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· Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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There seems to be some confusion. There are two entirely different boats called a CT 38. One is designed by Warwick and is, in general similar to the Swan with a narrowish fin keel. This is the one the OP is talking about.



The other is the one that other posters are talking about



Given that the two boats are similar I would imagine the Swan is going to faster for two reasons - it is bigger and it is a very successful S&S design. The Swan build quality is certainly going to be superior. When both were new, the Swan would have definitely been a much better, much more expensive boat (not just because of size).

My concern would be about the teak decks - can cost tens of thousands to fix and teak decks of the age of these boats either have been fixed or need to be. The companionway is not the newer design where it is purchased in the middle of the deck several feet from the cockpit. The newer Swans did this to allow an aft cabin - we looked at a Holland-designed 43 and could not figure how to make the deck arrangement for extended cruising. Both of these boats have conventional companionways.

Everything else being equal, and it never is, I would go for the Swan except the 7' draft could be a problem in some places and the Admiral would never go for a boat without a 'proper bed'. I guess you could convert the forward cabin from sails to living. There are six good sea berths and some of them could become storage.
 

· Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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The Swan 41 companionway is close enough to the cockpit that you have, in effect, a wide bridge deck and so you could put on a dodger. As well as the Swan 43, we looked at a Hylas (42?) aft cockpit boat and both had about six feet between the cockpit and the companionway. One of them had a mini cockpit at the companionway (Hylas). If you were in the real cockpit where one assumes you would have a dodger you would have to go onto the side deck around the dodger and then walk or crawl to the companionway which would have a pram hood over it. Not appealing at watch change at 0300 when its blowing like snot. Also makes it pretty hard if you were on watch and wanted a snack or a pee. It was a deal breaker for us. What makes a boat good for full crew racing for a day or four is not the same as what you want for a 20 day passage with a couple.
 

· Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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It is interesting that CT came out with two 38s in the same year apparently that are about as different as they could be.

One of the few things my wife insisted on was a proper bed. After looking at boats in the low-mid 40s with aft cockpits it became apparent we needed a centre-cockpit boat. That Hunter companionway is horrible. Did it never occur to them that boats heel?
 
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