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CC35250BBy Paul Howard

It was a blustery October afternoon when I went for a sail with Peter and Caroline Ross and their daughter Tracy, from the Oakville Yacht Squadron. We were sailing on Fritha, hull no. 245, built in 1974. I took over the helm as we motored out of the channel, while Peter and Tracy hoisted the full mainsail. Ross explained how it had been shortened by 10 inches so the boom could be raised to accommodate their large dodger. They rolled out the genoa, telling me how it was cut higher than the usual #2 to allow for better visibility.

The first C&C 35 was launched in 1969 and the model remained in production through 1975. Originally designed as the Cuthbertson and Cassian Redwing 35 for Hinterhoeller Limited, it was renamed the C&C 35 when Hinterhoeller was merged with the C&C Yachts group. Boats built from 1969 to 1973 became known as the Mark I, with the Mark II from 1973 until 1975. Hulls were numbered sequentially with a total of 351 built. The same model was also in production in Poole, England at Anesty Yachts with 15 boats built.

As the first gust hit Fritha, the rail went under. Ross and his daughter first double-reefed the mainsail, then rolled up half of the genoa. The wind speed indicator was registering a solid 25- to 40-knots, with gusts ranging to more than 40. I spun the wheel to steer away from a band of turbulence. I immediately liked the way the boat moved through the water. It neither dove into the waves, nor leapt over the top of each wave in a jerky manner. Instead, the 35 slid through the chop with a gliding motion, maintaining her speed and directional stability. We were reaching speeds of seven to eight knots, with the boat nicely balanced, and with the helm light and responsive.

"Most owners have installed a large diameter wheel to make steering easier in heavy conditions," said Ross. "We have a 48 inch diameter wheel ñ much larger than the standard 30 inch wheel. It is awkward getting around behind the wheel in the t-shaped cockpit, but the ease of steering is worth the inconvenience."

We sailed out into open Lake Ontario for a couple of hours, chatting about the boat and enjoying our brisk sail. Fritha tacked smartly in the steep chop, and we sailed back to the harbour mouth, rolled up the genoa as we neared shore, and made a couple of short tacks under main along.

The boat was outfitted with good-sized hardware and the Ross' have not really changed much of this original equipment. A typical interior layout of the 1970s lies below decks: quarter berth that you sit at while working at the desk of a cramped chart table, a U-shaped galley, and a dinette that converts into a double berth with a settee/berth opposite. Moving forward, we find the hanging locker opposite the head, dividing the main salon from the vee-berths. Caroline showed me how they dressed up the interior with new cushions and covers, a varnished wood cabin-sole, some wood cabinet facings, a kerosene heater, and the like.

"For cruising thereís nothing more comfortable than the Mark II," Caroline adds. Fritha has been a part of the Ross family for eight years. They also repainted the topsides and retrofitted a stainless steel bow anchor roller. The engine is also new. "Fritha was one of the few 35s with a diesel engine installed, as most had the gas-fired Atomic Four as auxiliary power," said Ross. We kept the boat in Georgian Bay for a few years, and I found that the 15 hp Westerbeke was inadequate. So, we installed a Yanmar 3GM 30-hp unit with a three-blade prop and we now have plenty of power."

There are several 35s based in Oakville harbour, so I went aboard Blue Tango, hull number 77 from 1971, owned by John Bell, who is a keen racer. He keeps Blue Tango, which retains the Atomic Four, in a Spartan state, with hardware that is oriented towards racing.

The cockpit layout is very different on the Mark I, with the same low coamings, but there is a deck with the mainsail traveller on it separating the helm from the crew cockpit. A spray coaming is molded into the coachroof just forward of the companionway slide that lines pass through as they are lead back to the cockpit. There is no bridge deck to step over when entering the cabin, as the companionway extends almost to the cabin sole. The engine box is lower, and the galley is pushed into the corner of the cabin. The topsides are lower and the interior is a little more cramped on the Mark I, though she has the same elements as the Mark II.

Other differences include the Mark I's swept rudder on an angled post. When I asked George Cuthbertson why he chose this shape, the designer replied that tank tests demonstrated that the swept-back style, cut away from the hull, was a faster shape. The Mark II has a near-vertical rudder post further aft from the keel than the angled post on the Mark I, with a bustle closing the gap between rudder and hull, giving the Mark II a waterline length 2 ft. 9 in. longer than that of the Mark I.

Of the people I spoke with, racing sailors seem to prefer the Mark I to the II. Though the mast is a bit over two feet shorter, with 54 sq. ft. less sail area, it displaces 3,300 lbs. less. Racing sailors also claim the swept rudder on the Mark I is more efficient, and that this version can be pressed harder on spinnaker reaches before broaching than the Mark II.

Many C&C 35s continue to be raced seriously and they have placed well under several measurement rules. The 35 was first built under the CCA rule, the rated under IOR. Today, all boats race in PHRF. The MK I rates 130, and the MK II rates 125. Practical Sailor wrote in January 1985 that, "A scan of... the PHRF base ratings does not reveal any other production boat of the same era, size and type, with a lower number."

I spoke to Richard Grow, of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, about their strong class association, and the hotly-contested racing series that continues in the Detroit area. "We have 16 to 20 boats for our 13 race series on Lake St. Clair," said Grow, "and about half of them sail in the Mackinac race. After that, they participate in the North Channel cruise rally." "My father bought Waloon (a MK I) in 1970, and we raced her until 1991. She won the Mac Race six times ñ once under the CCA rule, once under IOR, and four times in her class -- and no other boat has matched her record. "In light airs and reaching, the C&C 35 will exceed her rated speed. And we could surf Walloon at 11- to 12-knots under spinnaker. In one Mac Race we beat two C&C 61s, boat-for-boat!" Grow boasted.

The 35s have remained relatively problem free over the years. The main bulkhead has separated from the hull on some early MK I models, caused by pounding to windward in heavy seas, but this is easy to mend.

The boats have also been extensively cruised, some with new keels that will permit the boat to sit flat on her keel base. The aft helm position is perhaps a bit exposed for extensive ocean sailing, but with proper self-steering gear, the 35 would make a fine blue-water cruiser.

Comfortable, seaworthy, durable, and with excellent performance, the C&C 35 will remain in demand for many years to come.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting's June 1992 issue.

Specfications

LOA 34 ft. 7 in.

LWL 27 ft. 6in.

Beam 10 ft. 7 in.

Displacement 10,500 lbs.

Sail Area 575.5 sq. ft.