The Bristol 29.9 Sailboat

The Bristol 29.9, designed by Halsey Herreshoff and built in the USA by Bristol Yachts, was first built in 1977.

A Bristol 29.9 sailboatMany thanks to Stephen Fasciana for submitting this pic of 'Sea Fever', a Bristol 29.9

Published Specification for the Bristol 29.9

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with transom-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (fibreglass)

Length Overall: 29' 11" / 9.1m

Waterline Length: 24' 0" / 7.3m

Beam: 10' 2" / 3.1m

Draft: 4' 4" / 1.3m

Rig Type: Masthead Sloop

Displacement: 8,650lb / 3,924kg

Designer: Halsey Herreshoff

Builder: Bristol Yachts Inc (USA)

Year First Built: 1977

Year Last Built: 1986

Number Built: 216

Owners Association: Bristol Sailboats

Published Design Ratios for the Bristol 29.9

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 14.9

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 41.6

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

Displacement/Length Ratio: 279

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

Comfort Ratio: 23.6

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

Capsize Screening Formula: 2.0

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these all-revealing numbers...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Bristol 29.9

A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 14.9 suggests that she'll need a stiff breeze to get her going. In any other conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing will be the way to go.

A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 41.6 means that she'll stand up well to her canvas in a blow, enabling her to power through the waves.

A Displacement/Length Ratio of 279, tells us she's clearly a heavy displacement cruising boat. You can load her down with all your cruising gear and equipment and it will hardly affect her waterline. Not an ideal choice for coastal sailing, but will come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 23.6 suggests that crew comfort in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate offshore cruising boat - most seasoned sailors can handle that.

Her Capsize Screening Formula (CSR) of 2.0 tells us that she would be a better choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSR rating of more than 2.0 - but with the CSR being right on the cusp, it's marginal. 


Sailboats in the Bristol range include the:

  • Bristol 19 
  • Bristol 22
  • Bristol 24
  • Bristol 26
  • Bristol 27
  • Bristol 28
  • Bristol 29
  • Bristol 29.9
  • Bristol 30
  • Bristol 31
  • Bristol 31.1
  • Bristol 32
  • Bristol 33
  • Bristol 33.3
  • Bristol 34
  • Bristol 35
  • Bristol 35.5
  • Bristol 38.8
  • Bristol 3800
  • Bristol 39
  • Bristol 40
  • Bristol 41.1
  • Bristol 43.3
  • Bristol 43/44
  • Bristol 45.5
  • Bristol 47.7
  • Bristol 48.8
  • Bristol 51
  • Bristol 51.1
  • Bristol 54.4
  • Bristol 56.6

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