It took a cornerstone sailboat builder to realize that what a lot of sailors really want is sailing. That sounds funny, but one of the oldest fiberglass production sailboat companies of North American, Tartan Marine, now part of Fairport Marine, has put its finger on a segment of consumers who want exceptional sailing, in addition to good accommodations.
With the exit of C&C Yachts, Fairport's Tim Jackett, vice-president-general manager and head designer, recognized a performance gap. The C&C boats, which go back to the 60s when Cuthbertson and Cassian founded the production fiberglass boatbuilding firm in Ontario, Canada, were strong-performing hulls wrapped with cruising amenities.
The idea of a boat that could both cruise well and race well got jostled around when racing became more intense. The so-called combination boat became less competitive — in part due to the limitations of sailboat handicapping systems. Highly comfortable, moderate-performance boats have since become popular, meeting the needs of most sailors, but not all sailors.
The C&C 121
Price*: $217,000, base boat
A portion of this minority of sailors is in search of a powerful performance boat with comfort too. Now along comes the revitalized C&C line to answer this need — call it a need for more fun.
The new performance series from Fairport's new C&C Yachts began with the C&C 110, which was introduced about a year ago. Its success revealed the hunger for a performance-dual-purpose boat was far from satiated. C&C Yachts followed this 36-footer with the C&C 121, 40 feet overall, introduced at Sail Expo in Atlantic City in January.
The C&C 121 is both power and beauty. Ironically, one of the opportunities of a performance design is style. The C&C 121 does not let this be an opportunity lost. The gains of speed have come with aesthetic gains, as in the design's strong lines, bold sheer and sweet ends. But first, let's look at the meat of the new 121, its "sail-ability."
As with the C&C 110, the 121 has not forgotten its parentage. The C&C multi-faceted deck, designed by Rob Ball, is evident on the 121. While the hull is changed from the C&C 40XL — the obvious boat of comparison — the 121 has attained a far bolder look. And behind the looks is additional horsepower. Designer Jackett beefed up the power by increasing the waterline more than 2-1/2 feet. The bow overhang has been shortened and the beam has ballooned to 13.1 feet, about a seven-inch increase. The waterline beam is 10.9 feet. Jackett plumped out the aft section, adding flattened area and some hard turns in the station 9 to 10 area, but there are no IOR distortions. The mainsail has 14 percent more area than on the old C&C 40XL, with some of this power increase coming off the substantial roach area. The sail area to displacement is 23.23.
This low-wetted surface hull, made of closed-cell Corecell, features a high-lift, low-drag keel, ranging from the standard 6-1/2-foot-drawing fin, to the deep 8-foot fin and the shoal-draft keel, which draws 5 feet. The standard and shoal-draft keels have bulbs.
Displacement is moderately light at 14,100 pounds with a ballast to displacement ratio of 39 percent.
The deck plan is simple yet highly efficient. The cockpit includes an easy open seating area with the 48-inch diameter standard wheel. (A 54-inch diameter wheel is also available.) Steering is rack and pinion, the new smooth and compact CD-I from Edson. The mainsheet rides on a 4-to-1-purchase traveler at the fore end of the companionway. Lewmar winches are 54 for the primaries in the cockpit and 44 on the housetop for the halyards and mainsheet. There are five sheet stoppers on either side of the companionway. There are wide side decks with Navtec continuous rod rigging terminals set well inboard. The split backstay is available with hydraulic adjustment. The offshore mast features aft-swept spreaders (3 pairs) that eliminate the need for a babystay. As with the foregoing C&Cs, there is the hallmark aluminum toerail, but this modernized C&C's rail is gray with holes on 24-inch centers — a nice upgrade.
Going below, it is obvious this boat is a product of the same builders of the Tartan performance cruisers, with good finishes and good workmanship. The interior is done in cherry, solid for the trim and veneer for the bulkheads and doors. The sole is teak and holly.
This isn't a super luxurious interior but the amenities for comfortable sailing, whether cruising or racing, are all here. One of the significant features of the interior is the large, forward-facing navigator's station and the large galley, with double sinks (one larger than the other) on centerline. The forward and aft cabins are commodious, with 6'2" headroom in the fore cabin. The aft features a double quarter berth, though the cockpit well that drops down could be a real head-knocker 'til the owners learn to live with. Headroom ranges from 6"4" at the aft cabin door to five-foot-plus at the outboard sides of the berth. Light and ventilation in this cabin is provided by three cockpit-opening portlights. Additional berthing is possible in the main cabin by expanding a settee to a double.
The auxiliary is the Volvo MD 2040, the 38-horsepower diesel. It is a saildrive and comes with a folding propeller.C&C Yachts has made strategic alliances with a consortium of suppliers. They include Offshore, Lewmar (and Navtec), Corecell coring, Volvo, Mars Metal, Edson steering system. The hull comes with a 10-year warranty against structural problems and blisters.
Tankage on the C&C 121 is 35 fuel and 80 freshwater. Among options available are: asymmetrical spinnaker gear and carbon fiber mast (costing $22,500 additional). If you're ready to race, the C&C 121 will likely rate around PHRF 54 with the deep fin keel and 60 with the standard keel.
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