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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > C&C 38 vs CS 36 Merlin
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Thread: C&C 38 vs CS 36 Merlin Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-26-2010 01:41 PM
CatchingUpSlowly This is a pretty interesting thread since last year I was shopping for our first boat ever, and after looking at 40 or so boats we ended up focusing on CS36Ts, Merlins, C&C 35-3's and 38-3's. There were some very well maintained and well-equipped Ts, which would have been my overall choice, but my wife hated the cabin and vetoed the type (sorry, Maine). She liked the Merlins best, but on an apples-to-apples-basis they were 20k more than Ts (in our local market).

So we bought a C&C 38-3 :-) I admit I went nuts scrutinizing the boat, and we had a reputable surveyor go over her thoroughly. Metered dry, percussion tests said dry.

I'm a beginner sailor, so I don't really understand what I've bought, yet. Give me a couple years. I admit I liked, with no good reason for it, that the 38-3 has a proportionately bigger main and smaller foresail that most of the masthead rig boats I was considering.

Good luck on your offer. Looking forward to hearing how it goes. I probably can't show this thread to my wife. Don't want her to spend much time thinking about the sleek Merlin interior she's not going to experience.
04-14-2010 05:49 PM
sailingdog good luck
04-14-2010 05:29 PM
jwreck So I made an offer on the CS. Fingers crossed.
04-03-2010 09:54 AM
KeelHaulin Again; moisture meters need to be used in a very specific way to determine hull moisture below the waterline. I'm quoting a marine survey website (Marine Survey FAQ Dixieland Marine )please review.

Quote:
  • We own and use an Electrophysics GRP 33 Marine Moisture meter.
    We probably will not use it on the bottom of the boat during a standard pre-purchase survey (unless it is a dry-stored boat). They are useful to assess moisture intrusion into cored decks, or in wood cored transoms or stringers. Most people, including many surveyors, do not understand the workings of moisture meters or the constraints necessary to achieve a reliable reading on a boats hull.
  • Moisture meters for use on fiberglass hulls are essentially radio transmitters/receivers.
    The measurement actually being made is dielectric constant or AC conductivity, which is affected by type and thickness of bottom paint, trapped water in the paint, thickness of gel coat, thickness of laminate, resin/glass ratio, as well as absorbed water.
  • The "Code of Practice for the Measurement and Analysis of the Wetness of FRP Hulls"* specifies the methods necessary.
    These include:
    1. The hull surface must carefully cleaned.
    2. A large number of random 4" x 4" areas of the hull must have paint or other coating removed down to the gel coat.
    3. The vessel should be out of the water at least 24 hours.
    4. Minimum number of measurements must be = approx. one per sq. meter (3.3 feet) or 50-100 on the average 35-40 foot boat.
    * International Institute of Marine Surveyors (1998) Witherby & Co., London, 17p.
04-03-2010 09:13 AM
sailingdog Electrophysics CT33...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
I would consider the Baltic or the Hylas; eliminate the Tayana and HC unless you want a boat that is much heavier displacement and not nearly as nimble as your C&C.

What type of moisture meter were you using Maine Sail?
04-03-2010 07:18 AM
Maine Sail
Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
And some of that build quality translates through the years to longeveity of the boat, but when buying a 20-30 year old boat it all depends on how the boat was taken care of. The CS I looked at certainly did not look like yours under the sole. It was a wreck. As many have posted on here before you need to get a good surveyor...and a thorough survey.
Exactly why I said... (see quote below ) I would always try and buy the best maintained boat you can find regardless of construction details unless those details were big detractors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post

All that being said the C&C is a great high quality boat, as is the Merlin, so I would base any assessment on current condition & maintenance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
We are currently undergoing the same analysis as we are looking for our final boat as retirement is comming in 5 years and we want to cruise to the Bahamas regularly. Speed is no longer the driving force it was 15 years ago, but I dont want a total barge either. We have narrowed our short list down to late 80s early 90s 45.5 Baltic, 44 Hylas, Tayana 42 and 43 Hans Christian Christina. We have looked at some already, but are looking for one which is in as good a condition as the C&C we bought 15 years ago.

That is really the deternmining factor, once you narrow it down to 3 or 4 designs.

Dave
I really like the Baltics.
04-03-2010 04:47 AM
KeelHaulin
Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail
We have narrowed our short list down to late 80s early 90s 45.5 Baltic, 44 Hylas, Tayana 42 and 43 Hans Christian Christina.
I would consider the Baltic or the Hylas; eliminate the Tayana and HC unless you want a boat that is much heavier displacement and not nearly as nimble as your C&C.

What type of moisture meter were you using Maine Sail?
04-03-2010 02:47 AM
chef2sail Ha Maine...I was wondering how long it would take for you to weigh in with your perfect boat.

I am humbled by your anaylsis and years of experience. I have only have 30 years of sailing. Having sailed with others on their boats across the Atlantic a few times when younger and some cruising like the 1500 and races to Bermuda and Newport over the years, I realize my qualifications to judge boats may not quite be up to yours or Boatpokers. I have only owned 3 boats, A 27 Tartan....28 Islander.... and my current boat of over 15 years our C&C 35 MKIII. Forgive me for voicing obviously biased opinion. Your finidings about the CS were spot on.

I must have gotten the only good dry C&C made. Funny I moisture tested 4 other C&C;s before I bought this one and none of them had moisture problems at all. And Boatpoker you are dead wrong...not all have basla cored hulls.

I wanted a small racer/ cruiser which was not slow...and was well made. The other boats I had narrrowed it down to before I bought my current vessel..a 36 CS....a 34 Sabre....and a 37 Tartan all had issues. The worst of which was the CS, which you aptly described as having so many small attentions to detail, the PO had destroyed it by putting enough homemade Rube Goldberg contraptions on it that it looked like a Mr Magoo Christmas tree. It really goes to the main(e) point that I was making that it all depends on the vessel you are looking at. Sure you can quibble about boats when they are new about the difference in build quality between an A and a B+ which all four of these boats IMHO were. And some of that build quality translates through the years to longeveity of the boat, but when buying a 20-30 year old boat it all depends on how the boat was taken care of. The CS I looked at certainly did not look like yours under the sole. It was a wreck. As many have posted on here before you need to get a good surveyor...and a thorough survey. I narrowed our choice 15 years ago to these four boats and bought the one in the best condition I could find. I was partial and narrowed it to these four boats as the designers as well as builders had good reputations and built quality boats which fit the needs I had. No boat is perfect..and 15 years ago a turn of speed was important as I was heavily into racing, and the C&C 35 MKIII was very competitive (and still is) yet comfortable for a 3 week coastal trip. Our boat has traveled to New England 15 times from the Chesapeake as well as been to Bermuda and Florida. She has stood up well to the test of time...and really we have constantly improved her with upgrades and new systems as older ones got outdated or wore out. All these should be considered in additon when buying an older used boat, but only after the basic integrity of the boats hull...and engine. Whomever gets our boat when we sell her will get a well maintained upgraded boat. (BTW its hard to think about parting with her,,even though we will go larger she has been part of the family for so long)

We are currently undergoing the same analysis as we are looking for our final boat as retirement is comming in 5 years and we want to cruise to the Bahamas regularly. Speed is no longer the driving force it was 15 years ago, but I dont want a total barge either. We have narrowed our short list down to late 80s early 90s 45.5 Baltic, 44 Hylas, Tayana 42 and 43 Hans Christian Christina. We have looked at some already, but are looking for one which is in as good a condition as the C&C we bought 15 years ago.

That is really the deternmining factor, once you narrow it down to 3 or 4 designs.

Dave
04-02-2010 11:16 PM
Maine Sail
Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post

Again I DO challenge you statement that the CS is the best Canadian Boat. I beleive they are equal with the C&C being a faster boat in general. Facts seem to prove that.

What facts prove that? The CS's are very, very well put together. As one who initially wanted a C&C, and looked at lots of them from Maine to Florida, and who has surveyed, worked on and raced on many I can assure you that they are great boats but not built to the level of a CS, as Boatpoker has pointed out.

I pulled my meter and very closely examined four C&C's in my search and every one of them had hull core moisture, two of them so severe I wondered how they were even still standing on the keel. I did find one that was dry but the rest of the boat was a basket case. After the fifth one I gave up and began widening my search to other high quality builders.

My sail maker just spent over 40k on his C&C to have the entire bottom re-built. Was in the shop from October until just about three weeks ago. The entire bottom, 100% of it, was re-cored a process that is very, very time consuming as you need to do small sections at a time. Core damage can and does happen, with no core, this can not happen..

The Merlin only has core above the waterline and a vacuum bagged deck construction. These boats were also bedded with butyl tape a process far more time consuming and labor intensive than marine sealants other builders used. This stuff never hardens and has kept many a CS bone dry beyond the 30 year mark. My own CS has over 80% of her deck hardware un-rebeded. I pulled the chain plates this winter to inspect, test and replace or re-install. They are all going back in, as they were still bone dry at 31 years of age, with zero leaks. Part of this success is the sealant choice and the other part is the way CS attached, built & designed their chain plates. There are few builders, at any cost, who attached chain plates the way CS did. This design came directly from Ray Wall who was CS's first designer and the ex chief designer for Camper Nicholson. Camper Nicholson was one of Europes highest quality builders.

The stringers in our boat are glassed to the hull, massive, and are solid fiberglass U-shaped beams with no core to rot. Engine beds are also solid glass with no core to rot out.

The chain plate knees of the CS-36 are made of solid fiberglass, are massive, and are integral to the hull not the bulkheads. The inward flange for the hull to deck joint also covers these knees and creates a solid fiberglass deck at the chain plate penetrations with no core to rot, if a leak developed.. This inward flange covers the entire chain plate knee so no water can get in from the top. This means that in the areas of the knees the inward hull flange is some 12 - 13" deep. The chain plates are not attached to free floating screwed in place bulkheads or even tabbed bulkhead which can rot if exposed to a leak. Inside these knees is a massive ss backing block laminated into place. Every bolt came out with zero issues 31 years after being put in place due to the well thought out sealed design.

The bulkheads are also tabbed directly to the hull and then a 1/4" teak veneer facing is laid over the actual bulkheads. This type of detail yields a very strong boat and also a boat not prone to chain plate leaks and the resulting bulkhead rot. I have never once heard of a CS that needed to have the bulkheads replaced due to rot but there most certainly is one out there somewhere.

Stringers on our boat are also solid fiberglass U shaped beams glassed & tabbed in place. Morris Yachts does the same but at a HUGE cost. The hull also has longitudinal foam cored stringers and an engine bed that also has no wood core in it and no "lag" bolts holding the motor in place,. A hull liner was then added but because of the construction this was not for structural rigidity.

The ice box was factory insulated with poured in closed cell foam giving nearly 4" or more if ice box insulation. 35 minutes a day of running our Sea Frost system keeps the ice box below 40 degrees for roughly 24 hours..

Also, take note of the keel bolt backing plates. The keel bolts are of very high quality and show no signs of any corrosion or rust even at 31 years old. CS used 316 SS and massive backing plates when other builders used standard washers and a lesser grade of bolt.


The picture below is just as I found the knees after being covered for nearly 31 years by teak cabinetry. I was the first to remove these cabinets for the re-wire I am undertaking. There is no sign of leaking, even at 31 years old.


Here's a photo of the underside of the starboard deck. The bolts directly over head are for the genny track. These bolts pass through solid fiberglass with no core and in 31 years have apparently never leaked. They also show no signs of it. You can hardly find a three year old boat with no signs of deck leakage let alone a 30+ year old model. The track is still bedded, as is the hull to deck joint, with factory butyl tape. In the background you can see the hull to deck joint with through bolts 4" on center that is also bone dry along it's entire length.

If you look to the third bolt down from the top of the pic you will see a line in the udeside of the deck radiating outwards towards the deck flange. This is another hidden gem of a detail CS used. It is a core break. This break prevents large areas of a deck fro getting wet as it creates an internal solid fiberglass dam keeping sections of core isolated..


Little details such as the thickness of the veneer on the cabin sole are big issues when it comes time to re-finish. My buddy with an Ericson simply had to replace his entire cabin sole, at a HUGE expense, because there was no room for refinishing with the paper thin veneer they used my Catalina 36 was the same way. CS used a full 1/8" think teak & holly veneer. This can be stripped and refinished multiple times before wearing through. I still have lots of meat left after refinishing in 2008..


There is no perfect boat and all boats are a series of compromises but I do tend to agree with Boatpoker on the CS. Ours has many, many hard ocean miles on her as she was liveaboard cruised for five years from Newfoundland to South America thought the canal and up to Alaska and back. The deck has virtually no crazing and she shows no visible signs of wear and tear, all tabbing is 100% intact and just as it left the factory.

Having built boats, worked part time with a marine surveyor and worked in multiple boat yards I have learned to look at the tiny details that most miss or don't know what to look for. When I first really looked, in detail, at a CS, had not seen many as there were no dealers close to Maine, I was amazed at the high level of construction and the well thought out attention to design, much of it hidden away for no one to admire but the designer and builder. No boat is perfect and the CS's do have some draw backs, namely the use of solid conductor 110v wiring but I am unsure when they stopped doing this or if they ever did.

All that being said the C&C is a great high quality boat, as is the Merlin, so I would base any assessment on current condition & maintenance. My preference, after seeing so many wet core re-builds, over many years, is that I now stay away from them if it extends below the waterline, but I do know of many cored hull boats that are dry..

P.S. I installed some seacocks and a transducer on a C&C 35 MKII and she had a solid glass hull..
04-02-2010 10:06 PM
jwreck
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Both C&C, at the time, and CS were high quality builders with decent construction techniques and materials. If it is a C&C 38 Mk III, I believe it's got rod rigging, unless it was replaced, and is probably overdue for new standing rigging. Rod rigging can be tricky to inspect and can fail without much warning, unlike wire rigging.

Both should be pretty good boats and fairly comparable in many ways. The C&C is going to be a bit faster, as it is a larger boat with a greater SA/D IIRC. It will also have a bit more room. I like the C&C 38 Mk III a lot as monohulls go...

How are the two boats equipped? How are the prices??
The CS has more electronics. The C&C has more sail inventory. The CS has much greater tankage. The biggest knock on the CS equipment wise is a lack of (I know this will make some cringe) A/C. Living aboard in Texas (for me anyway) requires A/C. The CS is more than $10k cheaper, but is several states away (Florida). I really like the C&C, but it has been sitting neglected, with portlights that leak like a siv for months now. I'm investigating the condition of the CS but I don't have any reliable data yet, just the yachtworld listing. There's also the fact that the brokerage that has the C&C has given me a few reasons to not trust them at all.
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