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03-18-2015 06:16 PM
Re: Is Hughes 35 A Offshore Boat ?

Originally Posted by bendr View Post
It seems super sturdy and from what I have been told, the hull thickness on these are probably close to double what you might see on a similar size more modern fiberglass boat.
The reality is that hull thickness have not changed very much since the 1970's. The reality is that modern hull engineering took two big leaps in terms of increased hulls strength since the 1970's. The first came in the 1980's when the uniform design loads and minimum scantlings were increased in the wake of the research following the Fastnet. The second big jump occurred in the late 1990's and early 2000 era when the research from the CE Small Craft Directive became readily available.

In reality, 1970's era performance boats like the Northstar were just not all that robustly constructed. They had already gone through a major lightening with the advent of the IOR. Modern boats tend to have more internal framing and higher strength laminates, which in theory makes them stronger than boats from the 1970's. I say in theory because some of that strength comes from glued in members and I do not believe that the small contact area of these glues will allow the laminate to stand up to as many load cycles as more traditional tabbing methods.

03-18-2015 05:59 PM
Re: Is Hughes 35 A Offshore Boat ?

That's what I thought you meant - just wanted to clarify.

For your edification, the six motions of a sailboat are roll, pitch, heave, sway, yaw and surge.

What you were experiencing sounds like repetitive yawing which would be pretty typical of an early IOR design on a hard reach.
03-18-2015 02:16 PM
Re: Is Hughes 35 A Offshore Boat ?

Hey SloopJonB,

I need to clarify for you and any others that might follow this thread.

The boat did not show any signs of physical or mechanical damage or cracking of any kind. It seems super sturdy and from what I have been told, the hull thickness on these are probably close to double what you might see on a similar size more modern fiberglass boat.

Twisting when referring to the boats movements was an improper term. I am still not 100% on all the right terminology. To borrow from pilots on the movements of an airplane, what I meant to say is that the boat seemed quite seaworthy...but threw us around a lot. As in, a fair amount of pitching, rolling and yawing. So if I could replace twisting with yawing, although that probably still isn't the right

Also, I realize that I also made an error and should have said we were on a broad reach most of the time, not a beam reach. The swells were coming off the rear quarter and causing us to turn on our axis. I haven't had a lot of experience on similar sized boats of other designs and keel types, but would expect a full keeled boat to be more stable and not throw the crew around like it did for us. The Hughes 35 is a fin keel with a skeg+rudder.

Still love the boat and I think for what we experienced, the boat handled it well. Perhaps what seemed to be a relatively short wavelength (from tip to tip) seemed pretty short, shorter than the wavelength you would get in bluewater with the same size swells. This probably added to the "discomfort"

Anyways, hope that helps clarify. I do really like the community of like minded people on here who share a fair bit of knowledge and experience that is not always easy to find otherwise.

03-17-2015 10:01 PM
Re: Is Hughes 35 A Offshore Boat ?

When you say "twisting" are you referring to the boats motion through the water or the boat itself - the hull?
03-16-2015 02:39 PM
Re: Is Hughes 35 A Offshore Boat ?

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post to the forum. I came across this thread about a Hughes 35 and found it rather helpful and enlightening. A friend of mine and I bought a 1980 Hughes 35 (Northstar but S&S design I believe) in the fall of 2014.

We sailed it down Lake Ontario from Toronto into the Bay of Quinte over the first few days of October with most of the trip in some pretty nasty weather. We managed fairly well overall, considering at one point we had to deal with 60kph/33kn gale or near gale force winds with 8-10 foot swells.

Although we as the crew were pretty worn down by the end of the 3 day voyage, the boat seemed to handle it quite well. No equipment issues, and the rigging held up really well. I only have a moderate amount of sailing experience, but I would say the only thing I noticed was a fair bit of twisting and constant attention on the helm while on a broad reach. I suppose any sailboat that size would have some undesirable twisting on those size swells, but perhaps a full keeled boat less so.

At times, we seemed to average 8.5 to 9 knots no problem on a beam reach and once hit a peak of 9.6 on the backside of a few swells coming off the quarter. We were really making good ground, considering with the overhangs that the actual LWL is less than 30'. It is billed as a racer/cruiser (interesting that it seems to be billed as a racer first, then cruiser), even though it has a fair amount of interior space and lots of standing headroom. Also, just to note that it has a 170 genoa and we had it up in protected waters later in the trip with no more than a light breeze on a beam reach and it kept an easy 5.5 - 6 knots.

Although this boat could probably be a coastal cruiser, I am not sure about long ocean passages with large weather windows, but then again I am not experienced enough to say. We may keep it in freshwater and down the road look at another boat for bluewater, but after that passage, I am quite confident about the boats ability to handle strong weather. It is more about how much comfort will the crew have during a rough passage I believe is more the question with this boat.

Anyways, I would really like to chat with any other owners of a Hughes 35 to compare notes etc. It would be most helpful to me as we are still getting to know this boat. It would be great to hear form other owners or previous owners about experiences or anything of note they found about their Hughes 35's.

Thanks and happy sailing!
06-17-2013 04:55 PM
Re: Is Hughes 35 A Offshore Boat ?


According to the S&S website the Northstar/Hughes 35 is to a design that was also built to in the UK, by South Hants Engineering, as the SHE 36. The SHE 36 has a terrific reputation as a good seaboat, not least because one rescued the crew of a competitor and went on to finish the '79 Fastnet. The two boats are not the same - the SHE 36 has a different deck, etc and may differ in other ways too.
01-30-2010 01:39 PM
Allan C&C Less Just a comment.
Hughes Columbia also made another 35' referred sometimes as a 10.7. with a beam of 11'4" with a hourglass shaped hull.
Wonder what Jeff H has say about this model?????
Maybe he could post a comment?

Cheers, Allan
12-11-2008 11:14 PM
captjcook I know this thread is a bit stale. I own a 1976 Northstar 1500. (H35) I nearly totally disagree with assumed performance. I never have had nor needed rail meat! fully battened main all out and my 150 on roller furling in 22+ knots beam reach does not bury the rail...she does do 8.4-8.6. Will plane downwind two foot seas 9.3/9.4 main alone. I have had Siren in rough conditions crossing the gulfstream and have no fear of her falling apart. Well built, no core and never a blister. She handles quick 1-1/2 lock to lock, like driving a sports car, A bit much for a first boat maybe. I have no problem single handing this boat. I used to have a 35,000# 43' double ended cutter, safe for sure, hard to single hand, every thing was so heavy.
09-23-2008 09:28 PM
KeelHaulin Looks more like an end-era CCA design to me. And I don't think it's bad looking and probably sails just fine offshore; as almost all S&S designed hulls do.

I really can't see why this boat would be in need of rail meat as compared to a ULDB boat. Boats of this era were designed with lower CG and more ballast JeffH just does not like boats that were designed earlier than the tail end of IOR; but there were plenty of nicely designed racer/cruisers during that time period (IMHO).

I don't know specifics about the Hughes 35; but to me it looks like it would make a fine coastal/offshore boat if properly equipped and thoroughly re-fitted. I would not just step aboard a boat of this era and expect to sail across oceans (both in boat preparation or experience); it is not very wise to do that sort of thing. In terms of experience; it seems that you might need to do some more sailing and casual research of different types of boats before you decide to go offshore. Asking us here what boats are well suited to go across an ocean brings concern to me that you need to gain more knowledge/experience as a sailor before you decide to set out into the deep blue. If it's a 5-10 year plan to get some good offshore experience first but buy the right boat now; that's OK but otherwise please gain more knowledge/experience before you buy a boat and set off for Hawaii.

Here is a good looking book that you might want to read (looks good but I have not read it yet):

Complete Guide to Choosing a Cruising Sailboat : Nautical Books at

Also the books by Linn and Larry Pardey on the same website. A woman solo circumnavigated on a Southern Cross 28 last year; but she set out with no experience and really got hammered when she sailed from US coast to Ireland. Lots of boats are suitable for offshore sailing; and the types of boats that could be used are wide and varied. It looks to me that you are more interested in a ex-racer/cruiser to become a full cruiser; and lots of people are doing this with boats similar to the Hughes 35.

Other boats to look at in this class would be older C&C's, Tartans, or Ericsons.
09-23-2008 04:01 PM
Vasco I know you'll get the usual from "experts" on "bluewater" boats but a good friend did four single-handed crossings of the Atlantic in a stock Hughes 35. He returned one year by the northern route and took quite a beating but the boat stood up quite well. His boat was a Hughes 35 built by Hughes not a Northstar.
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