Columbia 38 Specifications

Manufactured by:

Columbia Yacht Corporation

The following specifications came from Martin Harris

The C-38 was built from 1965-67. Only 39 copies were made.

                       CENTERBOARD          KEEL
                       MODEL                MODEL
       Length Overall:             38' 11"
     Length Waterline:             26' 6"
                 Beam:             10' 8"
           Fixed Keel:                      6'
             Board Up:  4' 5"
           Board Down:  8' 11"
         Displacement: 16,000 lbs.         14,000 lbs.
       Ballast (lead):  8,400 lbs.          6,400 lbs.
            Sail Area:            659 sq ft
                 Mast:             47' 8"

A C-38 advertisement.

C-38 diagrams.

Mistique A C-38.

Literature available from Justin Thompson's Columbia archives.

The following is from a Columbia brochure:

The new Columbia 38, patterned after the successful Columbia 40, has all the latest features in design. A spade rudder to give perfect control under even the most extreme conditions and a low wetted surface area. This, couplete with a large modern sailplan makes the 38 a top performer in all wind conditons. Ample space in her customized interior gives maximum cruising comfort for 6. This yacht is planned with the family in mind but is sophisticated enough to intrigue the ardent yachtsman. Available in keel centerboard and keel model. Auxiliary power is a Universal Atomic 4. Water and fuel capacity 25 gals. Estimated C.C.A. rating 27.9.

"Patterned after" is probably putting it mildly. I have a copy of an original Columbia engineering drawing. It is a true lines drawing of a hull - the countour lines that define the entire shape of the hull, not just the outline. The drawing is labeled "Columbia 40" but there is no date nor draftman's name or initials. But what is there is a Columbia 40 keel modified to show a spade rudder rather than a keel-hung rudder. I've scanned the portion showing the keel modification. In addition there is a deep keel drawn in. Thus there is a direct path from the Charlie Morgan designed C-40 hull to the Constellation and C-38 hulls, which Columbia never attributed to any particular designer.

One owner's testimony:

I have a 1965 Columbia 38 sloop and in the years I have owned it (18) I have repaired, replaced or rebuilt everything on it. It is a fine sailor, faster than all but modern racers. It is a crank boat that sails as much as 45 degrees heeled. A very beautiful boat with classic lines that are often commented on. As far as the basic structure, it is strong and over-built. All surveyors like its basic construction and set a high "replacement" value on it.

Al Wolfson, 1965 C-38 #16, Annie Laurie

Some info about the keel:

The center board/keel is apx. 2" thick and 5' long, which gives over 9' of keel at full drop. It's a thing of beauty when heeled over. I need the seal or system scymatic to repair ice damage, still leaking here need to plug first area of damage then proceed! Yes its that nasty cable conection!

From a C-33 owner:The centerboard retracts up into a trunk. The pivit pin at the front of the board goes through a hole in the lead ballast in the hull. The most likely place of leakage is through the conduit that the retractor cable near the aft end of the board runs in. At the top of the trunk, down in the bilge, you have the passage way for cable and seawater. Mine has a flexible reinforced hose double clamped to this exit hole. The hose with the cable running through it rises way above the waterline and exits near a large "pulley". It then exits out into the cockpit where it is easily hauled or let down. When fully retracted the centerboard is flush with the bottom of the keel. Unless the hull has been damaged, so long as you have a good hose, clamped properly, there should be no leaks.

From a C-31 owner:The centerboard of my boat, like yours, has a heavy-duty rubber hose clamped to a piece of Bronze rod. The hose is clamped to another tube that is fiberglassed to the top of the C.B. trunk. The C.B. cable emerges from the rod to a sheave under the bridge deck and then out to the cockpit. Last year, the trailing edge of the board got corroded and the attachment of the cable tore out of the board, allowing it to drop down into the mud at my shallow slip. This happened when I was not at the boat and didn't realize it happened till about a week later. I was afraid the rocking of the boat would bend or break the board. But it didn't It was a lot of trouble getting it back. I tried passing a line under the boat and drawing it up, but gave up after 4 hours. Ended up having to get a diver friend with his SCUBA to put the line on the board and we winched it up and tied to there till I could take the boat across Clearwater Harbor to be hauled. I just ground off the corroded area and the tear where the board ripped out. Rounded it off a bit and drilled another hole further into the board. I guess the problem is that the cable, the thimble at the end of the cable and the shackle that connects it to the board are all stainless steel, in constant contact with the mild (I guess) steel centerboard in salt water. You know what happens then. But I don't know what to do about it, short of replacing the board with a bronze or stainless one.

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