The Tartan 37 is a moderately high performance, shoal-draft cruiser built between 1967 and 1988 by Tartan Marine, a company that helped usher in the fiberglass era under Charlie Britton in the 1960s. At the time of the Tartan 37s introduction, the company had its headquarters in Grand River, Ohio, and a factory in Hamlet, N.C.
Designed by Peter Schmitt, the CSY 37 is the mid-sized boat in the CSY line. Eighty-seven of these raised-deck cutters were built, primarily for the Caribbean bareboat charter trade. Schmitt has combined some features most often found in traditional boats-the oval stem, raised deck, and semi-clipper bow-with a relatively modern underbody featuring a fairly long fin keel and a skeg-mounted rudder. On paper, the boat looks pretty good. In person, she is rather tubby and high-sided, but that tubbiness means added buoyancy-not such a bad thing to have in a blow.
With more than three decades of hard use behind it-first in the charter trade and later in private ownership-the CSY 37 has very few secrets. All its warts are well exposed; as are its strengths. About two-dozen current and former owners responded to our survey, and we saw many consistencies in their comments. Most owners praised the boats rugged construction and stability and lamented its upwind performance. On the whole, the boat delivered what they expected of a cruising boat: namely a boat that would get them (and a fair amount of gear and provisions) safely and comfortably to their destination. Nearly all of the respondents had the owners version or B layout, and praised its livability. The following summaries and comments are representative of the majority of responses we collected.
We spoke with several owners of Cheoy Lee 42s and 36s for this article, and among the most seasoned was Kieron OConnell, a two-time owner of Cheoy Lee boats-first an Offshore 31, now a Cheoy Lee Clipper 42. OConnell sailed the 42 from California to Australia. He had this to say about the Cheoy Lee Clipper 42.
Cheoy Lee Shipyards of Hong Kong has been a commercial builder since the early 1900s and is one of the first molders of fiberglass boats in Asia. Production of fiberglass boats began in the early 1960s and continues today, although the company-like many big yards around the world-has turned its focus toward commercial ships and the mega-yacht market. Looking at the line of 78- to 100-plus-foot yachts catering to Far East millionaires and billionaires, it is clear that any concerns about what would happen to Cheoy Lee when Hong Kong reverted to China were way off target.
Practical Sailor reader Allen Taylor so loved his Cabo Rico 38 that he eventually started working for the company as the marketing director. Now, with his stint at Cabo Rico far behind him, the former marketing director offered this insightful view of the Crealock 38, which he lived on and cruised for several years. Although he still holds the boat in high esteem, he offered this list of potential trouble spots.
Still going strong after more than 35 years, the Bill Crealock-designed Cabo Rico 38 is much admired for its strength, seakeeping ability, and teak joinery work. While the original beauty was out of reach of the average cruiser, the recession has put enough of a dent in this market that some attractively priced boats are popping up now and then. With the molds for this popular boat in limbo, it could well be that the only Cabo 38s well see in the future are those that are out sailing today, and this shouldnt hurt their value.
As is typical of C&Cs, owners give the boat high marks for quality of construction, and in general, their enthusiasm is justified. The boat does, however, have a potential weak point. Hull: Like most C&Cs, the 40 was built with a balsa-cored hull. The result is a hull that is extremely stiff for its weight, but balsa coring is not without its potential for problems. In the event of delamination or rupture of the hull skin, the balsa coring can absorb moisture. Moisture penetration of the outer laminate could ultimately reach the balsa coring. It is imperative that a balsa-cored hull be carefully examined by a knowledgeable surveyor before purchasing a used boat.
While C&C did not invent the racer/cruiser, the Canadian-based company has remained dedicated for two decades to the concept of the dual-purpose boat. With the notable exception of a few pure cruisers-the relatively low-performance Landfall 35, 42, 43, and 48-a racer-based cruising boat (the Landfall 38), and a real oddball (the Mega 30), most C&Cs have paid at least lip service to contemporary trends in racing boats.
The fiber-to-resin ratio was increased through a vacuum-assisted resin infusion, a process that better wets out the laminate and simultaneously squeezes out all the excess resin. The mechanical properties and blister resistance of vinylester resin are better than its polyester cousin, and this uptick in materials and laminating process dovetailed with the use of Divinycell foam to deliver a strong, stiff, one-piece hull with a an inward-turning flange. The BJ40 hull carries a 10-year warranty against osmotic blistering.