A friend of mine, another yacht designer, said recently he didn't think "anybody reads the reviews anymore." "Well," he conceded, "Maybe a few would-be yacht designers." He then announced, "People who read your reviews don't buy boats." I read my reviews and I just bought a boat. Makes me wonder about my friend's definition of boat.

The Gozzard 36 E-Type.

The Gozzard 36 E-Type.

Take this Gozzard 36 for instance. No, it's not a $2 million custom yacht. But it is a boat and people will buy it, and while it may not be my idea of the epitome of yacht-design perfection, there are elements of this Gozzard that will be attractive to a certain group of cruising sailors.

I try to pick good examples of boats that are representative of a wide variety of market niches. I also made a very studied decision several years ago that I would not review "bad designs." However, while I will almost always let you know my aesthetic judgment of a design, I will not omit any design just because it doesn't fit my own standard for beauty.

This Gozzard shows a graceful sheerline and an attractive clipper-bow profile. The stern is a little on the chunky side, but it goes fairly well with the overall proportions of this character yacht. The D/L of 342 indicates a heavy boat with lots of interior volume. Of course the low-aspect-ratio fin keel and unbalanced barn door-styled rudder don't hint at much performance, but sailing fast is not what this design is about.

Gozzard has built its business with in-house designs by Ted Gozzard aimed at discerning cruisers looking for something different than the typical production yacht. The key to understanding the Gozzard approach is the appreciation of the little touches that go into each boat, ensuring cruising comfort and convenience. I can't do these details justice in a review. Try to visit a Gozzard at your next boat show.

The interior of this Gozzard 36 shows some very independent thinking. This layout starts off by pushing the saloon as far forward as possible. The V-shaped main settees actually rotate into centerline to form a comfortable forward double berth. Disappearing panels allow a bulkhead to be constructed for additional privacy. When these panels are recessed, the interior does appear to be bulkheadless.

The owner's stateroom is aft of the galley. The galley is unusual in that it includes a small dinette for two. The icebox is located on the port side and is very generous in size. I've been aboard these boats. They are definitely unusual, but they do offer features that you can't find on other production cruising boats. They also feature beautiful joinerwork and attention to detailing.

The rig on the Gozzard 36 is a true cutter rig with the mast stepped well aft in the boat. With the mast this far aft, there is plenty of foretriangle to carry two headsails. This won't win you any races, but it is photogenic and can be fast on a reach. The mainsheet is sensibly located aft on the boom and is attached to a barney post-steering pedestal arrangement.

This would make a great small live-aboard boat for a couple and is a great summertime harbor hopper.

I truly hope that "would-be yacht designers" do read the reviews. I would also like to think that owners of boats of any size also read the reviews, and that from time to time, the reviews may play a small part in moving you to explore the possibilities of a new boat.

Unusual design with attention to detail and cruising convenience.

Boat Specifications
Displacement20,000 lbs.;
Ballast6,800 lbs.;
Sail Area891 sq. ft.;
Auxiliary63-horsepower diesel;
Fuel55 gals.;
Water121 gals. (saltwater cruising), 101 gals. (freshwater cruising).


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.