Dec 20, 2018

Cabot 36It was the early 1970s and the Cape Breton Development Corporation (DEVCO) was charged with finding new trades for miners who had been made redundant by mine closures. Presented with a proposal from two Toronto businessmen Devco backed the creation of Cabotcraft Industries with the goal of tapping into a growing market for cruising sailboats and making ex-miners into boatbuilders.

Cabot 36 2The company started out on the right foot by selecting a design by the well-known yacht designer Ted Brewer. Brewer drew a conservative, but very capable, ocean cruiser. The Cabot 36 was always meant as an offshore cruiser not a cruiser/racer. At that time the Westsail 32 was selling like hotcakes and popularizing the idea of long-distance cruising. While the Westsail was a capable boat, it was based on a William Atkins design from the 1920s. Several young yacht designers of the day, such a Bob Perry on the west coast and Chuck Paine on the east, began to draw boats which, while traditional in appearance, incorporated advances in hull and keel design. Brewer’s design for the Cabot is very classic in outward appearance but has the “Brewer Bight” at the aft end of the keel allowing the rudder to be mounted further aft for better control, while keeping the propeller and rudder fully protected. Something anyone who has sailed the ridiculously lobster trap infested waters of Maine will appreciate.

Cabot 36 AdvertisementThe first boats were launched in 1974 and eventually some 49 were produced. The boats were tooled with a complete interior mold. The glass interior was well disguised by wood trim but might present some issues for access. The hull was Airex cored, which was a relatively new product at the time and produced a strong, well insulated hull. If done correctly cored hulls are excellent and Airex, which will not absorb water, has advantages over balsa as a core material.

Cabot 36 DrawingA downturn in the market along with the higher costs associated with building a heavy boat for a niche market brought production to an end. Some boat hulls were sold for home completion and at least one of these had an enclosed wheelhouse. Somehow the molds survived and in 2008 Yachtsmiths, a Dartmouth based company built a new Cabot 36. The company is no longer in business. A quick search of Yachtworld shows Cabots for sale in far flung locations such as Hawaii, Malaysia and west coast, testament to the boat’s offshore pedigree.

Cabot 36 3The Cabot 36 is an excellent choice for offshore cruising providing a good survey is conducted before purchase. These are 40-year-old boats now. Their size is in the goldilocks zone for a couple, not too big not to small. The moderate cutter rig is all inboard and easy to handle. Compared with more modern designs she is not fast, but boats of this type can make good offshore passages and will not exhaust the crew. The relatively heavy displacement makes for plenty of carrying capacity and the moderate draft will be appreciated by anyone heading down the Intra-Coastal Waterway and on to the Bahamas.




Cabot 36 4Dimensions: 35.6’ x 29.7’ x 11.7’ Draft 4.8’
Design displacement is 17,800 lb. with 5,500 lb. of lead ballast


Glen Cairns

Cabot 36 5

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