She is a stout blue water cruiser, designed to cross oceans in comfort and safety.
For our non-sailing friends, you may now skip to the pretty pictures below.
For those who crave details, she’s a 1990 Pacific Seacraft 37, a double-ender with a cutter rig, graceful sweeping overhangs, a fin keel, and skeg-hung rudder who displaces 16,000 pounds. She’s pretty trim for a cruising boat, with a well-protected rudder and multiple sail options, renowned for her comfortable motion underway. She’s also tiller steered the way Bill Crealock originally designed her.
Colin and I were hardly alone in putting the PSC 37 right at the top of our dream boat list. These boats are so well designed and built that Fortune Magazine once listed them along with the F-15 fighter jet as product of the year. Why all the Crealock love? Most production boats are built to sell the Caribbean or Mediterranean dream - more cabins, wineglass holders and skylights, fewer grab rails, cleats and barriers to keep a nasty sea out. Every boat is a compromise, of course, but while the PSC 37s sacrifice room below and a handy swim platform, they gain an extraordinarily strong, safe and sea kindly vessel.
“When setting out to design the Crealock 37, I had the luxury of doing it for myself, without obligation to builder or dealer. I did not have to pay homage to interiors festooned with bunks, or revere classic features, or long waterlines or short or distorted ends.” — W.I.B. CREALOCK
Why we chose Pristine
- Safety. We’ve sailed on plenty of boats where you can see daylight through the thin layer of fiberglass that’s the only thing separating you and the deep blue. For a day sail in proximity to a Coast Guard station, no worries. Out on the open ocean, a transparent hull is not much of a confidence builder. They make Pristine of solid fiberglass that is as much as 1 1/2” thick and stiffened with an internal, molded liner. And in the unlikely event that an unusually hefty wave was to crash on deck, we take great comfort in the fully plywood cored deck.
Furthering her safety cred, she has a remarkably high AVS (Angle of Vanishing Stability) of 140. That essentially means that were things ever to get extraordinarily nasty, she could roll a full 50 degrees below horizontal and pop back up again like a weeble, rather than capsizing. Not that we plan to test that one out, of course.
- Extremely sea kindly motion. When we head out for a Bay race or a two-hour sail, it’s part of the adventure to run close-hauled to windward in a boat whose audio track would sound like it came straight from the Flintstones: BAM. BAM. BAM, BAM, BAM!
But that’s a lot less fun for days on end, much less years of cruising. The PSC 37 has been described as a “swisher” not a “pounder” and our sea trials so far have proven that even in the slot, with 20 knots of breeze and 4 foot chop, the ride feels like swaying gently in a hammock.
- Well-protected cockpit with great engine access. The high bulwarks and coamings help keep the cockpit nice and dry, while the shape creates lots of good spaces to lay your back and snuggle into a comfy spot. It’s small enough that it will drain quickly if ever swamped by a wave, but still manages room for two benches long enough to sleep out under the stars.
And to get to the engine, not only does the hatch under the companionway stairs provide easy access to the oil dipstick, bleed screw and belt, but the cockpit hatch comes off as well, allowing almost 360 degree access to the valves, air intake, fuel filters and exhaust systems.
- Oversized deck hardware & external chain plates. We once tied up to the fuel dock at Catalina Island in a charter boat. The low tide meant the fuel dock on solid piers was 20 feet overhead and the swell was so intense that to this day I don’t know how we didn’t tear the wimpy cleats right out of the deck. Some memories you can never get out of your head, so I’m especially fond of Pristine’s solid bronze hawsepipes, oversize cleats and bomber bronze portholes. And those critical pieces holding up the rig are in plain view, where you can see that the bolts and connections are solid and corrosion-free.
- Well-protected galley and cozy berths. When I’m cooking in a land-based kitchen, I like room to spread out. But on a moving boat, it’s much safer and more comfortable to wedge into a tight space where I can keep three points of contact (i.e. two feet and a hip) while having both hands free to chop, stir and make sure the edible bits don’t become wallpaper. A deep double sink not only helps with washing up, but becomes safe stowage in larger swells. And when deciding where to lay our heads, we have the choice of a double-sized pullman berth for quiet anchorages, or snug berths with lee cloths for passages where we don’t want to be bounced out of our beds.
Bonus: Tiller steering! Although Crealock designed the 37 to be a tiller-steered boat, few of them were produced per the original spec. Most people want wheel steering, which is great too. But we love the more direct feel of the helm on the tiller that lets the boat can talk to you pretty clearly, and we especially love there’s no complex system of quadrant and cables to break at the wrong time. It’s also pretty sweet to anchor and just fold the entire steering system out of the way. When Colin and I started looking at boat classifieds, we had many discussions about what it would take to convert from wheel steering to tiller, but let it go as too expensive an upgrade (downgrade?). When we saw photos of Pristine for the first time, she wasn’t just a gorgeously maintained PSC 37, but we turned to each other and whispered simultaneously: “Tiller-steered! Can you believe it?” I’m still pinching myself.
LOA: 36’ 11"
LWL: 27’ 9"
Beam: 10’ 10"
Draft: 5’ 6"
Headroom: 6’ 4"
Mast clearance: 47’ 6"
Displacement: 16,000 pounds
Ballast: 6,200 pounds
AVS: 140 degrees
Engine: 44 HP Yanmar
Water: 95 gallons (45 gal forward tank + 40 gal aft tank)
Fuel: 70 gallons (40 gal main tank + 30 gal factory-installed aux tank)