This design was a classic even before I arrived at C&N in 1984, and it has both a full keel and a yawl rig. It has considerably less volume than the Passport 40, but I like the narrower hull form because it might well offer a more comfortable ride. And it’s one of many fabulous designs from Philip Rhodes.
Most of these boats are 40-odd years old now, and unless you find one that’s already been upgraded (as a couple have), it might be in line for some heavy restoration. Still, Cheoy Lee did a decent job of building boats back then, and if the interior is not too far gone, this might be a boat on which you could simply refit the hull, rig, and rudder and hope for the rest.
I’m not much for frills, and if the boat sails well and provides me with a comfortable sea berth, a desk for chart work, and a place to cobble together a meal, I’ll be content. I’m not speaking for my wife here; however, this is, so far, my dream list. Still, the boat I first took her cruising on had no indoor plumbing, and she coped admirably (she says she felt liberated). The Reliant provides all the basics in a very handsome package and has carried many cruisers many, many miles.
I like the port and starboard quarter berths, and I think the in-line galley probably works just fine. I see this boat as well suited to the more ascetic cruiser—don’t overload it, keep the systems simple, and let it sail the way it was designed to.
You could probably find as much volume on a 37-footer, but the proportions of the Reliant are so easy on the eye. There’s something to be said for having the prettiest boat in the harbor.
Rhodes Reliant/Offshore 40**
Price range: $31,000 to $274,500 (The latter is a total rebuild and should be turnkey.)
More info: http://astro.temple.edu/~bstavis/reliant.htm