I have been watching this thread with amusement. I am amused by all of this emphasis on speed and the impression that PSC's are old boats and old designs (they are still being built today).
They were building the Valiant until a couple of years ago. That didn't make it a new design. They were building the C400 (designed 1995) up until last year. Didn't make it a new design. PSC is a company and they dont quit building boats because they are an old design. They quit building them when people quit buying them. BTW, how was PSC doing in May, 2007? Do you know, cjp? I will tell you: Bankruptcy. Yep, they filed. Catalina has never done that. The only, (ONLY) reason that they are still being built today is someone bought the molds. Oops. Kinda screws that argument up.
Your question was about cabin space on a PSC34 for a family of four, but only a few of the posts addressed that. Most were about trying to talk you out of a PSC altogether based on speed.
No, that was addressed, repeatedly, and unless I am mistaken, everyone said it was a mistake, even current PSC owners, which kinda made the whole point about discussing it anymore moot I thought. We moved on to one of my arguments about speed, which I still hold.
Okay, let's talk about speed.
Yep. Lets. We will never agree on this Dave because there are two frames of thought. One frame of thought (endorsed by boat salesman for your type of boats) is that it is better to sacrifice speed for comfort and stability at sea. The other frame of thought is to lessen the time at sea, time of exposure to the bad elements, by going faster at a sacrifice of comfort and stability when things get that bad.
You are obviously in the first camp. I am between the two. Let me share my view on that. I have been cruising and living aboard (and raising children aboard... something you are not doing) since roughly 2000 and have been sailing and owning fixed keel boats since 1995. I am not new to this life either. My frame of thought is that leaving a safe port to sail out in high winds and high seas is STUPID. I believe it is poor seamanship. Why not wait another day or two when the sea is more agreeable? You especially Mario! You are 66 and retired? Why expose yourself and your vessel to those conditions? Because you are sure it can take it? One chain plate failure would fix that real quick. Why risk taking off a line of gel coat so you can get out there a few hours earlier? My answer (and likely yours): You don't. You stay in port just like I do, just like anyone that practices good seamanship.
Now, here is where MY argument falls apart: What happens when you are already out there and the winds and seas become unsafe? You will be more comfortable and stable than I will, though I will be in it less. This is where I am in your camp on boat selection. However, those winds are generally predictable many days in advance. They don't just pop up out of nowhere. I am relatively confident in a five day forecast on generally what to expect for winds, with 5 days the marginal. After that, I believe the forecast begin to really deteriorate.
Now, how does this influence our OP (CJP) and others? His sailing area will provide him sufficient warning for when the winds and seas reach this state. He should be able to make Bermuda with a reasonable forecast (and back)... this is assuming he ever goes there at all. It's not like the trip from the Chessy to Florida isn't predictable. And certainly for most of what he is going to do (the Chessy, which should never provide these conditions anyways without a named storm) it ain't gonna happen.
So, as I said before, as I say again, as I will continue to say: Get a boat that can get out of its own way and is not notoriously slow. Get a larger boat, a production boat (obviously not a Hunter), that will provide you comfort when you anchor and while sailing for you, wife, and two teenage boys. If you are sold on high-end name brands, get a Sabre, a Tartan, an X, a J. Heck, if you are absolutely sold on the 'I gotta have a circumnavigating boat so I can daysail in the Chessy without sinking' camp, at least get a Valiant that has some small resemblance of performance and is of at least the same build quality (if not more) than a PSC. They are still in business too. Just don't get a cramped shoebox with a PHRF of 195 that will be bobbing around in the Chessy all day unless Sandy comes to visit again.
We have lived aboard and traveled almost 24,000 miles in the last six years in our 34. Nearly all those miles are offshore/ocean.
He's not travelling 4000 miles/year!!! He is daysailing on the Chessy with two teenage boys and a wife and maybe, MAYBE, going to Florida (can you spell ICW?) or Bermuda (what... 600 miles away)? He would have to make that Bermuda trip three times (at 1200 miles/piece/Round Trip) a year to equal those numbers!! Ain't happening! He didn't say he was taking off to go cruising and was about to cross the Atlantic. If so, I would understand though I would still point him to other mfg (but not production boats).
Speed was at the bottom of our list when we went looking for our boat,
Of course it is, you bought a PSC.
especially when the wind is blowing like a brass band and all about us are shortening sail. In those conditions, we suddenly become fast. The same thing occurs in big seas when we hear from others later that they had to heave to when we were still sailing. We were obviously faster then.
And what were you doing out there then? Why didn't YOU stay in port? Why didn't they? Either you failed to look at the forecast and appreciate it (poor seamanship) or you were sailing at distances which were beyond a forecast (which the OP will not do... ie, my 5 day rule). Your boat is a long distance passagemaking boat which you use it for. He is daysailing in the chessy with two teenage boys UNLESS he somehow decides he wants to go to Bermuda. And if so, why not pick your weather window as you will also do in your PSC???
High on our list was comfort and safety at sea. We wanted a boat that would not beat us up at sea, a boat that would allow us to carry on when others would quit. Isn't that a form of speed?
Nope. And what do you keep considering 'sea'? Is that 5 feet from the dock? 500 feet from the shore? 5 miles? 500? Once again (broken record) that ain't what he's doing!!
I noticed in the thread how quickly the term "offshore" is separated from "crossing oceans." Funny, since some of the worst ocean conditions I've ever encountered were within 100 miles of shore,
Once again, why didn't you go in before it got there? Why were you out there to begin with!??? Is it because your boat can 'take it'? Like I said earlier, you are one chain plate from a disaster. PSC's are not invulnerable to the conditions at sea either, no matter what the salesman told you. I have always believed that prudent and good seamanship is not about how to handle the big stuff offshore, or within 100 miles of land.... it's about knowing when not to. Seamanship starts at the dock. Everything else is a test to see how well you did.
If you want to see real numbers and not just conjecture about comfort and safety, consider the calculated comfort ratio for a PSC34 which is 34 and the capsize risk of 1.62 (Holtrip's optimums are 30-40 and <1.8 respectively). Then, for example, look at the same numbers for a Catalina 400, which are 23.8 and 1.99. Or, a Hunter 36 at 23.7 and 1.94.
What a crock! I love it when people point this stuff out. So let me ask you Dave, how were these numbers calculated? Were they calculated at sea? Did they take a c400 out and a PSC 34 in a hurricane to see when it turtled? Did they sail them in horrid conditions, and while pondering their navel, arbitrarily come up with some decimal number to define how 'comfortable' these boats are?? NO!! More theoretical crap designed on a drawing board. Yet you quote these things, like many others do, to make you feel better when going to sea?
You see, here is the problem with those numbers. 1) They are not based upon YOUR boat. As a cruiser, you have a kayak aboard, water jugs on the lifeline, fenders tied up, lines in the cockpit, sails in the cockpit, canned goods all over the place, etc. All of this screws up those numbers. And when you take a cramped little 34 boat, and stick two adults and two teenagers on it, how much of that stuff is now going above the waterline and REALLY screwing it up? Another 'comfort' factor is where most of us spend 99% of our time... at anchor/marina. They donít tell you that when selling you one of those types of boats either and that's another thing those numbers don't show you. So are you going to be more comfortable on a 34 foot sailboat, with a tiny cockpit, tight quarters down below, etc... or a spacious boat, large cockpit, and space to chill out and relax?? A large bed? Comfortable head? Separate shower? Separate sleeping quarters?
2) As I mentioned earlier, those capsize numbers are theoretical based upon weight distribution and other factors. However, and here is another thing the salesman don't tell you: Do you have any comprehension of the seas and winds it would take to turtle my boat or yours!?? I would certainly think we are talking hurricane force if not cat 2+. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SEE THOSE SEAS DAYSAILING IN THE CHESSY. In fact, I conjecture you will never see them in your life unless you are really unlucky and equally stupid. As the tech editor for C400, with hundreds of our boats made, we have not had one (not one single, never, ever) C400 turtle. Quit trying to scare someone into buying one of these boats.
But, what sold us was that first tour of the plant when we crawled through the 34 and were astounded by the build quality and the utter beauty of the boat. Then, that sail on a particularly blustery day and we were done looking.
I'm 66 years old. I've raced and I've cruised since I was eight. I've sailed light boats and heavy ones. I crossed the Pacific from San Diego to New Zealand in an engineless Yankee 26, but I didn't fall in love with a boat until I bought a Pacific Seacraft.
Just my opinion. Good luck in your search.
PSC34 #305 Swan
Now THAT, we can agree on. They make an outstanding boat... but it is a purpose built boat like ALL boats are. Read this: ALL BOATS ARE... even mine. I simply don't understand why you guys are trying to make it out to something it is not. It was not designed to be daysailed in the Chessy with two teenage boys or raced. It is not a light wind boat and it is not fast. YOU HAVE A PHRF of 195!! The PHRF is not like the numbers you guys keep throwing out there. It is not theoretical. IT IS REAL WORLD AVERAGES OF HOW FAST THOSE BOATS PERFORM OFF THE DRAWING BOARD!!! And I will tell you that probably all cruising boats will sail well below their PHRF because you donít race with Kayaks tied onto the bow. There are few boats slower than yours. Yours is a long distance passage making boat, designed for a couple at best (thus your 24000 miles). He is not doing that. The reality is that few do... even those who buy your boats.
That is why I have steered him away from that boat. It is NOT that I donít care for those boats. I like them. Good boats. Very well builtÖ but built for a purpose. Buy the boat for the purpose you will use it for. Donít buy a Ford F350 to commute to work, donít buy a Porche to go mudding or pull your trailers, and donít buy a PSC for day sailing in the Chessy with two teenage boys, or for possibly running down to FL, or maybe (just maybe) going to Bermuda.
One other point before I sign out of this thread since I have probably pissed off every single one of the posters here, ALL OF WHOM I HOLD RESPECT FOR (you Dog, your wife Ocean, T5, and certainly you Mario), I believe that buying a boat that does not work for your family now is a mistake. Donít buy for what you might do in the future. Buy something to enjoy for all of you now. Your kids are teenagers. You donít have them a lot longer and they will be gone. Get them out on the boat where they can be comfortable and have funÖ maybe even bring a friend or two. That is how you get them into sailing and thatís how you get to spend time with them as parents. You are right, CJ, they will be gone soon. Enjoy the time with them while you can. At least that was (and is still) my philosophy. My kids and my time with them meant everything to me. I shut down my business and walked away from a LOT of money. I have made major long term sacrifices, both financial and personalÖ all so I could go sailing with my kiddos. And I have not regretted one second of it and never will. You wouldnít either.
Enjoy the pics looking backwards of a life at sea, our life at sea. It is about all we have ever knownÖ