1979 38' Downeast Cutter Sloop

Charleston, South Carolina, United States
$39,900 USD
Condition: Good

I could not describe this boat that I have owned for 10 years, and lived on for 7 of those years, better than as described in The Proper Yacht, 2nd Edition by Arthur Beiser International Marine, 1978 DOWNEASTER 38: “… a straightforward, common-sense boat that will evoke a nostalgic twinge in those who remember what sailboats used to look like. The Downeaster 38 is no greyhound of the sea, but in the long run a friendly shaggy dog makes the better companion for many of us, and for such people the 38 or something like it may very well be the right boat.”

I love this boat. She is full keel and is very, very comfortable to sail in big seas and cruise for days on end as well as spacious enough to host large crew for harbor sailing.

She is rigged for single or short-handed sailing with most lines leading aft. Her comfortable cockpit is wide and completely covered in canvas covered closed-cell foam cushions that snap in.


NEW Bottom paint and survey (for Insurance renewal) August 2019

NEW BIMINI and DODGER installed March 2019!

Equipment: MECHANICAL:

28HP Volvo-Penta engine.


New 60 gallon fuel tank (2017); New Quantum main sail and stack pack (2017); New 8 foot bow sprit (2016); Bottom-paint (2019); New MarinAir 16000BTU Heat/Air conditioning unit (2016); New Isotherm 12v refrigeration (2015).


Garmin 4210 with HD Radar, HD sounder, and Garmin satellite weather and radio (need subscription to use). Raymarine autopilot (2015). Interphase forward sonar. TWO VHF Radios: ICOM VHF radio and Standard Horizon VHF radio with AIS. AM/FM/CD/Bluetooth stereo. Wifi-booster antennae.

4 Group 27 AGM batteries for the house bank. 1 Group 24 AGM battery for the engine starting battery and running the windlass.

20A Battery charger/mender

240 watt solar panel on davit


49’ mast Jib roller-furler. Stay-sail hanked-on. Asymmetrical Spinnaker


Lofrans Windlass with remote Bruce-claw-type anchor with 100’ chain. CQR anchor with 50’chain and 200’ 8-plate rode. Danforth anchor


Custom saloon table (2012). Custom upholstery throughout. 12V Isotherm refrigeration. Double sink. 3-burner propane stove and oven. Microwave. Toaster oven.

Two 40 gallon Freshwater bladders with 12V pump and whaler freshwater foot pump and undersink filtration. Whaler saltwater foot pump.

HEAD: Shower-sump Raritan 12V electric toilet (35 gallon holding tank)

BERTHS: V-berth 6,6” with 1 full length hanging closet and one half. two 12v fans. Pilot Birth to starboard U-shaped settee with drop down table for double berth to port. Single settee/berth to starboard.

Tender: Sailing tender with ores and 12v trolling motor on davit.

EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE!!! There is a 6-man Viking life-raft that could be available if I do not move to my next boat. I plan on taking my own personal gear and interior items.


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Bob Poole
Down East Yachts Inc.
# Built
Transom hung


Length Overall
35 5 / 10.8 m
Length On Deck
31 11 / 9.8 m
Waterline Length
37 11 / 11.6 m
10 11 / 3.4 m
4 0 / 1.2 m
17,000 lb / 7,711 kg
5,500 lb / 2,495 kg (Lead)

Rig and Sails

Reported Sail Area
602′² / 55.9 m²
Total Sail Area
602′² / 55.9 m²
Sail Area
270′² / 25.1 m²
35 5 / 10.8 m
15 2 / 4.6 m
Mast Height
44 5 / 13.5 m
Sail Area
332′² / 30.8 m²
41 6 / 12.7 m
16 0 / 4.9 m
Forestay Length
44 5 / 13.6 m

Auxilary Power

Fuel Type
Fuel Capacity
75 gal / 284 l
Engine Hours


Water Capacity
100 gal / 379 l
Holding Tank Capacity
30 gal / 114 l
6 5 / 2 m


Hull Speed
6.81 knots
Sail Area/Displacement
under powered
less stiff, less powerful
Comfort Ratio
moderate bluewater cruising boat
Capsize Screening
better suited for ocean passages


From BlueWaterBoats.org:

Introduced in 1975 the Downeaster 32 is a traditionally styled long range cruiser ideal for couples. Through the years the boat has proven to be rugged, easy to sail, and has won many a praise from owners. They have sailed far and wide and at least three have circumnavigated.

Even in the 1970s when Downeast Yachts introduced their boats they evoked nostalgia and tradition. The Downeaster 32 keeps up the family traits with a long keel with a keel-hung rudder, clipper bow and a bowsprit. The hull has moulded-in planking lines and a slight tumblehome in the aft quarters ending in a wineglass-shaped transom. Above deck, she’s driven by cutter rig slung from a four foot bowsprit – it’s a rig that has proven to be reliable.

Ex-factory, the Downeaster 32 exuded quality throughout and was offered with an large array of options above and belowdecks such that each boat tended to have a uniquely individual personality. The hull laminate was built extremely thick, bordering on overbuilt by modern standards and the rigging has proven strong.

Internal space is generous for a 32 foot boat and tall sailors will appreciate her six and a half feet of headroom. With the right configuration she can theoretically sleep six with three berths in the saloon, a quarter-berth on the starboard aft, and v-berths forward.

Because she is often sailed by couples or single handed, many owners have modified their boats appropriately. The original layout has two doors closing off the v-berth and adjacent head from the main saloon. There’s a u-shaped galley complete with gimballed stove, refrigerator and icebox, and a double sink. Storage includes two well-ventilated hanging lockers and numerous cubbies.

Access to the bilge and engine is unfortunately not ideal. Original boats were fitted with Farymann 24hp diesels, perhaps underpowered but known for their frugality, today many have upgraded to 27hp Yanmars.

Underway you’ll find the Downeaster 32 has reasonable performance on all points of sail. For novices she’s forgiving to sail while sailors who know her well can eck out the full performance from her sail plan. Her conservatively designed underbelly makes for relatively comfortable and very safe dynamics in offshore conditions.

Overall a very good seaworthy boat. Today it stands as a great choice for affordable and safe offshore cruising.


Down East Yachts located in Santa Ana, California was founded by Bob Poole in 1974 during what was considered the boom years for cruising sailboats. Poole was a boat builder who had previously worked for Columbia Yachts and had 14 years of experience under his belt before branching out to start his own company. A native of the East Coast, as the Down East name implies, his idea was to build a dependable line of sailboats with traditional styling in Southern California.

The Downeaster 32 designed by Poole himself was the second offering from the company. It was introduced only months behind the Downeaster 38 which was a design collaboration between Poole and Henry Mohrschladt, the name behind the famous Pacific Seacraft brand.

After the passing of Bob Poole, who died on April 29, 1978, the company continued to be active through to 1980, even finishing a number Westsails on behalf of the failing Westsail Corporation. Down East Yachts legally ceased as a company in 1983. The molds and tooling were sold to Newport Offshore Yachts.

In total, 134 boats were built with the last one completed in 1980. The Downeaster 32 was by far Down East Yachts’ most popular design.

Links, References and Further Reading

» Downeastyachts.com, owners forums and information.
» Motorboat and Sailing Magazine, Downeaster Review, May 1977



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