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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering the purchase of a Bristol 41 Aft Cockpit, 1986 vintage. It appears to be a nice boat but I know nothing about it's sailing characteristics or quality of construction. It's intended use is 1 year on the Chesepeake Bay (center-board a plus there) and then coastal sailing (not sure about the center-board there). If anyone can share with me their experiences with a Bristol 41 it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Tom Shannon
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I assume you are looking at a 41.1. We have owned a 31.1 keel and now a 35.5 keel/centerboard. Bristol built (most of the time) a high quality boat. They sail very well. The centerboard is not ballasted and the boats built with the centerboard option are a little tender. We reef sooner on the 35.5 than we did on the 31.1 and we do bury the rail on the 35.5 and did not on the 31.1. For us, the trade off was needed since our homeport has skinny water. We may move up again and we would skip past the 38.8 and go for the 41.1
Bristols have a fair amount of wood. We love it below and pay to maintain it above. We are still hooked on varnish.
If you like the Bristols, you may also want to check out the Wasquiez - specifically the 38 footer.
As always, get a tough surveyor. These are older boats and you want one that has been consistently maintained and upgraded, not just cleaned up and awlgripped for sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your insights. Yes, it is a 41.1 we're considering. At first we will spend a summer on the Chesapeake learning the boat. The centerboard is attractive for that reason. After that we intend to do some coastal sailing and that is where I expect weaknesses to show up.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do not think you will find any weakness in the design. Bristol 41.1 are a commonly entered yacht in the Marion / Bermuda race. They are offshore capable and extremely capable for coastal cruising. I would not hesitate to take my 35.5 to the caribe from Boston. Obviously, the condition of the specific boat really determines seaworthyness. The 41.1 is a big boat. The 35.5 is easier for 2 to handle. Specific to the centerboard, the cable that raises and lowers the board needs to be inspected each year and replaced every 5 (conservative) years. Replacing the cable before it breaks is an easy task. Some serious offshore sailors will secure a centerboard in the up position to eliminate the possibility of problems, but near shore I would have no concerns. The trick to securing a centerboard if the cable breaks and you have to raise the board to access shallow waters is to take a line, start at the bow and work it back until it comes to the board and then use the line as a strap to pull the board up and cleat off. Hope my description is clear enough.
 

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Tom...I'm sitting next to a 41.1 right now that has navigated from the St. Lawrence seaway down here to NC and is none the worse for wear. These are strong, nicely finished boats that can easily do what you want. They don't have as much space below as todays production cruisers of the same length, but I'd be a lot more comfortable at sea in a Bristol. These are all older boats now and each will be different but I've noticed that they are the type of boat that previous owners take pride in and many are well kept and suitably upgraded over time. Good hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bristol 41

Camaraderie,
Thanks for your thoughts. My search so far bears out what you've said. I find it fascinating that no two Bristol 41s are the same. I am looking at 2 of them in the Annapolis area and will let you know how I make out. Good luck to you.
Tom
 

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Sailing the AC 41.1

Hi,
I own a 1988 aft cockpit 41.1 (also for sale!!), on which I took a year off to sail around the Caribbean with my family.
I find the boat sails very well. It is remarkably well balanced and can sail for hours unattended in the right conditions. The heavy displacement is nice in any kind of sea - just plows through all the little stuff. And it does surprisingly well in light air - that's with a 145 genoa. The only negative is that it's rolley in a beam sea which I attribute to the round underbody (typical of Hood designs). The centerboard helps to curtail this a bit but it bangs around in the trunk in these conditions. We did many offshore passages on our boat and always felt secure.
Nowadays I often go out by myself for short sails and just roll out the jib in 10-15 knot winds and the boat will sail over 6 knots.
These are very solid boats. I just wish they had better engine access!!

Good Luck.
 

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I am closing on a Bristol 41.1 Aft Cockpit this next week. I will be bringing her down from her current port in Maine early/mid May to the Annapolis region (no marina yet chosen). Have you been successful in locating one? There are at least three currently available a short drive north of Boston. --- I notice there is an active Chesapeake Bristol club. Should be a good way to get to know other Bristol owners - and to gain from their experiences.
Regards. Nils Pearson
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Bristol 41 deal went south on me and I ended up buying a Tayana 42. The Bristol is a nice boat. Good luck with you new boat.
 

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No problems here

I have a 1986 Bristol 41.1 aft cockpit and absolutely love it. No problems at all with it. It is the shoal drafted model and frankly I seldom have the centerboard down. I single-hand her easily. And my wife, who isn't particularly confident in her abilities, feels quite safe aboard her. I'd be glad to correspond with you on details of this boat.
 

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Re: No problems here

ERDocMark, are still on here? do you still have the Bristol and even if you don't are you willing to talk about it with a guy who is seriously considering a purchasing one?

Thanks
 

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