PSC 34 vs Pearson 34 - a good problem to have
I currently own a Pearson 34 which I sail on Lake Michigan out of Chicago. Due to the recent passing of my Dad who was a PSC 34 owner (in Florida) I have the interesting dilemma of choosing between the two boats. I recognize the outstanding reputation of the PSC as a quality bluewater cruiser but I worry that if I keep Dad's boat I may regret the tradeoff in performance (i.e. speed and pointing ability) since most of my sailing is day sailing and/or coastal cruising on Lake Michigan.
I would appreciate your thoughts on the performance of the PSC 34 particularly in light air and any opinions regarding comparison of these two boats.
I look forward to any replies...
I have a PSC 34 on Lake Ontario, but I do not have sailing time on a Pearson 34. My comparison for performance considerations is based on my experience racing a Kirby 25 which is of course quite a different beast. While the PSC 34 performs reasonably well by blue water cruiser standards (modified fin keel, narrow beam, moderate side of heavy displacement), it's unlikely to keep up with a flat-bottomed, lighter, longer waterline, and greater sail area design. The boat points reasonably well (narrow beam = narrow sheeting angles, etc.). It needs a spinnker for light air.
As I'm no longer racing, I've traded off a little of the performance for the easy going ride and other security the PSC provides. I get a lot of compliments on the boat as the canoe stern is rare here, and it has a really nice sheerline and asthetic due to the bow overhang and exterior teak trim.
The cockpit and cabin sizes are realtively small by comparison to other modern 34 footers,and there's not a lot of storage space, so these are important considerations for some uses.
Although I'm very happy with the boat as far as it meets my requirements, with regard to performance I'd characterize it as a good performer but not a great one. The mast is not as high as it might be, the sail areas are kept fairly low, and other design choices were made (e.g., small cockpit) so the boat stands up well in worst-case blue water conditions. Some of these design choices reduce performance compared to modern coastal cruisers / racers. In open water, I'd choose the PSC overall based on my needs. For performance coastal crusing / racing, I wouldn't.
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