We Say: With its 15-foot beam, the Calvin Beal 38 from SW Boatworks is arguably the roomiest 38-foot down-easter going. Designed to carry a large load of lobster traps, it’s also well suited to recreational angling and cruising.
The hull is solid fiberglass, with composite stringers and bulkheads. Its composite deck is cored with material chosen for slight flex to be easy on your knees in rough seas.
There’s a spacious cabin that includes a V-berth, massive tackle storage, enclosed head and full galley. A 5.5 kW Onan genset drives the microwave, air-conditioner and heater. The pilothouse holds a six-seat dinette and a large helm with a robust tackle station behind. The 575 hp Caterpillar C9 ACERT diesel inboard installs flush below the sole and is accessed through an electric hatch. The cockpit is even roomier, with an extended canopy covering a second helm and a large fish box/seat.
I found the Calvin Beal 38 quick and easy on fuel. I cruised her at 1,800 rpm, making 19 mph while burning 12 gph. Test day seas less than 3 feet hardly challenged her, especially since we fine-tuned trim with her Volvo Penta QL trim tabs.
Who'd Want One: A skipper looking for the roomiest 38-footer available for fishing and cruising.
Another Choice: The 38-foot-6-inch by 14-foot-4-inch Duffy 38 from Atlantic Boat Co. is a comparably priced downeaster available for finishing to suit your tastes and needs.
Bottom Line: About $350,000; swboatworks.com