Dickerson 37 sailing performance

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    Hi. I just joined your group, so forgive me if I'm not doing this correctly. I currently own a Pearson 35 that I have singlehanded for the past 12 years. I'm looking to upgrade to a boat that can take me to the South Pacific. I'm looking for a study boat that's easy to singlehand and that is a joy to sail and performs well. I use my engine as little as possible, sailing in and out of anchorages, and I want a boat that would love to do this with me. The Dickerson 37 cutter is very attractive to me, but I know little about her and was hoping you good people could help me out. Here are some questions to get us started. Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

    1.  How does she go upwind? How close does she point?
    2. How well does she track downwind?
    3. How easy is she to singlehand? I love that the jib winches are easily reached from the wheel.
    4. How about weather helm?
    5. Do you know the phrf for the cutter? I saw that the ketch is 177.
    6. What else can you tell me about her?



    Al Sampson

    I own one of the few aft cockpit, cutter rigged D37's built by Dickerson.
    With two head sails it sails great to winward.
    Not as good down wind. Say sail gets blocked by the main. Fairly long keel helps to keep her tracking quite well.
    While we reside in RI I have single handed it in Chesapeake Bay for extended periods twice.
    Weather helm is very easy to control. It's all a matter of sail adjustment.
    phrf? Not a heavy slow boat.
    The dedacated aft nav station is ideal for sinle handing. There were three cabin layouts offered. Everyone loves sailing her!


    Thanks, Al! Would you consider her bluewater-capable? There's so little online. Also, do you know how many non-tri- cabins they made? That head in the middle on the boat isn't my favorite arrangement. And how many aft cabin cutters are there? Sounds like I'd have to get very lucky to find one for sale. Thanks!

    Al Sampson

    Yes, the Dickersons are blue water capable. A few have done circumnavigations!
    Don't know how many like mine were made. The katch was the most popular boat made. There are members who know numbers. There are also members who can assist you in locating what you are looking for. I don't think there were any aft cabin boats built cutter.

    Perhaps others reading this can shed light on numbers.

    Fleet Captain

    Hello Patti and “Welcome”,

    Cap'n Al has given you some good data.  Allow me to expand–Dickerson built 38 cruising Dickerson 37s.  They also built several Farr designed 37s (IORC racers) outside this discussion.  Of those 38 cruising boats, “about” 20 of them were aft cockpit sloops/cutters, and 18 were center cockpit ketches (Dickerson's preferred design).  These numbers are approximate, because Dickerson built the boats to customer requirements.  In that 38 number, there is one aft-cockpit yawl, but no center cockpit sloop/cutters.

    The center cockpit ketches are pretty much alike, however, the aft-cockpit models are virtually all unique.  There are three basic versions–the tri-cabin arrangement (head amidships), traditional arrangement (head forward) and short-handend arrangement (extra stowage in lieu of quarter berth).  The mast placement on all aft cockpit models make them sloop or cutter configurable.

    The owners of these boats are cruisers not racers (although many of us have a trophy or two).  We have a 2002 PHRF of an aft cockpit sloop (with a 140% genoa) at 198.  A sloop/cutter will beat a ketch upwind every time.  That said, they were designed (and overbuilt) for the light airs of the Chesapeake Bay, with shallow draft, good light air performance–but certainly blue-water capable.

    Weather helm easily managed with proper sail trim.  Single-handed sailing is a dream with proper line control routing and management.

    So, the bottom line—these are very different boats than your Pearson 35 and unfortunately, not many of them pop up on the market.  The good news is that if you see a sloop and you are heartset on a cutter–no problem–conversion is easy.


    Thank  you so much for the information;  you guys are great.  Sounds like what I want is fairly rare, but that she'd be happy to do what I want to do.  I'll keep an eye out for them.

    Thanks again!


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