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Talk to me about the Tartan 33
I own a 1982 Tartan 33R, which is the masthead, deep keel version of the Tartan 33, as you indicate in your posting. I''ve owned the boat for 13 years. The July 1, 1989 issue of Practical Sailor has a review of the Tartan 33, and discusses the 33R. The article indicates a "pretty amazing" difference in performance of approximately 30 seconds per mile in favor of the 33R due to the combination of the masthead rig and deep fin.
The 33R is very close winded and very well balanced upwind. It''s a bit slow downwind under main and jib only as the small main on the 33R is a high aspect ratio (boom shortened on 33R to compensate for increased area in the genoa). Engine power is adequate in winds under 25-30 knots, count on 6.5-7 knots in flat water with no wind (newly painted bottom), less in wind and waves. Balance is excellent sailing to windward, there''s very little weather helm close hauled in under about 18 knots apparent, on a reach you''ll be working the helm to keep the boat on course as wind builds above about 14 knots. Design of the hull is excellent. There are few faster boats of this size made in this era.
The above comments apply to the 33R. The following should apply to the 33 as well as they relate to aspects which are unchanged between the two. Seaworthiness is very good, its very rare for the bow to bury and very difficult to put the rail under. I''ve never been pooped, the stern lifts to every wave I''ve encountered.
Construction is very good. Both the hull and deck are balsa cored. During this era, Tartan did not replace the balsa where fasteners penetrated the deck, and the backing washers are not always adequate. However, I''ve had few problems with the core other than minor localized wetness near fasteners. There have been a few gelcoat voids which have become apparent above and below the waterline. There have been a few leaks with the chainplates and ports.
Deck layout is good. On my boat all of the halyards are led aft, I''m not sure this was the case with the regular T-33, although there are openings in the dodger coaming to permit. The winches are well located for single handling, you can reach from behind the wheel. Reefing lines are not led aft; that means two people are needed to reef, one at the mast and one in the cockpit, or you''ll have to jump back and forth.
Interior is a matter of personal taste. Tartan introduced the Tartan 34-2 in the mid-1980s. This boat is essentially the same hull as the Tartan 33/33R, and the rig of the 33R, but with a completely different interior. The 33 has a very short settee on the port side, with a large icebox taking up much of the room. One must go through the head to get to the v-berth. The quarterberth is narrow. These issues are solved on the 34-2, with full length settes on that boat, the icebox moved adjacent to the galley, the head no longer full width, and the quarterberth extends under the cockpit. A few of the late 33s and early 34-2s have a third type of interior which is kind of a cross between the two. The 34-2s are a lot more money, however, and almost all have the Scheel keels of the 33 rather than the deep fin of the 33R. I''ve sailed against a 34-2, there''s a very noticeable difference in pointing ability to windward.
Replacing the keel is likely to be very expensive. They are not easy to remove and I''d suspect the original mold is gone. In addition, I believe the keel sump on the scheel keel models is longer, so a 33R keel wouldn''t even fit.
The boat is on the small size for the trip you suggest, but if properly surveryed beforehand I see no reason why it couldn''t withstand the trip. Provisions for a trip to Hawaii with two people aboard would make things very cramped.