Duncan Kent heads to Plymouth to give his verdict on one of the last Bill Dixon designs under 40ft, the centre-cockpit Moody 36


What’s she like to sail?
These solidly built, medium-displacement cruisers are capable of a very reasonable pace in open seas, where they offer a particularly sea-kindly motion. Thanks to the inboard genoa tracks they do point quite close – up to 33° in fact, although they lose a lot of speed when pinched that tight. Her favourite point of sail is around 50-55° off the apparent wind, when she surges forward relentlessly, oblivious to the sea state.

The Moody 36 is also easy to sail singlehanded, with all the sail control lines and winches within easy reach in the compact cockpit, and you’re not going to get shoulder cramps if you have to hand-steer her for hours on end, either. Nor are you going to become bruised and battered if the seas come up when you’re working at the galley, where the chunky fiddles act as solid handholds. You’ll feel very secure making your way forward on deck, with one hand firmly clutching the wooden handrails.
On a reach the she is capable of averaging 6.5-7.5 knots in all but the choppiest waters. She does lack downwind performance, so needs a big fat spinnaker to really get her tramping along.
Moody S36 Boat Test with Duncan Kent
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
The foredeck is workmanlike and clutter-free, with a deep chain locker and a wide ledge for a windlass. Six large mooring cleats are mounted on the top of the bulwarks, so they don’t require fairleads and are really easy to access. She does have high topsides, but with a split backstay and a large gate, access to the transom boarding steps is good. A deeper platform for warm weather showering and tender unloading would have been nice.

She well enough equipped below to have a guest couple and more, without it feeling too cramped. The owner’s suite aft is fantastic and very private, but only having just the one heads isn’t ideal. Those who regularly have guests might prefer the Moody 38, which has a second heads forward.
Her galley is a good size and, though a tad claustrophobic at the cooker end, is easily big enough to produce dinner for six without too much difficulty. The single bunk is ideal for use on passage and I’ve seen several that have successfully had a foldaway workbench added.
Would she suit you and your crew?
If you’re looking for a 36ft cruising yacht that has a reputation for meticulous construction quality, that has rarely (if ever) been afflicted with the dreaded osmosis, has a palatial master suite, is easy to handle by a couple, exhibits a comfortable, sea-kindly motion under way and holds its value on the used boat market – then you wouldn’t go far wrong seeking out one of these.
You could trust her to take you almost anywhere in the traditional cruising waters of the world, safely, steadily and with a high level of comfort. The only debatable aspect of this boat is whether or not you can live with a high-ish centre cockpit, in return for increased accommodation. Some folks immediately fall for the huge aft cabin, the large heads, a passage cabin that can easily be converted into a small workshop and the generous galley and nav station, but others don’t like a cockpit so high above the waterline and prefer a standard aft cockpit layout.


Price guide £75,000-£85,000
LOA 11.20m (36ft 9in)
LWL 9.24m (30ft 4in)
Beam 3.73m (12ft 3in)
Draught 1.19m/1.45m/1.75m (3ft 11in/4ft 9in/5ft 9in)
Displacement 6,750kg (14,850 lb)
Ballast 2,401kg (5,294 lb)
Ballast ratio (35%)
Sail area 61m² (662 sq ft)
SA/D ratio 17.64
Diesel 218 lit (48 gal)
Water 327 lit (72 gal)
Engine 40hp Volvo MD2040
Transmission Saildrive
Berths 7
RCD category A
Designer Bill Dixon
Builder Marine Projects
Owners Association www.moodyowners.net