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Old 05-14-2013
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Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

Thinking about my next boat-lived aboard my Pearson Vanguard long enough and the youngest will be out of school in a couple years. I need a boat to live aboard that gives me a tad bit more room than my old Vanguard. Looking at the Ted Hood design with a centerboard. Would like comments on build quality and performance, storage etc. Tankage looks good, galley is better than what I have and finish is a definite upgrade. Plans are down the eastern seaboard, carribean and possibly further.
Have never sailed a boat with a board, understand the advantages, but what about the drawbacks? Whats it like with a board down in a storm? Will it heave to as easily as my Vanguard does?
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Old 05-14-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

We have a bristol 38.8. The two boats are very similar. While I don't have time to write too much, we did sail ours from Cape Cod to the Caribbean and back. The fuel capacity is lacking. This would be my biggest complaint. The engine on the 35.5 would not burn as much, so you are better off even if the capacity is the same. I was so concerned that the centerboard wasn't going to come back up, that we never used it. I had been meaning to get the cable serviced before we left but hadn't. Needless to say, she sails pretty good without it. Of course there is some performance loss going up wind. We have been back in New England for a few years now and the cable has been replaced. So we use the board when we need it and it works great. The only really big con is the cable & attachment and if it does break its a nightmare to get rerouted. Some of the bristol guys are now using line instead of a cable. Its called blue-something. I actually completely forget the name of the line, but its something like that and it is very strong and holds up in salt water.
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Last edited by KindOfBlue; 05-14-2013 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

Craig, thanks for the reply. What about centerboard slap at anchor? Is it annoying or noticeable? Also, beating-does it swing or move that you notice? If you were in a gale hove to would you be comfortable the board would stay put?
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Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

Amsteel blue is the 'go to' high strength rope for replacing the steel cable. I've not used it in large boats, but it works wonderfully in a Hunter 216.

My Gemini (centerboard in each hull) had a problem with rudder knock at anchor, but the centerboard never made a sound. You can fair the slot with fiberglass and such and reduce any slop fairly easily on any centerboard model, it also decreases drag considerably.
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Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

Build quality is about as good as it gets.
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Old 05-19-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

I own one but no offshore experience yet. Strong boat and well updated should be able to do what you want. I have red that cockpit drains maybe slow and I may modify this design in the future. Handles quite well with centerboard up and I sailed that way for 2 seasons due to a cable issue which is now resolved.
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Old 05-19-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

We have a big sister, the 45.5, and have about 30,000 miles on it. We use the cb in two circumstances, going to windward where the board gets pinned against the side of the case so it is silent. We also use it to balance the helm with the vane steering. It can bang back and forth in this use as the boat goes over swells. The rest of the time it is up including in really strong winds (couple of times with 55 knots) and quiet. Bristols are built like tanks and I can recommend one without reservation.

You might also look at the Hood 38 for a similar boat with more space.
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Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

HI all and thanks for your responses. seriously evaluating a 35.5. Two drawbacks to my mind, one smaller and one really giving me pause. The cockpit is comfortable and deep with only two small scuppers. that can be addressed. The companionway entrance goes almost to the floor of the cockpit though. If you take a lot of water aboard better have a couple of drop boards in place or better yet have modified the entrance permanently.

Engine access is a bigger concern. In my first look, I can't see how the thing is maintained. The stuffing box looks like it could only be serviced by removing the exhaust manifold (and you know thats not coming off easily). Anybody out there have a 35.5 they service themselves?
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Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimPendoley View Post
Craig, thanks for the reply. What about centerboard slap at anchor? Is it annoying or noticeable? Also, beating-does it swing or move that you notice? If you were in a gale hove to would you be comfortable the board would stay put?
I have its little brother, a Bristol 29.9, also a keel/centerboard design. I have never noticed centerboard slap at anchor (and I am familiar with it, having had a MacGregor 26X previous to this boat) - though I have never anchored with the board down, so I don't know about that.

A neighbor who hauled his Bristol 35.5 at my marina, a couple of years ago, had the nightmare of threading a new cable through the sealed labyrinth for his C/B. When he finally accomplished it, he replaced the steel cable with Amsteel Blue (Dyneema) line of the same diameter - Dyneema is stronger than 318 SS wire, there's no corrosion (of course), and it's easier and far more secure to splice on a new piece of braided line when you decide you really ought to replace the pendant.
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Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Bristol 35.5 Offshore and Liveaboard?

When we were in the market for a boat, we almost pulled the trigger on the B35.5 but ultimately went with our T37. They are similar in many ways although the T37 is slightly larger in all aspects I believe. The Bristol is a solid hull vs our cored hull, advantages & disadvantages of both. Build of the 35.5 is stellar, fit and finish is excellent.

My Aunt & Uncle had a 35.5 CB. I sailed with them many a summer on the Chesapeake as a teenager. It was a bit tender IIRCC but once it found the groove it was comfortable. As noted, I know my Uncle found engine maintenance not fun.

Not much help, sorry. Love the boat though, probably why we considered buying one
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