The B-39/40 are pretty well built boats from what I've seen. The hull
layups were mostly done when the layup
schedule was not determined by the cost of resin and the accountants. Structural reinforcing was pretty good with most of the internal furniture well bonded to the hull
design isn't the best for offshore
work. There is no bridge deck
and the drainage isn't so hot. The bridge deck
situation can be ameliroated by sailing with at least the bootom washboard in when it gets lumpy. You can add extra drain capacity by putting in tubing to drain the cockpit out the transom. I've seen one boat where they glassed in two, 2 inch drains that should empty the cockpit real quick. Looks like they just drilled holes in the aft cockpit bulkhead at the base and another in the transom then stuck in a length of PVC pipe. They then wrapped the whole thing in cloth, matt, and resin to make it super strong and water
tight. Looked factory and really made an effective way to get the water
out real quick.
The B39-40s are sweet sailing boats having won the Marion-Bermuda race
, I think a couple of times. My experience is they sail well in light conditions and are well balanced. They won't keep up with a fin keel
boat in light air but aren't embarassingly slow, either. When the wind
kicks up to 10 knots or more, they should hold their own.
FWIW, the boat with the cockpit mod's, had a few miles on her. She'd been sailed to Europe
and back at least once, to the Carribean, to the Pacific, back to Seattle
and then a circumnavigation
of the Pacific. I could find no signs of structural problems other than a little sloppiness in the rudder
bearings. The rig had been replaced but it seemed to have been done more out of love of the boat than structural need.
They are not commodious boats but then the Cape Dory's aren't either. Still they have plenty of storage
and should be able to carry all the detritus that cruisers tend to accumulate without it intruding into the living space. Unlike modern boats, assume the sailing performance won't be killed by the extra weight, either.