Thanks for the detailed response
A couple of added comments as they spring to mind:
• The difference in size between the D34e and the J36i is noticeable, particularly in the cockpit. As mentioned in my review, other than having to stoop in the V-berth, we found that we were able to easily adapt to the smaller size below decks;
• It is disappointing that the yacht manufacturers downscale the performance yachts as you have pointed out but understandable given the costs implications;
• The standard size of the sails on the J36i per the Jeanneau website is 64.2m2 which compares with 63.0 m2 for the D34e. The sail area should therefore not make any meaningful difference to the tenderness of the yachts. My understanding is that the roller furling main does not reduce the sail size of the main but I may be wrong and your information may therefore be more accurate. Euromarine’s website and Yacht advisor give specific details of the J36i that we sailed but are silent as regards the total sail area. If the sail area was 56.4 m2, then this is clearly the reason for the difference in feel in the gusts. In fairness, I must say that I felt that the main was a little smaller when we were sailing.
• The sail shape of the main on the D34e which was a classic main was much better than on the J36i. I am not a fan at all of the furling main. You sacrifice on sail shape and the safety issue should the system fail in a blow would mean that I would not opt for this system on my boat;
• The D34e definitely points better than the J36i. We did experience this on several occasions once when we had a Leopard 384 catamaran trying to catch us when we were sailing close hauled; most cats are not able to sail to windward that well and this Leopard was no exception. We had an Oceanis 331 trying to follow us close hauled one day in the Kornatis as well and they has to crack off the wind as they were not able to sail as close;
• Regarding light wind performance, we found both yachts performed really well. I am not sure which one performed better. The D/L ratios are 167 on the J36i and 198 on the D34e with the J36i have a proportionately longer LWL. This would suggest that the J36i should be faster but if the sail area was only 56.4m2 then the D34e would get the nod;
• We found that the deck gear on both yachts was under-specified particularly the size of the winches on the coach roof which could have been bigger. One of the coach roof winches on the D34e was in fact breaking up on account of the loads that it was having to take...
• We were told by Ban Touring that the D34e was equipped with a folding prop and that it was functioning correctly. To be honest, I never checked on this whilst swimming. I never realised that a folding prop can influence prop walk so thanks for the information
• Re the traveller in the cockpit, I really feel torn over this issue. On the one hand, my sailing experience with having it to hand in the D34e was significantly better than on the J36i. On the other hand, not having protection from a bimini, even a small one over the helm, was not ideal. Also if there is only a small bimini over the helm, what happens to the others that are sailing with you in terms of sun protection – they can’t all gather around the helm and they are not going to want to spend their time below decks ... Having a traveller in the cockpit for racing and for competitive sailing is a no-brainer but for cruising and making sure that everyone is protected from the sun, I am not convinced. If there is another solution to this, I would love to know about it.