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Scanmar 35

The Scanmar 35 is a ruggedly-built center cockpit sloop built in Saltsjö-Boo Sweden between 1982 and 1988. Less than 100 of these handsome cruiser-racers were built, half of them earmarked for export. It is difficult to view a Scanmar yacht and not be impressed with its sleek, clever design, robust hardware and fittings, and beefy construction.

The 35 is essentially a stretched Scanmar 33 lengthened by 2 feet, which provided for a more spacious aft cabin; all of that extra length appears in the after section of the boat. Compared to the 33, the Scanmar 35 has 12 cm higher freeboard, and the cockpit is a bit more forward which allows it to have an afterdeck. The 35 is characterized by a crowned deck and nearly straight sheer, a raised afterdeck, a center cockpit and reverse transom. Though referred to as a "center" cockpit, it is not a true center cockpit. The cockpit is placed only slightly more forward on the 35 than one would be on a traditional boat with an afterdeck and lazarette. Most people who see the 35's cockpit call it a "semi-center" cockpit.

Scanmar 35 cockpit and afterdeck

Scanmar 35 "semi-center" cockpit

The boat does not have a traditional boxlike cabinhouse; rather, the decks are raised somewhat and the cabinsides faired into them to provide concert-hall-like space in the cabin. The rig is 7/8 fractional, with keel-stepped mast, a pair of swept-back spreaders, and adjustable split backstay. The boom is sheeted at the aft end, and is conveniently located just behind the helmsman for easy adjustment.

All halyards are led to the cockpit, with stainless steel halyard winches on either side of the cabintop. The cockpit is spacious, with a steering pedestal at the after end; most people could stretch out full-length on the seats, which are 76" long. Most helmsmen can sit directly behind the wheel while steering. A large binnacle-mounted compass is fitted atop the steering pedestal. Scanmar offered as options teak planking on the cockpit seats, a teak cockpit grating and teak decks; I have seen only two boats with teak decks.

Scanmar 35 with teak deck

Scanmar 35 with teak deck

There is a cockpit locker to starboard, and while spacious is somewhat shallow due to the presence of the aft cabin below. Behind the cockpit is a raised afterdeck with the aft cabin beneath. There is a ridge on the cabintop just forward of the companionway which is ideal for attaching a dodger. On the foredeck is a deep anchor locker, which also houses a propane tank for the galley. Boats exported to the US often have an anchor roller, whereas European boats usually do not. Scandinavian "gunkholing" most often involves tying the bow to the rocky shore and dropping an anchor off the stern; anchor rollers aren't a necessity.

Scanmars gunkholing

Scanmars gunkholing

The standard keel configuration is a deep cast-iron fin, attached by stainless keelbolts to a molded fiberglass stub; buyers were offered the option of a shallow draft setup with winged keel and rudder ("Hydrokeel") instead of the deep fin.

Scanmar 35 shoal draft

Scanmar 35 shoal draft

The rudder is large and hung on a sturdy skeg; the lower bearing is a heavy bronze casting. The pedestal wheel steering is the slick and overengineered Whitlock "Cobra" rack-and-pinion system, as used on Pacific Seacraft 37s. Steering is responsive and smooth, thanks to a system of stainless steel shafts and levers; no stretchy cables here! Boats made for export had a 25mm stainless steel shaft and bronze 2-bladed prop attached to a reduction gear, while the European boats had Volvo's Saildrive. Because the engine is located quite a bit more forward than is usual, the propeller shaft is quite long. It is supported by a strut; in the very early boats, this was a bronze strut attached to a fiberglass "stub". In most US-imports, this strut is molded and formed fiberglass. Power was provided by the reliable diesel workhorse, the slow-turning 28 hp Volvo Penta 2003; some early 35s (up to ca. 1983) have the 25-hp Volvo Penta MD11.

The engine is fresh-water cooled; European boats may be raw-water cooled. Both 12V and 110V systems (via shore power) are provided (220V for European boats). The hull is solid hand-laid fiberglass, and the deck is balsa cored with a molded-in non-skid surface. Hull thickness is stout, and is more than 1 3/8" thick in the bilge. The boats have a wide cove stripe just below the toerail; colors of the stripe are most often red, later boats sometimes have blue. A very substantial white rubber rubrail is laid down the middle of the cove stripe.

The hull and deck seem extremely robust, and there is no flexing while walking on any part of the deck. There are 2 or optionally 3 massive cast aluminum cleats per side which look like they could see duty on a tugboat. The hull-to-deck joint, deck overlaid an inward-turning hull flange, is fastened with stainless steel bolts every 12cm (4.7"), and topped by an aluminum toerail. The standing rigging is hefty and oversized for the yacht. The chainplates are stainless steel double U-bolts. Each is bolted through the deck to a bronze tiebar which is bolted to a structure deep within the hull. All halyards are internal. The lower part of the hull has a grid structure of transverse and longitudinal box beams of formed fiberglass for rigidity.

The Scanmar 35s were awarded the "Blue Sign" by the Swedish Maritime Authority, which is loosely analogous to the Lloyd's of London specs, and indicates a high degree of construction quality. Each boat is individually tested and must survive a hard grounding at hull speed without suffering any structural damage. If the boat survives that and other tests and meets or exceeds specifications it is awarded an individually-numbered Blue Sign.

Scanmar did not make wide use of fiberglass hull liners or pans; all interior cabinetry is top-notch with solid mahogany or mahogany-faced plywood used throughout. All hardware is bronze, chrome-plated bronze or stainless steel. The cabin sole has numerous openings for easy access to the bilges; the cabin sole is teak and holly. Four long, tempered glass fixed ports provide the cabin with light (from 1985 and on, the US models have two fixed and four opening ports in the salon). The overhead is covered with a removable pebble-grain vinyl, fixed with mahogany battens.

Inside is a roomy V-berth in the bow with full standing headroom and a large hanging locker; ventilation is provided by a large opening hatch. A sliding mahogany door between the forward cabin and salon provides privacy. The salon is huge, both wide and high, and unique in its spaciousness for a 35-foot boat; headroom is a full 6'5". On some boats (mostly American), a small opening hatch overhead provides air; many European boats have a stainless "UFO" vent in place of a hatch. A large U-shaped settee to port and a straight settee to starboard flanks the mahogany dining table which can easily seat seven.

The dining table and port settee can be converted into a double bunk. Lockers and shelves abound. A compact but very useful nav station is just aft of the starboard settee, and boasts a full-sized chart table with multiple drawers for chart and instrument storage. The head is just to starboard of the companionway, and has a porcelain sink and standing room for the hand-held shower. An optional teak grate provides access to the shower sump. A large wet locker occupies one side of the head.

The L-shaped galley is opposite on the port side, and has a 2 or 3-burner propane stove with oven, a stainless-steel lined icebox, and a sink. Some boats (most European and early U.S. exports) have double sinks and small iceboxes, while later U.S. export boats have a single sink and larger icebox. The icebox is lined in stainless steel and is fairly well-insulated.

Euro galley

Euro galley

US galley

US galley

There are many drawers and lockers in the galley. Tucked under the companionway is a large mahogany box covering the engine and serving as two of the four steps for entrance to the salon. Removing the box provides full access to three sides of the engine; as any sailor knows, this alone is worth a king's ransom. Changing the oil is a snap!

Behind the galley is the walk-through entrance to the aft cabin. One must duck to fit through this opening, but once in the aft cabin, it is worth the stoop. The starboard berth is about 7 1/2 feet long, while the port berth is at least 6'6". There is a filler which turns the berth into near queen-size proportions. Ventilation is provided by a large opening hatch overhead, and two ports (one to port, the other starboard) provide a cross-breeze (although on some boats, these side ports are fixed); headroom is 5'8". There is a large hanging locker to port, and two small cabinets for storage. Under the cushions, a cavernous space for storing bulky objects is available.

Forward of the berths along the companionway to the galley is a huge "machinery space", closed off from the aft cabin by a sliding door. This compartment houses the seacocks, fuel filters and tank, hot water heater, steering gear, battery charger, house batteries (on some boats these are under the aft berth), transmission and stuffing box. The size of the compartment has to be seen to be believed- if it weren't for all the equipment in there, one could almost make it into a kids' cabin. There is adequate room to double your battery capacity if so desired, and most equipment is handily reached without too much trouble.

There is a swinging door which provides privacy to the aft cabin, and also doubles as either a cockpit table or leaf to the dining table. Clever, those Swedes! This sloop is a lively and swift performer, a joy to sail. It accelerates quickly and is very close-winded. In strong winds, the boat is very controllable and sure-footed. Steering is responsive and smooth. The boat moves well in light air, but must also must be reefed early, in about 15 knots of wind. Under power the boat will do six knots; it is very maneuverable, except when backing. In reverse, steering is less predictable.

US vs. European Models

To better compete with rival sailboat makers in the US market, numerous enhancements were made to the European Scanmar 35. The US models have opening ports in the aftercabin, an opening hatch in the salon, shaft drive and transmission, a large icebox with a single sink (US galley), and double the fuel and water capacity of the European model. The European models had fixed ports in the aftercabin, mushroom ventilators in the salon overhead, a Saildrive, a smaller icebox with a double sink (European galley), and half the water and fuel tankage. Note: the early US imports exhibited some vestigial European features. The Scanmar 35 is a robustly built boat that is quite uncommon in the US, but well worth the search. At this writing, they represent an excellent value, and offer the opportunity to obtain a first-class, blue-water capable boat at an affordable price; sort of like getting filet mignon at chop-steak price!


The Scanmar 35 was introduced in the fall of 1982 and was manufactured until late 1988. It was sold by Scanmar Boats of Saltsjö-Boo (a suburb of Stockholm) Sweden, but the manufacturing was done by the Börjesson Brothers in Bjästa. The primary importer of these boats into the U.S. was Pelorus Yachts of Rock Hall, MD.

Article source: scanmar-yachts.com (now defunct)