Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New England USA
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Rep Power: 13
I sailed (Raced) one of the Peterson 34 in the late 70''s early 80''s. The design was based on Doug Peterson''s winning "Ganbere" (Don''t know if I''m spelling that right) which did indeed win the SORC. Another one, "Not by Bread Alone" won BI Week and much of the silverware in her class on Long Islan Sound.
When you are talking about a "Production" Peterson 34, they were built in Texas and were one of the first boats to use composites like kevlar in their hull and stress areas.
You can tell the difference between on that was campaigned and one that was ocasionally raced by the fact that the serious races all had tillers, the casual racers had wheels.
In addition, the production version from Texas also had a pretty nice interior for a racing design. Hot and cold pressure water, nice wood trim, etc.
Look around at the pics in yachtworld, the majority you see are the production boats. You can tell by the similarity of the interiors. Any major deviation from that would make the boat one of the one-off''s and not something I would be interested in.
They are a heavily IOR influenced design and do have the high aspect mains and huge foretriangle that is common in that era. When raced, they are remarkably influenced by very small rig and sail adjustments. The mast is one of the bendy types that uses the baby stay to affect mainsail shape. Runners were needed in slop to stop mast pumping.
They were pretty rugged little boats though. We were comming into the harbor with just the main up at night, when we were caught in a squall that pegged the anamometer at over 60 kts (NOAA later reported micro bursts in excess of 100 kts) we were blown flat, mast to the water and held there for about 5 minutes. Wind died down, boat popped back up, nothing broken, we motored the rest of the way in to our slip.
This is one of my favorite racer/cruisers from the late 70''s. I think that with the advanced (for its day) construction techniques used in the production models, they have held up very well.
With a fresh set of rags, and a competent crew, they are still quite competitive at the club level today. Just remember that they are dip-pole jibes, large foretriangle boats that need some muscle to get the most out of them. They would also make an excellent "Express" cruiser, leaving many of the modern floating condos in her wake.