In Brief

Southern Cross 39 Sail Plan The Southern Cross 39 is a no nonsense double-ender following the theme of her two smaller siblings the Southern Cross 31 and Southern Cross 35. Designed by Thomas Gillmer, a professor of naval architecture at the US Naval Academy, she has the same canoe stern and sharply rising sheer line, but underneath Gillmer gave her a fin keel and skeg hung rudder arrangement to increase the performance of this passage making machine. Her cutter rig with bowsprit has 774 sq. ft. of canvas, plenty for her displacement of 21,000 lbs.

Launched in 1981, the first 13 hulls were factory built and bathed in fine light teak. About half of the subsequent models were sold as kits and owner finished so interior layouts can vary. The most common configuration has a V-berth forward, quarter berth portside, and superb seagoing galley amidships. The galley is easy to access from the companionway with a U-shaped orientation for security offshore. The hulls were built in fiberglass with Airex foam coring throughout while the deck and cabin house were balsa cored. The ballast is internally set cast iron. Water tanks are set in the keel while the fuel tank is underneath the aft berth.

These boats were built until 1990 when the Ryder factory closed.


LOA: 39′ 0″
LWL: 31′ 0″
Beam: 12′ 11″
Draft: 5′ 4″
Displacement: 21,000 lbs.
Ballast: 7,676 lbs.
Sail Area: 774 sq. ft.

Designer: Thomas S. Gillmer
Year Introduced: 1981
Year Ended: 1990
Builder: Clarke Ryder, Bristol, Rhode Island.

Similar Boats

Links, References and Further Reading

» Southern Cross Owners Association
» Ryder Yachts


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4 thoughts on “Southern Cross 39”

  1. John says:

    Yes what Will said is correct.

  2. Brian says:

    The Southern Cross 39 information contains numerous errors. The Southern Cross 39 has a beam of 12′ 1″, not 12′ 11″. I understand this is also listed incorrectly on the SCOA site. USCG documentation of vessel states 12.1 feet. Also see Ferenc Mate’s write up of the SC39 in “Best Boats to Build or Buy” which shows correct manufacturer SC39 specs. Sail area is also listed incorrectly. The correct sail area is 835 square feet.

    The Airex core starts just above the waterline and extends to the hull-deck joint. The hull is solid glass waterline down. This prevents problems associated with delamination of cores below the waterline associated with many boats and lightens and insulates the hull above the waterline.

    The SC39 was not laid up in halves and joined. Per Mate (page 273): “…one-piece hull moulds and hand-laid-up laminations, good squeegeeing and beautifully faired underbody appendages.” So while it is true there is no Airex in the center of the boat at the bilge. This is because the lay-up schedule specified solid glass below the waterline, NOT because the hull was laid up in halves.

    What is disappointing is that your write-up describes a cheaply made average boat. The SC39 is of the highest standards of both design and construction. She also performs better than a 39 foot boat with a 12′ 11″ beam.

  3. Frankgrek says:

    Actually the hull is cored with Airex throughout – except down the centerline where the two halves of the hull were joined together. She’s a beautiful looking boat when you see her. Stall shower and main salon are well executed.

    1. Will says:

      Cheers for that, the article has been corrected.

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