Express 37 Nationals Brings 8 Strong Crews to San Francisco

Oct 8, 2019 | Editorial, Sailing

As appearing in Latitude 38 magazine, October 9, 2019

Three days of distance and buoy racing attracted eight California crews to the 2019 Express 37 Nationals hosted by Berkeley Yacht Club on October 4 – 6. Lingering summer-like conditions brought light, but shifty, winds ranging from 3 to 14-knots.

On Sunday, with two races to go, Shawn Ivie and crew on Limitless lead the fleet racing with tally five (2-1-1-1). First heat of the day, Kame Richards on Golden Moon sailed to a first, followed a scant five-seconds afterward by Mark Chaffey of Loca Motion. Bob Hartford on Stewball placed third and Limitless hit the line fourth.

Limitless, edged down in the ranks with this fourth place, was then squarely tied for first with Golden Moon. “It took that final race to determine an Express 37 champion,” said Ivie, whose strategic maneuvering immediately north of the start aided things for his crew. “Kame came to the line a bit early. We got into position, then stalled to windward 30-seconds before the horn—this allowed us to nail the pin end and get a strong leap.” Winning skipper Shawn Ivie sailed Limitless to 2-1-1-1-4-1.

Express 37 Nationals 2019 Sees a Limitless Win

Limitless went on to earn the Nationals title with 10 points (2-1-1-1-4-1). Second place was earned by the Golden Moon crew (1-3-2-2-1-4) and Loca Motion rounded out the podium in third (3-2-4-4-2-3). Ivie, whose boat is based in San Pedro, California, has participated in 2017, 18 and 19. A boat with a winning pedigree, Ivie references the Express 37 Nationals silver trophy cup, adding that this hull has claimed the Express 37 Nationals title on more than one occasion and for more than one owner.

In 1984, Carl Schumacher and boat builder Terry Alsberg of Alsberg Brothers Boatworks in Santa Cruz developed the Express 37. This masthead-fractional design attracts active fleet participation on both east and west coasts.

The Express 37 finished first, second and third in its debut at the 1985 Transpacific Yacht Race.

Wikipedia Notes on the Express 37 Boat:

In a 2005 used boat review in Sailing Magazine, writer John Kretschmer concluded of the design, “The Express 37 offers exhilarating performance both on and off the racecourse. And although one-design fleets are shrinking, most 37s have a lot of speed left in them. Also, following the trend of their boats, as racing sailors get older and migrate toward more casual sailing, a logical decision might be to convert a 37 into more of a cruising boat.”

Marine surveyor and naval architect, Jack Hornor described the design in a 2007 review, “the Express 37 will appeal to sailors interested in racing more than the dedicated cruiser; although, there is no reason these mid-1980s models can’t serve double duty for prospective buyers looking for a reasonably priced, solidly constructed racer/cruiser…Although contemporary in appearance, Schumacher’s respect for the beauty of traditional, well balanced boats is apparent in this design.”

The Express 37 is a recreational keelboat, built predominantly of fiberglass, with wood trim. It has a masthead sloop rig, a raked stem, a reverse transom, an internally mounted spade-type rudder controlled by a tiller and a fixed fin keel. It displaces 9,800 lb (4,445 kg) and carries 4,600 lb (2,087 kg) of lead ballast.

The boat has a draft of 7.25 ft (2.21 m) with the standard keel fitted. The later Mk II model offered an optional shallow draft keel of 5.92 ft (1.80 m). The first 25 boats built were fitted with a Japanese Yanmar 2GMF two cylinder diesel engine of 18 hp (13 kW). Later boats had a three cylinder Yanmar 3GMF diesel engine of 27 hp (20 kW). The fuel tank holds 30 U.S. gallons (110 L; 25 imp gal) and the fresh water tank has a capacity of 85 U.S. gallons (320 L; 71 imp gal).

The later Mk II version has a taller rig, an updated keel and rudder and a more cruising oriented interior. Only ten were built in this configuration.