You'll be pleased to know it isn't all new. Some recent innovations on our other performance cruisers are changing the definition as to what "real" cruising design is all about. For example, the "single handing" cockpit and owner's forward double stateroom are proven winners from the top-of-the-line J/40 cruiser. The "UFO" (Underwater Flying Object) shoal draft keel and "hideaway" double entry head have been checked out with high scores on the J/37 cruiser. And, quality Tillotson-Pearson construction isn't new to sailing aficionados either. It's nice to know some things don't change.
So What's New?
Putting all of the above together in a new Rod Johnstone hull design (no similarity to the lOR three quarter ton J/34) for more affordable sailing performance, ease of handling and comfort than has ever been available in a cruising sailboat under 35 feet. To explain:
There are some benefits to size, and the J/34c is a bigger boat than you may imagine. Since you can't do much with overhang, the best measure to use is length on the waterline (LWL). This is a speed producing factor and a comfort factor going through a seaway. Longer waterline boats have smoother, less bouncy rides than shorter ones. So, don't be surprised if the J/34c, with a 30 foot waterline length, feels like a bigger boat going through seas than older designs such as the Bermuda 40 (2/;'10") or Block Island 40 (29'2") or more recent designs such as the Tartan 37 (28'6"), C&C 37 (28'9"), Pearson 36 (29'7"), Sabre 36 (29'4"), Passport 37 (29'8"), or Swan 371 (29'8"). And, with the possible exception of the C&C 37 (PHRF 107), we don't think any of the aforementioned will touch the J/34c on speed either.
Shoal Draft UFO Keel
Tests comparing deep vs. UFO shoal draft equipped J/37's (see SAIL Magazine October 1987, page 120) show a difference of about 8 seconds per mile upwind and comparable performance on all other points of sail. Not much to give up for shoal draft cruising capability. So, all J/34c's are equipped standard with UFO keels.
The UFO keel is part bulb and part wing in design, with more mass and strength than conventional fin or wing keels to minimize damage in groundings. It is shaped to prevent snaring pots or weeds, and provides exceptional upwind stability due to low center of gravity.
J/34c Brings Out Your Best
While cruising sailors are not generally motivated by organized racing, they are not adverse to competing in terms of "seamanship." It goes on all the time: docking, tacking up a narrow channel, playing the winds and currents. A fast responsive, shoal draft cruising boat with single handed ease of operation is going to make the owner look very accomplished, indeed!
Single Handed Ease of Operation
Cockpit layout follows the innovative J/40 program with a 40" Edson destroyer wheel, 5" binnacle compass and guard; mainsheet system with dual self-tailing winch controls and instrument pods for multi-function remotes within easy reach of the helmsman. The reasoning is simple. Most cruising is done by two people, and someone has to get some rest on the off watch. We don't agree with other cruising boat builders who, if designing a car, would most likely have the wheel, gear shift, brakes and throttle in front of different passengers.
Because we build more high performance sailboats that are pushed to the limit in tough conditions than anyone else in the world, construction features exceed in strength and cost those found on other cruising boats. For example, J/34c has a full width, laminated GRP bulkhead taped on both sides to hull and deck. This bulkhead also anchors heavy duty chainplates. An external lead keel is bolted, epoxy bonded, and glass wrapped to the fiberglass keel sump, then also reinforced by solid fiberglass, transverse floor beams. Hull to deck joint is bonded then bolted on 4 inch centers. And, both hull and deck are hand laminated using Lloyd's approved Baltek end grain balsa sandwich construction. This is a big bonus for cruisers. The insulating properties mean the hull isn't as likely to sweat when outside air or water temperature is cold. And, it also has better sound deadening capability for a good night's sleep.
J/34c Cruising the Bahamas- great story about preparing for long-distance cruising offshore- by Glenn & Pam Cooper.
Introduced: 1987 Built to: Hull #36 Last Model Year: 1990