Temporarily on the Hard
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: CT, USA
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The Bristol 35.5 is a sweet, traditional, classic, stick-built, bullet-proof 'little yacht' with fine sailing characteristics and plenty of coastal-sailing comfort for a couple or small family. There are a few layouts and years preferable to others. But I believe that what you get - even if she needs some TLC - is a solidly (over-) built boat with with cult-like status and solid resale value that will make you proud in any harbor.
I briefly owned a Bristol 31.1 which was designed after the 35.5. The interiors are nearly identical but the 35.5 with a longer sheer and better cockpit is better for serious sailing. The 38.8 with it's separate shower is arguably the pinnacle of that series but at 2x the price. For my money, the 35.5 is about perfect....and a whole lot more boat than say, a Hinckley Pilot.
I'd also look at the Sabre 36 of the same vintage.
Tartan makes a solid product. But IMHO, it isn't in the same league of 'salty pedigree'.