Just when a seasoned boat reviewer thinks he’s seen all the possible variations among midsize cruising monohulls, along comes a vessel to jar him out of that notion. The Delphia 37 did that for me. The designer is unknown in America, the factory is in Poland, and the boat is a delight to sail.
The deck and cockpit will work nicely for daysailing, local cruising, or offshore sailing. There’s enough space to entertain, and the folding helm seat facilitates access to the stern platform. I found it easy to move in and out of the cockpit and around much of the cabintop using grabrails along the part of the coachroof. However, once you approach the foredeck, the lack of handholds there will force you to rely on only the toerail and the lifelines to stay aboard.
There’s a sufficiently deep anchor locker and a standard windlass at the bow, and the port cockpit locker is big and deep. The starboard locker is a shallower space suitable for dock lines, boathooks, and other quick-grab items. U.S. sales representative Scott Farquharson said his major contribution to the company’s export plan was insisting on equipment that could be repaired or replaced easily by U.S. sailors. Thus the boat carries Lewmar deck hardware, Raymarine electronics, and other items readily available in the States.
I looked closely at the hidden areas and found only first-class workmanship with neatly finished fiberglass and proper backing plates behind the deck fittings. The hull is cored with closed-cell foam from the waterline up, and a grid in the hull carries rig stresses. The bilge sump is rather shallow, but this builder pays close attention to important plumbing and wiring details. All the hoses are double-clamped and routed carefully to avoid chafe, and the through-hull fittings are bronze. Wiring runs through conduits, and the wire ends have numbered labels and heat-shrink-covered terminals.
The joinery (oak on our test boat instead of the standard light mahogany) was neat, well-fitted, and nicely finished. The starboard settee is L-shaped and the port one is straight, giving lots of seating space around the central table, where the mast support bisects the space. The sleeping cabins are attractive, although the forward V-berth is quite pointy and could prove a bit tight for a couple.
The two-cabin version I sailed has a larger head compartment, a better nav station, and a larger port cockpit locker than the three-cabin version. The L-shaped galley, with its round aluminum sink, pumps for fresh and salt water, and gimbaled stove, is the same in both. The nav table in our test boat had space for a standard chartbook, but its adjacent panel could hold only a few electronics. The chartplotter, VHF, and radar are more useful in the cockpit, where the helmsman can see them.
An experienced sailor contributed to the design of this cabin, with its plentiful grabrails and high shelf fiddles. The head compartment is simple and will be easy to clean. Some might prefer a bit more elegant look in this space, but it’s efficient and functional, right down to the holding tank’s gravity drain.
I sailed the Delphia 37 on a perfect winter day in 12 to 14 knots of wind on Biscayne Bay, Florida, and didn’t want to go back to the dock. Our test boat carried a Sparcraft rig with Facnor in-mast furling, and the sails were by Ocean Sails. It all worked perfectly. Tacking angles were less than 90 degrees, and there was enough sail area to provide excellent acceleration out of the tacks. Our test boat had the optional shoal draft (5-foot, 1-inch) keel, an obvious choice for much of the East Coast of the United States.
Windward sailing performance with the deep (6-foot, 4-inch) keel should be even better. This was an easy boat to maneuver, and the unobstructed sight lines from the helm provided a wonderful sense of control. The combination of easy handling and responsiveness was a pleasure, and the directional stability was so good that I could leave the unlocked wheel and walk to the bow and back while the boat stayed in the groove on a close-hauled course.
The builder notes that in Poland the only choice for sailors is the Baltic Sea, a notoriously rough piece of water. This influenced the design toward offshore capability, and there’s no question that this boat would be quite happy on a passage to Bermuda or the Caribbean.
A setting of 2,400 rpm on the optional 55-horsepower diesel (40-horsepower is standard) produced better than 7 knots with a comfortably quiet sound level of 74 dB. The boat stopped precisely and quickly and backed accurately wherever I aimed it. Simply put, I was impressed with the handling under both sail and power.
The Delphia 37 is not going to turn heads like a classic yacht or a high-tech raceboat, but the combination of pleasing modern lines with a bit of exterior teak makes it nice to look at. It performed well under sail and power, appears to be well built, and has a comfortable and functional interior plan. When you throw in its competitive price, it has a lot going for it.
Price: $145,000 (FOB Baltimore, MD) includes sails, speed, depth, and wind instruments, refrigeration, and ground tackle.
U.S. importer: Delphia Yachts USA, LLC., Annapolis, MD; www.delphiayachtsusa.com; tel. 866-459-2005
Designer: Andrzej Skrzat
Construction: The hand-laminated hull is built with a structural grid to dissipate rig loads. The hull is solid fiberglass below the waterline, cored with closed-cell foam above. The keelbolts are stainless steel, the keel is cast iron.
Pros: Careful, strong construction, plentiful headroom, efficient, comfortable deck and cockpit, responsiveness under both sail and power.
Cons: Stark head compartment, small nav-station panel, mast support in center of saloon.
LOA - 36'4"
LWL - 33'7"
Beam - 11'10"
Draft (Shoal/deep) - 5'1"/6'4"
Displacement - 12,414/12,961 lbs
Ballast - 4,862 lbs
Sail Area (100% foretriangle) - 668 sq ft
Power - Volvo 40-hp
Tankage (Fuel/water/waste) - 39/65/15 gal
(1) 70-Ah starting battery
(1) 105-Ah house battery
Displacement-Length ratio - 146
Sail Area-Displacement ratio - 20
Ballast ratio - 39%