We owned, lived-aboard and cruised an Ericson
39-B for 5 years. All in all we give it a good recommendation. We were based in San Francisco
Bay, and in addition to doing numerous short cruises in the Bay and along the California
coast, we completed a year long cruise
(as far south as Zihuatanejo) and across to Hawaii
This boat sailed very, very well. In particular she loved going upwind. While not capable of sailing quite as close to the wind
as more modern designs, she did quite well and virtually never pounded. The design has a relatively tall rig, but her 50% ballast ratio holds it all together quite well. Keep in mind that the basic hull
design was made for ocean racing
way back in the day.The profile of the hull
underway is a true beauty. You can thank Bruce King for that.
Sailing deep downwind in not her strong point. She has a bit of the squirreliness of other IOR designs, though not nearly as extreme as some. You just need to be extra careful not to raise too much sail area in those conditions. We definitely outsailed a surprising number of more modern boats that we would not have expected to. In fact, the Hylas
47 that we now own is not all that much faster than our old Ericson
Our old 39-B is now being cruised by a new owner mostly single
handed from SF Bay
to it's new home in Australia
. He is now 2/3 of the way there with no major problems having popped up. We also completed our voyage of around 6,500 miles with no big problems.
Compared to our Hylas
she is built fairly lightly and exhibited a fair amount of creaking while underway in the ocean. That being said, we never felt she could not safely handle these standard tradewind passages. We had also modified her basic rig to include a removeable inner forestay, which was a big help during high wind
The layout of the boat is fantastic for both live-aboard and cruising conditions. Having the separate aft cabin
works great fopr both storage
and the times you desire to bring extra crew along for overnighters. A couple different options were available for how the aft cabin
was dealt with. Our design left the main cabin quite open as you came below through the companion way. The design you are looking at had a wall immediately to your port as you descended the companion way stairs. This wall enlarged the aft cabin a bit to give space for an extra sink area. In our design we had a big hanging locker and more storage
overall. The boat in general has an amazing amount of easily accessible storage for a 39' model of this vintage.
Our model also had the wheel
located at the forward end of the cockpit
, which we preferred. This gave better protection from the dodger
to the helmsman and also easier access to the mainsheet. The cockpit
is nice and deep, which gives a good sense of security
While in San Diego
we had a chance to meet with Lew, the owner of the boat in question. He is a super nice guy and has done a fantastic job in upgrading his boat. It is a real beauty. He made a number of very nice improvements to his boat. For instance, check out the ceiling inside the cabin! If your priorities are sailing performance and layout amenable to real cruising and passage
making, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better value around. In this price
range, we would give her a very strong recommendation. If you are interested in reading our accounts of cruising Pacifica (our E 39-B), go to http://www.sailpuravida.com/Cruise_News.htm
Feel free to ask any other questions.