Several weeks ago I received a rather stern e-mail from a reader admonishing me for being less than enthusiastic about the performance of his vessel in a review I had written. He went on for several pages extolling his vessel’s virtues and detailing his numerous victories in sailing races in the Bahamas. I had neglected, in my review, to make it clear that performance of a cruising sailboat is a very subjective thing, and when designers of cruising boats are faced with choices between style, accommodations or micro-improvements in performance, style and accommodations will win out every time. So, I hope I don’t offend any owners, but it’s fair to say that if performance is your primary criteria in a sailboat, you should not be looking at a boat like the Gozzard 36. However, if style, accommodations and quality construction rank high on your priority list, and you’re prepared to pay for them, this could be the boat for you.
The Gozzard 36, designed by H. Ted Gozzard, was built by the Gozzard family boatbuilding company, North Castle Marine Limited of Ontario, Canada from 1984 through 1998. This is a very traditionally styled cutter with a clipper bow. The length on deck is 36’ 9" ; however, the additional bowsprit extends the overall length to 42’ . Beam is 12’ , draft is specified at 4’ 9", and displacement is approximately 18,000 pounds.
Canadian boatbuilders such as Hinterhoeller, C & C, and Reliance Sailing pioneered composite hull construction utilizing balsa wood core between fiberglass laminates, and Gozzard has followed in this tradition with cored construction of hulls and decks. Construction throughout reflects first rate craftsmanship and excellent attention to detail. The core material is eliminated in the hull wherever there is a through hull fitting in order to prevent any possibility of water penetrating the core at fittings.
The arrangement of the deck is well planned and has no obstructions on which to stub your toes. There are substantial bulwarks around the side and forward decks for secure footing. There is a large foredeck locker, and, with the anchors stowed on the bowsprit, there is plenty of room for storage of fenders and dock lines along side the sealed propane locker.
The cockpit of the Gozzard 36 is one of the largest you will find on any boat this size. There is a large center steering console, and newer models feature a fold down table that comfortably seats four for dining al fresco. Models built after 1993 feature a fixed dodger/windshield forward of the companionway. The transom has a fold-down stern gate that doubles as a swim platform/swim ladder.
Gozzard’s advertising slogan is "yachts for two--to go anywhere," and the interior arrangement seems clearly laid out for a cruising couple with an occasional guest. And, although this is a very traditional boat in outward appearance, the interior looks nothing like your father’s cruiser. In their sales literature, Gozzard points to their philosophy of "two-for-one function," and it is evident throughout the interior.
Rather than a traditional V-berth forward, there is an athwartship hanging locker followed by opposing settees angled slightly inboard toward the bow. The settees can be swung together on centerline to become a double berth. The bulkhead aft of the starboard settee is hinged so that it opens allowing full view of the forward cabin or closes to form a large forward stateroom. A port side locker door is also double hinged so that it conceals a storage locker or becomes an entrance to the forward stateroom.
Further aft is a galley with stove, ice box and deep sink to port and a dual function dinette/navigation station to starboard. To the starboard side of the companionway, there is a large 80" X 80" quarter berth with a head and shower to port. The quarter berth also utilizes a folding bulkhead and double hinged door so that it can be closed off to become a quarter cabin. This is a unique, well thought out and very livable interior arrangement.
Auxiliary power is provided by a 63hp Westerbeke diesel engine. This is nearly twice the power usually found on boats this size and provides lots of power for punching through chop and motoring against foul winds and currents. The engine is low in the bilge, yet there is excellent access for routine maintenance.
Under sail there are few surprises with the Gozzard 36. She is cutter rigged with a large foretriangle to allow plenty of room for both headsails. The sail area/displacement ratio calculated with 100% of the foretriangle area, is 15.6. This suggests she’ll be a bit sluggish in light wind. The shroud base is very wide, restricts sheeting angles and will contribute to reduced performance to windward. The bilges are firm, and ballast is low, which makes for a stiff boat that stands up well to a blow.
It’s not possible, at any price, to build the perfect boat, and the Gozzard 36 is not perfect. For example, this is a boat marketed for liveaboard, bluewater cruising, yet, quite frankly, there isn’t a decent sea berth onboard, and storage is somewhat limited for living aboard. But, this is nitpicking. The Gozzard 36 is a stylish, solidly constructed boat that is very well suited for a cruising couple.
Reviewed in the December 2000 issue of SpinSheet by Jack Hornor