1978 Bristol 29, S/V Jaz Dave and Sandi Post
e purchased the Bristol 29.9 about three months after losing our beloved C&C 29 Mark I, Nothin’ Fancy, in Hurricane Wilma in 2005. We had her for 12 years of Bahamas cruising, and it was a devastating loss. I swore I wouldn’t own another large, non-trailerable sailboat while living in now hurricane-prone southeast Florida, but after staring at all the salvaged gear for a couple of months, the itch had to be scratched.
The Bristol 29.9 was designed by Halsey C. Herreshoff and has a bit of a cult following with its own owners’ Web site.
ven though I had enjoyed the exhilarating speed and nimbleness of the C&C with its deep five-and-a-halffoot fin keel, we decided to look for a more traditional style of cruiser, since that’s how we did most of our boating. I had read about the Bristol 29.9, and the reviews were favorable. When one appeared for sale locally at a reasonable price, I jumped at the chance. The 29.9 has a bit of a cult following with its own owners’ Web site. Just Google in “Bristol 29.9 Sailing Vessel Owner’s Association.” Halsey C. Herreshoff was the designer for the 29.9, as well as for other models built by Bristol Yachts of Rhode Island. The LOA is 29’11”, LWL 24’0” and the boat displaces 8650 pounds. There were two keel configurations available; both were modified full keels, one fixed with 4’4”, the one we have, and the other had a centerboard with 3’6” up and 7’6” down. I personally do not care for centerboards. They always seem to rattle around and have a bad tendency to snap their lifting cables at inopportune times. The boats were beamy for the day at 10’2”. With 3600 pounds of ballast, it has over 40 per cent of weight-to-ballast ratio. This gives the boat a very sea-kindly motion and feeling of stability found on larger vessels. The modest sail plan has 391 square feet of sail area with the standard rig (our boat). There was a tall rig available, which offered 408 square feet. With a 63-gallon freshwater capacity, one can take extra showers without feeling guilty. It’s divided into two fiberglass tanks. The one located forward under the V-berth contains 38 gallons. A hose and shut-off valve run along the bilge to the second 25-gallon tank located under the floor boards above the encapsulated keel. Keeping the weight low adds to the stability of