The Legend brand (Hunter in the USA and Europe) is no longer as well known in the UK as it was 15 years ago, when the company had a factory in Dorset. However, it continues to produce a range of innovative yachts that retain many of the distinctive features of the earlier models, including an overhead stainless steel arch for the mainsheet traveller, comfortable pushpit seats, and a backstay-free rig.
After buying the company two years ago, owner David Marlow (the man behind the Marlow range of long-range quality motor yachts) embarked on a programme to raise the build quality of the Legend range and create a distinctive contemporary styling at the same time. Improvements include increasing the amount of Kevlar fibres used to strengthen the hull, as well as measures to produce a higher standard of finish. The Marlow Legend 37 is the second model to be launched following the change of ownership, having been preceded by the 33.
American yachts tend to have significantly better galleys than those designed in the UK or elsewhere in Europe and this model does not disappoint in this respect. The 37’s galley offers as much space as many European 45-footers, including a considerable length of Corian countertop, front-opening fridge, additional icebox, twin sinks, microwave and extensive stowage.
Given the boat’s generous dimensions – the hull length is 11.43 metres (37ft 6in) – and wide beam, even by today’s standards, it’s no surprise that the saloon is also a decent size. There is two metre (6ft 6in) headroom, a long settee berth to port, plus generous seating that wraps around the dining table on the starboard side. To port there’s a small navigation table, with its own seat, although the fiddles are too small to be sure of keeping items in place on the table in rough conditions.
Two large overhead hatches help to provide good ventilation, while the signature long coachroof and hull windows ensure there is plenty of natural light. The single heads compartment is located aft of the navigation station and is both spacious and well appointed.
The forward cabin has ample standing area, plus reasonable stowage in cabinets on each side of the boat. However, the aft cabin, with its rectangular transverse queen size bed and greater floor area is intended to be the owner’s domain, although in general headroom here is more restricted than in the forecabin.
On deck and performance
Designer Glenn Henderson has drawn a modern hull shape with a pronounced chine in the after sections. The fractional rig has twin spreaders that are swept back at a sufficient angle that a backstay is not required. The sail plan includes a large mainsail and an easily handled 110 per cent furling jib.
The three keel options set this boat apart from its competitors. Of particular note is the twin keel option that allows the boat to dry out upright in drying harbours and estuaries at low tide. This is a rare option on contemporary yachts, although a number of French designs offer lifting keels options which can be dried out, with stability provided either by twin rudders or beaching legs. The 37 is also offered with a choice of two fin keels, with the 1.52m (5ft) shoal draught option having around 275kg of extra ballast to help provide similar stability to the deep 1.98m (6ft 6in) keel.
As well as contributing to more space below decks, the generous 37ft 6in (11.43m) hull length and long waterline also helps to confer a potential speed advantage to the boat, although it’s very much a cruiser, with no pretensions towards the performance cruising end of the spectrum.
The cockpit is spacious and eschews current fashions in that there’s a single wheel rather than twin helm stations. A Lewmar folding wheel is fitted, which facilitates access forward from the transom bathing platform. The large instrument pod has lots of space for mounting electronics, including a large multi-function display, plus additional instrument repeaters and pilot controls.
Equipment and options
Aside from the keel options, there’s a choice of slab reefing or an in-mast furling mainsail. There’s also a long list of extras that should cover all the toys and conveniences that any owner is likely to want, whichever part of the world they plan to base the boat in.
What the Marlow Legend 37 does best
Many owners will buy this vessel simply for the galley – it’s unusually large for a boat of this size and is therefore a clear attraction. The bilge keels will also be attractive to those who sail in tidal areas where drying out can be an advantage.
The company doesn’t aim to compete directly on price with the biggest boat builders. However it aims to produce a quality product in which the advantages of the relatively small price premium can be easily seen.
Other models in the range
The 37 falls roughly in the middle of the Legend range of yachts, which includes seven models from 31 to 50ft. There’s also a three-model line of daysailers from 15 to 22ft.
At a slightly lower price point alternative boats include the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379 (see First Look Video on boats.com here) and Beneteau Oceanis 38 (see the full review here), both of which are slightly smaller in terms of hull and waterline length, despite the model names that suggest otherwise. The German Hanse 385 also competes in a similar sector of the market. For more information on the Legend 37, see www.legendyachtsuk.co.uk or www.marlow-hunter.com.
Marlow Legend 37: Specifications
Hull length: 11.43m
Draught: 1.52m or 1.98m
Ballast (shoal keel): 2,598kg
Ballast (deep keel): 2,325kg
Sail area (standard rig): 79.53sq m
Sail area (all furling rig): 70.98sq m
Fuel: 189 litres
Water: 303 litres
Holding tank: 95 litres