For our non-sailing friends: She is a stout bluewater cruiser, designed to cross oceans in comfort and safety. (You may now skip to the pretty pictures below.)
For those who crave details, she's a 1990 Crealock 37 (rebranded in 1993 as the Pacific Seacraft 37), a double-ender with a cutter rig, graceful sweeping overhangs, a fin keel, and skeg-hung rudder who displaces 16,000 pounds. In other words, she's pretty trim for a cruising boat, with a well protected rudder and multiple sail options, renowned for her comfortable motion underway. She's also tiller steered, the way Bill Crealock originally designed her.
Colin and I were hardly alone in putting the PSC 37 right at the tippy top of our dream boat list. These boats are so well designed and built that Fortune Magazine once listed them along with the F-15 fighter jet as product of the year. Why all the Crealock love? Most production boats are built to sell the Caribbean or Mediterranean dream - more cabins, wineglass holders and skylights, fewer grab rails, cleats and barriers to keep a nasty sea out. Every boat is a compromise, of course, but while the PS 37s sacrifice room below and a handy swim platform, they gain an extraordinarily strong, safe and sea kindly vessel.
Why the PS 37s were at the top of our dream boat list:
1. Safety. We've sailed on plenty of boats where you can see daylight through the thin layer of fiberglass that's the only thing separating you and the deep blue. For a daysail in close proximity to a Coast Guard station, no worries. Out on the open ocean, a transparent hull is not much of a confidence builder. Pristine is made of solid fiberglass that is as much as 1 1/2" thick and stiffened with an internal, molded pan liner. And in the unlikely event that an unusually hefty wave were to crash on deck, we take great comfort in the fully plywood cored deck. Furthering her safety cred, she has a remarkably high AVS (Angle of Vanishing Stability) of 140. That essentially means that were things ever to get extraordinarily nasty, she could roll a full 50 degrees below horizontal and pop back up again like a weeble, rather than capsizing. Not that we'll ever test that one out, of course.
2. Extremely sea kindly motion. When we head out for a Bay race or a two hour sail, it's part of the adventure to run close-hauled to windward in a boat whose audio track would sound like it came straight from the Flintstones: BAM. BAM. BAM, BAM, BAM! But that's a lot less fun for days on end, much less years of cruising. The PS 37 has been described as a "swisher" not a "pounder" and our sea trials so far have proven that even in the slot, with 20 knots of breeze and 4 foot chop, the ride feels more like swaying gently in a hammock than trying to stand inside a bouncy castle at a five-year-old's birthday party.
3. Well-protected cockpit with great engine access. The high bulwarks and coamings help keep the cockpit nice and dry, while the shape creates lots of good spaces to lay your back and snuggle into a comfy spot. It's small enough that it will drain quickly if ever swamped by a wave, but still manages room for two benches long enough to sleep out under the stars. And to get to the engine, not only does the hatch under the companionway stairs provide easy access to the oil dipstick, bleed screw and belt, but the cockpit hatch comes off as well, allowing almost 360 degree access to the valves, air intake, fuel filters and exhaust systems.
4. Oversized deck hardware & external chainplates. We once tied up to the fuel dock at Catalina Island in a charter boat. The low tide meant the fuel dock on solid piers was a good 20 feet overhead and the swell was so intense that to this day I don't know how the combination of bouncing boat and fixed lines didn't tear the wimpy little cleats right out of the deck. Some memories you can never get out of your head, so I'm especially fond of Pristine's solid bronze hawsepipes, oversize cleats and bomber bronze portholes. And those critical pieces holding up the rig are in plain view, where you can see that the bolts and connections are solid and corrosion-free.
5. Well-protected galley and cozy berths. When I'm cooking in a land-based kitchen, I like room to spread out. (Colin, who becomes the clean-up guy when I take chef duty, might say I spread out a little too far and wide.) But on a moving boat, it's much safer and more comfortable to wedge into a tight space where I can keep three points of contact (i.e. two feet and a hip) while having both hands free to chop, stir and make sure the edible bits don't become wallpaper. A deep double sink not only helps with washing up, but becomes safe stowage in larger swells. And when deciding where to lay our heads, we have the choice of a double-sized pullman berth for quiet anchorages, or snug berths with lee cloths for passages where we don't want to be bounced out of our beds.
Bonus: Tiller steering! Although Crealock designed the 37 to be a tiller-steered boat, few of them were produced per the original spec. Most people want wheel steering, which is great too. But we happen to love the more direct feel of the helm on the tiller that lets the boat can talk to you pretty clearly, and we especially love there's no complex system of quadrant and cables to break at the wrong time. It's also pretty sweet to anchor and just fold the entire steering system out of the way. When Colin and I started looking at boat classifieds we had many discussions about what it would take to convert from wheel steering to tiller, but let it go as too expensive an upgrade (downgrade?). When we saw photos of Pristine for the first time, she wasn't just a gorgeously maintained PSC 37, but we turned to each other and whispered simultaneously: "Tiller-steered! Can you believe it?" I'm still pinching myself.
- LOA: 36' 11"
- LWL: 27' 9"
- Beam: 10' 10"
- Draft: 5' 6"
- Headroom: 6' 4"
- Mast clearance: 47' 6"
- Displacement: 16,000 pounds
- Ballast: 6,200 pounds
- Bal/Disp: 38.74%
- AVS: 140 degrees
- Engine: 44 HP Yanmar
- Water: 95 gallons (45 gal forward tank + 40 gal aft tank)
- Fuel: 70 gallons (40 gal main tank + 30 gal factory-installed aux tank)