Boats

Santa Cruz 37 Page 2

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Under sail

The breeze steadily built from a glassy 10 knots to a spirited 18 as the wind funneled out the Severn. Perfect. Early on, during the light-wind portion of the test, tacking angles were narrow (approximately 75 degrees), helm feel was balanced and responsive, and we sliced to windward at an easy 7 knots. You don’t need to be a flashy, sunglasses-wearing pro racer to keep speeds in the 7s and the boat in the groove. Sweet. As the wind ratcheted up, so did acceleration. Wind speed and boatspeed were almost in direct correlation. That said, as the big A-sail went up, the wind built to the high teens, boatspeed jumped to the high 9s and 10s, and the helm and sail trim required a bit more focus. That is the case on any high-performance boat; everything was under control, but the wide groove narrowed a bit. We ran out of water quickly at those speeds, and after several laps down the drag strip, we doused the kite and headed for home. It was at that point, working upwind in about 18 knots of breeze, that the helm felt a bit “funky” under the load. It wasn’t overpowered, but it felt kind of bound up. A crewmember was working the traveler in the puffs, and the boat’s designer, Tim Kernan, was on board, so when we got back to the dock I asked Tim, “Have you noticed anything with the steering?” He responded, “This is hull #1, and we thankfully got it to the show, but our supplier sent the wrong bearings for the barrel cassette. We’re all over it, and that funkiness will disappear with the new bearings.” These things happen, and I have no doubt that the steering will be spot-on in the future.

Vital Statistics

Headroom: 6'3", berths (forward/aft) 6'x5*8" (at widest point), 6'7"x5'8", Saloon seats 6'3"x1'8", Cockpit seats 4'x1'6"

PRICE: $330,750 (base, FOB East Coast) includes Seldn carbon spar, Yanmar engine, tapered Dyneema halyards, PBO backstay, Harken deck hardware
BUILDER:
Santa Cruz Yachts, Green Cove Springs, Florida; santacruzyachts.com
DESIGNER:
Tim Kernan, kernandesign.com
LOA:
37'
LWL:
34'9"
Beam:
10'7"
Draft:
(std/opt) 7'6"/6'
Displacement:
8,662 lbs
Ballast:
3,730 lbs
electrical:
(2) Deep-cycle batteries, 50-amp alternator
Sail area: (main and jib)
725 sq ft
Fuel/water/waste:
19/26/9 gal
Power:
29-hp Yanmar
Displ.-length ratio:
92
Sail area-displ. ratio:
27.5
Ballast-displ. ratio:
46%

Under power

We didn’t really need the engine to get off the mooring, but the 29-horse Yanmar (smartly placed in the lowest part of the center of the boat) provided all the oomph we needed to get boatspeed up to 6 knots. Handling under power was exactly what you’d want and expect.

Our take

Pros:

  • Speed potential
  • Retracting keel
  • Good accommodation plan
  • Cons:

  • Steering glitch (has reportedly been fixed)
  • Primary winches felt slightly undersized
  • Conclusion

    This is a light, stiff boat that’ll scream if you want it to, and would be quite comfortable on a cruise or living aboard during regattas. The lifting keel will be a boon to anyone who has dealt with bigger keelboats on trailers or to those of us who sometimes try to cut corners over a shoal and fail. I’m not all that concerned with the steering issue I encountered. This is part of a new boat’s teething process. As long as they get that cassette/rudder setup dialed in, this boat should have a place at the table.

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