Bayfield 36 Review: Classic Marathon Runner

Bayfield 36 PDF Brochure (Click to Download)

Certain styles never go away. There is always the lure of the pirate ships of old with their trailboards, bowsprits, and clipper bows. And at every sailor’s essence are certain pirate ideas, the romance of adventures on the high seas. The look speaks of journeys to far off lands for exciting adventures. That is what the Bayfield and now Gozzard Yachts stand for. In 1970, Ted and Hayden Gozzard started Bayfield Yachts in a yard in Bayfield, Ontario, Canada. Their first offering was a Bayfield 25. The company became synonymous with the classic, clipper bow look in Canada. They followed the Canadian innovations of C&C using balsa cored fiberglass. In 1981, Ted left the company to found his own builder, Gozzard Yachts. Hayden stayed on and in 1985 designed his first and only Bayfield, the 36. Ted continues to run Gozzard Yachts with his sons while the Bayfield factory burned down in 1988 halting production. These 36-footers have an excellent reputation in Canada, more well known than here in the USA. Her interior is arguably the largest you will find on a 36-foot sailboat. The roomy accommodations combined with her offshore sailing pedigree make her one of the best choices around in this range for a serious offshore yacht.

First Impressions
Hayden stayed with Ted’s principles and look. The 36 is a fulled keeled, clipper bowed, trailboarded cruiser. From the dock, it’s interesting to compare and contrast her to the more modern 36 Gozzard that Ted has gone on to design. We have had the luck of selling both a Gozzard 36 and representing a Bayfield 36 within the last year. They have similar lines. The 36 Bayfield is really 41 feet LOA with her 5′ bowsprit as they use LOD as the model number for modesty. She is the definition of a big 36-footer. The heart shaped stern is lovely and the low freeboard sheer just enough. I can always pick out Bayfields and Gozzards by the molded cove stripe and inset name. The aluminum toerail jars with the overall classic look and lowers the maintenance threshold. The cabin trunk has 5 portholes and is traditionally low and squarish. Underneath, she has a long keel with a bronze heal and attached rudder. This design is the source of her performance skills and drawbacks. Newer Gozzards moved on to a modern cutaway forefoot and even separate rudder arrangements. The Bayfields still chose to keep the traditional underbody with the classic style. But a stout cutter has its advantages, especially in the trades.

Bayfield 36 Sailboat
Bayfield 36 Sailboat

Bayfield like Gozzard today had a good reputation for building quality yachts with attention to detail. They built the 36 with standard roving mat layup and a balsa cored deck from the influence of C&C. There are plywood inserts for strength where deck gear attaches. The chainplates attach to either to the main bulkhead or to special stubs tabbed to the hull. The bulkheads are tabbed in. The ballast is a keel shaped lead insert secured by resin inside the fiberglass keel cavity. They did use a fiberglass liners with balsa core to reinforce tread areas. The hull deck joint is bulwark style fastened with 5200 and 5/16″ bolts and aircraft locking nuts on six inch centers. Cleats and stanchions fasten into the inner face of the bulwark. Chocks and cleats along the aluminum toerail are excellent for running lines. The fuel tank is aluminum. The holding and water are plastic with two for water.

Sail Plan - Line Drawing - Profile of 36 Bayfield
Sail Plan - Line Drawing - Profile of 36 Bayfield

On Deck
Forward the chainlocker is a watertight bulkhead only accessible from deck. Bayfield 36’s did not have a windlasses originally. Owners used the chainlocker to store an anchor and probably tied the anchor off to the chock in the toerail near the bow. Most will have been upgraded to an electric windlass by now which is a safe and very worthwhile installation. The shrouds tie inboard on the outer deck edge with skinny sidedecks. The deck has molded non-skid that may be wearing thin 20 years on now. The quarterdeck steps up as you walk aft to enter the cockpit.

These are true cutters (meaning the mast is further aft than you will find on a sloop) with single spreader Isomat spars. While not commissioned with a traveler, that is an easy upgrade along the trunk cabin. A single backstay attaches neatly aft of the cockpit. The cockpit is brightened by her teak railing, lockers, and trim. A propane locker is portside of the helm. The starboardside cockpit lazarette opens for storage and underneath access to the quadrant. The steering was the ubiquitous Edson pedestal system. The helm is comfortable with a raised seat. The companionway has two louvered swing doors with a screen and inserts behind. The sill is about a foot and not bad for underway. The doors snap open, and you can insert a bottom hatch so no water goes below. The doors also snap closed to prevent rattling or unexpected opening. A keyhole in the starboard door locks the boat up.

Bayfield 36 Layout
Bayfield 36 Layout

Down Below
You will not find a more accommodating interior on any 36-foot sailboat. She has 6’3″ headroom throughout with a tub shower, a feature not always found on even on 45-foot cruisers. In the saloon, the 36 Bayfield and Gozzard are much different. The Bayfield has a traditional berth forward and aft while the Gozzard has the saloon forward. There is a nice aft stateroom portside and the master stateroom forward with an offset double. The navigation station is across from the head and has a seat that folds under the Formica table. The woodwork is a symphony of light teak. Framing the salon are two half bulkheads. Paired with each partial bulkhead is an interesting carved column which doubles as a clever handle offshore.

You will notice she has a unique butterfly hatch above the saloon. This sunroof has two doors that swing up and lay open. The hatch opens up the interior in calm water, but make sure she stays closed in a foul blow. There are two hatches in the galley and another over the aft stateroom. Two hatches are forward over the master stateroom. Combined with 10 portholes in the cabintrunk, the Bayfield 36 is well ventilated and naturally lite. While storage area is plentiful, Bayfield could have done a better job of providing access to the storage. To access the storage easier, you might see new doors, enlarged existing ones, or removed drawers. In the galley, an owner pointed out you have to reach way down into the storage holes. He added side doors and levels to ease this difficulty. Underneath the starboard settee. He noted how he had to enlarge the access door. The door was cut out too deep back making it uncomfortable to reach in. He cut away another 2 inches from the paneling.

A Yanmar 4 JHE 44-hp four-cylinder diesel is standard with access behind the companionway ladder and also a removable plate in the aft stateroom. For a mid to late 1980’s yacht, this Yanmar was a wonderful choice and is probably still in most of the yachts. Access could be better. The engine room is underneath the cockpit and not too accessible from the back and sides. The starboardside combing folds up for access but mostly to the steering behind the engine. Re-powering one would not be too hard with the large companionway and easy front and top access.

The Bayfield 36 and her cousins will not win you any races. The 36 is a heavy cruiser meant to go offshore. Owners readily admit she is not the best in light winds. But when it gets to 12 knots she really gets going. This is not a fault but simply what she was meant to do like a marathon runner versus a greyhound. Sven Donaldson’s excellent review says, “While by no means an ocean grey-hound, this boat will surprise a few sailors with its legs. The key, of course, is plenty of sail area (870 square feet in the three working sails), sail area that really comes into its own on reaching courses.” Her sailing ability really will shine in a tough blow offshore with her cutter rig and a reefed main. The main is handled by two sheets instead of a traveler. While some owners like this arrangement, you might want to think about a traveler as an upgrade if not already installed.

What a shame! While the economy was poor, a 1988 fire destroyed Bayfield Yachts factory. According to the owner Ernie, a Bayfield dealer, Neptune Marine, and some partners bought the molds and tried to keep going. After a couple years, they went under. Ernie says,” I have the last Bayfield 36 to hit the water, Stonecutter II. I saved it from the crusher by being the last person to have his hand up at the auction of Neptune Marine’s assets.” With some consolation, Gozzard Yachts continues the design lineage and the boat building tradition in Ontario. These Bayfield 36’s are great cruisers for the Bahamas, Caribbean, and afar. They won’t get you anywhere fast, but they sail dry and steady and hold strong in heavy weather. Typically, you’ll see them for around $100,000 on the used market.


8 Replies to “Bayfield 36 Review: Classic Marathon Runner”

  1. Can anyone advise me where to locate the propane bottle on a 36ft Bayfield. At present I have still the alcohol stove and would like to move to propane.
    SV Elnamea

  2. Duncan,
    I am able to place a regular size (20lb.) BBQ tank in the port cockpit locker. And I carry a smaller 13 lb. for the BBQ grill on the stern rail. If you like, I could send you pics.

  3. Thank you, yes I would love to see the pictures so perhaps I could copy your ideas.

    best regards Duncan

  4. Did you make the change, and did you have any problems with fitting a replacement stove? We’re in the market for a 36 right now, but don’t like the alcohol stove.

    Paul Mason

  5. We have a Bayfield 36 with a propane stove. Our propane tank is in a special locker on the port side in the cockpit, vented overboard. It’s located in the alcove between the port seat and the captain’s seat, recessed into the moulded cockpit. But we ordered it during construction. Valerie. (Hey, Paul, our Bayfield 36 is going on the market! “Waegbora” . . . )

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