Best Boats 2013 McConaghy 38

The Aussie-bred McConaghy 38 takes skiff sailing adrenalin and repackages it in a low-slung sport boat that redefines the genre. It came as no surprise that our Best Boats team found little not to like about this 7,000lb, all carbon, elegantly Spartan sloop.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
McConaghy-38

The Aussie-bred McConaghy 38 takes skiff sailing adrenalin and repackages it in a low-slung sport boat that redefines the genre. It came as no surprise that our Best Boats team found little not to like about this 7,000lb, all carbon, elegantly Spartan sloop. The boat is built to plane early, foot fast and steer with a feather touch on and off the wind, making it a racehorse to reckon with in a growing fleet of ISAF Cat II one-designs. It also looks to do well under the new HPR rating system.

McConaghy-38_3

Launched in Sydney over a year ago, the MC38 debuted domestically with a win in Key West. U.S. designer Harry Dunning’s goal was to raise the stakes in high performance sailing, and from what we’ve seen, he’s scored a big win.

 The McConaghy 38s clean lines belie the sophistication of its underlying engineering

The McConaghy 38s clean lines belie the sophistication of its underlying engineering

There’s solid engineering logic behind the design and just as much sensibility in what’s been omitted. A traditionalist might wonder what happened to the cabintrunk and interior. But those who see sailing as flying on the water appreciate the value of shedding the extraneous. The MC38 has the freeboard of a 38ft windsurfer, the displacement of a 28ft production sailboat and the sail area of a 45ft club racer. All this adds up to a power/weight ratio that’s more than impressive. Equally impressive is the way Dunning has delivered the righting moment and boat handling demeanor to cope with all this energy. In short, he’s succeeded at building blistering performance into a “street legal” racer that keeps crew gymnastics to a minimum. A deep carbon keel foil and bulb comprising about half the total displacement seal the stability deal. The result puts a gleam in the eye of the young, but still allows a crew of seniors to tap into the skiff sailor’s domain.

Photos by Andrea Francolini

Related

210913-11HRT-SKIPPER-PORTRAITS-VC-122

11th Hour Christens Two IMOCAs, Hits a Snag

This week has been a big one for the American-founded, sustainability-centric ocean racing team 11th Hour Racing. In addition to christening their two new boats, the team also took them out for a quick test ride—against some of the most intense IMOCA 60 skippers in the world. ...read more

01-LEAD-DSCF3091

Clewless in the Pacific

Squalls are well known to sailors who cruise the middle Latitudes. Eventually, you become complacent to their bluster. But squalls vary in magnitude, and while crossing from Tahiti to Oahu, our 47ft Custom Stevens sloop paid the price for carrying too much canvass as we were ...read more

Nigel

SAIL’s Nigel Calder Talks Electrical Systems at Trawlerfest Baltimore

At the upcoming Trawlerfest Baltimore, set for Sept. 29-Oct. 3, SAIL magazine regular contributor Nigel Calder will give the low down on electrical systems as part of the show’s seminar series.  The talk will be Saturday, October 2 at 9am. Electrical systems are now the number ...read more

5ae5b8ce-3113-4236-927b-f795be4ae091

Bitter End Yacht Club Announces Reopening

Four years after being decimated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Bitter End Yacht Club is set to reopen for the Winter 2022 season. Hailed as one of the best anchorages in the Caribbean and built by sailors, for sailors, this island outpost in the BVI has been a favorite with ...read more

01-LEAD-'21.05.01_Jay-&-Mira

Cruising: Bluewater Pollywogs

Bluewater sailing is 25 percent actually sailing and 75 percent learning how to live on a boat at sea, in constant motion and with no chance to get off the roller coaster. I cannot over-emphasize how difficult normal daily functions become at sea, even on nice, calm days. ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_0078

Refurbishing Shirley Rose: Part 2

If you missed the first installment, click here. Thankfully, the deck and cockpit of my decades-old Santana 27, Shirley Rose, were in pretty good shape. The balsa core, in particular, was for the most part nice and solid. Nonetheless, there was still a fair bit of work to do. ...read more

orca

Orca Encounters on the Rise

This week’s confrontation between a pod of orcas and the Nauticat 44 ketch Tuuletar which left the boat rudderless is just the latest in a string of encounters with orcas off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, over 50 of these encounters have been reported, half of ...read more

01-LEAD-Project-complete

DIY: an Antique Nav Station

Ever since the advent of GPS, I have not found much use for the chart table on my schooner Britannia. Most of our passagemaking navigation is done on a Raymarine multifunction display on the helm pod, which is then transferred to a paper chart on the saloon table roughly every ...read more