I''ve whittled down my short list, and would like to hear any and all opinions on the Tartan 34c, (late 70''s early 80''s vintage). It will our first ''big'' boat and used for family of five sailing, primarily in and around Long Island Sound.
These are really neat boats from that era. With the centerboard down they had very good windward performance for a boat of that era. With the board up they had reasonable down wind performance. They were reasonably well constructed and reasonably well finished. Their shortish waterline hurts overall speed a bit and they are not as partial to thrashing through a chop as some of the later designs but were not as bad as the more extreme CCA designs from which the Tartan 34 was derived. There were a couple boom lengths on these boats. The longer boom length and mainsail foot was considered better for cruising purposes. The boom and sail foot were shortened for a better rating in the early days of the IOR racing rules. While they were really good boats for their day, by modern standards they are slow, a little wet and not too great in light air.
Many of these are still tiller steered and are considered preferable to the typical wheel steering installation on these boats, which tends to have a lot of friction, blocks the cockpit and is placed where it is hard to see up the slot.
Still these have always been appealing boats to my eye.
I just purchased a 1973 Tartan 34C Yawl w/wheel & small diesel in Jan. and all I can tell you is that I love the boat. She was in good, but original condition. We have be restoring the boat for a while now. (splashed it 1 Sept.) Concerns with this boat are same as any boat of this era. Sailed a family race on Labor Day in light air and... she's no J-22. However, in 10+ knots of air she's quick. I would have to dis agree with Jeff on handelig chop. She seems to cut thru the confused seas on lake Michigan much better than many other boats that tend to "slap" down on waves. I also disagree with the assessment of it being a wet boat. During delivery we were sailing in 35 knots of breeze and 6 - 8 ft. seas and the boat never took a wave over the bow.
With keel/CB she is a bit tender early, but seems to firm-up well. Many contend the 34C sails best flat on her feet, however, from my experiences so far she seems to gain speed with the extra water line gained with a slight heel. Space below is a little tight compare to new boats of this size. The main saloon is smaller than what I had on my previous 30 footer. The smaller cabin does translate to wide side decks and a comfortable deck and cockpit layout. Wheel does get in the way when moving from cockpit to cabin as it is located at the forward end of cockpit, but this allows for a lot of space for guests aft of the wheel.
All in all I think it is a great boat with a lot of info available thru owners group. Probably the most popular of S&S designed boats with noticible "Intrepid" inspired design below the waterline.
I am thinking on buying a Tartan 34C, 1978, it needs some work, the bottom paint has to be redone, no blisters, but the paint or the gel coat looks pretty bad, anyone knows the cost of doing this work? repainting and scraping the bottom?
I have known several owners of these boats and they absolutely love them. With the 3'-11" draft and good sailing characteristics, life is good!!
The one thing that tends to be a problem with them is if th PO has not been vigilant with re-bedding, the T-34's have issues with deck rot, so keep an eye out for this. I have an older T-37 and can't be happier with it's performance and the 34 shares the same pholosophy.