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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Pacific Seacraft > Sailing Qualities - 31,34,37
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Thread: Sailing Qualities - 31,34,37 Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-02-2009 10:04 AM
MC1
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinLA View Post
I . . . and it's the only boat I've found with a workable stripper pole. LOL.
The broker I was working with when I was looking at PSC 31s also pointed this out . . . "we provide the poll, you provide the entertainment", I believe were his exact words.
11-02-2009 09:03 AM
stevemac00 I have PSC 31 (1995). I've owned a larger Beneteau which was great when we were living aboard in summers and had a teenage son and friends. It was perfect for us in that situation.

Now we appreciate the openness of the 31. It's much more comfortable in the main salon. We like having drawers everywhere. While we can't sleep as many aboard, we now have a garage where we put the dog crate, dinghy, sails and tools.

We sail on the great lakes where wind changes direction much of the time causing uncomfortable chop. The beamy Beneteau would be tossed to and fro while the PSC charges through. The big gunwales make me feel secure when I have to work on deck in a blow.

I'm an engineer and everywhere I look on the PSC I get a sense of satisfaction about how careful the design was to yield the best result. When marketing doesn't try to change the design every couple of years the company gets a good chance toward making perfection and it shows.

My choice was between a 31 and 34. I like the canoe stern but felt it took away too much on the 34 and I couldn't afford a 37. I also liked having the head at the bottom of the steps in the 31 to avoid traipsing water all through the boat when it's raining out. The head is a bit cramped and you have to be content with showering sitting down.

As to size, I'm 56 and not feeling any younger each year but I can raise the main on the 31 without problems although the genoa sheets take a lot of strength. I'm not sure my wife and I could handle anything larger (we currently have a sloop rig).

I can't imagine anyone regretting buying any of the PSC's. When you're adding some equipment, it will be for you - not the next owner.
11-02-2009 03:56 AM
MikeinLA I thought I'd pop back in for a minute to first thank you for the great responses so far and also just to let you know that I AM keeping up with this thread, so please feel free to keep chiming in. To Richard particularly, that is a very generous offer and I may take you up on it at some point. To perhaps clarify my position a bit, I bought my first boat, a Catalina 30, 25 years ago. After a year or so, I decided to move up to a 36 so I would have more room to live aboard which I did for a few years. By 1992 I was married with a son and my then wife compelled me to sell the boat. By 1995 we were divorced and between that, the earthquake and the bad real estate market (my business), it took until 1999 until I could buy another boat. I had been missing my boat for 7 years and all I could think of was "going home" to another 36. I found an immaculate 1991 which looked just like my old boat to the degree that I named her Deja Vu. That was 10 years ago and she is still immaculate. I mostly daysail with friends and also take her out by myself if it's a weekend and nobody can go sailing. I've made some trips to Catalina, but few because I was a single Dad and had to be around for my son (who got violently motion sick and wouldn't go sailing after a few tries). So, now my boy is off to college at Ohio State and I have a lot more boat time. My boat is 19 years old and I'm 57. I'm sure that we could stay together for the next 20 years or whatever, but I'm still drawn to "the ones that got away". Like I said, before I bought my first 36, I tried to get a PSC 34, but didn't qualify. I also loved the Dana. At boat shows, I would perch up in the V-berth for hours as I greeted the visitors and told them all about the boat. I knew every inch of her. It got to the point that the salesmen would just leave me there and all to go lunch or dinner together. Not sure how many Danas I sold, but I sure loved that boat. I don't think I want to liveaboard at a marina again. I've grown accustomed to my 70" TV and my house is paid for so it doesn't cost me anything. However, lately I've been asking myself some "what if" questions. What if I took a cruise down to Mexico? What if I bought a boat in Annapolis and took her down the intercoastal and on to the Bahamas and Caribbean just to island hop. Women come and go, so I don't have a mate to plan any of this with, I would go alone along with any friends or pick-up crew I could find. I'm truthfully not sure that I'll ever do any of it, but I'm starting to yearn for a boat that COULD do it and although I know that my current boat could (the PO of my current boat took her to Mexico) I'm drawn to traditional boats. I like bulwarks, mast pulpits, boom gallows and ratlines. I've had brief mental affairs with the Hans Christian 33, Mariner 36 ketch, Tayana 37 and even a Spindrift 43 pilothouse. But, as I've gotten older I've also gotten wiser and much less concerned with impressing anyone. I've read enough to know that, at least when short-handed, small is good. The PSC 31 reminds me of the Dana, but with a "garage" in the form of the aft berth as well as the chart table. In port, I am mildly claustrophobic in V-berths. The 31 strikes me as a giant open V-berth at night and a giant open main salon by day. It seems just perfect for me. And since she would either remain a day sailor or become a cruising boat, I don't see the need for all the clothing storage, etc that you need when living in a marina. Some other changes have gone on that also lead me toward the viability of a smaller boat. My whole CD collection now fits in a cigarette pack, movies and TV play on a laptop and instrumentation has become smaller (remember those old CRT radars at the chart table)? So I've been staring at the picture of the 31's salon saying "this would go here and this would go there" and it seems pretty workable so far, and it's the only boat I've found with a workable stripper pole. LOL. Anyway, this is my story. I thought that after so many thoughtful and considerate responses, I owed you "the REST of the story". I've also learned something else I didn't know, PSC owners are good people.

Thanks, Mike
11-01-2009 05:43 PM
MC1 . . . . I suppose it's a noble thought Jeff, providing an unbiased counter-point - infusing logic into a decision otherwise blinded by passion. But those PSC lines ... the form they circumscribe, ghosting through water without even the hint of a wake left behind, they have robbed us all of our senses. The vision of a designer no less than legend, the legacy of a family of vessels that has looked after its owners in the most trying of times, year upon year, their hard won reputation having stood up to some of the worst the sea could conjure. You ask the original poster to be reasonable and betray his heart in consideration of some mere coastal cruiser, and but for convienence sake? I say we cannot support this, I say we dare not! You are asking one in love to follow his head instead of his heart? What would be the point in living such a life, bereft of meaning, a life without purpose and without joy?
(. . . ok, maybe just keeding).

On a serious note, thank you for the greater perspective Jeff, always a good thing to look at the larger picture. Although based on my limited experiences with various other sailing boats, my PSC 34 seems to slide smoothly right through occassionally intense Lake Ontario coastal chop as long as I am not going too slowly (i.e., a little heel makes a big difference). On rare occassions I'll need to vary my heading by 5-10 degrees or pick up the pace a little (but not too much of course). I'll defer to your greater experience on this point in general, but as a whole, this boat gives me a fair measure of confidence. Of course you're right, the boat is an offshore cruiser. By design it is initially tender with its seakindly wineglass shaped hull. Regardless of whether I will ever take it for extended voyages offshore (although I hope I will one day), it's really nice to have the option - to support the dream - to know I can improve her and upgrade her over time working toward the dream. I'd say she is in fact a "forever" boat.
11-01-2009 09:51 AM
Jeff_H Somebody needs to provide an unbiased counter-point here, and while I can't claim to come to this discussion completely free of bias, I suppose that I need to weigh in here just to throw in a completely different perspective to balance the discussion.

To begin with, MikeinLA does not say that he is looking for an offshore, long distance cruising boat. As I read this he is simply looking for a high quaility cruising boat that will stand up well and be very durable. It sounds like he single-hands a lot and that he will be sailing the U.S. Pacific coast.

In an absolute sense, while they sail better than many small purpose built, long distance offshore cruisers, they are still a huge compromise in terms of sailing ability and ease of handling over a well designed, well constructed, modern coastal cruiser, and frankly the PS 34's and 37's (which I know better than the 31) have what I consider a miserable motion in coastal chop, pitching and rolling far more that I would consider ideal.

If Mike is going to be based in LA, he will need a boat with exceptional light to moderate air capabilities, and if he plans to sail north along the Pacific Coast, he will need a boat that will excell in heavy air and with the ability to make fast passage times.

He does not need the huge storage capacities of a circumnavigator and he does not need the weight penalty, or compromise the loss of sailing ability or loss of comfort that comes with long distance cruising capabilities.

Whatever the pitfalls of boats like the Catalina's Mike has known, they actually sail reasonably well across a pretty wide range of windspeeds. I fear that if Mike is looking for a "Forever boat", then I think that he would pretty quickly be disallusioned by the lack of sailing ability of the PS's relative to the boats that he has known.

I would think that he would be better served with a high quality modern coastal cruiser, perhaps something like a Dehler36, Farr 1020 or perhaps J-34c/35c.

Respectfullly,

Jeff
11-01-2009 09:14 AM
Beattie
Ps 31

Mike,

I have a 2005-model PS31 based in Dana Point. If you would like to come down for a sail to see how capable this boat is, pls call me on 949-632-5030.

Richard Beattie
10-31-2009 07:55 AM
Norstar Let's be real, all of these boats have special qualities and they all handle and sail extremely well. Everything on a boat is a trade-off and I believe the PSC line offers some of the best trade offs and options and builds solid performing boats. I'm partial to the 34 but only because that's what we own and sail. I targeted that specific boat years ago when attending the Newport Boat show. We were in the market to move up from our 28 Sea Sprite and the 34 had every thing we were looking for. I kept a brochure of the 34 on my desk for years and new eventually that's what we would end up with. Although, a 37 would have worked nicely as well. I do like the aft head compartment on the 31 and the open plan. The wet locker on the 34 is pretty much useless for storing wet foulies but makes a nice location to install an ac unit as the previous owners did. Like I was saying, everything on a boat is a tradeoff. The other consideration not mentioned is the cost of ownership. As the size increases the cost are increased exponentially. Happy boat hunting!!!

John Schwab
PSC 34 # 201
Norstar Ventures, LLC
10-31-2009 07:19 AM
lsbrodsky
The 31 is it!

I sailed all 3 before deciding the 31 would be my boat. In my opinion the 31 sails better on all tacks except perhaps a dead run, probably as a result of the canoe stern on the others. I do know that I could sail faster than a 34 on beats and reaches, even though the 34 has more waterline. I actually like the motion better on the 31, also. I did mostly single handing and you can single hand any of them once at sea. But, the stuff is smaller on the 31. It is easier to get the sails up, trim, weigh anchor and so on. The head aft is an important feature when cruising, I think. It allows you to duck below quickly and not drag wet clothing through the whole boat. When coming into a dock, the 31 is much easier to maneuver and get some lines over, when you are alone.
If I were going around the world I would want the 40 for size, stowage, water, fuel. Other than that, I believe the 31 is the best coastal cruiser.

Larry
10-30-2009 12:07 PM
FirstSightPS31
Ps 31

Regarding the PS31, to which you are "drawn"--I had the same experience at the Annapolis boat show about three years ago. My wife was not with me at the time, but this spring, when I was more seriously in the market, I took her to see hull 128 in Annapolis, and she loved it as well. So we bought it

I can't speak to the sailing qualities of any of the three versus another, other than the obvious issue of displacement and waterline length.

Now that she is ours, we still love the 31. My wife toured the 34 and 40 in Annapolis at the show this year, and says she would not consider "trading up" (even if we could afford to do so.) The open interior and roomy v-berth of the 31 suit us to a "t". We can sit on the facing settees with the sliding table out just far enough to hold the chess board. We can both move around the "salon" without colliding. The cockpit is roomy also. The traveler on the bridge deck has not proven to be an annoyance, even though we had anticipated that it would be.

So if you are drawn to the boat, check it out. It might be the one for you.
10-30-2009 09:44 AM
MC1 I agree Unomio, it'd be quite an extravagance to put a bow thruster on a 34 also. Personally, I wouldn't "compromise" the hull to do that given the low-value-add in the case. I'm having an argument with myself about a manual vs. electric windlass. I notice for example that Dave M. ( Voyage of the Swan - A Blue Water Cruising Yacht is Selected, Outfitted and Cruised Offshore ) is traveling the world with a manual windlass and some quite hefty anchoring gear. I wonder if he gets a little work out from time to time dealing with that, but there's some nice trade-offs in keeping it simple.

The 34 is extremely sea-kindly and reasonably fast (modified fin keel & skeg hung rudder = less wetted surface area = less drag, but the large bow overhang ='s shorter waterline length = lower hull speed, but sure looks pretty!).

She tracks well when motoring and docking. Having a Max-Prop makes handling in reverse much easier compared to a fixed prop, from what I gather reading many posts from other owners and my own experience with the Max-Prop.

Unlike many of the coastal cruiser boats I've seen, PSC has installed well powered engines on their boats proportionate to their displacements, which also helps with motoring and docking. With the wineglass hull shape and moderate freeboard, she doesn't get blown around easily in a cross-wind at slower speed like some of my flat-bottomed neighbors. The large rudder well aft gives great directional control, maybe not quite as much as a balanced spade, but close, and then this one's protected by the skeg in a grounding situation.

I've added an asym. spinnaker for use in lighter air, the boat's a little under canvassed (by design) for its weight otherwise. If taking offshore, I recommend having a removable inner forestay to give the option to sail as a Sloop or a Cutter.

The 34 is a little stingy on the storage space, but as a heavy displacement boat (for her waterline length, moderate for LOA), she can hold quite a bit of weight. I was definitely appreciating the roominess of the 40 at the Annapolis show this year though.

I really like the layout of the 31 as well per all the reasons cited in your original post and John's as well. I strongly considered two of them. My only (minor) reservation about the 31 is that I was used to being able to take a stand-up shower in my prior boat, and there wasn't the head-room to do that in the 31. Very nice boats, all. I get a lot of compliments on the boat's lines and the asthetic of the canoe stern.

When I had my boat trailored overland to its new home, the driver that was securing the boat to the trailer commented on how rare it is for boats to have such solid hulls these days. Many of the newer ones are more like Clorox jugs (his words). Dave M. also posted previously that he found the 34 to be very strong and stood up well to the rigors of blue water use better than a number of other boats he observed arriving in distant locations.

As John indicated, the character / intent of this line is different than your current boat and other modern coastal cruisers. Be sure you understand the differences going in so you're not disappointed at having given up some things in the transition. At the dock, you may miss a few of these things, in open water (especially when the wind / sea-state picks up), you'll appreciate the PSCs strengths.
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