The Cavalier 39 Sailboat

The Cavalier 39, a masthead sloop, was designed by Bob Salthouse and built in New Zealand by Export Yachts.

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: Export Yachts (New Zealand)

Year First Built: 1973

Year Last Built: 1979

Number Built: 35


Published Design Ratios for the Cavalier 39

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 18.5

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

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 40.1

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

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 325

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

4. Comfort Ratio: 35.2

  • 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

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

  • 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 Cavalier 39

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 18.5 suggests that the Cavalier 39 will, in the right conditions, approach her maximum hull speed readily and satisfy the sailing performance expectations of most cruising sailors. 

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 40.1 means that the Cavalier 39 will initially stand up reasonably well to her canvas in a moderate breeze, but she'll need a reef in the main to avoid heeling excessively in a gust.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 325, tells us the Cavalier 39 is 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 she'll come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 35.2 suggests that crew comfort of a xxxx in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.7 tells us that a Cavalier 39 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 


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