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redhairgal 03-02-2009 10:29 AM

Contest 34 any out there?
My husband and I just bought a 1977 Contest 34. For those of you unfamiliar, it is a Dutch built boat that is quite seaworthy. Is there anyone else out there with a Contest 34 or someone who knows about them? We have started extensive work on the boat incuding replacing all through hulls, the complete fresh water system, parts of the sewage system, all standing rigging, sail are at the sail loft, new prop...need I go on? It would be nice to have someone familiar with this boat to talk to. We are doing as much ourselves as possible. I just finished cleaning and painting the bilges after removing the 33 yr old fresh water lines. Yuk! My husband just finished removing all the through hull fittings. We are on a quest to find the best replacements and the best way to replace them.


JomsViking 03-02-2009 11:07 AM

Contest 34
Hi RedHairGal,

Congrats on your Contest! They are nice boats, and generally well-built. For further information and forums, you need to check out the following:
Home & Contest Yacht Owners Club &
The 34 is designed by Dick Zaal (, and is an IOR design, however not as extreme as others. They're not the fastest, but seaworthy, as they were more intended for cruising.

mccary 03-02-2009 11:35 AM

Contest 34
I came close to buying one of those a couple years ago. The owner couldn't decide to actually sell her so, eventually I moved on. But it looked like a great boat. I visited her several times while negotiating. It was well built. I contacted the mfg in Holland only to learn the records for older boats (<1990) were lost in some business disaster (may have been a fire, this was 2 years ago). The worst part I could say about his boat was the crazing in the gel-coat, that was not a deal breaker for me. I think you have a good choice for a boat!

redhairgal 03-02-2009 11:01 PM

Thank you both. Joe, I see you're on the Chesapeake. We bought our boat from a man on Kent Island. I'm curious, where was the boat you looked at? I wonder if it's the same boat, it's been painted.

jrd22 03-02-2009 11:24 PM

My father has had a 1972 Contest 30 for many, many years and it's been a great boat. Even though he hasn't upgraded much over the years ( re-powered last year) the boat has real class and charm and sails like a dream. It's quite fast ( ask Bubb ) for it's size and structurally he has never had a problem with it. I really like the lines of the Contests, I think you picked a great boat.

Philine 02-22-2010 05:12 PM

If you are stil out there - had ours for 7 years and is just planing for a big overhaul started by minor enginfaliur - so why not fresh up the whole boat, with new engine, electronics, water etc. It is a great boat for family use and we are very fond of it.

emagin 06-01-2010 01:17 PM

Could any of you Contest 34 owners tell me the headroom inside the boat?

Philine 10-02-2010 07:28 AM


Originally Posted by emagin (Post 608893)
Could any of you Contest 34 owners tell me the headroom inside the boat?


In cm. it is 195 in maincabin and toilet. and about 160 in aftercabin.

Best regards


redhairgal 10-03-2010 07:09 PM

I haven't written in a long time but I thought i would write to let you all know how the boat is doing. We ended up moving to the boat yard in Maryland anf living in a shack for 4 months while we refitted the boat. Here is a partial list of what we did:
new thru hulls, new sea cocks, new standing and running rigging, sails reworked, completely new plumbing system, completely new electrical, new electronics, fiberglass work including building a new sole hatch for the cockpit and sea hood cover, rebuilt the mast step, and reinforced foredeck, added Vetus cleats, painted new waterline and topsides, added removable solet stay with Johnson lever, reinforced bow pulpit, added water heater and new water tanks, removed and cleaned fuel tank, completely serviced engine, raw water intake and exhaust system, replaced fuel lines and added Racor dual fuel filter system, added and replaced lights including foredeck and steaming lights, ham radio, VHF and back stay antenna, new dodger, rebuilt the steering and beefed up a bulkhead to mount actuator for a new below decks auto pilot system, new diesel fired heater and stack, rebuilt propane plumbing for the original stove...

This year we added more electronics, New radar, chart plotter, depth sounder transducer, electric anchor windlass, more powerful higher out alternator, Zantrax voltage management system took out and re-bedded all hatches and made new frames, Rebuilt the cockpit locker covers, added new drawers in aft cabin made new engine box cover with two storage compartments, more wiring and troubleshooting, added new VHF radio at helm...

As you can see the boat needed a great deal of work and money! Now we are having the bottom peeled so we decided to have the topsides painted professionally. I rolled and tipped them last year, good at 10 feet but since we have to peel the bottom we decided to go all the way. When we had the bottom soda blasted we were unhappy to find the gelcoat is very thin with surface cracking all over and very small blisters all over. We found the fiberglass laminate very thick and solid even though the moisture readings were very high. The repairs we did last year, (repairing larger blisters) are completely intact so it repairs well. We found the aluminum casting of the mast step was terrible, a classic 'cold shut' casting where it shrank too fast and caused cracking as the casting cooled. We found cracks in ht e casting. Bad foundry technique and bad quality control. We found this in a Contest 31 we looked at as well.
My biggest decision is whether to stay with white or paint her dark blue.

On the plus side the boat does not leak a drop and the decks are solid fiberglass so no wet cores. The previous owner did very little to this boat but whatever he did we had to rip out and do over. The boat is structurally sound aside from the gel-coat. She sails well, though not the fastest. She is stable and steady on her feet. Rides big waves and comes right up the other side. With the combo of a 45 HP Volvo and new 3 blade prop she's an unstoppable motor-sailer and burns no more than 1/2 gallon an hour at 2500 rpm.
The cabin has lots of head room and the bunks are nice and long in the main salon. The head space in the aft cabin is low.
We're planning to sail to Nova Scotia next year. Looking forward to that.

captkirb 10-12-2010 09:56 AM

i have a contest 32 mid cockpit sloop. very well built and commodious in general.seems to be a well balanced rig. i just came 800 mi. across the gulf of alaska. mine has a glass hardtop cockpit which is nice in this part of the world. good luck on the refit. mine was gone thru pretty well in 2000, although thru hulls need attention and electrical is as always screwy.

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