2009 Best Boats Performance Boat: Santa Cruz 37

In addition to the Santa Cruz 37, several performance/racing designs (King 40, A35 and A40 from Archambault, Andrews 28, and the Melges 20) debuted this year, and a case can be made for each design in this category. But the Santa Cruz 37 ended up narrowly edging out the others because it’s hit the sweet spot between racing performance, accommodations, and trailerability. For starters, the boat is almost all carbon and displaces a little over 8,500 pounds. It’s stiff and light, with a ballast ratio of 43 percent. Many all-carbon raceboats have similar numbers, but not many racer/cruisers do. We were not surprised to see all the go-fast features you expect from a high-performance boat (tall carbon rig, powerful sailplan, a fixed sprit for a Code 0 reaching sail, and a long retractable carbon sprit for the A-sail), but what really caught our attention were less-glamorous features, such as the efficiency and simplicity of the rudder set-up. It slides into a cassette positioned close to the dual helms. This takes almost all the friction out of the steering system and is sure to provide a responsive helm; it also allows the rudder to be retracted by simply pulling it up out of the cassette. The narrow-foil/bulbed keel has the same retractability. Pop the laminated table off the saloon settee and you’ll find the top of the keel. Retracting the keel is as easy as loosening the bolts that hold the keel down in the trunk and attaching the lifting strop. There’s no need for a crane to splash this boat; any decent boat ramp will do.

The accommodation plan gets kudos for being a real accommodation plan. There’s no solid-teak furniture, but there are comfortable berths, a good-sized nav station, decent stowage, and proper head and galley. It’s laid out to provide a comfortable night (or two) aboard, either in the harbor or during a distance race. Whether you’re looking to drag race around the cans, grind out distance-race miles, or simply cruise faster than the other guy, there looks to be lots of fun potential with this boat. For more information, visit Santa Cruz


LOA: 37′

LWL: 34’9″

Beam: 10’7″

Draft: (std/opt) 7’6″/6′

Displacement: 8,662 lbs

Ballast: 3,730 lbs

Designer: Tim Kernan

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