One Hot Hotrod
An up-to-the minute, IMS-oriented racer/cruiser debuts in a red hot
In eastern Canada and the U S. where C&C Yachts has always sold most of its production, the International Measurement System (IMS) is currently riding a wave of popularity, while MORC racing is suffering some pretty rough times. Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that quite a number of sailboat manufacturers are coming out with new "IMS-optimized" models. So far, it appears that due to the sophistication and scientific foundations of this new handicapping system, the majority of the new IMS-optimized designs are turning out to be nothing more than fast, wholesome, mannerly and thoroughly cruisable yachts. Many buyers, it would seem, want nothing less.
Now C&C has joined in this "IMS revolution" and in some ways it seems like a return to the good old times for this firm. In the early 1970s, when Cuthbertson and Cassian were designing those "classic" C&Cs like the original 35 and 39, the company built its reputation on a line of lithe, lean beauties that made many contemporary competitors looks chunky by comparison. More recently, the firm's designs have often appeared to be aimed at achieving a good IOR rating while providing interior volume and accommodations to match the European competition. Along the way, a good measure of the old purity of form got lost. In contrast, the new C&C 37 is nothing less than a genuine aesthetic triumph.
To come up with a hot boat for IMS racing (or PHRF) most designers just aim for maximum all-around speed relative to sailing length by providing large rigs, a low center of gravity, narrow waterline beam, and weight concentrated amidships (to minimize pitching). Gentle handling characteristics make a boat sail faster in practice, so big, stall-resistant keels and rudders are in vogue.
In developing this 37, C&C's chief designer, Rob Ball, combined a load waterline of almost 32ft with modest waterline beam and generous sailing waterline length. The result is a slim, fair underbody, with low wetted surface.
The skeg is large and deep, with an elliptical profile and narrow chord length where it joins the hull. There is a partial skeg -ahead of the big rudder to help dampen the quarter wave, improve tracking, and to fair in a more substantial rudder shaft.
In profile, the 37 looks as long and sleek as a lot of 40-footers. The secret, as it turns out, is that the boat gradually stretched out during the design process until its final overall length was almost 39ft. This is, of course, an excellent way to improve the looks of almost any yacht. As for retaining the C&C 37 label, the company management probably felt that it would help to project an image of understated conservatism.
Most previous C&C.s have been significantly shorter than their nominal lengths, and with this model the company may be moving over to the practice, fairly common in Europe, of labeling yachts on the basis of length on deck (LOD is given as 37'9").
The 37R looks sweet from every angle, with a nice sheerline, plenty of bow overhang and a sleek, unobtrusive cabin. The bold window treatment effectively draws the eye down from the cabin top and makes the boat look remarkably low and rakish. The transom is nicely shaped, but may conceivably appear quite big in the cruising version, which will lack the broad cutout that characterizes the competition model.
Both the semi-custom 37R and the standard 37 that is just now going into production are made in the same hull and deck molds. However, the cockpit of the 37R has been widened considerably and reshaped by effectively cutting away the cockpit side seats and fitting in a separately molded pan. The hull and deck of the 37R are laid up using special fiberglass/Kevlar hybrid reinforcements over a balsa core. Its interior, rather than being based upon molded pans and liners, as the cruiser/racer will be, is organized around a series of plywood longitudinals and bulkheads. These plywood members are rigidly glassed to the hull and contribute considerably to the strength and stiffness of the hull. The massive aluminum chainplates are bolted to sturdy plywood webs which form the back of the settees.
The displacement figure of 15,800 lbs. cited for the 37R seems high in view of the construction and ballast weight. It may well be that, for once; this is the "real" displacement (with crew, sails, stores etc. aboard) and not just a faintly optimistic bare-boat weight estimate. The cruise/race version with its less exotic construction and more extensive interior can be expected to come in somewhat heavier.
The hull/deck joint is a normal bolted toerail type, but it does incorporate a shallow recess just inside the sheer so that the top edge of the aluminum angle extends less than its full height above the plane of the deck. This feature should provide at least partial relief to the backs of the thighs of the racing railbirds, and will no doubt be roundly welcomed.
Rig and Gear
The tapered triple-spreader rig is strong enough to stand up to some rough treatment. On the other hand, aside from providing a wider safety margin than grand prix racers enjoy, it is state-of-the-art, with Navtec rod rigging plus runners, checkstays, and an adjustable babystay for optimal bend control.
Deck gear is also first rate, with Harken/Barbaroussa primary and secondary winches conveniently positioned at the margins of the wide cock-pit. The principal headsail leads roll on ball-bearing travelers to permit adjustment while under-way and there are inboard leads for the light Genoa inset at the aft corners of the cabin.
Most halyards and controls are led neatly aft through lockoffs to a pair of two-speed winches at the corners of the cabin top, but the main halyard winch is mounted on the side of the keel-stepped mast below in the main cabin (to lower the CG and reduce clutter topsides). Obviously, this will not be the case with the cruiser/racer version. The 37R also features, as standard, self-contained Navtec hydraulics on the vang and backstay as well as an excellent Harken traveler system that spans the bridgedeck.
The 37R is clearly a racing boat, but by no means a stripped-out grand prix machine. In part this is ensured by IMS regulations, which demand a proper cruising interior with enclosed head, fully equipped galley and full-size, permanent bunks. In fact, C&C goes well beyond the minimum of the IMS. This boat is attractively decked out with ample teak (trim and veneer), has lightweight overhead liners throughout, and features an expansive teak-and-holly cabin sole.
The truly gigantic king-size berth under the cockpit could easily sleep four without crowding. To minimize structural weight aft, the berth flats for this unit are feather-light fiberglass skins sandwiched over Nomex-honeycomb core. The main galley area to port features plenty of cabinets, a large dry storage locker, double sinks in molded fiberglass, and a three-burner propane stove with oven. To starboard is a large icebox. The engine is mounted beneath the companionway ladder, with the nav station just behind the engine box. This arrangement provides ample space for mounting electronics above the engine and ensures easy communications with the helmsman through an opening hatch on the aft face of the bridge deck.
The main cabin is wide open and spacious, with a large drop-leaf table just behind the mast and a pair of cozy pilot berths port and starboard. Tankage occupies much of the space beneath the settee, but there is still a reasonable amount of stowage space as long as nobody gets carried away. Instead of a V- berth, the forward area features a series of sail bins. While racing, of course, the sails will undoubtedly live on the main cabin sole.
In its short career, the local 37R, Fast- track, has enjoyed outstanding racing success with major victories at Whidbey Island Race Week (see WaterFront, September) and Maple Bay Regatta. I joined her crew for a Wednesday night race in what turned out to be light, sloppy conditions and quickly became convinced that the boat was a rocketship. It showed the three largest IOR boats currently racing in English Bay a clean pair of heels. In winning her Division (second overall) at Whidbey Island Race Week she had to best a well-sailed, modern one-tonner being worked up for the September World Cup in San Francisco, so it is safe to say that the C&C 37R has much the same speed potential as a grand prix IOR 40-footer.
The voluminous cockpit and over-sized wheel (54-in.) make the 37R a joy to sail, both in competition and while just cruising around. No doubt the addition of cockpit seats and the change to a smaller steerer will reduce crewing efficiency slightly in the cruiser/racer version, but that's the cost of incorporating a fully furnished aft cabin. Whether the 37R will continue to be offered once the standard 37 is in full production had not been decided at the time of this writing, but if I can put in my two-cents worth, I think it would be nice if it was.
Reprinted from Pacific Yachting - November 1988