Overview

Valiant Esprit 37 Sail Plan The Valiant Esprit 37 is a boat of many names, literally. When first introduced as the “Esprit 37″ by Valiant Yachts in 1977 she was built by a company called Nordic so some called her the Nordic Esprit 37. Later when Valiant changed hands to Uniflite, she was rechristened the “Valiant 37″, and over time and another change of Valiant ownership, the boat evolved into the Valiant 39 with the addition of a bowsprit that gave it two extra feet of length. Names aside, the boat draws much from its larger stablemate, the now almost legendary Valiant 40, and certainly owners of Valiant Esprit 37s have reported brisk and nimble go-anywhere performance, a seakindly ride, and an interior that is well thought out.

History

In 1976, three years on from the incredibly successful launch of the Valiant 40, Valiant Yachts was on the lookout for two smaller yachts to diversify their offerings. The Valiant Esprit 37 was to be one of these boats. The company once again used the genius of Bob Perry, who drew on the same magic Valiant 40 formula and applied it to a 37ft hull; this time sporting a sleeker cabin trunk and a brighter interior.

To build the boat, Valiant opted not to go with Uniflite who at the time were producing the Valiant 40, instead Valiant chose a new company with strong ties to Uniflite; a company called Nordic Yachts. It was headed up by Steve Nordvelt who had worked in the contracts department of Uniflite and also happened to be the son of of the original founder of Uniflite.

The boat was introduced in 1977 and sold by Valiant Yachts in that time as the “Esprit 37″, however you can sometimes boats improperly marked as “Nordic Esprit” 37s in used boat listings.

Around 1980, Uniflite acquired Valiant and production of the Esprit 37 was moved to the Uniflite factory and the boat was re-dubbed the “Valiant 37″. The Valiant 37s built during the Uniflite era were hampered by the same non-osmotic blistering issues that plagued the Valiant 40s; blistering above and below the waterline, usually cosmetic in nature. The blistering was caused by the use of a fire retardant resin called Hetron interacting with the glass fiber layup.

It wasn’t until some time around 1982-84 that this problem was permanently solved by the use of isophthalic resin. By this time, Valiant was again under new ownership and production shifted from Seattle, Washington to Texas. The Valiant 37 eventually evolved into the Valiant 39, with new a deck molding; the sleek cabin trunk giving way to a boxy one better matching the Valiant 40/42 as well as a revised interior layout. Perhaps more prominently, the 39 had its rig was redesigned to include a 2ft bowsprit which gives the boat 2ft of additional LOA.

In total 50 Valiant 37s were built, as of 2000 the registrar at valiant-owners.org list five Valiant 39s.

Boat Configuration and Layout

The Valiant Esprit 37 shares similar lines with its larger Valiant 40 stablemate, the same graceful sheer and canoe stern with perhaps a more aggressive tumblehome. The overhangs are relatively small making for a decent speed endowing LWL. Below the waterline is a cruising fin keel and skeg-hung rudder. The underside of the hull is a little flatter than the Valiant 40 which contributes to the 37 being more nimble through the tacks.

On deck the cabin trunk departs from the old boxy look of the Valiant 40 in favor of a sleek raked cabin profile. The mast is relatively tall and sports a cutter rig with a high aspect mainsail on a small boom, a design heavily influenced by IOR ocean racers of the time. The shrouds come quite far aft which unfortunately inhibits the boom from swinging wide to catch downwind air effectively. All control lines are routed back to the safety and comfort of the cockpit.

Below deck, the best words that describe the layout are well thought out and functional. There is more than adequate stowage areas for extended cruising. Descending from the companionway, there is a very functional U-shaped galley to port and to starboard is a seagoing quarter berth with comfortably sized navigation station. Further forward to port is a L-shaped settee which can convert to a double berth, opposite is a single berth settee. The cabin table is large enough to seat 6 spaciously and stows away against a bulkhead which opens up the area nicely, however the keel stepped mast does intrude slightly into this area.

Between the main saloon and the V-berth is the head compartment to port, it has a separate shower stall running pressurized hot and cold water. Even here there are clever stowage areas including extra space below the shower seat under a waterproof access cover. The V-berth forms the master cabin and is relatively spacious with lots of drawers and a generously sized hanging locker.

Access to the engine under the companionway stairs is very good.  The 37 comes standard with a 30hp Westerbeke diesel, while the newer 39 has a 35hp. Owner Steve Long notes the  30hp Weterbekes are only “30hp @3000RPM” in the first hour after which they are supposed to be run at a maximum of 2500 RPM delivering 25hp. Many owners have repowered with Beta 37.5 hp engines which provide a more useful amount of power.

Construction

Like all the Valiant boats, the 37 is solidly built. The hull is uses the same  hand layup as the Valiant 40 with 1.5 ounce fiberglass matt between layers of 24 ounce weave. Above the waterline lining the interior of the hull, is a half-inch layer of closed cell foam which provides acoustic and thermal insulation; this thermal barrier has the advantage of reducing condensation build up on the inside of the hull.

The deck is fiberglass with balsa coring and is solidly attached to the hull with a through-bolt join. All through-deck fittings bolted onto aluminium backing plates.

Owners report that the Nordic built boats vary slightly between boat to boat, such as the location of the bulkhead in the V-berth.

Early boats used stainless wire rigging while later boats had the option for high performance rod rigging.

Under Sail

Like its larger Valiant 40 stablemate, the 37 is remarkably fast for a boat of its relative size.  They are nicely balanced boats, quick through the tack and generally very nimble. The boat’s cockpit is remarkably dry and the boat is easy to single hand.

To weather the Valiant Esprit 37 is unusually close-winded, aided by its high aspect rig with a mainsail that produces a lot of lift. Downwind some owners report the boat being a little slow because the mainsail does not swing very wide due to the location of the shrouds. Others flying spinnakers report fantastic performance.

In addition to strong upwind performance another area of strength is in light airs. Perry himself has noted the 37 can be quicker than a Valiant 40 in light weather. One owner reported 115 mile days over a 22 day passage in mainly light 12 knot trade winds, their boat came in 7 days quicker than another 42ft medium displacement cruiser.

As conditions become heavy the hallmarks of Valiants come into play, the boat continues to maintain its composure delivering a comfortable motion for its crew.

Specifications

LOA: 37′ 0″
LWL: 31′ 7″
Beam: 11′ 5″
Draft Std: 5′ 9″
Draft Shoal: 4′ 9″
Displacement: 17,000 lbs
Ballast: 6,600 lbs
Sail Area: 667 sqft

Water: 90 US. Gal. (340 l.)
Fuel: 44 US. Gal. (166 l.)
Engine: Westerbeke 30 hp diesel

Designer: Robert H. Perry
Year Introduced: 1977
Builder: Nordic Yachts / Uniflite / Valiant Yachts

Also known as: Esprit 37, Nordic Esprit 37, Valiant 37, Valiant 39

Buyers Notes

  • The Uniflite built “Valiant 37″ suffers from the same non-osmotic blister problems as the Valiant 40. It is believed the hulls affected are Uniflite boats of around 1980-82. Later boats, most likely, 1982-84 onwards, switched to isophthalic resin which are immune from non-osmotic blistering. Early boats built by Nordic are also unaffected.
  • Earlier boats had weak chainplates, check for leaks and signs of delamination around these areas.
  • The aluminum fuel tanks have not aged well and should be checked for signs of leaking. Some boats also have aluminum water tanks, check these closely as well.
  • Some boats have rod rigging, in which case it may pay to call in a rigger to inspect for stress cracks.
  • Check the engine installation; some boats have substituted larger more useful engines, however on some installations the companionway has been moved forward resulting less cabin space.

As of 2010, at the time of writing, there a not many Valiant Esprit 37 / Valiant 39s on offer. Asking price for 37s range from $80k-$170k depending on year and condition and there is a 1997 Valiant 39 asking $189k.

Similar Boats

Links, References and Further Reading

» Valiant Yachts official site, Valiant 37 information
» Valiant Owners Association
» Cruising World Magazine, Valiant 39 review.
» Yahoo Groups, Valiant Sailboat Owners Group

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7 Responses to “Valiant Esprit 37”

  1. Steve Hawes says:

    I have owned my 1979 Esprit 37 S/Y RAINDROP for one and half years now it is virtually a new boat having had well in excess of 100k spent on her taking care of any minor issues that have arisen over there life and full interior and exterior refit. (no osmosis in these Nordic built).She is equipped with all top of the line ocean racing gear. It is one sexy looking sailing machine, being the design with the raked back cabin top. I continually have people asking me what design it is and saying how beautiful she is. They are all blown away when I say she is 1979, she looks like a new build. I’m still trying to decide whose bottom looks best my wife’s or Raindrops (don’t tell my wife). I consider myself to be only the custodian of this stunning classic. She equal’s any new yacht i have dealt with over the last years.

  2. Gene Seybold Reflections V37-127 says:

    We have owned Reflections for more than 17 years and have now cruised her for more than 40k miles down the west coast of North and Central America, through the South Pacific and are now cruising South East Asia. She has been our home for 17 years and we love her.

    She sails fantastic and we have made some incredibly fast passages with her, even boasting a 197 mile day. Always done in security and comfort. She has plenty of storage room for a long term crusing couple. We repowered her in 2001 with a Yanmar 3JH3-E 40 HP which has been a blessing and the new engine fit without moving the companionway stairs further into the boat.

    The interior layout is superb and people are often surprised when the come below at all the room we have in 37′ boat. We hope to keep cruising her and may someday even pass through the Panama Canal which will complete a circumnavigation.

  3. Dave says:

    I worked at Nordic Yachts in 1978-1979 and helped build 9 of the Esprit 37′s. I only got to sailing once in one out in Bellingham Bay. What a thrill!
    I now can say, “When I was 22 years old I helped build those. They are American made, and still sailing 35 years later”.

  4. SailFarLiveFree says:

    The V37 is such a neat boat. Her modern underbody belies her salty and classic canoe stern. I’m surprised the V37 isn’t talked about more often given the popularity of PSC37′s, Tayana 37′s, and Baba 35′s.

  5. Dufour27 says:

    The Valiant 37 also offers something unique for a liveaboard in this size range – a separate shower stall. If you are not in marinas much, this can really help with the quality of day-to-day life.

  6. Dave Carlson says:

    We love our V37, which we have owned and sailed for more than six years. Two years ago, my wife and I lived aboard with our six-year-old daughter for ten months traveling the east coast and Bahamas and we never felt that we needed more space.  The boat is easy to single hand and, because the rig is smaller than the V40, the sails are easier to handle, particularly when the jib furler breaks in 30 knots of wind and eight-foot seas you have to somehow get the sail stowed away. 40 gal of fuel and 120 gal of water in the tanks meant that we never tapped the jugs on deck (although we were glad to have the backup). The interior layout is similar to (but more roomy than) the PSC37 and Tayana 37 but IMHO the V37 sails better, even with a couple of thousand pounds of extra cruising gear, books, clothes, souvenirs, etc.  The V37 has a very well-protected offshore cockpit and we never felt unsafe, even in some very rough weather.  I recently sailed on a friend’s Sabre 42.5 offshore in some heavy weather and wished that I was in our Valiant’s smaller safer cockpit.

    All that said, the V37 is not a V40.  I can imagine that the V40′s greater displacement, longer waterline, larger aft berth and increased tankage and storage capacity (where to put the bicycles) would be advantageous on a long passage, particularly with more than 2 or 2-1/2 onboard.  Also, the V40′s anchor locker layout must be much better than the V37′s.

    Dave Carlson
    Serendipity V37-134

  7. Dave Carlson says:

    We love our V37, which we have owned and sailed for more than six years. Two years ago, my wife and I lived aboard with our six-year-old daughter for ten months traveling the east coast and Bahamas and we never felt that we needed more space.  The boat is easy to single hand and, because the rig is smaller than the V40, the sails are easier to handle, particularly when the jib furler breaks in 30 knots of wind and eight-foot seas you have to somehow get the sail stowed away. 40 gal of fuel and 120 gal of water in the tanks meant that we never tapped the jugs on deck (although we were glad to have the backup). The interior layout is similar to (but more roomy than) the PSC37 and Tayana 37 but IMHO the V37 sails better, even with a couple of thousand pounds of extra cruising gear, books, clothes, souvenirs, etc.  The V37 has a very well-protected offshore cockpit and we never felt unsafe, even in some very rough weather.  I recently sailed on a friend’s Sabre 42.5 offshore in some heavy weather and wished that I was in our Valiant’s smaller safer cockpit.

    All that said, the V37 is not a V40.  I can imagine that the V40′s greater displacement, longer waterline, larger aft berth and increased tankage and storage capacity (where to put the bicycles) would be advantageous on a long passage, particularly with more than 2 or 2-1/2 onboard.  Also, the V40′s anchor locker layout must be much better than the V37′s.

    Dave Carlson
    Serendipity V37-134

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