The Sun Fast 3600 was consciously designed to up the ante for short-handed racing and cruising, but can any 36-footer appeal to both full and short-handed crews? Matthew Sheahan finds out
Simple, straightforward and best of all wipe-clean, her interior covers the basics well, but has some neat touches too. Essentially her accommodation comprises high-gloss glassfibre mouldings with the odd bit of wood trim to soften her looks. But what really catch your eye are the decent stainless steel grabrails, the large navigation station to port and the practical galley to starboard. And that’s before you notice the snooze seats on either side.
With one at the nav station and one at the galley, these sculptured seats are perfect for off-watch catnaps, an idea taken from Open 60s and Class 40s, although theirs are usually on deck under the coachroof lip.
Other than this she has two simple but large aft cabins, a pair of settee berths in the saloon and easy access to the forepeak where the heads is via a door on the centreline. This may sound stark, but I’m not sure why you would want anything more.
To me the portable fabric hanging lockers in the aft cabins said it all – if you couldn’t pick it up and carry it off the boat at the end of your sail, it shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Simple and uncluttered means comfortable.
LOA 11.25m/36ft 10in
LWL 9.50m/31ft 2in
Beam (max) 3.55m/11ft 7in
Draught 2.13m/6ft 11in
DSPL (lightship) 4,700kg/10,362lb
Sail area (105% foretriangle) 69.8m2/751ft2
Engine Yanmar 21hp/15kW
Sail area:disp 25.3
IRC Rating (typical) 1.044
Price ex VAT £112,000
Designer Andrieu Yacht Design
Although she is just 4ft longer than the 3200, the sail area of the 3600 has increased by the square and her volume by the cube. The bottom line is that she is a much bigger boat than her smaller sister and you can certainly feel it under sail. The combination of the simple laws of scaling and her sure-footed feel produce a boat that seems more powerful and more solid than her overall length suggests.
The 3600 is an upgrade to another level. Handling her short-handed requires more planning than muscle power owing to the higher loads involved. Having said that, for those coming downstream from bigger, bulkier production cruiser-racers, her lighter weight, better control line layout and more open cockpit will no doubt make her feel considerably more manageable.
She’s also pretty reasonably priced at around £112,000 ex VAT, which will scale up to around £180,000 by the time you’ve fitted race sails, electronics and paid the taxman.
Innovative though she is, the 3600 does not have the market to herself. The JPK 10.80, the Archambault A35 and for some people the J/111 also target sailors who want a versatile and easy-to-handle racer for fully crewed and short-handed racing.
The Sun Fast 3200 might have hit the big time by accident, but plenty of boatbuilders are now analysing her success and plotting their futures accordingly – including Jeanneau.
This test appeared in Yachting World July 2014 issue