When my husband, Jan, and I decided to move up from our 30-foot Hunter, we had ocean passages in mind, so we were looking for a bluewater sailboat. A keel-stepped mast and a cutter rig were high priorities, and shoal draft was important for our thin home waters in North Carolina. We settled on the CSY 37 because it had the largest number of items on our wish list.
Peter A. Schmitt designed this seaworthy sailboat, and CSY built nearly 90 of them from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, primarily for the charter market. Its distinctive design, shaped a bit like a scimitar, prompted the name given to our boat by its original owner, who had it custom outfitted for personal use. CSY offered a couple of layouts for the 37; Scimitar has two staterooms and two heads. The other arrangement has just one large stateroom, with an en-suite head forward of the mast.
The raised, flush deck makes the CSY 37 seem larger than some longer boats of more conventional design. Another attractive feature is the solid-fiberglass deck, which will never suffer from water getting into the core. Nor has blistering been a problem on CSY hulls.
Although the cockpit is large, it has adequate bracing positions for when the boat is heeled. Adding to the feeling of security is the high coaming, which keeps some of the spray out. The raised, U-shaped helmsman’s seat feels very safe and provides a good view all around.
The three-step companionway is a big surprise; such an easy entry to a sailboat cabin is rare. On our boat, the galley is immediately to starboard, and the aft cabin is to port, with its head forward of it. Both the galley and the cabin are just steps away from the companionway and great places to be when under way and when the boat’s heeled. Going forward, to starboard, is a 21-cubic-foot engine-driven refrigerator that holds a tremendous amount.
In the saloon, a settee that converts to upper and lower bunks lies to starboard, opposite an L-shaped settee with a drop-down, bulkhead-mounted table to port. This table is a bit small for the six people that the boat can sleep, and it’s too far from the starboard settee. Aboard Scimitar, we get around the problem by adding two folding teak tables that we store, held by bungee cords, behind the door to the aft cabin. The V-berth is quite roomy, and the forward head has a shower and a sink and also an electric toilet that we added.
The aft-cabin bunk folds out to make a double, but that restricts access to the electrical panel located at its foot. The original layout had a chart table adjacent to the electrical panel, but Scimitar’s previous owner removed it and installed it in the companionway, where it blocked the passage. We took it out altogether, and the dining table now doubles as a chart table, with charts stored under bunk mattresses.
With two hanging lockers, plenty of drawers, shelves, and cupboards, plus two large cockpit lockers, the CSY 37 offers a lot of storage for a boat of its size. Six opening hatches and nine ports provide exceptional ventilation. A charcoal heater is a plus for cold-weather sailing.
Sailing Scimitar is a pleasure, especially rigged with a roller-furling jib, a self-tending staysail, a self-steering system, an autopilot, and a power windlass.
We’ve enjoyed two cruises from North Carolina to New England, via Chesapeake Bay, and a passage to Bermuda.
Listings for CSY 37s show a range of prices from about $40,000 to $80,000.
CSY 37 Specs:
LOA: 37′ 3″ (11.35 m.)
LWL: 29′ 2″ (8.89 m.)
Beam: 12′ 0″ (3.66 m.)
Draft (shoal/deep): 4′ 8″/6′ 0″ (1.42/1.83 m.)
Sail Area: 610 sq. ft. (56.7 sq. m.)
Ballast: 8,000 lb. (3,629 kg.)
Displacement: 19,960 lb. (9,054 kg.)
Water: 50 gal. (189 l.)
Fuel: 120 gal. (455 l.)
Engine: Westerbeke 37-hp. diesel
Designer: Peter A. Schmitt
Cynthia Hermans and her husband, Jan, recently gave Scimitar a brand-new engine and look forward to cruising her for years to come. This “Classic Plastic” article first appeared in the December 2006 issue of Cruising World.