1972 Bristol 40 - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-04-2019 Thread Starter
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1972 Bristol 40

What can you tell me about this boat? Sea worthiness, sailing characteristics. Coastal cruiser or take to the South Pacific? The age is a concern for me, but she looks nice on paper, wondering if its even worth my time to take a look?

Bristol 40

https://sandiego.craigslist.org/ssd/boa/6771363299.html

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post #2 of 9 Old 01-05-2019
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

That's a lot of boat for $30k. The B39/40 is a great design and one of the most popular Bristol. Many are still in service. But then again you are talking to a Bristol enthousiaste, having owned my 1968 B32 (sister ship to the B40, same design, just smaller), since 1975. These boats are built like tanks. With any older boat you will have an endless supply of projects to keep the boat in shape. And on these Bristols that have that classic look that can't be beat and a lot of teak, there is added maintenance. Looks like that owner has given up on varnishing the teak. But that teak will last forever like that, and varnishing is a major labor of love. We Bristol owner have a passion for our boats, and a lot of pride, these boats are some of the leaders in fiberglass technology. These boats have hand laid up fiberglass, thick non flexing hulls.

We have a large community of owners, and lots of help, not many here. Keep looking, you will find us. A lot of boat owner on this site that like to give repair advice own new boat and sell them when any real repairs arise. We have a great community for owners that are not afraid of doing what it takes to keep the classics a float.

So if you are up for the task of maintaining a classic plastic, and owning one of the best looking boats on the water, this boat is for you. If you are looking for an inexpensive boat and don't want to become a passionate Bristol owner, sit back and just sail her, this boat is not for you.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
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1968 Bristol 32 Keel/Crb Hull 26
Narragansett Bay RI USA
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-05-2019
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

As someone who generally likes many of the models that Bristol made, but who would not be classified as a Bristol enthusist, I would say that the Bristol 40 makes a decent coastal cruiser if your sailing venue typically has moderate conditions (10-12 knots of wind with little chop) and is a reasonable choice of a boat for a person who cares more about how their boat looks rather than how well it actually sails.

And while some Bristol 40's have made very long passages, compared to other choices out there with a similar displacement and price, the Bristol 40 makes a pretty poor choice if your goal is to do distance voyaging.

The above is based on a number of factors. To explain those I will start by saying that the Bristol 40 began as a CCA racer/cruiser. The B-40 was designed with all of the CCA rule beating attributes, which included having an excessively short waterline, purposely designed to be tender and lacking stability relative to it's drag, a heavy dependence on very large headsails to have decent light to moderate air performance, and a comparatively narrow beam.

The short waterline and narrow beam results in a boat with a comparatively small interior volume and a limited carrying capacity relative to it's displacement. The short waterline, results in a boat that tends to pitch excessively in a chop. That tendency towards pitching limits the weight that can be carried near the bow and stern, i.e. such items as an all chain anchor rode or a dinghy in davits. The mix of narrow beam, and limited initial stability and damping results in a boat that tends to be very rolly, albeit at a comparatively slow roll rate.

The mix of the CCA sailplan and lack of stability relative to drag, means that these boats need to carry very large and more difficult to handle headsails, and so tend to need to be reefed earlier and need to make more frequent headsail changes than a more moderate design.

The comparatively short keel length relative to the length of the sailplan combined with the keel attached rudder, results in a boat that does not track well, which develops a lot of weather helm prematurely if the sailplan is not altered in a building breeze, and which makes them harder to manuever.

As noted these tend to be very high maintenance boats. In this era, Bristol used Dolphinite for bedding compound.Dolphinite was a reasonable choice for that era, but it breaks down over time. It may be sufficiently intact to prevent leaks on a lightly used boat, but all hardware and wooden components should be rebed if you are planning to go offshore. That is a massive job. (I am doing that on my boat right now)

Electrical systems on Bristols of this era were not very well done and also do not anticipate the electronic and electrical expectations of a modern distance cruiser.

While Bristols of this era, had very thick fiberglass, the glass work on these boats tend to be relatively poor quality in terms of being resin rich, using a higher proportion of non-directional reinforcement, and employing accelerators. So while misleadingly appearing to be a tank, the actual strength is not actually any better than a higher quality control boat with a thinner hull, and may be worse given that this mix typically accelerates fatigue which weakens the laminate more rapidly over time.

Bristols of this era were especially prone to deck core rot due to the way that hardware was installed, the choice of bedding compound, and the manner in which the decks were laid up.

I understand that prior owners may have addressed some or most of these items, but these boats are getting long in the tooth, and some of those deferred maintenance items are a bit like doing a heart transplant in a 90 year old person. It may help that person (boat) live longer with a better quality of life, but it won't provide the athletic prowess needed to sail across the Pacific.

So while I understand that there are people who love these boats, I would respectfully suggest that a B40 be low on your list if distance cruising is your goal.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 01-05-2019 at 10:36 AM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-05-2019
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

A great break down Jeff and very accurate, except for the quality and strength of the hull, I do not agree with, but that's just IMHO and experience with my Bristol for the last 43 years.

Eric
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

The boat looks really nice but is that the toilet next to the cooking range?
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-05-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

Hahaha. No. But I've learned/ confirmed some of what I thought. Thanks
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

I was looking at the photos without enlarging them, the head is actually very nice...sorry for the criticism.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

I will agree/disagree with Jeff on a few points.

From my relative short experiences the boat does tend to track fairly well, but does not turn well when trying to dock, you will have to become very good at using your engine to turn in tight spaces. The interior build is not a Hinckley, but is still ok. They do tend to hobby horse, as all CCA designs do, but it is a gentler ride without the pounding that you will see from many newer designs.

The boat is indeed very tender at the start, but will sit on it's ear at around 18-20 degrees all day long. The righting moment is actually around 120 degrees, better than that of the Hinckley B-40. Reefing the headsail may require moving the fairleads to not interfere with the stanchions.

It is not a fast boat by todays standard, but will do well on corrected time in certain conditions. They have won the Bermuda Marion race twice on corrected time.

One of my biggest issues was engine access, it is tight to say the least, but can be dealt with.

Many of the other items Jeff brings up are valid, and to be expected for the age of the boat, and may have been addressed by the previous owners.


For more reviews and discussions, read here:

http://www.writebyte.net/Files/Bristol_bws0897.pdf
45-year-old charmers
https://forums.sailboatowners.com/in...tol-40.145650/
https://www.practical-sailor.com/rev...40-1137-1.html


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post #9 of 9 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: 1972 Bristol 40

The boats of this era are initially tender but stiffen up as heel angle approaches 15 degrees and have way more ultimate righting potential than the fat assed narrow fin keel crowd. This is because the boats have the classic wine glass hull shape that reduces wetted surface for better light air performance but doesn't give initial form stability. It also makes them way more comfortable boats at sea if you discount living with a boat heeled at 15-20 degrees. They are not world beaters in light air because of the wetted surface but will still sail reasonably well on all points of sail. If you want maximum light air performance you'll need sail area. A Code 0 on a bowsprit and/or Asym. with a sock will help a lot. For most conditions they will do just fine with a 135% genoa on a furler so minimal to no sail changes unless you are DRIVEN to compete in notorious light air areas like Long Island Sound. One advantage of the long overhangs is they add waterline as the boat heels so will reel off ocean miles way faster than a water line speed calculation would lead you to believe.

The full keel with cut away forefoot is a big plus for open ocean sailing. Other than sinking and losing the stick, the worst thing that could happen to a boat is loss of the rudder. With the rudder attached to the keel, that's not a big concern as long as the gudgeons and pintles are in good shape. It is also a pain to maneuver in tight quarters with the long keel and attached rudder. It's not as bad as turning my CCA center boarder with the board up. They won't turn on a dime but maybe a quarter with judicial use of prop walk. Crab/lobster pots and other ocean detritus are not a big concern as they won't catch on the keel/rudder as they will on a fin keel/spade rudder boat with a prop and strut hanging out in the slip stream. The B40 also has encapsulated ballast so no worries about the keel falling off from corrosion issues with the fixing bolts. Also believe the ballast is lead in those boats so no corrosion issues as boats using iron. One last thing, these boats typically have deep sumps to contain bilge water. No matter how water tight a boat is, water is going to end up in the bilge. With modern boats with shallow or non existent sumps, everything from the deck down stowed in lockers backing to the hull is going to get soaked by bilge water. Nothing like rusty cans rupturing in a locker to add to the floral scent of your holding tank.

These older boats are smaller inside than the modern floating condo's. Just a fact of life that you need to add extra feet to get comparable interior volume to a modern boat. That's not necessarily bad as most of that volume in newer boats is just open air that doesn't serve much of a purpose. Wide open spaces make a great sales brochure pictures but are outright dangerous maneuvering about in a seaway. When you look at these open spaces on a boat ask yourself how you are going to get from galley to forepeak in a seaway. These older boats also have much more usable stowage than the newer designs. I've filled up half a garage bay with stuff that's come out of my 35' Pearson's lockers.

So don't discount the cruising ability of these older boats and at 20%-40% of the cost of a comparable sized new boat, they can be real bargains if the maintenance has been kept up or the price is low enough to warrant correcting deficiencies. Just be aware that slip fees are determined by over all length not interior space. In high slip rent areas, cost of moorage is a factor.

FWIW, sailed only once on a B40 and that was in light air and flat seas. The boat sailed well making 3-4 knots easily and walked away from a much newer fin keel/spade rudder boat of equal water line. That was in conditions that are arguably the least beneficial for this type of design.

Last edited by roverhi; 01-06-2019 at 01:31 PM.
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