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Old 04-10-2013, 11:54   #1
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1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

I'm considering either a Bristol 35.5 or Tartan 37 for New England cruising, mostly Gulf of Maine. I recently read an article in "Practical Sailor" that cautions about purchasing a 1978 Bristol 35.5 unless the centerboard has been "modified". Anyone have any insight into that particular issue on the Bristol or comparisons to the Tartan? Have enjoyed your forum for years, glad to finally be aboard.
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Old 04-10-2013, 13:22   #2
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

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I'm considering either a Bristol 35.5 or Tartan 37 for New England cruising, mostly Gulf of Maine. I recently read an article in "Practical Sailor" that cautions about purchasing a 1978 Bristol 35.5 unless the centerboard has been "modified". Anyone have any insight into that particular issue on the Bristol or comparisons to the Tartan? Have enjoyed your forum for years, glad to finally be aboard.
No insights on the centerboard, though it seems like there were a lot of poor designs in that era. We cruise the New England waters with frequent trips to Maine. When we were moving up from a Bristol 27 several years ago, we looked at the B35.5, Tartan 34 and Tartan 37. We ended up with the T-34 for mainly financial reasons. We would have been happy with either the Bristol or the T-37. I think the Tartan is a better light air boat because of its racing pedigree. Even if you're not racing, being able to keep moving in 6-9knots is a big plus. Both will do fine when the weather gets nasty. Both have great design pedigrees and beautiful lines.

These boats tend to need TLC just because of their age. There is a very active Tartan owners group which, in addition to some of the old guard at the factory, are a big help in working through issues. There was a Bristol Sailnet group several years ago, but I don't know if it's still active. Whether you're doing your own work or hiring it out, getting the perspective of fellow owners is a big help. Just another factor to consider.
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Old 04-10-2013, 14:03   #3
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

Hey, thanks for the info and I will check out the Tartan group sight. It's funny you mention the T-34 because that is also a consideration. I saw a Tartan -34-2 for sale, can you confirm if the prop is mounted immediately behind the keel. I'm looking for some sort of lobster pot force field rather that an exposed prop and spade rudder, I believe the T-34 is skeg hung? Hard to find any plan view drawings for some reason. Previous boat, a Niagara-35, was a warp magnet and you had to be heads up all the time.
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Old 04-10-2013, 15:14   #4
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

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Hey, thanks for the info and I will check out the Tartan group sight. It's funny you mention the T-34 because that is also a consideration. I saw a Tartan -34-2 for sale, can you confirm if the prop is mounted immediately behind the keel. I'm looking for some sort of lobster pot force field rather that an exposed prop and spade rudder, I believe the T-34 is skeg hung? Hard to find any plan view drawings for some reason. Previous boat, a Niagara-35, was a warp magnet and you had to be heads up all the time.
Unfortunately, I can't help with the 34-2. We had a 34c. The trailing edge of the keel did a nice job protecting the prop, but I don't know the cofiguration of the later model.
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Old 04-10-2013, 15:39   #5
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

The most active Bristol group is this one :

Yahoo! Groups

I'd suggest asking about the centreboard there. I haven't heard of any specific issues, though. Generally, the Bristols are superbly-built boats - as good as they come.
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Old 04-10-2013, 15:49   #6
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

Thanks I'll give that a try. I had read a report of a failure that when they investigated found that the sheaves were not initially made of bronze as they were in later 1978 models.
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Old 06-10-2013, 15:31   #7
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

Love our 35.5 (centerboard)(1981 model)
Am not aware of an upgrade to the centerboard. We get compliments on every cruise we have taken. On the otherhand, there seems to be more teak to care for as I get older.
Good luck in your quest and hve a good time doing it.
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Steven
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Old 08-10-2013, 15:35   #8
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Tartansail, good info. I'm interested in your research on the T34,T37, did you find that the location of the prop varied among Tartan models. I am trying to compare various Tartans and would like to find one where the prop gets some protection from the keel, I've noticed some are immediately behind and some further aft. Since you also sail the Maine waters you know only too we'll the nuisance lobster lines and toggles pose.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:58   #9
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

Unfortunately, it's been a decade since I looked closely at other boats' bottoms. (Just as with spouses, it seems the current boat always notices and gets more than a little huffy. ) I know there are several T-37 owners here or on the tartan Yahoo list who can tell you about their prop location.

That said, we found the centerboard to be a very useful antifouling device. When we were in some of the worst waters, especially in the areas with lots of toggles, we would lower our centerboard about 30 degrees. Making the toggle slide over the lowered board made it almost impossible for it to snap back up and foul the prop.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:05   #10
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Re: 1978 Bristol 35.5 CB

Hey that's a great insight I hadn't thought of that in favor of a cb design. Continuing to compare the Bristol v. Tartan advantages.
Fair Winds,
Steve
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