The Cavalier 39 Sailboat

The Cavalier 39 is a classic monohull sailboat that was designed by Bob Salthouse and built by Cavalier Yachts in Australia between 1973 and 1979. It is a masthead sloop with a fin keel and a skeg rudder, and it has a spacious and comfortable interior that can accommodate up to six people.

A Cavalier 39 sailboat at anchor'Kiwa', a Cavalier 39 sailboat at anchor

Published Specification for the Cavalier 39

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP

Length Overall: 39'0" (11.9m)

Waterline Length: 29'6" (9.0m)

Beam: 11'4" (3.5m)

Draft: 6'0" (1.8m)

Rig Type: Masthead Sloop

Displacement: 18,700lb (8,482kg)

Designer: Bob Salthouse

Builder: Cavalier Yachts

Year First Built: 1973


The Cavalier 39: A Few FAQs...

What are the published design ratios for the Cavalier 39 and, based on those ratios, how is the boat likely to perform under sail?

The published design ratios for the Cavalier 39 are as follows :

  • Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 18.5
  • Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 40.1%
  • Displacement/Length Ratio: 325
  • Comfort Ratio: 35.2
  • Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

Based on these ratios, the Cavalier 39 is likely to perform well under sail in the following ways:

  • It will have a good sailing speed and responsiveness in moderate to strong winds, as indicated by the Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 18.5, which is above the average of 16 for cruising boats.
  • It will be stable and stiff, resisting heeling and capsizing, as indicated by the Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 40.1%, which is above the average of 35% for cruising boats, and the Capsize Screening Formula of 1.7, which is below the threshold of 2.0 for safe offshore passage.
  • It will be comfortable and seaworthy, with a smooth and predictable motion in waves, as indicated by the Displacement/Length Ratio of 325, which is in the range of heavy displacement cruising boats, and the Comfort Ratio of 35.2, which is above the average of 30 for cruising boats.

The Cavalier 39 is a well-designed boat for bluewater cruising, with a good balance of performance, stability, and comfort. However, it may not be very agile or fast in light winds or coastal sailing, as it is a heavy boat with a relatively low sail area.

Is the Cavalier 39 still in production and, if not, when did production end and how many of these sailboats were built?

The Cavalier 39 is no longer in production. Production ended in 1979, after 35 units were built.

What, if any, alternative versions of the Cavalier 39 were built and what are the differences between them?

There were a number of versions and details vary. Some of the variations include different deck layouts, cabin arrangements, engine types, mast heights, and rig configurations. Some examples are the Cavalier 39 Pilot House, which has a raised saloon with windows; the Cavalier 39 Centre Cockpit, which has an aft cabin with a separate entrance; the Cavalier 39 Ketch, which has a second mast aft of the cockpit; and the Cavalier 39 Cutter, which has a staysail between the mast and the forestay.

How many people can sleep on board a Cavalier 39?

The standard layout of the Cavalier 39 has six berths: a V-berth in the forward cabin, two settee berths in the main saloon, and a double berth in the aft cabin. Some versions may have more or less berths depending on the cabin configuration.

How did the sailing press review the Cavalier 39?

The sailing press generally gave positive reviews to the Cavalier 39.

For example, Sail Magazine described it as "a well-built boat with excellent sailing qualities" in its review in 1976.

Cruising World Magazine praised its "solid construction, good performance, and comfortable accommodations" in its review in 1980.

Sailing World Magazine called it "a fast and seaworthy cruiser" in its review in 1981.

What is the history of the builders of the Cavalier 39 and is the company still in business?

The builders of the Cavalier 39 were Cavalier Yachts, a company founded by John Salthouse in Auckland, New Zealand in 1964. The company started by building wooden boats, but soon switched to fibreglass production. The company expanded to Australia in 1970, where it built most of its models, including the Cavalier 39. The company ceased operations in 1984 due to financial difficulties. However, some of its former employees continued to build boats under different names, such as Export Yachts, Compass Yachts or Southern Ocean Yachts.

What sailplan and rig options, if any, are available for the Cavalier 39?

The standard sailplan and rig for the Cavalier 39 is a masthead sloop, which has a single mast with a single headsail and a mainsail. However, some versions of the Cavalier 39 have different sailplan and rig options, such as a ketch, which has a second mast aft of the cockpit with a smaller mainsail and a mizzen sail; or a cutter, which has a staysail between the mast and the forestay.

What keel options, if any, are available for the Cavalier 39?

The standard keel option for the Cavalier 39 is a fin keel, which is a narrow and deep keel that provides good stability and performance. However, some versions of the Cavalier 39 have different keel options, such as a shoal draft keel, which is a shorter and longer keel that reduces the draft and allows access to shallow waters.

What is the average cost of a secondhand Cavalier 39?

The average cost of a secondhand Cavalier 39 varies depending on the condition, age, location, and equipment of the boat. According to YachtWorld, the current (August 2023) listings for Cavalier 39 sailboats range from $29,900 to $69,000 USD. The median price is $49,450 USD.

The above answers were drafted by sailboat-cruising.com using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.


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