Doug Peterson
Laurie Davidson
Cavalier Yachts
# Built
Also Known As
Cav 36


Length Overall
36 1 / 11 m
Waterline Length
29 10 / 9.1 m
11 9 / 3.6 m
6 2 / 1.9 m
14,510 lb / 6,583 kg
7,510 lb / 3,405 kg (Lead)
Drawing of Cavalier 36
  • 1 / 2
  • 2 / 2

Rig and Sails

Reported Sail Area
858′² / 79.7 m²
Total Sail Area
Sail Area
Air Draft
Sail Area
Forestay Length

Auxilary Power

Fuel Type
Fuel Capacity


Water Capacity
Holding Tank Capacity
6 10 / 2.1 m


Hull Speed
8.2 kn
Classic: 7.32 kn

Hull Speed

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.


Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

A more accurate formula devised by Dave Gerr in The Propeller Handbook replaces the Speed/Length ratio constant of 1.34 with a calculation based on the Displacement/Length ratio.

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio.311
Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

8.17 knots
Classic formula: 7.32 knots
Sail Area/Displacement
>20: high performance

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.


SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64)2/3

  • SA: Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D: Displacement in pounds.
<16: under powered
16-20: good performance
>20: high performance
>40: stiffer, more powerful

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.


Ballast / Displacement * 100

<40: less stiff, less powerful
>40: stiffer, more powerful
200-275: moderate

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.


D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet
<100: ultralight
100-200: light
200-300: moderate
300-400: heavy
>400: very heavy
Comfort Ratio
20-30: coastal cruiser

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.


Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam1.33)

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet
<20: lightweight racing boat
20-30: coastal cruiser
30-40: moderate bluewater cruising boat
40-50: heavy bluewater boat
>50: extremely heavy bluewater boat
Capsize Screening
<2.0: better suited for ocean passages

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.


CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet
  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
<2: better suited for ocean passages
>2: better suited for coastal cruising


Designed in the mid-1970s by America’s Cup winning designer Doug Peterson, the Cavalier 36 started life as a pure blooded offshore racer. An earlier related incarnation was Ganbare, Peterson’s One Ton Cup winner of 1973. From Ganbare came the lines for the Peterson 36, a slightly larger and more powerful evolution. This design swept the 1974 One Ton Cup with 1st, 3rd, and 5th from a world class lineup of 30 boats. Meanwhile in New Zealand, a company by the name of Cavalier Yachts, at the time fast becoming the country’s premier producer sailboats, needed a boat to fill a space between their popular Cavalier 32 and Cavalier 39. They licensed the design and commissioned Laurie Davison to redesign the deck to their specs and thus the Cavalier 36 was born in 1976.

Along with its smaller sibling, the Cavalier 32, the 36 shares same the use of balsa sandwiched GRP construction. The hull and in fact the whole boat is solidly built. The keel is attached with seven high tensile monel keel bolts and the chainplates are integrally molded into the hull and deck. The deck profile being sleek and uncluttered, hinting at its race pedigree, has been praised for being sensible and  safe. The cockpit, 7 feet long can seat up to 10.

Within the boats 9.1m LWL and 3.5m beam belies a spacious interior for a 36 footer, boasting 7 feet of headroom. There’s berths for seven spread between the seagoing quarter-berth, settees with pilot-berths and V-berths. Interior woodwork is in teak or mahogany with excellent finish.

Under sail, she is stiff and fast on all points of sail with her forte on downwind runs though performance on a reach is also excellent. For all its racing pedigree the boat serves well in the cruising domain for those who are willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for a whole lot of performance. We know of at least two boats that have circumnavigated. Overall an uncomplicated, strong, and easy to handle boat. In total twenty boats have been produced.

Links, References and Further Reading

» Cavalier 36 owner’s website

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