The Ultimate Spirit-of-Tradition Day Racer: Summer 2019 Edition.

The Signature 38 may have been drawn a decade ago, but it’s modern take on classic vessels endures.

Ah, fall. Cold breezes, falling leaves and the prospect of Halloween ghosts and goblins. What better time to look ahead to the Summer of 2019. And our latest thinking for an enthusiastic client, on the perfect mid-sized, Spirit-of-Tradition sailing sloop.

That is, a doodle we began years ago branded as the Signature 38.

It’s been about a decade since we sketched up this classy speedster. But we found, after dusting off the drawings this past month, that there’s something about this sleek, swift alternative to mid-thirty-foot dayboats that endures.

Probably that’s because when we sat down to draw her, it was not from references culled from aging boat plans, or specific innovations in a new material or tool we wanted to explore. But rather, this boat emerged through the gentle osmosis of personal childhood memories of designs from the turn of the 20th century, that we studied as kids.

Old boats were our lives, even back then. Seriously.

What our child’s mind recalled were the outrageously thin, boats with crazy-long overhangs. These cranky vessels were inspired by the then-popular Universal and International Rules from the 1890s and 19-teens. But that hazy childhood vision was sculpted by a mature sense of what a boat should be. So we wanted our Signature 38 to reach past those early memories, back to more wholesome boats that were popular a generation earlier. Those boats held shorter overhangs and wider beams. They had more stiffness and performance.

Maybe something closer to the popular Stuart Knockabout that are still raced to this day in the Northeast. Then again, maybe not.

Expanding On the Spirit of Tradition Narrative.

Wholesome overhangs hark back to designs from the late 19th century. Balance of a long waterline and modern construction give the Sig 38 all-modern performance.

Regardless, what we sought was to expand the Spirit-of-Tradition vernacular of long-ended, skinny boats that go well enough to weather in smooth water, but turn miserable in most other conditions. The Sig 38 was not going to be a Herreshoff R-Boat.

That is not to say the Sig 38 would be slow. Far from it. Her 30-foot water line, powerful sail plan and deep foils give her a step or two over any of these skinny race boats from that era. There is real efficiency and stiffness here, a big-boat power and feel.

And the modern-classic touches you see to the right, merely enhance that wholesome performance narrative: The sweeping sheer and distinctive tumblehome that open up to the elliptical transom and taffrail; the carbon mast and boom, the lines that run under-deck and the easy-to-deal-with hardware and winches, all work with a sloop rig that features a self-tacking jib and powerful asymmetrical spinnaker.

Now that we are looking at it, letting ten years go by is nothing in a boat like this. In fact, we could have drawn her a hundred years ago and still have been relevant.

The centuries seem to be what matter with the Signature 38.

  • LOA: 37ft 11in (11.58m)
  • LWL: 30ft 0in (9.14m)
  • BEAM: 10ft 0in (3.05m)
  • DRAFT: 6ft 6in (1.98m)
  • DISPLACEMENT: 9,600lb (4,354kg)
  • SAIL AREA: 743 sq ft (69.03sq m)
  • SA/D RATIO: 26.3
  • D/LWL RATIO: 159