Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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There were two different J-34''s. One was a cruising boat and is sometimes referred to as a J-34c and the other was an IOR 3/4 tonner.
The 34c is a very nice boat. They offered nice accomodations and reasonable performance. They are one of my favorite boats in this size range for coastal cruising (I like the Alsberg Brothers Express 34 a little better and the Farr 1020 a little less). They were only produced for a short time being replaced with a stretched version, the J-35c.
The J34 that was a 3/4 tonner is often sold at a very inexpensive prices for a 34 footer. They were designed during a specific point in the IOR rule as an IOR rule beater. They became almost instanteously obsolete as an IOR race boat when the IOR rule changed yet again. IOR boats generally are real bargains if looked at solely by their length on deck. Of course, with stripped out interiors, limited speed ability, poor heavy weather sailing ability and the need for bigger crews to even go daysailing, they have limited utility and appeal. That said the J-34 was certainly better than most of the old IOR boats out there.
Not many J-34''s were sold because they were pretty expensive, offered spartan accomodations, required real skill to sail well, were not as fast as J-29''s and had a hard time sailing to their original PHRF ratings. Compared to more typical J-boats of the era, like the J-33 and J-35, they were tender and not very fast. They took big crews and big sail inventories to race competitively and so really never caught on. Still they offer a lot of boat for the dollar and are interesting reminders of a time gone by.