Tartan 37 Glassed over CB - SailNet Community

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Old 05-04-2011
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Tartan 37 Glassed over CB

I live in south Florida and I am currently considering a sailboat for trips to the Bahamas and possibly in the future farther Caribbean islands. One boat I came across that I am considering is a 1976 Tartan 37. I was very high on this boat until I was told that the centerboard no longer drops and has been glassed over. It is now in a constant 4' 2" draft.

How much does this affect the performance, comfort, safety, and construction of the boat? Also, Does it make it significantly less seaworthy? Would the boat be likely to capsize in heavy weather?

I am also considering a late 80's Tartan 31 with Schoal draft 4.5'. Would this be a better choice?
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Old 05-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanBR View Post
I live in south Florida and I am currently considering a sailboat for trips to the Bahamas and possibly in the future farther Caribbean islands. One boat I came across that I am considering is a 1976 Tartan 37. I was very high on this boat until I was told that the centerboard no longer drops and has been glassed over. It is now in a constant 4' 2" draft.

How much does this affect the performance, comfort, safety, and construction of the boat? Also, Does it make it significantly less seaworthy? Would the boat be likely to capsize in heavy weather?

I am also considering a late 80's Tartan 31 with Schoal draft 4.5'. Would this be a better choice?
I'm not a designer, and I'm not even very smart, but I wouldn't buy a boat that was designed and built with a centerboard that someone later glassed over. It's kind of like when people ask me about increasing the sizes of their standing rigging when it's time for replacement. I usually tell them that someone a lot smarter than me and them designed it that way for a purpose and it has served well for many years. Why change it?

Bob Perry, a well known and respected yacht designer has recently joined our ranks and I bet he would be able to answer your question more intelligently. You might want to send him a PM.
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Old 05-04-2011
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Whenever you alter the designers original intent, there are nearly always serious consequences. Best case, I'd say that your boat is going to be crippled going to weather. Worst case is that the centerboard weight being in the hull will throw off the balance of the boat...making it a lot more rolly. On the positive side, 4'2" will get you nearly anywhere in Florida and Bahamas...perhaps this is why the PO did the modifications.

Also think about resale...this is the equivalent of putting on an unpermitted addition to a house. Some people wont care, but most will run away from buying this boat.
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Old 05-04-2011
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I'm guessing it will affect the boats windward performance A LITTLE, but probably not enough to worry about. I believe the 37's board is non-ballasted like the 34's and adds basically nothing to her stability. There are a lot of these boats that have had problems with the CB and the owners just removed them. On the bright side you won't have to worry about any maintenance or repairs on the board, pivot, or its control mechanism.
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Old 05-04-2011
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The centerboard on the T-37 just has enough weight to allow it to drop, so it really does not add anything to the stability. It does allow you to point a good 5-7 deg higher with less leeway, balance the helm on a reach and with it up on a run you'll see a good bump in your speed do to the reduced resistance.

But with all that said, the T-37 is a very capable boat with or without the centerboard and I would not hesitate cruising the Caribbean in one.
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Old 05-04-2011
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Dan, from Solare's firsthand experience with them apparently it is not a deal breaker. Still, I've found that when something is "built to a price" that the builders don't waste a lot of money on things that have no value, i.e. centerboards. Someone must have thought it does something.

You'd have to bum a ride on the same model, board up and down, to see how you feel about that up close and personal.

I'd factor in the cost of repairing it (haul, grind, line, maybe bearing?) and whatever surprises might be in there. Glassing it over sounds like a somewhat overpowering way to make sure it just never needed routine cleaning and antifouling in there.

But when you mention "capsize" that's something else entirely with a centerboard boat. My impression is that fixed keels have always been preferred for crossings where a capsize might happen, simply because a centerboard may become a guillotine slicing into the hull during an inversion. Or at least, a rather rude loud noise.

For shoal waters they certainly serve a purpose though!
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Old 05-04-2011
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I have sailed two friend's Tartan 34's. One has a functional board and one has the center board glassed in. One is a fine little sailboat that I would take anywhere and the other is a total dog.

Imagine a stormy night off a dangerous lee-shore and your engine fails the difference between survival and disaster is the boats ability to sail to windward off a lee shore...Which boat would you choose?

Phil
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Old 05-04-2011
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I'm with Yorksailor and others who would want to have a working center board on this model boat since it was designed to be sailed with one. If I were considering buying this T 37' I'd deduct the estimated cost of restoring the center board to functionality from my bid price and it may not be all that easy or cheap to do.
Tartan made quite a few boats with center boards. Is this the model you are looking at: TARTAN 37-2 Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com

My boat is a smaller, older sibling of the T 37' but the Tartan 27' is a full keel design and the centerboard really reduces our leeway when going upwind when deployed.
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Old 05-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post

But when you mention "capsize" that's something else entirely with a centerboard boat. My impression is that fixed keels have always been preferred for crossings where a capsize might happen, simply because a centerboard may become a guillotine slicing into the hull during an inversion.

There is no way that the loss of the centerboard on a S&S designed T-37 would compromise the seaworthinesses of the vessel, be it glassed in, missing, or just not bothered to be dropped and the notion of it to "become a guillotine" during an inversion is simply ridiculous.

The majority of Hinckleys & Bristols also have centerboards, not for ballast, but as a performance boost....
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Old 05-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorksailor View Post
I have sailed two friend's Tartan 34's. One has a functional board and one has the center board glassed in. One is a fine little sailboat that I would take anywhere and the other is a total dog.

Imagine a stormy night off a dangerous lee-shore and your engine fails the difference between survival and disaster is the boats ability to sail to windward off a lee shore...Which boat would you choose?

Phil
You must not have sailed them much because I can tell you the difference is minimal. Yes, you might point a little better, but not a life and death difference as you imply and you also have the trade off of added drag with the board down.
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