Bristol 33

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A 1968 Bristol 33.

The Bristol 33 was an unusual sailboat for the company and designer Halsey Herreshoff in 1968 as they experimented with the latest trend of fin keels with detached rudders.

Instead of the full keel, attached rudder and short waterline that marked the old CCA racing sailboats, the 33 began to take on the look of the newer IOR racer-cruisers that would come to dominate the 1970s.

Its status as a sailboat in transition shows in a Bristol brochure, with an old-style tiller next to mainsail sheeting in the middle of the cockpit because the boom did not extend over most of the cockpit, as it does on older Bristols,

Its beam of 10 feet, 3 inches is wide for a Bristol of that size and era, while the 5-foot, 6-inch keel attests to the effort to make it fast around the buoys. (It has a PHRF rating of 186, which is decent for a 1968 sailboat of this size.)

“The Bristol 33 is another example of the advanced design Halsey Herreshoff brings to fast ocean racers. The grandson of the famous ‘Wizard of Bristol’ has given the 33 the same modern, fast sailing hull design as his earlier success the Alerion,” a Bristol brochure said.

Another notable feature is that the engine is located over the ballast in the bilge under the floor of the salon, leaving space under the cockpit for sail stowage and adding to the 33’s effective ballast.

The 33 did maintain the traditional Bristol styling of the time, with teak toerails, teak cockpit coamings and low freeboard, as well as a conventional cabin design.


The cabin of a Bristol 33.

There is a V berth forward, followed by the head with shower, a sink and a hanging locker. Some versions offered upper and lower berths in the cabin, while other models offered a dinette on the port side.

It’s not clear how many 33s were built between 1969 and 1971. Hull numbers indicate at least 40 were sold through 1970.

As with all older sailboats, have it checked out thoroughly if you are considering a purchase.

Conditions vary widely because some owners didn’t do required maintenance, and even small vessels can require thousands of dollars in repairs and upgrades if they were neglected.


Hull type: Fin keel
LOA: 33.5 feet
LWL:25.75 feet
Beam: 10.25 feet
Draft: 5 feet, 6 inches
Displacement: 12,800 pounds
Designer: Halsey Herreshoff
Water tank: 29 gallons
Fuel tank: 25 gallons
PHRF New England: (CB) 186
Motion comfort ratio: 28.3

What the Bristol brochure said


The Bristol 33 is another example of the advanced design Halsey Herreshoff brings to fast ocean racers. The grandson of the famous “Wizard of Bristol” has given the 33 the same modern, fast sailing hull design as his earlier success the Alerion. The 33 reflects the considerable tank testing and sailing experience Halsey Herreshoff has accumulated on boats of similar design such as the Alerion. It has the same low wetted surface, the same high aspect rig for tunnel tested sailing effiency and speed, the same low hull profile for minimum wind resistance. By mounting the engine and batteries over the lead ballast, the designer has in effect, increased the ballast displacement ratio.

Flexible Main Cabin:

In the main cabin, you can have either a convertible dinette or upper and lower berths on port side. Standard upper and lower berths on starboard. The 33 has plenty of lockers and drawer space. Its thwartship head provides complete privacy between the forward stateroom and the main cabin. Two large V-berths with shelves over them are in the forward stateroom. Also, one opening port and an opening hatch. Nylon pile covers the hull ­ comfortably.

Excellent Cruising Accommodations:

Thwartship galley packs in plenty of convenience yet leaves you plenty of room. Includes seven berths with foam mattresses; navigator’s table; flush two-burner alcohol stove with cover; cold water hand pump; large ice chest; many drawers and lockers; large stowage area aft of sink for hanging wet gear, etc. (hot and cold pressurize water optional with sink) Passage from cockpit to lounge area berth or to forward head is clear. And besides the usual fixtures, head includes several drawers, one opening port, a hanging locker, and a large shower (optional). Also optional pressurized hot and cold water system for shower and wash basin. Mahogany satin finish for custom look in below deck woodwork. Main cabin bulkheads with satin finished mahogany or Formica. Optional mahogany ceiling on hull in either main cabin or forward cabin. Other features include teak cabin floor (veneer); cabin table; molded cabin floor throughout boat with wood inserts.

Strong Hull and Deck:

Molded from the strongest material on the market: molded high-impact fiberglass reinforced polyester resin(largely woven roving). Thicknesses vary to suit structural demands. Deckhouse, deck and cockpit are integrally molded. Contrasting non-skid pattern molded into deck, seats, and cabin top. Cowels provided. Two dorade vents molded into deck. Hatch in forward stateroom opens fore and aft. Exterior trim is teak.

Weather Tough Deck Hardware:

All deck hardware is stainless steel, chrome-plated bronze, or corrosion-resistant aluminum alloys. Standard equipment includes: anodized aluminum mast & boom; genoa track with block on slide only; anchor roller stemhead; #5 geared sheet winches chrome winches (2); #2 top action main sheet winch (1); #2 top-action halyard winch; traveler and blocks for mainsheet; bow pupit; stern rail; lifelines & stanchions.

Comfortable Cockpit:

Self-bailing. Both hatches scuppered to prevent leaking. Deck layout designed for comfort. If exterior trim is teak…your choice of varnished, sealed or natural.

Heavy-duty Electrical System:

Works from alternator on engine and 12-volt marine battery. Bow, stern and side running lights; spreader lights (pair); masthead light; interior lights(7); dockside power (110-volt shore power (4) outlets); extra battery with 4 way switch.(optional)

Engine Installation:

30 HP Universal Atomic 4 gasoline engine with proper control equipment. Two bladed solid sailboat propeller, shaft runs in Bristol-type rubber mounted shaft log. On cockpit side: throttle and reverse controls, connected to the engine with rattle proof ball joints. On the aft side of the cabinhouse: water temperature, oil pressure, and ammeter gauges. Oversized, nonbreakable fule filter. Coast Guard approved engine room exhaust blower as well as natural forced ventilation. Fuel tank has 25 gallon capacity.

Additional features:

Standard features not mentioned previously include: hot&cold pressure water system (with shower); three burner stove with oven; vinyl mattresses; bilge pump (manual); bilge pump (electic); 5″ Ritchie compass; sink; ice chest; and other items shown on plan and elevation drawings.

Owners’ comments

Read the full Bristol brochure

Line drawings and more specs for the 33