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Re: Boats like S&S 34
Here is a particularly informative post from blue water boats dot org. I believe it adds significant value to this thread so I am cutting and pasting it here. It is in reference to a S&S 34 and goes on to compare boats that are very similar.
Simon Torvaldsen says:
February 21, 2010 at 6:58 am
The boat was originally designed under RORC rules (ie pre IOR). However, Olin had a hand in designing the IOR rule proclaimed in 1969 and so knew what was coming, and the S&S 34 was designed with this in mind. Some IOR features have been left behind over the years – the mainsail was originally very short footed and there was a 160% genoa option – the IOR rules favoured this but it is not as efficient and over time the 11′ boom has been lengthened to 12’6 and no-one uses more than a 150% genoa. In winds over about 18-20 knots true (less when cruising) we use the #3 which has a 105% overlap
Unless racing hard, most owners would in fact consider a reef in less than a steady 25knots, but it is true that the gung ho racers can hold on and sail very effectively in up to 25 knots (or even more) before reefing. There is always a debate about whether to reef with a #3 jib or got to a #4 before reefing – most seem to reef before changing to the #4 (perhaps it’s less work!)
It probably takes less than 20hp to get to hull speed on smooth water. The original Volvo MD2 engine was I think rated at only 15 hp. Perie Banou III seems to get around fine with on 13hp, although Col Sanders says it is hard work powering into a seaway or stiff breeze.
The bow is fine (compare to say a Tartan Classic 34 also designed by S&S) as the boat was originally designed as a racer not a cruiser. The fine stern makes a well balanced boat, unlike a similar sized Beneteau/Bavaria etc if overpowered the 34 does NOT round up, but just heels over further. However, we don’t get a whole lot of aft cabin room/double beds etc.
The waterline length also increases when going downwind – the stern drops down so the the waterline length effectively extends to the very tip of the transom. They do tend to be a bit wetter than modern designs – due to finer fore section and lower freeboard – the trade off is that they don’t pound to windward as most comparable modern flat bottomed designs do.
It is correct that they are still quick boats. After 4 days of racing in the 2007 Hobart the new Farr designed “IRC optimised” Beneteau First 34.7 (actually a longer and bigger boat) was only 6 hours ahead over the line and about 3 hours behind on handicap. The conditions particularly favoured the Farr design. Under more favourable conditions the 34 can actually beat the Beneteau over the line, although on balance the Beneteau is more often slightly ahead. We regularly beat a well sailed Bavaria 34 over the line on the river. We can’t beat lightweight planing boats downwind though, at least on smooth water. Speed hard on the wind is about 61/4 knots. It is hard to get more than 9-10knots downwind in smooth water without an awful lot of wind, but an S&S 34 has been clocked at 17 knots surfing downwind in the ocean.
As a matter of interest the comparison with the Tartan 34 Classic is interesting one, this was designed just before the S&S 34, and was built with the USA East Coast in mind, more of a cruiser/racer. Hence the fuller bow and centerboard. They have good speed and are reasonably seaworthy I think, but are not as fast or bulletproof as the S&S 34 (but we can’t moor in 4′ of water either). It shows the same designer designing quite different boats for different purposes. The offset engine is also of interest as this was a feature Olin used on a number of his designs to improve the interior layout, including the original S&S 34 design. I think he said the shaft could be offset up to 8 degrees without causing problems under power.
The closest similar boat is probably the UFO 34 designed by Holman & Pye. The dimensions and performance are almost identical, they are perhaps slightly quicker than the Mk1 S&S 34 but slightly slower than the Mk2, however, close enough that they can and have raced at times as a combined class. They were never as popular and didn’t gain quite the reputation for seaworthiness as the S&S 34, but perhaps this is more an accident of fate than reality.
The Brolga 33 is also very similar,as this was designed as a direct competitor to the 34, with the aim of retaining seaworthiness and increasing internal space at the expense of some sacrifice in performance. Most would agree that this was achieved.
The Duncanson 34 is somewhat similar, but never achieved the racing success (I think because it was basically slower and/or didn’t rate as well) and likewise never achieved the same popularity as the S&S 34. However it has a good reputation as a tough easy to sail cruising boat.
The Contessa 32 built (still) in the UK is very similar, but slightly smaller and slower. It has not been updated over the years like the 34 (which makes for a very strong Class Association in the UK). It has a similar reputation for being seaworthy and bulletproof, backed up by an impressive record.
There are not many specific points to watch for in buying a second hand boat, just the fact that many are old and tired and need cleaning/painting/refurbishing. Many were fitted out internally by owners and the standard can vary enormously. Watch for osmosis (usually relatively minor and fixable) and perhaps loose rudder bearings, as well as the usual mechanical things with old engines, prop shafts, rigs etc. There have never been any serious structural failings (despite numerous accidents and groundings) and all the boats made are still afloat (although I think one sank after hitting a reef it was subsequently refloated). One suffered cabin top damage being flung upside down from the top of a wave in a cyclone (later repaired) and one lost a mast in a rollover in the 1998 Hobart race (est wind strength 80-90knots, their instruments were jammed on the stop at 75) and had to motor back to Eden. It is interesting to note that most boats in reasonable condition now sell for more than what they cost to build new. Not many second hand boats can boast that!
There is plenty of info and opinions re the 34, I guess it is one of the most influential and significant yacht designs of the 20th century. I don’t think any other has set so many records or probably sailed as many miles.
Last edited by andyselzn; 06-16-2014 at 12:57 AM.
Reason: context was added