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BOAT REVIEW

The ETAP 37, an Unsinkable Sailor’s Cruiser By John Grover and Ludwig Hoogstoel

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he ETAP 37 is a performance cruiser that fits the bill as a fun-to-sail family boat. She’s also for the “go fast” sailor. Combining ease of handling with abundant safety features, the rigging maximizes performance and handling ability, without loss of stability. If you are accustomed to less responsive vessels, you are in for a surprise when you take the wheel of this ETAP. Allow her excellent tracking ability to dominate, as your tendency will be to oversteer the helm until you adjust. ETAP, a Belgian builder producing one boat daily, has designed double-hulled sailing yachts for the past thirtyfive years. Safety is of primary concern for the ETAP line of boats. Lloyd’s of London and the French merchant marine

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February 2006

SOUTHWINDS

have certified its boats as unsinkable, thanks to the closedcell foam injected between the hulls. Every new model is tested to insure the boat will stabilize after a knock down and fully flooded conditions. The water inside the cabin will rise to knee-deep height, keeping the V-berth and cooking areas dry. She is engineered to make a passage to safety in those conditions—under sail. Other safety features include unequaled nonskid deck material that provides for a very firm grip, particularly in wet conditions. An open aluminum toerail enhances water shedding from topside decks. The boat also has an ample supply of handholds throughout the cabin and topside. The end boom sheeting for the mainsail with dual line pulleys (the smaller line for more purchase) assures maximum control. The removable traveler is located in the cockpit just forward of the pedestal. This convenient positioning helps when maneuvering short-handed, yet removing it for extended stays at dockside is easy to do and surely makes it easier to move around the cockpit—a clever innovation. ETAP boats are dry boats. Their added insulation and double hull construction eliminate interior condensation and make for a warm interior in cold weather, besides maintaining cooler temperatures in hot climates. The deckstepped mast arrangement and Volvo Saildrive, 28-horsepower engine keep the boat totally dry inside. The ETAP has no need for a bilge and, indeed, has none. Below decks, the ETAP 37 features a queen-size berth in the sizable aft cabin with two hanging lockers. The salon settees are comfortable straight benches. With lee cloths, accommodations can carry a crew of four, five, or six. The Vberth forward is roomy and has two hanging lockers. The boat has easy-access storage compartments literally lining the upper bulkheads from the forepeak to the aft cabin. While some interior volume is used for the double hull, a full crew can make an extended passage with the available storage accommodating necessary food, water, and gear all neatly stowed (as the ETAP 37, Just Us, recently did on its Atlantic crossing with a crew of three). The head is located starboard of the companionway and features a wet compartment to hold foul weather jackets, bibs, and boots with room to spare. The galley is to port of the companionway. The double sink is on an island amidships. The island allows the crew to pass securely on either port or starboard, giving security in pitching, rolling seas. The crew instinctively uses the island to brace while dressing for or coming off watch. The crowning achievement for ETAP 37’s design is a panoramic window atop the cabin house that www.southwindsmagazine.com


Southwindsfebruary2006