The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Rustler Yachts: The New Rustler 37


The yacht that built the Rustler name was arguably the lovely old 36, the last long keeled yacht in production in the UK. Still available to special order, but now down to only one build a year, she still attracts the eye, but compared with the space and speed of the more modern designs that make up the rest of their fleet, her days are surely numbered.

With the launch of the new Stephen Jones designed 37 as her eventual replacement, Rustler have reinforced an old-fashioned commitment to a ‘family’ of yachts, for owners to trade up size-wise as funds and their own family allow. This used to be a common ploy amongst the more prestigious builders of GRP yachts, but many of those builders have since decided to abandon that strategy and concentrate on the larger sizes that are potentially more profitable.

The 37 shows a strong resemblance to the handsome 42 and the newer, larger designs. Happily, that similarity isn’t confined to the look of the boat, but is present throughout the build, finish and fit-out of the 37, which is most definitely not a cut-price version of her bigger sisters. And that commitment starts from the very basics of resin and mat.

The Structure

R37 pic 2

All moulding is carried out in house, and uses the very best GRP construction techniques to ensure a solid, durable yacht. Isophthalic resins are used throughout with clear gelcoat below the waterline to provide superior moisture resistance. A double gelcoat is used to protect the laminate in day-to-day use as well as to maintain colour fastness.

Chopped strand mat and woven rovings are hand laid up to ensure quality control, substantial foam cored stringers are used to stiffen the structure, and all internal GRP is flow coated to give a smooth finish. All wooden bulkheads are bonded to the structure after the surface veneers have been ground back, to ensure a solid structural bond that will last over time.

Core is only used in the deck and coamings, with 12-mm ply pads in way of all deck fittings. The hull to deck joint is bonded with overlapping glass laminate for maximum strength and to avoid leaks, and covered with a teak capping rail.

The Hull

R37 pic 6

The moderately long fin keel contains 3.4T casting of encapsulated lead. This is housed beneath a bilge sump designed to contain bilge water away from joinery and electrics, a simple enough feature in itself, but one that has all but disappeared from modern yachts.

The hull form has soft forward sections to avoid slamming upwind, and powerful mid sections and stern for power and stability offwind. Sensibly Rustler have avoided going with the weak spot of a P bracket to support the prop shaft and have incorporated a massive moulded shaft log, which won’t just protect the prop but will also assist directional stability.

While she won’t be as fast as some lighter designs, the hull shows every sign of seakindliness and balance, the factors that matter far more to a tired crew far offshore on a bad night.

R37 pic 7

The rudder is hung from a solid half skeg, and has a sacrificial lower section in case of damage from collision. Unusually, Rustler have also specified a second sacrificial section in the upper rear section, to avoid any danger of the rudder penetrating the hull in the event of, say, a serious grounding.

Steering is from Jefa, who have seemingly cornered the market with their well-engineered systems, and incorporates self-aligning bearings as opposed to the more common option of Delrin or Ertalyte. Not a significant difference you might say, but it should allow for a smooth and responsive feel to the wheel, even when the going gets tough.

The Interior

pic 8

Down below she’s a mix of classic and modern thinking, designed around the needs of a couple plus occasional guests, not an army of charterers.

Separated from the chain locker by a sail locker and crash bulkhead, the forward cabin houses a huge double berth, offering real comfort when at anchor, and has no attached head and shower, which in turn has allowed the berth to be moved forward and more space freed up in the saloon.

A U-shaped seating arrangement around the saloon table has been employed to make the best use of space, and is convertible to a double if necessary. More importantly, the saloon offers one good seaberth along the centerline to port supplied with a leecloth. To starboard the relatively small chart table amply demonstrates the trend away from paper charts to electronic navigation, and has allowed the single head and shower to be positively palatial for a boat of this size.

The Galley

The galley is that modern rarity—an island galley—the most secure, practical arrangement for on passage cooking ever devised. Being close to the companionway, the area is well ventilated and it’s easy to pass food up to the crew on watch.

With sinks close to the centerline for efficient drainage, and plenty of stowage space, it’s a model for safe, successful food preparation at sea. A practical, well made GN Espace cooker comes as standard, as does a large, top loading fridge with keel cooling.

The area after the galley is given over to a hanging locker and a massive stowage area for all of the gear needed for long distance cruising. To starboard is a simple double berth, that could easily be split to provide an additional secure seaberth.

R37 pic 4

Needless to say, the joinery is beautiful, made from European Oak, which is light and nicely grained. All the woodwork is hand made by real craftsmen, mostly men with many years of experience behind them. All in all, the interior is a warm, handsome, practical mix that will work well at sea.

The Rig

The standard rig is a sloop, which makes sense for a boat of this size in terms of handling and performance under sail.

Rustler do offer a cutter rig as an option, which significantly has been taken up by two of the early buyers, and it’s not hard to see the attraction of that rig, especially with ocean crossing in mind.

The rig sticks to the best practice possible for offshore cruising, with fore and aft lowers and parallel spreaders—no cheapening evident there.

Sails are from Penrose of Falmouth, long time suppliers to Rustler, who I can confirm from personal experience make top quality sails. The mainsail is supplied with Selden’s MDS batten car system, and comes with 3 reefs as standard.

On Deck

The standard winches are from Harken and are a good size.

With a range of good sized hatches and portlights, plenty of natural light and ventilation is allowed below when at anchor. Ventilation on passage is provided through mushroom ventilators which, although neat and unobtrusive, will struggle to provide adequate ventilation in warmer waters. Personally I’d want to see at least one pair of well-protected dorades to improve that aspect.

All of the stainless gear is suitably robust, beautifully finished and solidly attached. The cockpit area is laid in good thick teak, as is the cockpit sole, as part of the standard specification. (Rustler select and buy in all of their own teak and still reject around 20% as being below the standards they require.) For reasons of long term durability, I’m pleased to see that teak decks are not standard, although they are offered as an option at £13,900 (at the time of writing).

The boat has masses of stowage space available, accessible from the deck, certainly more than adequate for a couple living aboard, and enough to allow dinghy, spare sails and all of the usual paraphernalia to be safely stowed below when on passage.


As with her bigger sisters, the engine is mounted amidships beneath the saloon table. Having once assisted an owner sorting out a problem on a 42, I know that engine access is first class, and access to all areas below the floors is vastly enhanced by it all being modular for ease of removal—wonderful stuff.

The standard engine is the Kubota based Nanni N4 38, fitted with a 100 amp alternator and a mechanical gearbox.

In a world where every builder seems to have gone over to some form of shaft seal, Rustler have stayed true to the good old stuffing box, something I have no problem with. I’ve seen a few boats get into serious trouble with shaft seals, and never once with a stuffing box!

And all seacocks and skin fittings are from Blakes in proper bronze, not unsuitable brass—other ‘quality’ builders please take note…


Fuel is adequate for a boat of this size with 270 litres (70 US gallons) available in one tank. Water tanks under the saloon area and forward bunk hold a total of 386 litres (100 UK gallons) that could practically be backed up with a low draw 12V watermaker for longer passages and independence at anchor.

Two gas bottles of 4.5 kg are standard, but these would be on the small side for long-distance cruising, so some form of upgrade might be worthwhile before setting off.



Well, I hear you ask, this all sounds wonderful, there has to be a catch? Well, if there is one, it’s the price, which at the time of writing was £262,500 (excluding tax) for the standard boat (complete with sails but without electronics), may well be beyond most pockets. But there are people out there willing and able to pay such a premium, and maybe here’s why:

  • These are hand made boats, with very evident care taken in every aspect of production and best practice employed at all times over cost or convenience.
  • They are built with long-term ownership in mind, to look as good (if properly cared for) in twenty or thirty years’ time as when new, a fact that’s supported by the robust nature of second-hand values. If one does ever come up for sale the chances are it will be snapped up.
  • The standard 37 is comprehensively equipped, and comes with many items and features as standard that would be options on a lesser boat.
  • The possibility to customize the boat to meet your own needs is part and parcel of the Rustler package, offering the well-heeled owner the chance to own a true bespoke yacht.

But for me, the most attractive aspect is that this is a really solid mid-sized yacht, built with a wealth of simple, practical thinking that will pay off when crossing an ocean or when carrying out essential maintenance in some corner of paradise.

For all the beauty and quality of the build and fit-out this is a yacht designed and built to be used hard, not a show pony. Far from building flashy yachts that follow fashion, Rustler have stayed true to practices that have been demonstrated over time to work and be durable, and avoided compromises that would reduce the functionality of their yachts.

For example, it’s hard to sell stowage space as a major benefit at a boat show, but anybody who has crossed an ocean knows that having adequate stowage is absolutely mission critical for successful ocean crossings. You’re getting a boat that is almost ready to go.

The Rustler 37 embodies the kind of values that matter when you’re long-term cruising, not gadgets, compromised rigs or endless bunks. Looked at from that perspective the price seems less prohibitive.

Good for all of the team at Rustler Yachts for standing up for traditional values—and making a success of doing so.


Neither Colin nor Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd have received any benefit from Rustler Yachts in money or in kind.

Further Reading

More Articles From Rustler:

  1. Rustler Yachts: The New Rustler 37
  2. Rustler Yachts: Maybe There’s Hope Yet?
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Dick Stevenson

Dear Colin,

I would wish to nominate your reviews as a template for the kinds of criteria that all reviewers of sailboats should consider for their evaluations. Some might say that yours is an “offshore” review to which I would contend that all vessels must meet certain base line specs as one can meet adverse conditions as easily close to shore as far offshore. And most reviews gloss over these base line specs so it is a pleasure to read your observations.

I do wish to use your writing to flag a habit (a veritable quibble, I admit) that many, maybe most, marine writers fall into when writing about cruising sailboats that I perceive as un-necessary and un-informative. I refer to your first article statement, “Like most boats of that style, they weren’t the fastest boats” and second article, “While she won’t be as fast as some lighter designs”. These seem to me clearly throw-away lines that most of us might use, but it has subtle influences which I think should be noted.

The statements are undoubtedly true, but they are truisms which would apply to any sailboat. I see these sorts of statements as un-necessarily casting aspersions where they do not belong. There is too much attention to speed to the neglect of other concerns. It is similar to saying that a Mercedes or Volvo station wagon is not the fastest car on the road. Of course it isn’t, nor would anyone expect it to be. These cars can take you (and your gear) safely and comfortably along the highways of the world (even the autobahns) going plenty fast.

Now, I think it would be totally legit to comment if you thought that this was a slow boat among its peers or that it might have trouble clawing off a lee shore in a blow. But I suspect a Rustler 37 with a capable couple would comfortably knock off 120-150 mile days, day in and day out, in the open ocean and get this couple to their destination feeling pretty good.
I think there is a widely held proclivity (among both writers and owners) to apologize for the speed of cruising boats which in many/most cases is unwarranted. I guess I perceive this kind of statement as “self protective” so the writer does not get slammed when someone asks “But can it average 200 mile days?”.

Your article goes a long way towards addressing the kinds of details that are important to a boat capable of sailing the waters of the world and, perhaps more importantly, educating readers about really important considerations. Decent average speed is certainly one of the criteria, but that a boat is not a Porsche is not, to my mind, important to mention.

As always, my best,
Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Colin Speedie

Hi Dick

firstly, thanks for the ‘nomination’, and I agree with your analysis altogether – I look for the things that (in my view) matter, and that would be benefits in any boat at all, and that should not be luxuries but standard practice.

I accept your point about speed, and in fact I wasn’t using my comments in any pejorative sense at all. Far from it, I’d rather sacrifice speed for balance, being easy on the crew and easily achievable daily averages any day. In my defence, I’d point out that I did mention balance right after the comment about speed, but I should have made it clearer. And for what it’s worth, I’d bet the R37 will be very easy on her crew, and being easily driven with a sweet hull form rattle off high daily runs without any undue stress.

I used to own a lovely German Frers jr design, which was the nicest boat to sail, but you had to sail her all the time – she had to be kept in the groove, and constant attention had to be paid to trim. All who sailed her loved her – she was like a thoroughbred indeed, but long passages were a trial. By comparison our Ovni cheerfully blunders along at high average speeds in all conditions, and is the easiest boat to sail ever, making no big demands on the crew at all. Exciting to sail? No, not really. Which one would I rather cross an ocean aboard? The answer is obvious.

Kindest regards



Thanks for this review Colin – as a newbie to sailing, I hunger for this kind of in-depth info about the stuff that really matters. And thank you too Dick – your comments always add value, especially this one because I admit to being negatively influenced by statements that inadvertently imply a vessel is lesser because it is not as fast.

I used to subscribe to many mainstream publications but I stopped renewing them not long after joining AAC a year ago. I am amazed at how much there is to learn about this new hobby of mine, but that’s what makes it so interesting and rewarding…

Colin Speedie

Hi Jeffrey

Glad you liked the review, and yes, Dick’;s comments are always a real addition to our posts, and in this case particularly pertinent. If you’re young, day sailing, or club racing a fast boat is a great thing. But if you are older, short handed, long distance passage making a comfortable easily driven boat is the answer.

And yes – there’s so much to learn, as a former skipper of mine in my youth once remarked to me – and he was knocking on eighty.

Best wishes



Check out the Vancouver 36s. Many similarities to the Rustler 37s but built 20 or so years ago. I’m loving mine.

Colin Speedie

Hi Jamie

great boats indeed, solid and dependable. I’m not surprised you love yours!

Best wishes


Dick Stevenson

Jeffrey, Even though I nitpick at Colin a bit, you can’t go wrong learning from his reviews on boats and from his knowledge of the history of our favorite recreation.

John Harries

Hi Steven,

The prices in the article are directly from Berthon USA and what an American buyer would pay for a boat if they went through Berthon USA. Having said that Berthon USA did say that some discount might be possible.

I’m not sure if Rustler would sell an American a boat directly, but I suspect not.

Is the very subtantial uplift that Berthon USA charge fair? That’s an interesting question. My first reaction was no. But on the other side of the coin, I gather that Berthon USA are bearing all the costs of introducing the boat to the American market including advertising and boat show expenses—an up front expense that is not trivial.

The whole issue is an interesting one that is influenced by the internet economy of today.

Alan Baines

Let me try to explain why there is a difference between UK ( factory direct) and USA (dealer)pricing…!

We have been delighted to have represented Rustler in the US since 2009. We initially contacted them with interest in the 24′ daysailer , of which we have now sold 6 , to all corners of the US. We have also sold one each of the 33, 36, 37 and 42. The boats really ‘ do what they say on the wrapper’ , as the saying goes.

As Rustlers business model and pricing is basically to sell direct to their own , mostly UK based customers, we had to generate a different US pricing level to allow in the smaller boats the shipping, and importation, and of course offset the costs of customer service , advertising and boatshows that goes with it. Furthermore, the cost of doing any warranty work is higher in the US. All the US bound boats have a slightly different spec, because of different voltages, different gas ( propane) systems and so on.

This pricing reality is not unique to Rustler – we also represent Moody , which is part of the massive Hanse group. Their pricing is also different between the US and Europe.

Being a Brit originally, ( from the west of England, not that far from Rustlers home ) but now based in the US for decades , I. have sold many European built boats from many brands, I have seen how both Europeans and Americans negotiate! Europeans tend to ‘accept the asking price’. Americans? Well. It’s fair to say , We all want the best discount possible!

So – at the end of the day, in all likelihood, a buyer from either market will probably end up paying about the same, base cost, but when you include VAT, then the Euro buyer ends up paying more than an American would.

Rustlers are not cheap, of course, but once you dig deep into the construction techniques, and spec, it quickly becomes apparent that they justify the price. As I mentioned at the beginning, we are proud to represent them in the US!

Best Regards,

Alan Baines

Berthon USA. Newport RI.

Colin Speedie

Hi Alan

That for that open and coherent explanation, and good luck with the sales!

Kind regards



Nice boat, and I’m sure very well built. Although I can’t imagine why one would hand lay up a hull using matt & roving in 2014 when far better processes are commonly in use.

I can’t imagine why anyone would pay nearly a half million dollars for a 37′ sailboat in today’s market. For example “Simba”, a fundamentally sound, Frers designed, Paul Luke built aluminum 48′ pilothouse sloop of similar original build quality recently sold in the 80k range.

Budget 100k for everything on your possible refit and upgrade wish list and you are still at less than half the cost of a Rustler 37 for a vessel with far more performance and the added bonus of high latitude capability.

John Harries

Hi Richard,

While I agree that you, with your experience and knowledge, and not a little sweat, might be able to refit “Simba”, or a boat like her, for $100K there are very few people around with your skills. For the average new-to-big-boat ownership, owner, said refit could easily go to $300K or even more (I have seen it happen…three times).

Also, one must think about what “refitted” means. If just everything fixed and functioning, that’s one thing. But if the goal is to bring the boat up to modern standards like the Rustler, that’s quite another. For example, most boats of Simba’s age don’t have self tailing winches (she does, but has a very dated interior layout), fixing that would be at least 20% of your $100K right off the top.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Rustler would be the boat I would buy—that much varnish and teak makes me break out, and anyway I would rather have a Boreal 44 for not a lot more, or a refitted “Simba” for less—but the Rustler is a boat, I think, that fills a need for those with the cash who want that type of boat pretty much ready to go.

There are, as I always say, many different ways to get out there.

Colin Speedie

Hi Richard, John

there will always be people who want a new boat over an old one. I never thought I would until I found that I just couldn’t find a second hand boat close enough to what I wanted at a price I could afford to make my own.

No boat is 100% ocean-ready when new. There are always compromises, the problem being that in the vast majority of modern boats the compromise is not in favour of being even offshore ready! The Rustlers are very well prepared with quality build, fit-out and equipment, so you’re far nearer being ready to go than in most boats, plus these boats will hold their second-hand value, too.

For someone with the money, looking for a boat to own for more than a few years, with oceans in mind, I’d say a Rustler would be a sound investment that would look after her crew, too.

Best wishes


John Harries

Hi Colin,

I think your point about resale value is an important and often overlooked one. I know from Poor Stupid Bob’s refit experience that he would have spent way less money, if he had bought a late model or new quality boat with a good brand reputation, owned it for 10 years and then sold it. Often it’s not how much you pay that governs the overall cost of ownership, but rather what the delta is between the buy price and the sell price, added together with refit costs.


Hi John,
I’d have to agree that if a newby boater shows up at a $120 per hour waterfront yard with a 25 year old boat that he wants “made like new” he may find himself on the slippery slope toward divorce. And that is not meant as a criticism of boat repair yards. They are just trying to bring in enough cash to fight off the condo developers circling around looking for a place to park all the (interest) free money printed for them by the FED.

I should have chosen a less apples and pomegranates choice of boats than “Simba” and the Rustler for my example! As a matter of fact I know of two worthy candidates for restoration closer in size to the Rustler— a 38 & a 44 both from the mid 80’s. Designed by well respected designers, with moderate hull forms that never dreamed of growing a fat butt like contemporary designs and are completely lacking IOR influence. Skeg mounted rudders, far above average materials and semi-custom build quality, proper U shaped seagoing galleys, real sea berths and excellent interior designs.

Since I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, I’ll restore either to near new cosmetic and functional condition with current electronics and have one ready for turnkey delivery in the fall of 2014. $150k for the 38, or $175k for the 44 including a brand new BETA engine. So if there is anybody out there who just can’t stand the wait for the BEST new cruising boat design (the A-40!) to be sorted out and produced, give me a shout!

ps. I’ll deliver it anywhere you want (for my usual delivery fee.)

John Harries

Hi Richard,

Now wouldn’t that be cool, someone with your skills and experience doing really good and efficient refits! My guess is that you will be doing a land office business. Of course it’s going to cut into your skiing time.

Seriously, I think it’s a wonderful idea.


Your posts are very interesting RDE, but forgive me, I don’t know who you are or how to reach you. Can you post a link to your website or provide a contact email?


Hi Jeffrey,
First of all, this is John’s web site, and I don’t want to make use of it for what is somewhat of a commercial venture without going through him. John and I talk boats from time to time apart from my posts on this site, so give him a shout and he can forward my contact information.

Bill Attwood

Based on my experience with a refit of a 22 year old R36, I´d say just not possible, but I hope someone will take you up on your offer and prove me wrong. By the way, do your price estimates include the price of the boats themselves, or just their refitting?
Yours aye,

John Harries

Hi Bill,

Thanks again for your continuing comments about the cost of your refit in time and money. Few people are as clear eyed about the reality of these things. You are doing those new to boat ownership a huge service. Thank you.

Patrick Genovese

Hi Colin,

Did you get to sail the R37, Would be very interested in your first hand experience when sailing her.


Colin Speedie

Hi Patrick

I didn’t get to sail the boat – wrong time of year, and very few of these boats built yet. Perhaps some time in the future, as I think it would be very instructive to do so.

Best wishes



I’m an economist and reading a post like this, and the comments that followed, it gets me thinking about the A40, an its $200k price tag.

I know you guys know what you are doing, and that I know nothing about yacht-building costs, but I do know one thing: If the A40’s net profit margins don’t stimulate the builder to stay in business, then I’m in trouble.

This a “for profit” adventure, therefore the difference in prices between comparable products shouldn’t be HUGE. Or is it that I shouldn’t compare the A40 with the R37?


Speaking classic economist’s language, possible saving between A40 and R37 could come from:
– advertising, sales commission & finished products logistics: Sales commissions in yachts is about 8 to 15% of sale cost (including technical support at delivery site….), marketing & advertising is 3 to 6%, delivery of new boats to customer’s location should be about 2%. Total 13 to 23%
– true series manufacturing vs. unit build/customization: no-option boats build on a sufficient scale (12+ per year) are typically 10% or more cheaper to build than lower-volume more customized ones.
– avoiding first-brands equipment when possible: first-brands yachts need to come with first-brand equipment (Harken gears, Volvo engines etc…). A40-type logics should allow builder to install good-quality second-brand equipment (Garhauser gears, Beta engines etc…) much more easily than first-brand yachts builder without sale/marketing problems. Saving should be 4 to 8% .
– savings on appearance-only items; Getting rid of most woodwork on deck and simplifying cabinetry without reducing functionalities should save another 5 to 10%, mostly in manufacturing time.

total: a saving from 32 to more than 51% with same commercial margin in both cases (generally 3 to 8%…).

John Harries

Hi Hoftman,

I would agree with Laurent’s answer. Or to put it another way, the two boats are not comparable products. Really the only similarity is that they are both sailboats. The Rustler is a boat building project, with all of the high costs that always attend that, the A40 is a manufacturing project, with all of the economies of scale and mass production similarity that go with that. This is the reason that I’m such a holy terror about not having any options.

And yes, it is going to be profitable for the builder, that’s why we have a major established builder interested and, at the moment, over 5 times the funding pledged that we need.

More news soon.


“we have a major established builder interested and, at the moment, over 5 times the funding pledged that we need.

More news soon.”
Sounds interesting… looking forward to the update.
Happy Holidays!



You guys know that since I got serious about buying a sailboat, the research took me here. I liked the A40’s philosophy and I decided to postpone the purchase until I can buy one of these.

Here I’m! waiting in line! It’s been a long year, so that good news is needed!


I have no quibble with this review’s praise for the undoubtedly high standards of the Rustler’s construction, or to the attention paid to ensuring that it is fitted out to support use at sea rather than in a marina dock.

However, Colin’s review pays almost no attention to the fundamental design difference between this boat and the older Rustler 36. The switch from long keel to fin+skeg is the most obvious, but the most significant difference is that new 37 is a fat boat with very full ends, which maximises accommodation but will make for slow and uncomfortable windward sailing when there is any seaway.

This is complete contrast to the proposed A40, which starts with insistence on a hull shape designed for actual sailing.

I can’t help but feel that the Rustler 37 looks like a very implemented instance of a fundamentally-flawed design concept.


Hi Claire,

I didn’t want to be the first one to throw stones from halfway around the world, but I had a similar reaction. Short waterline, fat butt, less than 30% ballast ratio once loaded with cruising gear. Not the design I’d choose even at half the $470k price.. If I do say so, either the 38 or the 44 I mentioned in an earlier post as restoration candidates would be better world cruisers once brought up to condition.



Glad to hear I’m not alone. I hadn’t spotted that the price is similar to a Boreal 44, but I checked and see that you are right. So for me it’d be the Boreal every day.

The Rustler looks to me like in those boats whose virtues diminish with scrutiny. Heavy construction, but as you point out, hand-layup is old hat. Many fine English yachts were built that way in the 1960s and 1970s, but the art of composites has moved a long way since then.

The superficially old-school profile disguises a plan which is ultimately closer to the fat-sterned space-queens of the mass market than to the sea-going hullshapes of older Rustlers of the Chuck Paine-designed Bowmans which the firm used to build.

I suspect that this boat is really aimed at the “British gentleman” who wants a coastal cruising boat with the image of the older British gentleman’s yachts such as the Nicholson 35 … but with accommodation not too far behind the modernist French plastic boats.

Bill Attwood

Hi Claire.
You are certainly not alone. Why Rustlers have produced the R37 is beyond me. Rather than taking the traditional and sea-kindly hull of the R36 and making it better, they have joined the mass market with a design which is exactly as you describe it, a coastal cruising boat.The build quality of the R36 (new) and the R42 doesn´t compare with Najad, HR, Malo etc, and prices are similar.
Yours aye,


Bill, have you actually been aboard a rustler? I’ve spent a fair bit of time on a Rustler 42. The construction quality is exquisite and definitely above the level of the Najad, Malo and even HRs that I’ve been on. The wood is solid, not veneer. Everything fits perfectly and the level of finish detail is amazing. This boat has done a few atlantic crossings in impressively quick time for such a vintage profile. And everything still fits together perfectly and looks good. The beam is a bit wider than I might consider ideal, but the 42 is indeed a lust worthy yacht. I might agree that the 37 seems a bit compromised by trying to fit in too much accommodation. But it seems that Stephen Jones has a bit of a magic touch in making these boats still go…

And while I’m talking Rustler, the 44 is an abomination. The 42 is so graceful, it’s sad they overfed it and bastardized such a pretty boat.

FWIW the Halberg Rassy 372 and 43 are on my wish list just below the Rustler 42 and Boreal 44.


The Rustler 42 may be a little less dire than the 37, but it’s still not my idea of a sailing boat.

The Rustler 42 has a D/L ratio of 308 and a SA/D of only 17.4. That’s 1970s-cruiser territory, while the beam of 1foot greater than the Adventure 40 on the same hull length is a misplaced gesture to the fat-sterned mass production crowd.

It’s a recipe for an uncomfortable sea-slug, and the fine joinery just makes it a furniture boat.


The 36 has a long keel Holman & Pye hull design from the 70′ (or 60′?…), resembling an over sided Folkboat.
The 42, 44 & 37 have Stephen Jones hull designs, with obvious similarities: the 42 being quite slim, the 44 a bit fatter, and the 37 lighter and fatter than the 44.
Trying to guess the intents of Rustler yard:
– the 36 looks like a no-compromise blue-water cruiser, with limited accommodations for its size and a rather old hull design. Certainly a nice and consistent boat, but probably not a very good seller today .
– the 42 looks like an attempt to sell a larger, more modern and distinctly more spacious boat to former 36 owners or prospects. According to the drawings and figures I have seen, it looks like they reached that target without serious compromises. Of course, I would need to test that boat in heavy sea before concluding on that point, but anyway, the published sketches and figures don’t give the impression of compromises.
– the 44 looks like a fatter and a bit larger 42. It looks like a more compromised boat, but I understand that Rustler customers are not all pure no-compromise blue-water boat enthusiasts, and those who are may still buy a 42 or a 36.
– the 37 looks like a still fatter and smaller 42. Same remark as preceding point,although this boat might be a bit more compromised than the 44, but not, as I understand it, up to a point of making ocean crossings difficult in any respect.

I understand that pure blue-water hull design of the 60′ were not compromised in any respect, and that it might make sense to build some 2014 boats on those lines. Rustler does it with the 36. Point is that those boats don’t sell very well today, and that there is a strong commercial incentive for boat-builders to try more modern uncompromised designs, or, somewhat compromised but sound in high-seas new designs, because market ask for that.
I understand that Rustler tried the former with the 42 and the latter with the 44 and 37. I see no reason why we should conclude they didn’t succeed with both attempts.


It’s unsurprising that the 36 doesn’t sell well. It’s a 1980 design, but much older in spirit, being a belated sister to the 1965 Rustler 31.

The long-keel hull-form still has its fans, but the last 5 decades of yacht design have shown that it’s a slow, cumbersome and expensive way of building a boat … and that fin keel designs can and do make excellent bluewater boats.

But the 37 isn’t a modern 36. It’s a boat with a significantly different design brief, where accommodation has been prioritised over sailing qualities.

That may make commercial sense for a builder


I would say that the 42 is a modern 36, supposing prospective buyers’ purchasing power has progressed in #25 years, and that the 37 is less of a pure-player than the 36 (or the A40…), but an interesting boat and a decent open-sea cruiser.