Sydney 38

2000 April 7


f you enjoy your cruising but are intent on being the first one into the harbor you might consider this Sydney 38 built by Bashford International of Australia. I think this really is a race boat, but the drawings show a comfy layout so there's no harm in looking at it as a cruising boat. It does make an interesting contrast with the other boats this month.

The most dramatic areas of departure for this design are in the displacement and the distribution of beam. At 11,575 pounds, the Sydney 38 has a D/L of 118 and this puts it in the "light boat" category, drawing a very distinct line between it and the Jeanneau, the Najad and the Elan. This difference would probably be best reflected in the techniques the builder uses to get the weight down. The Sydney 38 uses vacuum-bagged composite bulkheads.

This boat was designed by Murray Burns and Dovell. No, not to be confused with the Aussie doo-wop group Murray Burns and the Dovells. This is an Australian design office headed by Ian Murray of America's Cup fame. The hull form is not tailored to any particular racing handicap system with the idea that boat speed in itself is timeless in its appeal: I'd second that. Compare the plan view of this design with that of the other boats this month. You will quickly see that this design is much finer forward with the deck line from the point of max beam being almost a straight line to the stem. The cutwater of this design is very sharp, and although the L/B is 3.14, which is certainly not narrow, I would guess that the BWL of this design is considerably more narrow than the others and the topsides are quite flared.

The keel shown here is apparently not the "real keel" as the brochure says the keel is a bulbed fin. Draft is a confidence-building 8 feet, 8 inches. I would think that with the Sydney 38 you would have at least a knot in boat speed on any point of sail in any condition over the other three boats.

You had better appreciate that extra knot of boat speed because below you will not have the sumptuous veneered interior that the other boats show.

The galley is minimal, and I don't see any reefer space at all. "Oh boy! Warm Vegemite and cheese sandwiches." There are individual cubby holes for personal gear like Chap Stick, sun block, sunglasses and bandages. Despite the simple layout of this interior, it's amazing just how comfy and cozy you will feel after you beat your friends in by two hours.

This is a tall fractional rig and once again a clear sign that this boat is not intended to be put into the same category as the other three. The SA/D of this design is 26.45. The spreaders are swept about 22 degrees and there is no babystay. This is the only boat this month with a keel-stepped mast. The designers have decided that the extra weight of the two-spreader mast section will be offset by the reduction in windage over a lighter three-spreader section. The two-spreader rig will also be easier to tune. The mainsail roach appears to overlap the backstay by about 16 inches, and although it seems contradictory, with its small, 109-percent jib and big mainsail, the Sydney 38 may be the easiest boat of the four to sail.

This is a racing boat deck layout because this is really a race boat. Six are currently scheduled to be delivered to the Chicago area for one-design racing. The big, wide cockpit will allow crew functions to be kept to the middle. The splayed cockpit well with its narrow side decks will keep the helmsman well outboard.

If your style of sailing includes some club racing and you want to give your local PHRF racing committee fits, bring in a Sydney 38.