I've sailed a C&C
38 with the same main setup as the 35 you mentioned, I have an auto pilot that helps tremendously with singlehanding
it but it's not necessary under most conditions. I would suggest making sure you have all the reefing lines on the boom before heading out though, reefing once underway can be a challenge if you don't, fortunately those models had relatively small mains and large headsails so the main isn't too difficult to handle.
Having the mainsheet in the cockpit is a good thing, it makes handling it easier. I use a clip on block on the toe rail and run a preventer to the same boom bail as the mainsheet when running downwind, it makes setting it from the cockpit quite easy.
These boats point quite well and broad reach well too, running downwind takes a little more attention than a cruising design since the rudders were meant to provide just enough lift
but not too much drag for better speed, the hull
shape also contributes to that tendency, they like to yaw surfing down a wave in running conditions but not dangerously so.
I've found them to be well balanced upwind and on reaches, when trimmed properly they don't require an autopilot
unless the seas kick up, I've had no problem sailing in 15-25 knots upwind or off the wind
singlehanded without needing the autopilot
as long as the trim was correct.
I would suggest having a couple headsails since up to 17 knots a 150 works well, over that a 100 is good. In 35-40 a storm jib
mounted on an inner forestay and a main with 3 reef points balances well and moves it along pretty quickly, actually just the storm jib
is needed to move along briskly. Depends on how quickly you want to move. If you're thinking of flying a spinaker shorthanded go for an asym, the symetrical spinakers require crew to fly, usually at least 4 on board since you need foredeck crew to hoist, douse and jibe, an asym can be flown with two or singlehanded with an outopilot.
I will say it is a racer/cruiser so it does require more attention in a blow so it is a more fatiguing boat than a dedicated cruising design, it all depends on what you want to do with it. What is nice about the design is it's ability to scoot along in light winds and still sail well in heavy weather
when reefed appropriately. I've sailed mine up and down the New England
coast in all types of conditions and feel confident in the boat but I am realistic and know it is more demanding than a boat on the other side of the design curve. The previous owner raced the Newport
/ Bermuda race
in it and encountered a storm crossing the Gulf Stream
, they were dropping off the top of 20' waves at one point and reported that the boat handled it well although the crew didn't feel all that well about it, they commented on how solid it was.
I am selling her now though, my wife, our two boys and I are looking at farther horizons so we opted for a larger dedicated cruising boat, the creature comforts and longer keel
will definitely be a plus on the long transits we plan on making. I will miss her though, the sailing performance and feel is great with lots of grins when balanced well, my joke is that I'm selling the BMW sports/touring car for the family
wagon, which is appropriate for my current
If you have any questions on the inherent strengths and weaknesses of C&C's of that vintage feel free to contact me, I can give you a few pointers on what to look for in those vintages.