Egg Harbor 37 Convertible
By Jack Hornor
Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
|Principal Dimensions & Specifications|
|Measurements should be considered approximate and the manufacturer’s specifications may be relied upon. Bow & stern appendages are generally excluded.|
|Length Overall||37' 5"|
|Maximum Beam||14' 5"|
|Maximum Draft||3' 0"|
|Fuel Capacity||340 - 400 Gallons|
|Water Capacity||75 Gallons|
|Speed Range||18 - 28 Knots|
Some people will look at the Egg Harbor 37 and see plain Vanilla at a time when Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough are the flavors in vogue. But for those traditionalists who are looking for a well-built family cruiser in the 35 to 40 foot range, here is a model with a lot to offer. Perhaps just as important, the styling, although not to the latest fashion, is timeless and not likely to look dated or out of place as these boats age.
For nearly 40 years Egg Harbor has built a model they have designated as a 37 indicating approximately 37' in overall length. The first was the 37 Flybridge Sportfisherman introduced in 1963 and the most recent, their 2004, 37 Flybridge SportYacht model. Although all share similar overall lengths, there are significant distinctions between the various models. So, to avoid any confusion, I am going to limit my comments and observations to the 37 Egg Harbor Convertible built between 1985 and 1992.
In boat design, the term "convertible" is used to designate a design intended for the dual purpose of fishing and cruising usually with a greater emphasis in one direction or another depending on the manufacturer. Though Egg Harbor dropped the word "Convertible" from the model designation in 1990 in favor of "Family Cruiser", the design remained well suited to a dual-purpose role with a slightly greater leaning to cruising comforts than to fishing provisions.
Photo by Marc Benvenuto, Knot 10 Yacht Sales
Actually, the design of the 37 Egg dates to 1979 when Pacemaker introduced their 38' Sportfisherman. When Pacemaker went out of business in 1980, Egg Harbor acquired the molds for the Pacemaker 38 Sportfisherman. They redesigned the interior, designed a new deck and superstructure and the Egg Harbor 37 Convertible was introduced in 1985. This model remained in production until 1989 when minor modifications were made to the cabin house, cockpit and interior and the model was renamed the 37 Family Cruiser in 1990. The 37 Family Cruiser remained in production until 1992.
For nearly 30 years the majority of production-built recreational boats of this size have been built of conventional fiberglass composites of some sort. That is to say some combination of plastics, fiberglass cloth and various wood products. For the most part, I think its fair to say boat buyers don't have a great concern for the small details of construction although they do have an interest in the overall quality of construction as well as the potential for costly maintenance and repairs as vessels age. Unfortunately, due to the tremendous number of variables involved, quantifying construction quality and potential maintenance cost is not an easy task.
I would describe the construction quality of the 37 Egg is above that of the average production boat and, with average care and maintenance, she should hold up well to the demands of moderate coastal cruising and fishing. However, I would expect the rigors of extended service offshore or where more severe conditions prevail are likely to take their toll more rapidly on the structural integrity of this vessel.
By recreational boat building standards, the hull is soundly built with solid fiberglass laminate bottom and balsa cored sides above the chine. The decks, cockpit and superstructure are fiberglass with balsa or plywood core depending on the application. The deck and hull are joined at a flange that turns outward leaving it somewhat vulnerable to damage from collision with docks and pilings but it is covered with a vinyl and stainless steel rub rail to prevent damage as long as impacts are not too severe.
Photo by Marc Benvenuto, Knot 10 Yacht Sales
Perhaps the most apparent weakness of the 37 Egg's construction are the large windows along both sides and as across the front of the cabin. Factors such as weight on the flybridge and how often the boat is operated in rough seas will determine when leaks will develop around these windows, but it's a near certainty that leaks will eventually develop. When they do, the best solution is to eliminate the forward windows and replace them with a solid structure of fiberglass and plywood. This not only eliminates the source of many of the leaks but, if done properly, substantially strengthens the cabin structure and helps to keep leaks around side windows under control. Professionally done this modification can cost from $6,000 to $10,000. Other problems to keep an eye out for include leaks around hardware attachments, particularly around the base of the flybridge ladder and foredeck anchor chalks. These leaks will eventually lead to deterioration of balsa wood coring and an expensive repair. However, if caught early, repairs are seldom more than a few hundred dollars.
The 37 Egg's deck layout is simple and uncluttered. There is a small molded-in bow pulpit forward for easy storage and handling of the primary anchor. The foredeck is wide, surrounded by a stainless steel rail for safety, and features a large centerline opening hatch for ventilation and access to the forward cabin. The cabin sides tapers nicely into the side decks which are unobstructed and wide enough to allow safe passage along the side of the cabin house. The bow rail and midship cleats are mounted atop the cap rail at the deck edge so passengers are less likely to stub their toes. There are sufficient and conveniently placed handrails along the cabin sides and in the cockpit for added safety.
The flybridge encompasses the entire top over the saloon cabin and features a centerline helm, pedestal-mounted captain and mate seats and additional seating forward of the helm console. The flybridge accommodates four comfortably. There is no lower helm for operating the boat in inclement weather so the flybridge is typically enclosed with canvas and clear plastic supported by a stainless steel framework.
The cockpit is the right size for this dual-purpose design and can easily accommodate several fishermen. It does not include a tackle locker and live bait well that would likely be preferred by a diehard fisherman but there is plenty of room for entertaining and sunbathing.
The 14' 5" beam of the 37 Egg provides interior accommodations that are likely to be the envy of many 40 footers. In fact, the interior of the 37 is nearly identical to that of her larger sister the 41' Egg Harbor Sportfisherman.
Original purchasers of the 37 Egg were offered the choice of two interior layouts commonly referred to as "galley up" and "galley down" models. The galley down version features a master stateroom forward with a centerline double berth followed by a port side head and shower. Opposite the head is a second private cabin with upper and lower single berths. The upper berth is aligned athwartships and the lower is fore and aft. There is a U-shaped galley aft of the head with three-burner stove, oven, refrigerator a small stainless steel sink and suitable storage. Aft of the galley and up several steps is the main saloon with an L-shaped couch and lounge chair.
The galley up model features a forward master stateroom with a double berth angled along the port hull side. There is a second stateroom aft of the master to port with upper and lower berths both aligned fore and aft, and the head and shower are to starboard opposite the second stateroom. Further aft and again up several steps, there is the main saloon which has an L-shaped galley to port and forward, a convertible couch to starboard aft and a lounge chair.
Most 37 Egg were offered with twin 350 hp, fresh-water-cooled, Crusader gasoline engines as standard equipment, although other gasoline and diesel engine options were offered and can occasionally be found on used models.
With standard engine installation and moderately loaded, the 37 Egg will cruise at about 22 mph and reach a top speed of nearly 30 mph. The hull form has a moderately deep V forward gradually flattening to less than a 10-degree angle at the transom. This shape allows the hull to lift easily with less power than deeply V'd hulls and tends to roll less at slow speed and while drifting. On the other hand, the broader flatter hull will result in a more jarring and a less comfortable ride in rough conditions.
Even with the best of care, machinery wears out and eventually needs repair or replacement. At 10 to 15 years old, it is likely engines will be in need of some routine maintenance or repairs if not already attended to by a meticulous owner. Deteriorated cooling hose and manifold risers are common in this time frame as well as seals in water circulating pumps and on cooling system heat exchangers. Repairs may run from a few hundred to several thousand dollars so, if you are considering the purchase of one of these boats, it in important you have a competent engine mechanic thoroughly evaluate the machinery.
Egg Harbor is one of the oldest and most recognizable names in the US recreational boating, and although the present day company is many times removed from its 1946 founders Jack Leek and Russel Post, it still enjoys a reputation for traditionally styled, well-built boats of solid value.
There is an active Egg Harbor owner's association, www.eggharborowners.org, which plans an annual rendezvous as well as other regional events and offers excellent support to Egg Harbor owners. The 37 Egg Harbor Convertible is unique in that it provides private accommodations in two separate staterooms and is particularly well suited to cruisers and fisherman who are looking for this feature.
Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.