We first reviewed the Com-Pac 19 more than 20 years ago in our issue #1. Since then we’ve evaluated 120 additional boats, so we thought it was time to revisit and update a few of the earliest reviews.
Going back to our first issue to reread our review of the Com-Pac was like stumbling across a love letter written two decades earlier—would we have the same feelings this many years and boats later? The answer is, fortunately, mostly yes— even if testing so many boats in the interim has slightly tempered our enthusiasm. The text below includes excerpts from the original review, along with our new comments, and some additional quotes from Com-Pac 19 owners. —Eds
The longer you study the Com-Pac 19, the more sense it all makes. The hand-laid fiberglass deck and hull. The eight-hundred pound fixed, shoal keel. The roomy, low cabin, high coamings and relatively small cockpit. All are characteristics of a boat designed to handle some pretty heavy weather. We suspect this boat can go almost anywhere a capable skipper chooses to take her.
The Com-Pac 19 has gone through a few changes over the years. The Mk II model was distinguished by the addition of a bowsprit and a slight change to the J of the headsail. From then on, the sail plan has remained unchanged. The Mk. III model offered some minor changes to the interior. The last model produced, the Com-Pac 19 XL, was the first version in which Hutchins Co., Inc. (builders of the Com-Pac line of sailboats) used a full fiberglass headliner on the underside of the deck. Hutchins finally ceased producing the 19 in 2002 (one year before they stopped the 16), but not before they’d launched 624 of the 19s from their Clearwater, Florida factory.
In our initial review we referred to the Com-Pac 19 as “one of the bigger boats for its size,” and said it “squeezes a six-foot-eight-inch self-bailing cockpit and four adult-sized six-foot-four-inch berths, comfortably into a classic old-world-style sailboat of twenty feet, one inch overall.” While we still think of the 19 as a big little boat, sleeping or especially cruising with four aboard sounds like a tighter fit than it did 20 years ago. Hunching down into the cabin of a 19 again recently, it didn’t seem quite as palatial as it did decades ago. But we did daysail a Com-Pac 19 again recently with two adults and three kids aboard and it never felt particularly cramped.
The cockpit felt roomy, but not excessively deep. Interestingly, the cockpit of the Com- Pac 19, is actually shorter than that of its 16-foot sister boat. Standard features include big under-seat lockers, handrails, bronze mooring cleats, stainless pulpit, and easy-to-access, but out-of-the-way gas tank stowage.
Moving forward, we walked on a well-constructed deck that refused to flex. The bow pulpit provides a relatively safe area to work from, and the sturdy forward cabin hatch definitely offers convenience.
Below, Hutchins’ generous use of teak paneling and bronze opening portholes reminded us of larger and more expensive craft—boats like the Pacific Seacraft Flicka. Oddly, we agreed the interior of an older (mid-eighties) Com-Pac 19 we’d been aboard was more aesthetically pleasing than the later models. It may have been the fabric choices, but it seemed to have lost a touch of the traditional feel. This is, of course, purely subjective.
You get full sitting headroom below, even if you are seated rather close to the floor (sole to overhead measures an even four feet). The portable head is stowed behind the companionway step. This works out well, as you don’t notice it until you need it. A forward galley option is also available, including a sink, water stowage, table and shelves.
The solid teak compression post is another top-quality addition. It contributes to an air of ruggedness that makes the Com-Pac feel sturdy and safe—two words we’d use to describe the entire vessel. All Com-Pac yachts we’ve reviewed are of high quality, and the 19 is no exception.
“(The boat) comes alive as the breeze builds to about 8 mph.” Russ Browne on Windsong
“She’s not a racer, but still a pleasure to sail.” Jack Knowles on Breezy One
“I would say light air performance is not particularly good, though I did not try drifters and mostly didn’t worry much about making headway in light air.” Will Patric, Jeanne B III
“GPS showed 7 knots with main reefed, Genoa out, surfing down waves—man that was fun! Averaged about 4 knots.” Kevin Crowder, 2002 Aurora
“The Compac 19 is not a racing boat. I liked the solid, steady feel under sail.” Lon Zimmerman, 1989 Selkie
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