Edel 35 Sport Owner Report by Ron Butler (12/18/98) 

We purchased our Edel 35 in the islands where it had no doubt been in charter service probably since it was new in 1992. The boat had been flipped and dismasted during a hurricane. It had sustained damage to the cabin tops, decks, hatches, interior bulkheads and hull liner as well as the rig. Significantly there was no hull damage. The owner had repaired this damage, including a new rig (to the original dimensions) and sails including new but poorly installed portlights all the way around. (they leak)

The Edel 35 is an attractive design to me for several reasons. First, it is solidly built. Three 8x9-inch oval aluminum tubes of substantial wall thickness connect the hulls. These beams are mechanically attached to the hulls with massive clamps and bolts located by saddles molded into the hulls. The bow and stern cross tubes join the hulls at the sheer line while the central tube is raised up to the hull top deck level. This makes for more headroom inside the hulls. The bridgedeck is suspended between the hulls on the central and aft cross beams and bolted to the hulls. The foredeck is a large expanse of open netting or trampoline. The deck/hull joint forms a massive overhanging lip that supports a substantial rub rail. The hulls are symmetrical U sections with low aspect ratio keels and skeg attached rudders. You could swap the port and starboard hulls, they’re that symmetrical. Steering is a wheel driving a chain sprocket and then cables to traveler attached tiller linkage. There are versions with tiller steering but most were built with wheel steering. The boat draws about 2.5ft lightly loaded but with eight people and loaded for a week’s cruise she draws more like 3ft.

Another desirable feature to me is that the Edel is three separate independent modules. This means that even if one of the hulls gets holed and flooded there are still two other independent modules that should float the boat. It may be floating at an odd angle but it will still float. Our number two boat on the short list, the Gemini, is all one hull basically. Except for built in buoyancy, a hole in one hull means the entire boat could be flooded. In the model we have, the hull’s interior doors all close and latch against gasketed metal frames. I suppose that in a flooding situation closing the doors will isolate the flooding to a single compartment. I hope I never have to find out. There are three such door-closed compartments in each hull.

People have told me that they consider the three separate living areas to be a drawback since you can’t go from one hull to the other while remaining inside. I don’t consider this to be a significant drawback. I’d rather have the safety margin. On our boat, we have constructed a bimini top with full canvas enclosure that we can rig for cooler or wet weather at the dock or at anchor. The canvas encloses the entire cockpit area and covers both companionways. With the canvas rigged we can go from either hull to the bridgedeck cabin or the other hull and remain inside the canvas.

Another feature that we really like is the companionways that run fore and aft alongside the bridgedeck cabin. It gives a nice wide secure walkway for going forward. You don’t have to climb over a coach roof with footing angled the wrong way. Also the decks around the mast provide flat areas for secure footing.

The Edel hulls are constructed of foam cored fiberglass. The interior bulkheads and some furniture items are plywood but all exterior components are fiberglass. Interior hull liners are fiberglass and made as separate components depending on location. Earlier boats had plywood ladders for entering the hulls with small cubbyholes for storage between steps. Later models like mine have molded fiberglass steps with no storage. Cold molded plywood with graceful curves and a blond finish is used throughout for shelving and cabinetry. Our model has fiberglass window frames. Earlier models had blond finished plywood surrounds.

There is very little wood on the exterior, a feature I like. I’m working to remove the rest of it. I replaced the wood handrails on the cabin top with stainless tubing. I’ll replace the wood steps in the companionway with plastic when I get around to it.

Edel 35s came with two power options. A sled hung outboard motor, centrally located at the aft end of the bridgedeck or twin 10hp diesels perched on saildrives located under the bunks in the hulls. The boat I have originally had twin Volvo 2001 1 cyl 10hp diesels on saildrives with fixed props. Folding props were an option. The boat was delivered to me with the diesels in running condition. I replaced them with a new fiberglass sled and a new 25hp Honda 4stroke outboard. I have seen Edels rigged with single or twin Yamaha 9.9 outboards mounted between the hulls at the aft end of the bridgedeck. I considered using a Yanmar 27hp diesel outboard but I can buy three Hondas for the price of one Yanmar.

On the plus side of the inboard diesels… they were miserly on fuel; about 1 liter each per hour. The boat was very easy to maneuver at low speed although my boat lacks a wheel lock. When you maneuver with the engines you want the wheel locked down to prevent the rudder from moving when you reverse. Also claimed on the plus side is that the props will never ventilate by coming out of the water when motoring in rough seas but I’ve never had the Honda ventilate either.

On the negative side, the diesels are very noisy and vibrate enough to lift your head an inch off the pillow if you are trying to sleep over one. These engines are known as rock crushers for a reason. They also generate a lot of heat. Nice if you like warm bunks, lousy in Florida. The fuel systems are prone to leaks mainly because the vibration loosens everything up. They also weigh about 350lbs each with the saildrives and exhaust systems. The saildrives are complicated and expensive to repair. Volvo doesn’t believe in sacrificial zincs either so corrosion is a serious problem. The saildrives mean that there’s a permanent large hole in the bottom of your boat with only an 1/8 inch rubber seal to keep water out. The sail drives also tend to catch crab pot buoys and represent significant drag not only because they’re permanently in the water (which is significant drag) but because the weight is so far aft that the sterns are depressed. Also there were 10-gallon fuel tanks in the afterlocker just in front of the rudderposts. Even more weight where you don’t want it. In addition, the batteries are located down near and aft of the engines…. more weight in the wrong place. At 10 hp the boat was under powered. 10hp times two is not 20hp…. More like 12hp. The boat would do 4 maybe 4.5 knots possibly 5k in flat water at full throttle. Most of these problems can be overcome with proper insulation and maintenance but I prefer the outboard solution.

In favor of the Honda… it’s relatively lightweight; about 200lbs with the sled. That’s a significant net savings over the old diesels. It has more power. The 25hp Honda moves the boat at up to 8k in flat water. We also give up very little low speed maneuverability. The Honda is steered with the rudders and short bursts of throttle will kick the rear end around very nicely. It’s also very quiet. You can now sleep down below while motoring. We also use portable fuel cans for the Honda at about 6 gallons each. This means that when the marina is closed for the holidays as happened to us recently, and you need fuel, you can schlep the cans to a gas station and fill up. Flexibility is great. We can also lift the sled and motor out of the water while sailing to reduce drag.

When it comes to maintenance, I can just unbolt the motor from the sled, use the boom and mainsheet as a hoist and swing the motor over to the dock. Taking your motor to a repair shop for servicing beats trying to find a diesel mechanic to come to your boat.

The only negative to the Honda is that they do run on gasoline not diesel. The fuel economy is still good however. We burn about 1 gallon per hour at 4200 rpm and about 6.5 knots. That’s only marginally more fuel than the diesels and it’s plus 2 knots. If I slow to 5k, I’d bet the fuel economy is about the same as the diesels. At 4200 rpm we’re running at 75% throttle so there’s plenty of reserve if the current is sweeping you toward bridge piling.

The Edel brochure says it can accommodate eight…well, sort of. We did a trip from Clearwater to Key West with eight on board and we were very comfortable and had a blast. Two of the eight were teenagers and one was a boy of about 9. We managed fine but I doubt if 8 adults would be very comfortable unless they were honeymooners not minding close quarters. We also replenished food and supplies in Key West and fuel along the way. We carry 18 gallons of fuel in three cans. It would be seriously overloaded if we carried food, water, ice, etc for more than 3 or 4 days with that many people on board. You can seat eight around the dinette but you have to slide around on the settee to get everyone seated.

The after berths are 48" wide and plenty long enough for my 200lbs at 6ft and my wife at 5’ 3". It’s not queen size but it does the job. There is a slight difference in the aft berths on our boat as opposed to one that was originally built for outboards. Our aft berths are about 4 inches higher due to engine clearance requirement for the inboards. This is not a significant impact to us. The berths are muzzleloaders. That means you must climb in from the forward end. It’s also not easy to make up one of these beds.

The forward berths are end loaders too and a tad narrower than the rear berths. These are fine for two kids or very small adults but even a big man will find that there’s plenty of room for one.

The bridgedeck is not arranged for sleeping but the dinette could be set-up to convert to a luxury sized double. During our trip the teenagers stayed up late and ended up sleeping on the bridgedeck settees. Not my favorite berth but they didn’t seem to mind.

There is plenty of storage under the aft berths especially now that the engines are gone. I plan to add some shelving in there one of these days just to make storage of small items easier. The forward berths also have storage under but 25-gallon water tanks occupy half of it. Forward of the vee berths there is a substantial fore peak cubbyhole suitable for sail storage or other not too often used gear.

Additionally, there is a hanging locker in between the head compartment and the vee berth with a couple of cubbyholes opposite and a nice hanging locker next to the main companionway. There is a bookshelf opposite the companionway stairs. The head compartment has a nice medicine cabinet over the sink and a dry half-locker opposite the sink with a small shelf under the window. In boats originally configured with an outboard, where the aft berth is lower, there is also a shelf under the rear opening port over the berth foot room.

Behind the rear crossbeam in each hull there is a large outside locker with a sliding hatch that is isolated from the main living areas. I keep fuel in one side, and miscellaneous stuff in the other.

In the bridge deck outside there’s a large anchor well on each side just aft of the main crossbeam. I keep two large fenders and 8 35ft dock lines in one with room to spare. In the other I keep 300ft of inch nylon anchor rode and 35ft of chain excepting the length of chain that lies on the tramp netting between the locker and the offset anchor roller. That leaves that locker half full including the chain windlass mounted inside the locker. On most boats the anchor roller is centered. I prefer the offset one because I always anchor using a bridle that consists of a dock line attached to the anchor rode via rolling hitch and led to the other hull’s cleat. The bridle really helps a lot in minimizing swing. I carry a 35lb Bruce on the roller offset to the starboard side. The offset also allows the chain to align directly to the manual windlass inside the starboard chain locker. I have padded the crossbeam with rubber Treadmaster to keep from scarring the aluminum with the hook or chain. In the aft locker I carry an FX-16 Fortress with 10ft of heavy chain and 200ft of inch nylon. I love the Bruce; I’ve never used the Fortress.

Directly in front of the mast there is a 2x3ft platform for a liferaft. I sold the liferaft because I think it’s unnecessary on a cruising cat. I’m not going to leave a floating 35ft platform even if it’s upside down for an 8ft ring of rubber and air. I left the platform in place. It’s a good seat and a good place to stand while working around the mast. On our last trip we deflated and rolled up our Avon dinghy and lashed it to the platform. It does tend to catch the jib sheets when tacking though. I have laced bungee cord around it and to the tramp netting which minimizes this.

In addition, the cockpit bridgedeck seats are lockers. On one side I have a 6lb horizontal propane bottle for the stove. The other side is used for miscellaneous rope, mop heads, gaff hooks, fishing tackle and whatever.

Inside the bridgedeck there is the usual under sink cabinet with two drawers under the two-burner propane stove. With the outboard model, the batteries stow under the counter next to the sink. There’s room for two group 28s, and a water pressure pump, plus. In the diesel model, this all open storage space. If my wife has a complaint here, it’s lack of a convenient place large enough for all the pots and pans she wants to carry.

The bridgedeck also has cubbyholes along both sides behind the settees as well as forward behind the settee.

If you get the idea that there’s plenty of storage, you’d be right. You can seriously overload this boat with stuff.

Ventilation is provided by a large hatch over the aft end of the vee berth (can also be used for access) , a small hatch overhead in the head compartments, the main entry hatch over the companionway and a large hatch in the aft end of the hull just above the aft crossbeam at the foot of the berth. At anchor, opening the forward hatches and the far aft hatch creates a nice flow through effect in any breeze at all. In the bridge deck on my boat there are two opening hatches in the center overhead directly behind the mast. The larger one can be used for access. On older models instead of two overhead hatches there is one overhead hatch and then two small hatches, one port and one starboard just under the crossbeam on the forward end of the bridgedeck. Leaving these open while slugging it out in a seaway will definitely soak the interior. They do provide nice shaded ventilation for the bridgedeck though.

The hatches forward in the hulls over the vee berths need to be substantial with solid closures and gaskets. I have seen waves come over that section of deck. Secure hatches there are a must. I replaced the original Goiot hatches with Lewmar Ocean hatches. The Goiots are plenty strong enough, they were just in rough shape and leaked. I just didn’t want to mess with replacing the gaskets, glass, handles and then having to remove and rebed them. It was far easier to just remove them and replace them with the new Lewmars. The new Lewmars drop right into the same hole by the way

The hatches all have a nice little lip around the edge that we made screens for using seamstresses elastic and noseeum proof screening. They just stretch into place around the lip.

Also note that the hulls are mirror images of each other. There’s a vee berth, hanging locker, head, and aft stateroom in each side with identical furniture and cabinets.

The main hulls have standing headroom. According to the brochure it’s 6’4" but that must be under the companionway hatch. The rest of the boat is marginally 6’ until the forward end of the head where it’s down to maybe 5’9". Under the crossbeam it’s 5’4" maybe and 5’9" just in front of the vee berth. I have to stoop to pass through the bulkhead doors. The bridge deck headroom is about 5’ 9" where you can walk with plenty of sitting headroom, for me anyway.

The stove that came with the boat ran on butane. I run propane in it with no problem. It turns out that butane and propane are very similar and in fact some of the disposable bottle propane that you buy in camping supply stores is really a mixture of the two. Behind the stove is a 20-gallon water tank. Between the three tanks we carry a total of 70 gallons of fresh water. My boat has pressure water, my friend’s uses small foot pumps. Any of the three tanks can supply water to any of the three outlets in my system. On my friend’s boat, the starboard tank supplies only the starboard sink, etc.

The icebox in mine was cooled by an evaporative type unit which quit completely just before our last trip and just after a service technician tested it. I have since found that two 25lb blocks of ice will last over a week in there with the box reasonably full of cold foodstuff. My friend’s Edel has a small LPG refrigerator in it. I think it’s a bit small. Maybe it’s 2 cu ft. I’m not sure that he’s happy with it. (Another friend’s Gemini has a gas fridge of about 5 cu ft that they just love.)

My box is more like 6 cu ft. I haven’t yet decided what to do for refrigeration. I’ll probably replace the 12v evaporative unit although some of the newer 12v holding plate systems seem attractive.

The rig is simplicity itself. The forestay is mounted on a hull-attached bridle and the two main stays are attached to chainplates in the hull. The mast is stepped on the deck over the main crossbeam. There is a jumper stay over a single set of spreaders on the mast. The main crossbeam has a massive dolphin striker underneath to take the rig loading. The rig is fractional with a large full batten main sail with three reef points. Mine has a roller-furling jib, which I wouldn’t have a cruising boat without. The reefing system is simple and works well. Cleats built into the boom end and a winch set up to reel in the slab reefing lines makes reefing simple and straight forward.

The fractional rigged jib, even though it overlaps the main, is quite small. For one thing the tack is raised above the roller drum which sits about 3ft above the main cross beam on the bridle. Because of this and the fractional rig, the jib’s area is small and light air performance suffers somewhat. On the other hand, when it blows twenty, having the sail small and low helps. The high foot also means that sun bathing beauties on the tramp don’t get flogged when you tack. Everything’s a trade off.

The jib leads to the bridgedeck cabin sides and then to large Lewmar self-tailing winches. The mainsheet is led off the boom end to a line controlled traveler over the rear cross beam. Mine has an interesting double block system that gives 6:1 purchase if you haul both lines together and 12:1 if you pull only one tail. Other Edels I’ve seen use more conventional systems. I like mine better.

My friend has taken steps to overcome the lack of low wind speed performance on his Edel. He has added a folding 6ft bow sprit, masthead running backstays and a masthead halyard. This allows him to fly gennackers, screachers, spinnakers and other such headsails from the masthead. He can even run both the roller jib and a screacher like a big cutter rig, if the angle is right. It helps his speed quite a bit if the wind is under 10k.

Remember that these boats were designed to be easy to sail in the trade winds charter belt. That means routine, easy sailing in 25k breezes and that is definitely what this boat does best. When the wind pipes up over twenty, the Edel really begins to fly. I have sailed my boat with full main and genoa on a close reach with the apparent wind speed indicator showing 35k and the GPS showing us 12k made good. We were blowing by monohulls that were rounding up and laying down all over the place. We caught and passed one 40ft mono with double reefed main, heeled over and struggling to stay up on course. We blew through her lee at twice the speed, sailing flat. And that’s with just me at the helm and my wife making sandwiches. I love it!

Anyway, in a past life, we have owned a Tartan 34 monohull, and a Stiletto catamaran among many other sailboats. I have to say that I miss the speed and liveliness of the Stiletto but I wouldn’t go very far on what is essentially a beach cat. While I miss that speed, the Edel sure runs circles around the old Tartan. The best day the Tartan ever had showed us 7k on a loran unit on a flat water beam reach. The Edel has seen 12k on the GPS a couple of times and my friend claims to have hit 14k with his. With the Tartan, we planned trips around an optimistic speed of 5k, on the Edel we plan at 7k and often beat that. It’s just that if the wind dies completely, I can still motor the Edel at 7k.

Speed is interesting in another way. On the Stiletto you could really feel the speed. It really felt like you were going fast but then you peek at the GPS only to discover you’re not really going as fast as you thought. Each puff was a burst of acceleration that literally slid you back in your seat. With the Edel you don’t notice the speed. It’s very much calmer and steadier. When you look at the GPS or knotmeter you are surprised to see how fast you are going. Maybe it’s all in what you’re used to.

For another performance comparison, we race sometimes with the Florida Offshore Multihull Association. We are definitely faster than the Gemini Cats including the 105M and not as fast as a Newick 38 tri which I wouldn’t call a cruiser but the owner has raced it to Cuba and Mexico so you’d have a hard time telling him that it’s not a cruising boat. The Edel has low aspect keels and the Geminis have centerboards but in a recent race which put us dead to windward on a one-way beat, the Geminis were not pointing any higher and we were going faster in a light 6k breeze. Those are about the only true cruisers in the club that we see out there regularly although a friend is buying an Iroquois so we’ll see how we do against him. Another friend has a Searunner 34 with a rotating mast but he doesn’t race and we haven’t been side by side with him yet. The racers like Stilettos and F-boats are way faster but then they aren’t nearly as comfortable. I guess that as you get older comfort means more and speed less…. Or something like that.

The roughest water I’ve been in with the Edel is entering Boca Grande Pass with an incoming tide against a strong southeasterly wind. The waves must have been 15ft and very short period. The boat would climb a wave and half the boat had to be out of the water. It would fall off the top of one wave and bury itself up to the mast in the next wave. The Edel just shook a bit and attacked the next wave. Fortunately, it only took about 20 minutes of motor sailing to get through the pass so we didn’t have to endure much of that but we sure had an audience on the north beach. Quite a few people had gathered to see if we were going to make it through. We did with no problem. The boat is rock solid. Yes, we got wet but it was the only time I’ve seen green water over the bows. Ordinarily this is a very dry sailing boat.

One more performance measure. We left Gordon Pass (Naples) for Key West with 8 people on board plus food, water, beer etc. and were anchored behind Tank Island off Key West 14hrs later. We had a nice 15k easterly all the way, which means we were beam to broad reaching. That’s about 100 nautical miles. Including feeling our way down Northwest Channel at night and time spent anchoring, that’s an average of over 7k.

Am I happy with the boat? You bet. The boat is the right size for two people to handle. I can single hand the boat with the aid of the autopilot. The draft is shallow enough for the tidal creek behind our house and the rig is still short enough to use the Okeechobee Waterway. I’m not sure I would want anything bigger, either. Bigger means much more expense in maintenance, repairs, insurance, fuel, dockage, etc. This seems to be the right size for what we like to do, cruising south Florida the Keys, Bahamas and maybe one day Cuba and Mexico. We think we have the best buy in a cruising cat under $100k and quite possibly the best buy period.