The C&C 29-racing pedigree and the good manners of a family cruiser.
If the C&C 29 looks as quick as a hare, small wonder. She's evolved from the builder's all-out half-tonner that finished fourth at the Worlds in Chicago last year. The C&C design group took the racing machine and gentled her into a nimble racer-cruiser, a heavier boat with more sail area. The designers were especially interested in improving light-air performance, and wind conditions off Jacksonville, Fla. the day of the test gave us a good idea of how well they succeeded.
There was barely enough breeze to rustle the palms when Herb Piker of Ortega Yacht Sales and the crew got the white-hulled test boat under way.
Once in the St. Johns River, Herb surrendered the helm to me and went forward to set the sails. Fortunately the breeze freshened, and by early afternoon there were even a few sharp puffs.
My first impression was of the responsiveness of the boat, which, considering her racing heritage, is not surprising. My only quibble was that the stiffness of the optional pedestal wheel masked the feel of the boat in the light air. I'd personally opt for the tiller, but I am sure that much of the friction can be removed from the mechanism.
On our first tack, I suspected the compass was defective. I hadn't pegged the heading carefully before tacking, but the tacking angle seemed to be 80° with eight knots of apparent wind. More experimentation suggested that in this wind the correct angle was closer to 85°, but later, when we tacked in 15 knots, the angle was 75°. Solid performance.
Again the reason is the racing bloodlines. The narrow shroud base permits the headsail to be sheeted in hard. The divided backstay with a simple but effective adjuster allows the headstay to be set up to minimize sag to leeward.
The 29 has a standard-type rig with one set of spreaders, and one upper and two lower shrouds. I noticed no sharp edges. Chain plates are aligned to the rigging and securely bedded. There are toggles on the standing rigging, and tangs are aligned properly and well secured. Sheave sizes are okay, halyard exits convenient and winches placed well on the mast. Halyards have rope-to-wire splices, with enough wire to make a couple of turns on the winches. Good.
Like most IOR-bred boats, the C&C 29 is initially tender, which is a way to enhance the rating by playing with the righting moment. We never had enough wind to oblige us to shorten sail. But I would expect it to be necessary around 17 knots. And the jiffy-reefing system will make the job easy.
When we came downwind with a well cut tri-radial 3/4-ounce spinnaker, we were able to sail 65° to 70° to the apparent wind without stalling. Helm control was adequate. We could not test performance in hard running conditions, but if the sail is trimmed to control oscillation, the boat should be capable of running fast with good control.
Heading home under power, I noticed right away how unobtrusive the engine is. It is so well mounted and well muffled that, even without any special insulation in the engine cover, noise and vibration are both within acceptable limits. The boat proved responsive under power, turning in one length and backing well.
The test boat had the standard Atomic Four gas engine, though there is a diesel option, a Universal 54-17. She moved along at 6.2 knots, nearly hull speed, at 2,000 rpm. I also noted that the exhaust system loops above the waterline to keep water from running up into the engine.
Back at the dock I took a close look at the boat. C&C obviously took care with the functional deck and cockpit layout. Starting at the bow, there is an on-deck anchor locker (designed to hold a Danforth), one of a number of features that distinguish this boat from her half-tonner cousin. Stanchions are through-bolted and have bracing, and the lifeline (double lifelines are an option) is fitted with toggles and turnbuckles. A rarity.
|Cockpit well volume||22.75 cu.ft. 1,456 lb.|
|Volume seat to coaming||15.35 cu.ft. 983 lb.|
|Total cockpit volume||38.10 cu.ft. 2,439 lb.|
|Drain time (test)||8.03 cu.ft. 1 min. 40 sec.|
|Drain time well *||22.75 cu.ft. 4 min. 42 sec.|
|Drain time (total) *||38.10 cu.ft. 7 min. 54 sec.|
Some other points I noticed: No sharp corners to endanger the shins; cleats positioned correctly (angled from the winches about 10°; bow chocks smooth; deck hatches close securely).
The cockpit is T-shaped and seating depends on whether you have a tiller (two bench seats) or wheel (in which case there is an additional seat aft). The seats have hatches with 2 1/2-inch coamings and no gaskets or special closures. There is a deep seat locker with a shelf to starboard, and a shallow one to port for winch handles and other bits and pieces. I'd also want the optional cockpit winch holders for use under way.
|C&C 29||C&C Half-tonner||Pearson Triton|
A manual diaphragm bilge pump is mounted in the cockpit sole. I noted with approval that there is a discharge-line loop above the waterline. There is also a screen on the intake. Very nice, and not often seen.
When we tested cockpit-drain performance, I found that the 29 does well indeed, drainng 50 gallons in 1 minute and 40 seconds (the fastest drain time this magazine has yet recorded). There are no less than four 1 1/2-inch scuppers, although the port and starboard pairs are "T"-ed together for one discharge on each side of the boat. They are also double-clamped.
Going below, I was immediately impressed by the light and attractive interior. The teak joiner work is good, all corners are rounded, and there are plenty of handholds: The optional teak sole seemed a big improvement over the standard carpet.
|Sail Area||429 sq.ft.|
|Fuel Capacity||20 gal.|
|Water Capacity||30 gal.|
|Base Price||$27,70 *|
It was encouraging to see that a stowage place had been found for all the supplies-we had at least two weeks' worth of groceries on board for our afternoon sail! No cartons or bags of food were adrift in precarious locations.
\Personal gear would go primarily in lockers outboard of the main cabin berths, whose configuration is good for clothing. There is stowage behind the upholstered backrests and shelves and lockers with sliding doors above the 6'4" berths.
|Upper Shrouds||1/4" 1x19|
|Lower Shrouds||3/16" 1x19|
|Jib Halyard||Barient #10|
|Main Halyard||Barient #10|
|Engine||Atomic Four Stevedore|
|Prop||2-blade; solid, 11x7
There is stowage under the berths and it's accessible through top-opening hatches beneath, the mattresses. The usual inconvenience of getting everyone off a bunk in the middle of the rum-and tonics to get the chef a tin of sardines has been minimized by providing mattresses in three sections. This arrangement is a good idea.
The bunks are comfortable and spacious although people in the forepeak should have friendly feet. Use of the quarter berth as a double (indicated in the C&C brochure) requires people who are friendly all over-it is 36 inches at the head. (But remember, brethren, this is not a 80-footer.)
I'd like to see more and higher fiddles in the galley area, but the high inboard sink is in a good location. The stove could easily be moved to achieve more than the 17° pivot available on the test boat's installation. The icebox is generous and has a sliding tray.
The arrangement of the head and its relationship to the two cabins is always difficult on a boat this size. On the 29, the solution is to provide a "dressing room" across the vessel when the doors are slid shut. This provides a touch of luxury for the occupant.
The spareness of the navigator's area gives free rein to any idiosyncrasies with respect to instrument selection, placement and stowage. But even the most eccentric pilot wouldn't object to some provision for accessible stowage on top of the table.
Often the most important features of a boat are the least visible -the hull-to deck joint, for instance. It's excellent on the C&C 29, both bolted and clamped. Cabin trunk and deck are one-piece construction, and cabin liners offer adequate inspection access below the winches, though it is awkward elsewhere. Access to the bilge is limited.
On the whole, I found this boat well designed, well engineered and well built, altogether in keeping with C&C's reputation for quality and ruggedness. She is worth looking at if you want a well-bred but not high-strung cruiser-racer in this size range.