The Southern Cross 31 is a no nonsense double-ender designed by Tom Gillmer, a professor of naval architecture at the US Naval Academy. The design takes influence from shapes dating back to Colin Archer’s work nearly a century earlier, and the hull in many respects is similar the straight transomed Allied Seawind 30, an earlier Gillmer creation notable for being the first fiberglass boat to circumnavigate the globe. (The Allied Seawind 30 was successful enough to be updated to the Allied Seawind II)
She’s a full keeled sailboat with an outboard rudder and tiller combo, a configuration often praised for its simplicity and the cockpit is quite small, suitable for ocean passages. The cutter rig with bowsprit has 447 sq. ft. of canvas, plenty for its displacement, but being a heavy displacement boat performance is hampered in light airs. Looking on the bright side, the weight gains dividends with a comfortable motion while underway.
Two interior layouts were offered, one with a stand up navigation station over a large locker and one with quarter-berth. The overall construction quality was of a good standard, suitably strong for offshore work. The hulls were built in fiberglass with the topsides cored in Airex foam, while the deck and cabin house was cored in balsa.
In total 130 boats were built between 1976 and 1987, of which a number were sold as hull and deck kits. A slightly larger and similar Gillmer design is the Aries 32 (around 20 of these were built).
» Southern Cross Owners Association
» Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere by John Vigor, (Ch19, p117-123) an in depth look at the Southern Cross 31. ISBN:978-0939837328
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