Thanks for your thoughts regarding the construction and design details of this CF38. It's helpful to hear the impressions of a knowledgeable source.
Yet, I'm still inclined to reserve judgement pending the final conclusions of the USCG with regard to those details.
However, assuming arguendo that the design and construction were adequate for this sort of sport boat, there remans another larger question: I.e., whether a less robust sport boat design is a proper one for a university (or any other) off-shore sail training program where errors of judgement both in regards to boat handling and navigation are not only common but are to be expected.
My criteria in selecting a design for such a program would be weighted toward larger safety margins that could forgive the accidental groundings which apparently doomed the Cynthia Woods. There are many designs that would not have flinched at the sort of allisions that the CW is reported to have experienced. The CW's high aspect ratio blade keel, while optimal from a performance standpoint, leaves the vessel significantly more vulnerable to impact damage than a less aggressive fin keel arrangement.
I agree with your other statement concerning the donation of boats to university sailing programs -- this is commonplace practice. However, since you mention the US Naval Academy sailing program, I feel it's worth pointing out the marked differences in design approach between the vessels that Annapolis chose for it's off-shore sailing program and the vessels that Texas A&M chose.
The origins and evolution of the Cape Fear 38 have been fairly well discussed in this thread. For comparison, consider the USNA's 44' STC Mark II by Dave Pedrick designs and TPI construction:
A tremendous amount of thought went into this purpose-built design to create a university sail-trainer that strikes the correct balance between competitiveness and safety. The head of any university sail team looking to procure new boats for an off-shore program, would do well to inquire as to whether the new Navy 44 STC was available for purchase by private parties, or failing that to find a design that shares many of its attributes.