The Bluewater Sailboat Snowgoose 37 is a robust, capable globe cruiser with a track record of success. The boat is identified as a Prout by the wide, dark band that encircles the ports around the cabintrunk. The hulls of these early cats with rounded bilges had a small reverse sheer. Both the Snowgoose 37, which saw the majority of its manufacturing in the 1980s, and its later evolution, the Snowgoose Elite, may be traced back to the legendary Snowgoose 35, one of the most successful production catamarans. A low-aspect cutter rig produces a working sail area of 570 square feet. The air draught of the single-spreader mast is less than 50 feet.
Prout were the pioneers of the’mast-aft’ rig, which had a tiny main sail, a large head sail, and all lines and sheets leading back to the cockpit, making her very easy to operate alone. You’ll have to leave the cockpit to raise the spinnaker, but that’s it. Surprisingly, the mast aft tendency has resurfaced, with everything from the Gunboat 68 to the Lagoon 46 catamaran employing Prout’s old methods.
The Bluewater Sailboat Snowgoose 37 is not for the faint of heart. The displacement of almost 5,600 pounds makes it heavier than several modern monohulls of comparable length. Early hulls are solid fiberglass with molded stub keels, whereas new models are solid below the waterline and cored from the waterline north. As previously stated, the bridge deck is solid, which adds weight but also offers strength between the hulls that a single crossbar cannot equal. The bridgedeck clearance is lower than in more current designs, resulting in a lot of water movement between the hulls. The deck on older boats is balsa cored, although some later boats have various materials cored. When you look down and see how much teak was used, you quickly realize that reducing weight was not the primary concern during construction. The Snowgoose 37 is built more traditionally, with bulkheads and furniture facings permanently tabbed to the hull, whereas other cats rely almost entirely on modular construction.
The Bluewater Sailboat Snowgoose 37 isn’t light for her length, with a displacement of more than 5,200 tonnes, but she’s also not a block of lead. The hulls are made of solid fibreglass and have stubby fixed keels (newer models are solid below the waterline and cored above). She’s incredibly rigid and strong because to the solid bridgedeck, and the decks are cored with balsa or other materials to keep the weight down.
The later Elite model, which went into production about 1986, is about a foot wider across the beam than the standard Snowgoose, giving you more room below, but she carries more weight and has a slightly deeper draught.
A spinning, retractable sonic drive gear powers the single engine. Prout 37s with two engines are also possible, particularly in some of the later Elites. The Snowgoose is extremely manoeuvrable in either configuration.
The cockpit is modest in comparison to modern cats, but it is comfortable enough, with a bulkhead placed helm that provides an excellent view. All lines return to the cockpit. The mainsheet traveler is aft, and it’s somewhat short in comparison to contemporary cats. If the weather changes, the cabin door may be swiftly closed to keep the saloon neat and dry.
Although the side decks are narrow, there are numerous handholds, such as the grab-rail that you will need in the future. She is secure because there are numerous lifelines and strong stanchions around her. To keep things organized, the robust bridgedeck offers two huge forward lockers with plenty of storage space.
When compared to more recent cruising cat designs, the cockpit is extremely comfortable yet modest. If you’re going offshore, that’s not a bad thing. Even with a complete bimini and dodger enclosure, vision from the helm is good due to the bulkhead-mounted wheel being to starboard. Smaller cruising cats are not always like this. To look forward from the helm of one well-known model, you must peer through the cabin ports.
All sail controls are routed to the cockpit, and the sails are hoisted using a smart stainless steel fairlead and a vertically mounted winch. There has a huge storage locker and engine access under the cockpit sole.
The ability to concentrate the weight on the bridgedeck rather than placing hundreds of pounds of metal at the end of each hull, which is exactly where you don’t want it, is one advantage of a single engine. The mainsheet traveler is forward, and while there is enough of travel, it isn’t as long as other newer cat travelers. However, there is a good aft deck behind the traveler. The main companionway has a thick, bi-fold Plexiglas door that may be swiftly closed in bad weather.
The side decks are extremely narrow. Fortunately, there is a sturdy stainless grabrail at just the correct height as you proceed. The double lifelines and stanchions are tall, wide, and well-supported. There is also a lifeline across the bow, which is a good safety element. The deck fittings are generally strong. The double anchor rollers are built to withstand heavy ground tackle. The strong bridgedeck allows for two big forward lockers that collect fenders, lines, jerrycans, and other debris and keep the deck clean.
The deck is stepped on the anodized aluminum spar. The majority of boats are cutter rigged, with both the genoa and staysail roller furled. The main will most likely have a good-sized roach and will be thoroughly battened.
The Bluewater Snowgoose 37 and Elite had two interior layouts. A large queen berth is located forward, with two spacious double cabins aft. The forward cabin is open to the saloon, which allows for more air but reduces privacy. However, this is an excellent spot to sleep while at anchor because you can easily raise your head and check out the forward portlights to ensure you haven’t dragged. There are wraparound settees and a huge table in the saloon. The Snowgoose 37 is not as bright below as some cats, and the saloon has about 5 feet, 8 inches of headroom. However, the combination of teak and superb joinery adds an air of elegance that is uncommon in a cat.
A changing station, locker storage, a full-length bookshelf, and two hanging lockers for the queen cabin are located forward in the starboard hull. The galley occupies the hull’s centre. Despite the narrowness of the hulls, the galley is more than adequate, with a distinctive three-sink basin and a three-burner stove and oven. It’s a really safe place to cook, especially since cats don’t heel very well. While some people like a “galley up,” or in the saloon, the Snowgoose 37 configuration is a great compromise. Despite being a “galley down,” the partial saloon bulkhead is low, allowing the cook to be part of the social scene while remaining out of the way. The refrigerator and freezer are positioned behind the bunk in the aft cabin, which I’m sure is troublesome at times.
Each forward cabin has a double berth, a hanging locker, a seat and vanity, and large shelving ahead of the bunk. These cabins lack elbow room, particularly when compared to more modern designs. A spacious navigation station with a clever folddown bench and a true chart drawer is housed in the port hull. The electrical panel is positioned on the forward bulkhead, and there is plenty of area for instruments and radios. The head is fairly huge and extends all the way forward. A single head is practical, and it is one of the main reasons why the interior design works so well.
The open plan is identical to the family plan, except that the settees in the saloon extend all the way forward, removing the need for a third cabin. They do, however, turn into comfortable sleepers.
Allinson, who has sailed his 1984 hull No. 216 Snowgoose, Own N Sun II, from the East Coast to the islands, adds that in most conditions, his boat accomplishes 6 to 7 mph. It is not fast, but it is consistent, and it does not require micromanagement, making it an excellent passagemaker. According to Allinson, unlike modern cats that rely on a massive, roachy mainsail, the Snowgoose performs best when the enormous genoa is drawing. He also mentions how difficult it is to punch the boat upwind in stormy weather and how there is a lot of water activity below the bridgedeck.
Allison like the convenience of controlling three smaller sails from the cockpit rather than dealing with a huge mainsail. One of the Snowgoose owners in the Azores informed me that he averaged 150 miles a day during two Atlantic crossings, and he was quick to add that he doesn’t push the boat. With its flexible cutter rig, the Snowgoose 37 balances smoothly and operates effectively on autopilot.
The first item to search for is an appropriate Snowgoose 37. Although exact hull numbers are difficult to track down, the modified Elite model went into production in 1986. The main difference is that the Elite is 12 inches wider than the standard Snowgoose, giving it slightly more room below but also making it slightly heavier and two inches deeper in draught. Of course, with a draught of less than three feet, it’s not a big deal, and the extra interior volume is worth the two inches. The Elite has a somewhat altered hull form. The Elite rudders are slightly smaller and situated below the waterline, as opposed to the conventional Snowgoose’s two transom-hung outboard rudders.
The majority of Snowgoose 37s are powered by a single engine with a revolving, retractable sonic drive gear. While this gear is efficient—John Sykes thinks it rivals the performance of twin screws—it is not flawless and can be costly to fix. Make sure it is thoroughly inspected by a mechanic who is knowledgeable about it. Also, inspect the wiring; most boats have had owner-installed electronic modifications over the years, and the original wiring was not the best feature of the boat. In fact, one unique characteristic of the Bluewater Snowgoose 37s on the market is that most have been converted for offshore cruising—which can be a good thing or a bad thing. A yacht with a restricted inventory may not only save you money, but it may also save you a lot of hassle. Instead of dealing with outdated equipment, you can start from scratch.
Naturally, all age-related difficulties, particularly if the boat has been widely cruised, should be thoroughly investigated. Check the standing and running rigging, as well as the condition of the steering systems.
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