The Southern Cross 39 is a no nonsense double-ender following the theme of her two smaller siblings the Southern Cross 31 and Southern Cross 35. Designed by Thomas Gillmer, a professor of naval architecture at the US Naval Academy, she has the same canoe stern and sharply rising sheer line, but underneath Gillmer gave her a fin keel and skeg hung rudder arrangement to increase the performance of this passage making machine. Her cutter rig with bowsprit has 774 sq. ft. of canvas, plenty for her displacement of 21,000 lbs.
Launched in 1981, the first 13 hulls were factory built and bathed in fine light teak. About half of the subsequent models were sold as kits and owner finished so interior layouts can vary. The most common configuration has a V-berth forward, quarter berth portside, and superb seagoing galley amidships. The galley is easy to access from the companionway with a U-shaped orientation for security offshore. The hulls were built in fiberglass with Airex foam coring throughout while the deck and cabin house were balsa cored. The ballast is internally set cast iron. Water tanks are set in the keel while the fuel tank is underneath the aft berth.
These boats were built until 1990 when the Ryder factory closed.