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flicker 12-09-2003 03:22 PM

Tartan 34
Well, it looks like the time may be fast approaching to buy our cruiser; that is, we will probably be cashing in our house and cars in about 6 months. We hope to have, and to live on, our cruiser at that time. We expect to leave no possessions ashore, and so what we will take with us is all that we will have; our pots, pans, and china, musical instruments, art supplies, books, and clothes for both work and leisure in hot and cold climates.

While I have been looking pretty much for a 40- to 45-footer, it now looks as though a smaller boat may be more reasonable for several reasons, chiefly economic. And I''d like to stay below $50K, preferably under $30K.

I''ve been looking at the Tartan 34s on Yachtworld because of the K/CB, which I hope will give a good comromise of allowing more anchoring choices while keeping sailing (esp. pointing) ability, and because I have been reading on this board that Tartans are fairly sturdy, well-made boats.

My questions really are: Is this a good boat for cruising? Is it sturdy and seakindly enough for years of passagemaking in all weather conditions? And is it heavy enough to carry enough cargo, fuel and water to allow the two of us to stay out for long periods of time (even without the musical instruments)?


Jeff_H 12-09-2003 06:14 PM

Tartan 34
The Tartan 34 is a pretty nice boat. They sail well for their era if not too heavily loaded. They were reasonably well built for their day. They had a number of layouts and the traditional aft galley layout could make a reasonable offshore layout. While not that good in light air or a chop, they are otherwise pretty well rounded designs.

The bad news is that they are quite cramped for a 34 footer and do not have great gobs of storage space. They were not set up to handle the kind of large and redundant ground tackle that distance cruising requires and most still have Atomic 4''s. The other issue is that these are roughly 30 year old boats and they are getting quite long in the tooth. Unless the prior owner has been diligent in doing long term maintenance, to put one into shape to be a decent offshore cruiser could easily run $30-40K over the purchase price of the boat.


sailingfool 12-10-2003 05:50 AM

Tartan 34
54 Attachment(s)
Two points - the early Tartans (34 and 27) were well constructed, but have no relationship to the newer models that fetch deserved premiums on the market. From that perspective, the early Tartans deserve no distinction from similar vintage boats like the Pearson 33 or 35 or Cal 33 or 34. A recent Tartan 3500 may be worth three times as much as a recent Pearson 36-2, but the earlier boats from these builders in my opinion are somewhat interchangeable. So if you stay in this size/price window, you night want to look at the others also.
Secondly, you''d better not be in a rush to get anywhere because these boats are relativley slow. The Tartan 34 rates 174 in PHRF-NE, three seconds slower than the Tartan 30. From my personal observations, the Tartan 34 doesn''t sail to that rating, especially upwind.
My personal preferance would be the Cals of that era, as having more room and performance.

Good luck.

h37skipper 12-10-2003 07:40 AM

Tartan 34
Question for Jeff and S/F. I have watched this board for some time now and respect your experience and well-grounded answers to the posts that I read.

Are the features of "seakindly, offshore capable, roomy, and fast" even possible in a boat under 40 feet? And what is "fast"?

I know that a Hylas 54 is all of those things. But how does the average working smuck buy that capability?

flicker 12-10-2003 08:37 AM

Tartan 34
I understand that many people have not been pleased with their centerboards because they jam, bang at anchor or their pendants break. But I really want a well-sailing boat and, at the same time, I want shallow water access. Does the centerboard give these advantages? Or are they too problematic for the advantage they give? And are the Pearson 33 or 35 or Cal 33 or 34 K/CBs?

Thanks again,

sailingfool 12-10-2003 03:55 PM

Tartan 34
54 Attachment(s)
Flicker - Re: centerboards
If shallow draft is essential, I consider a centerboard is a reasonable alternative - you just trade some stiffness, upwind capablity and extra moving parts for the benefit of the shallow draft. I''ve never owned a centerboard boat, but came very close to a special circumstance purchase of a Bristol 35.5 centerboard, and would consider one again. You might take the question about ctb. problems to the Pearson/Tartan owner groups. I don''t think Cal made any ctb.s - my mistake.
Another question is how shallow is necessary - a Tartan 34C draws 4''6" while a Cal 34 standard keel draws 5''. How necessary is that 6"?

H37skipper - Re: "seakindly, offshore capable, roomy, and fast possible?"
I would venture yes and offer my CS 36T as an example. The 36T sails well to a 123 PHRF rating (less so in light air) and the PO of our boat made two trips to Latin America for which he reported the boat very satisfactory, with no gear problems, other than blowing all three reefs in the main. The question of roomy is a different matter, probably more of a state of mind - to me roomy suggests a Little Harbor 73...

sailingfool 12-10-2003 03:59 PM

Tartan 34
54 Attachment(s)
I just remembered some folks sailing a boat of this class, a Cal 34 in fact, around the world :

flicker 12-10-2003 05:19 PM

Tartan 34

The 6" isn''t that important. Actually, even in a K/CB, I wouldn''t mind at all a draft of 5'' that extends to 7'' or 8''. This would make the ballast just a little more effective even with the ctb up, yet still allow me into shallow water.

I''ll look harder at the Cal 34s.


Jeff_H 12-11-2003 01:50 AM

Tartan 34
Sailingfool, I think that you have run into a poorly sailed Tartan 34. The 34''s are not very good in light air but come into their own in a moderate breeze. In a moderate breeze the 34''s are quite fast upwind for their rating and can sail dead downwind quite well with their boards raised. In a moderate or above breeze, a well sailed Tartan 34 can be very competitive under PHRF if properly prepared and properly sailed.

The same can''t be said for Pearson 33 or 35 or Cal 33 or 34. I would say that the Tartan 34 is better constructed than either the Pearson 35 or Cal 34 and on a par with the other two boats you mention.


Pauljohn 12-19-2003 07:04 PM

Tartan 34
Tell me about old Cal 34''s
I am seriously considering purchasing a 67 Cal 34 for 10,000 dollars.
Can anyone with experience with this boat give me details about the vessel?
I have a family, a wife and two children 10 and 12 yrs. old. We love to day sail and want to begin cruising out of Long Island sound.
Is this a good boat?
I have been sailing since age 5, but want to take the next step. I have sailed an O''day 26 Outlaw for the past 15 years. I''m ready for more comfort and want to cruise weekends.

Please help!

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