Thoughts on the C&C 33 mark ii

Thinking of purchasing a C&C 33 Mark ii?

As I spend more time  with Windstar I realize, as i did with our "starter boat" decades ago, that any production boat, however well-built and finished, is really just a baseline.   If you are so inclined, the  patient thought, labour, and money invested to adapt that boat to your intended use, is one of the intellectually satisfying (and challenging) aspects of boat ownership and sailing.

At my very busy stage in life I fit sailing into the "spaces between" many other commitments.   I am however fortunate enough that I have the resources and capability, if not always the time, to develop Windstar into what I hope is a well-executed version of a C&C 33-2 for my current use;  single or short handed day sailing with periodic short cruises.   I have tried to do this without compromising the boat for other uses by future owners, while enhancing her utility and performance as a lightweight racer-cruiser.

A few thoughts based on my experience:

  • C&C generally built durable boats that perform well, and have stood up well over time.  Several years into ownership I don't regret the choice at all, though I find the cabin furniture to be small for my 6' frame, and in that respect would have better enjoyed a larger boat.  That said, a larger boat would certainly have been more challenging to sail solo, and this respect would have required very careful and informed consideration.    
  • Overall, Windstar is quite fast and sails very well in light airs.  I am regularly very impressed by her performance, and this speaks to her design priorities and pedigree.   There are compromises in comfort, and also convenience for single handed operation, some of which cannot be reasonably overcome.  For how I mostly use the boat this is a good tradeoff, and I sail her solo with some confidence.
  • With her tall masthead rig, and well designed running rigging, she sails to windward remarkably when correctly trimmed. 
  • Her traveller, mainsheet and main halyard arrangement allows for tweaking the tall main from the cockpit.   (Reefing requires a jaunt to the mast to hook the tack ring.)
  • She does not heave to easily vs others in my experience. 
  • She does not track as well as others on the wind with the helm lashed.
  • in heavier air can overwhelm the wheelpilot off the wind.   (this may be the wheelpilot, or the skipper.)
  • She is agile and responsive.
  • Her cockpit is not terribly comfortable for lounging but is ideal for higher performance sailing with at least two crew. 
  • Fortunately she can be singlehanded more easily than some due to the location of the large self-tailing sheet winches (within reach of the helm) though tweaking the traveller requires leaving the helm.
  • I understand why most singlehanders of smaller yachts prefer a tiller to Windstar's largish wheel, which is an obstruction at times.
  • more compact individuals (5' to 5'4") cannot see over the cabin top when seated at the helm, and cannot see through the dodger frame when standing at the helm.  Worth checking this when looking at any boat.
  • Her draft is deep at 6'3",  not a major issue where I sail, but I would of course be happier with the same sailing performance and shoal draft.   :-)
If you are contemplating purchase of  a sister-ship or cousin, there are three significant problem areas specific to this model range to be aware of.  Click on each for details.


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