Considering 1977 Tartan 34 - What should I look for? - SailNet Community

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Old 09-05-2007
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Considering 1977 Tartan 34 - What should I look for?

A little background before the main question (skip to next paragraph if you wish):
I'm new to sailing this year, completing the CYA Basic Cruising and joining a sailshare club through my sailing school on the Ottawa River. The boats in the sailshare program are Sharks and a Tanzer (22'). The boats are fun for day sailing and longer trips are not really an option on this section of the Ottawa River. Participating in the program has brought my family (my wife plus our 2 nine year olds) into sailing and we are now looking at buying. We would like a boat that has room to spend 3-4 nights. From the content here, it looks like a boat in the 27-34' foot range would fit our family requirements, budget, and sailing conditions.

I have combed through many of the posts and have read very good things about Tartan, CS, and Pearson. I found a Tartan 34 on yachtworld that fits into my categories and is close to my next business trip. (I don't have the sufficient postings here to post the link - if you want to see the boat, search yachtworld for a Tartan in Sandusky, OH listed for $27,000). My question, based on this particular boat, is what specifically to look for in a boat of this design, age, and description? The design has keel/centerboard that (to me) would be prone to problems.

Appreciate any and all input.

Regards,
Slice2002
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Old 09-05-2007
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She certainly looks well-kept. There are a few T34C owners active on this board, so I'm sure they'll chime in soon.

I see she has the original Atomic 4, which is always a point of scrutiny. Not bad engines, mind you, but they're getting pretty old. Be sure to have an actual mechanic look at it, as opposed to the surveyor.
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Old 09-05-2007
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Given the age of the boat, you'll probably want separate engine, rigging and boat surveys.

Gasoline engines aren't necessarily a bad thing, but some people think that it should detract from the price of the boat, preferring diesel. However, there are still a lot of Atomic 4s out there. If you're planning on any extended cruising, a diesel would probably be better, since they're more fuel efficient. Also, with the advent of ethanol blend gasolines in the marine market, the fuel doesn't last quite as long—being more susceptible to water absorption problems than the older non-ethanol blends.
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Old 09-05-2007
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From the listing, the boat has been on the market since at least 21 May, so there may be some issues with it. Look carefully!
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Old 09-06-2007
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Thanks for the tips on engine and multiple surveys. I'd prefer a diesel - is there a common diesel engine swap for T34C? Not a huge deal but more food for thought.

I also noticed the time on market. Not sure if it is a function of the condition of the boat or the market. Regardless, it indicates the boat should sell under list.

I figure I'll go kick the tires and see if there is enough there to warrant the surveys for this boat.

Thanks again.
Slice2002
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The T34s I've looked at had either the A4 or a Yanmar diesel. The 2GM seems to be popular, although I did see one with a 3GM. I believe later models had a Universal diesel option.
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Old 09-06-2007
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If there are tires, then its an RV not a tartan 34, and therefore not as seaworthy as the real thing. I looked at many of these boats in my search and really liked them.
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The Tartan 34 is a fine boat. It is absolutely among the best looking boats out there. I think it was drawn by S&S?? Regardless, it is a sweet looking boat and will turn heads in any harbor. Bow, sheer, stern, brightwork....not much to improve upon.

The centerboard style keel is well designed. It is robust and will give you no problems. It is great to be able to crank up the keel after a grounding, or enter shallow harbors.

If you are performance-oriented, you can add a little strip to make the joint between the board and hull pretty tight. You will also enjoy really nice pointing ability with the board down as you go upwind.

I keep my boat (1975 C&C with original Atomic 4) about a half-hour from Sandusky. The A-4 is a solid running engine, simple to work on, and will run decent even on really bad gas. Unless you have SERIOUS cruising plans, don't bother changing it out. To swap it for a diesel will cost you about 9k for the engine, plus new fuel tanks, fuel lines and engine instrumentation.
Just run the blower for 5 minutes. No problem. There are tons of cheap A4 parts available, and the undisputed guru is Don Moyer Marine. Virtually every part can also be cross-referenced to NAPA to avoid the high dollar marine mechanics.

Remember these boats were built during the 70's. Before the petroleum issues that caused boat builders to go cheap on the resin/glass ratio. There should be no hull blister problems here. Tartan was, (and is) a Class-A builder. They didn't skimp on parts or labor.

If you want, you can use the diesel issue to your advantage, and tell the broker you really want a diesel, but might settle for the 'dangerous' gas if the price is right. Ditto for the time on market. However, this is the midwest, and Sandusky is smack in the middle of the auto industry. We have had a rough couple of years out here. Since she's in Sandusky, its a fresh water boat and should have no big corrosion or rigging issues.

Good luck. I would get a classic boat like that in a heartbeat. You'll also like the cockpit seat hatch access directly to the cooler/refridge without having to go below for that cold refreshment.
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The only thing that kept me from going for the T34C was the location of the wheel. I felt is took up the whole cockpit and there was no real lounging room for crew or guests. I am now looking at designs with the wheel full aft. But thats totally subjective, and momentarily six folks will come on and tell you thats the only place to have the wheel! Happy hunting.
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Old 09-06-2007
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LOL come on Rockter...this post has been up for more than 24 hours? Your slacking off
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