Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Alameda, San Francisco Bay
Thanked 55 Times in 54 Posts
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Apples and Oranges
CD is much too kind. To clarify, I do not run a NW C34 organization. I was however, the Chief Measurer for the Catalina 34 International Owners Association about five years ago. I do have experience in racing one design (national Champion in 2002), YRA, “club” racing as well as single and double handed racing. I’ve also been first place in the OYRA, 2nd in the Pacific Cup and 3rd in the Rolex Big Boat Series on OPBs (other people’s boats).
Just by coincidence, I had the opportunity to crawl all over a C&C 40 last week at the local brokers. Nice boat, but frac rig, runners, and halyards at the mast, it was really set up for racing and not very practical for me.
The C34 is big. If it was built by Beneteau, it would be marketed as a 35 footer. IMHO, they are well designed and built, they sail well in heavy winds and seas and they are very comfortable for couples cruising. They enjoy a fantastic and knowledgeable owners association and I encourage you to visit the website at C34ia.org. You may even find the boat you are looking at in our database. They have been cruised to Mexico, Hawaii, crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific and are being cruised in the Carib, Alaska and Australia.
The C34 is a cruiser. Racing here in SF Bay is serious business. I have raced against Olympic medalists, Americas Cup crews and other assorted sailing royalties. I don’t know what your local completion level is like, but I have had to go against a Synergy 1000 in my club’s beer can series! When I go up against boats of similar genera like the Beneteau’s, Cal’s, Ericson’s and like, I usually prevail. I don’t do so well against the J’s, Express’ and the like. In YRA, we’re a mid fleet boat, single and double handing, a bit better. If we optimized the boat for racing, we’d finish higher. I also don’t push the boat like I did in my one design days as we are planning on shoving off to Mexico in a couple of years and I don’t want a beat up boat (plus, cruising gear is heavy!)
Performance wise, we need 2-4 kts to ghost along. With the 130, we are at hull speed in the mid teens. Reefed at 20, 110 headsail in the high 20’s Reef 2 in the low 30’s (all true wind speeds in knots).
All cruising boats tend to have a harder time sailing to their rating than purpose designed racers. First, they are heavier displacement. Secondly, builders “cheat” on the displacement measurement by weighing the first article during the build (and not after it’s completed), often without some of the equipment installed. Race boat builders work harder to keep their production boats down to their designed weight. Don’t believe me? Compare your sling weight to your designed weight sometime (empty tanks).
You are looking at two boats that are pretty far apart on the continuum. Considering their ages, I’d pay special attention to condition. I wouldn’t be surprised if you will have to replace a fair amount of the blocks and running rigging on the retired racer. In the end follow your heart. I think that the C34 would make a fine boat for you but, boat buying is an emotional experience and if the retired racer makes your heart flutter, then go for it.
Last edited by GeorgeB; 03-02-2010 at 12:11 PM.