellent built quality in that regard. And as stated, I did in fact personally witness a boat sinking because of the bolt on keel damaging the hull on a grounding.

I respectfully would disagree that an encapsulated keel represents any greater hazard to a boat than a bolt on keel. In fact, after careful consideration, I now feel quite the reverse. I would contend that a properly constructed encapsulted keel is perhaps somewhat safer. In a properly constructed encap keel boat, the ballast is fully glassed in. This creates a stronger structure that can deny water any place to go. In addition, the canoe body of the boat is also fully glassed from the keel. Even if water did enter the keel, you could sail for thousands of miles before needing to stop for a repair. If fully glassed in, repair should be nothing more than fairing and glassing over.

If there is any problem with the bolt on keel: fracturing of iron keels due to neglect and corrosion (and yes, I have seen this with my own eyes), bolts shearing off in a grounding, the keel damaging the canoe body or simply the bolts becoming lose and allowing water into the bilge.....you need to stop your trip asap and lay up for expensive repairs.

I think we are really talking about problems with poorly designed and poorly constructed boats. This is not the case with the Wauquiez, many other encapsulated keel boats and many bolt on keel boats. Honestly not sure it is a major consideration.

One item we have not addressed that is important is the rig. The rig on the Wauq Hood 38''s is simply amazing. Incredibly beefy is the only way I could describe it. Highly redundant stays. Lots of reinforcement. Have you seen those knees down below?

What I like about the encapsulated keel of the Hood 38 is its shallow draft and water tight integrity. These boats (and her Bristol and LH sisterships) have gone untold numbers of sea miles over many years and are still on every short list for an offshore boat.

My best to all

Respectfully

John
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Old 11-25-2003
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Boat choices....

Richard:

I just took a look on YW. Pretty typical of YW, of the 13 Wauquiez 38''s, 2 are not Hood 38''s, 6 are not in the US, at least one is a double listing and at least one is already sold (that I know of).

That leaves 3 actual Wauquiez Hood 38''s for sale in the US.

Good news is that they are all MK II''s. The CA one looks way too low a price for a MK II...either this is a phenom deal or something is wrong with the boat.

That leaves one in Maine and one in FLA. The one in ME has teak decks (lists for $114k). The one in FLA does not but goes for $123k or so. But...it is ALL tricked out. I think this one is a truly turn key boat. Ready for bluewater now.

At any rate, just some info for you...and a comment on finding boats on YW...its a lot of work.

My best to all.

John
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Old 11-25-2003
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Boat choices....

Ok, thanks very much, the 2 hoods in CA have the same picture but they are actually 2 different boats (both with teak decks-which I don''t want)so I''m still be looking
Richard
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