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Author Topic: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II  (Read 2479 times)

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ealterman

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Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« on: July 26, 2012, 07:50:09 PM »

We are considering purchase of a C34 Mark II and have a number of questions:

What, if any, structural, cosmetic, equipment  or general changes were made to that model over the production run. That is, are there features or differences to be found later in the run that were not in the earlier models?

Also, having no experience with in-mast furling, what is the consensus regarding its effect on sailing performance on the C34?

What is the realistic expectation of performance (i.e., speed) under power? In general terms, how would you characterize performance under sail?  How well does it point? How does it perform under gusty conditions - does it round up? How does the normal wheel autopilot perform? Has anyone installed an under-deck autopilot?

What kinds of maintenance and service issues can one expect with a C34? Blisters, engine, transmission, steering, mast, etc.

Your thoughts and experiences are much appreciated!!

Thanks

Elliott Alterman
ealterman@suddenlink.net

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Clay Greene

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Re: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2012, 09:56:42 PM »

We have a Mark I boat so I do not have personal experience with a Mark II but a good friend three slips down has an early Mark II boat (1997) and I had an accepted offer on a 2004 Mark II boat that fell through on survey issues.  So, I cannot answer all of your questions but I will take a shot at a couple. 

I know that the HP rating on the M35 engine used in the Mark II boats increased from 30 to 35.  I can't speak to whether that made any meaningful difference.  I believe either engine will allow the Mark II boat to motor close to hull speed (7.3 knots) in flat water.  Not true of the 23 HP M25XP engine used in the Mark I boats. 

I think a common characteristic of all C34s is that it is pretty stiff in heavy air.  We replaced our rudder with the "elliptical" rudder used on the Mark II boats and have noticed that our tendency to round up in heavy air has diminished significantly.  A lot of that will depend on your sail plan.  You did not mention whether the boat you are considering has a 135 or a 150 genoa and a standard versus a tall rig.  The tall rig with a 150 genoa will perform a bit better in light air but you may need to reduce sail area sooner than the boat with the standard rig and 135 genoa.  We've had our boat out sailing in 30 knots with a reefed main and half the genny and the boat stood up just fine. 

In regard to pointing, you did not mention if the boat had the wing or fin keel.  No surprise but the fin keel boat will help the boat point better.  But we have the wing keel and we can sail at 35-40 degrees apparent so I think the boat points just fine.  I wish we had the fin keel when we're racing but like the wing for cruising. 

I would definitely get a survey from a qualified surveyor but I would not expect any significant quality control issues.  Some of the early boats had blisters but I think that is an uncommon problem.  You're most likely going to just have regular boat maintenance issues to deal with.  Our Mark II deal fell through because the boat had been stored on jackstands with the keel unsupported and there was significant cracking around the mast step plus they left the compass off during winter storage and flooded the aft cabin.  Barring those sort of unusual situations, you should get a boat you will be very proud to own. 

One very compelling reason to buy a C34 is this great website.  I have never had an issue with our boat that I have not found addressed in some fashion, usually with a step by step checklist and photos of how to address the problem.  My fellow owners are exceedingly patient and generous with their time.  Catalina also does a great job supporting their boats even when they are no longer making that model. 

Hope that helps.  Best of luck!
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1989, Hull #873, "Serendipity," M25XP, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

waterdog

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Re: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 09:57:28 PM »

You will probably get lots of answers.  I'll tackle the autopilot.  

I put 5000+ miles on an X5 wheelpilot in mostly open ocean.    I did not expect it to last that long but at 1/4 the price of a under-deck version I went for it.    Performs great.    You will have to hand steer when surfing in 18 foot seas....   After 5000 miles the drive unit needed a $300 rebuild - basically all the little plastic bits were thrashed.  

You'll do 6 knots forever motoring at reasonable RPM, 7 knots if you motorsail a bit, and 12 knots when you are surfing down the 18 ft sea...  

Generally well behaved.  Dry.  Won't round up on unless you aren't paying attention to conditions.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 10:14:52 PM by waterdog »
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Steve Dolling
Former 1988 #804, BlackDragon - Vancouver BC
Now 1999 Manta 40 cat

Jim Hardesty

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Re: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 05:48:15 AM »

Elloitt,
I have a 2001 MKll with in-mast furling main.  The good and the bad of other systems are well discussed here, so I'll just keep my 2 cents on the main.  It works.  After a short learning curve, I've never had a problem setting, dousing or reefing.  I'm more likely to get an over-ride with the head sail.  I've never had to leave the cockpit due to the in-mast furling.  Porformance is less at times due to the lack of roach and battens, but not much, and not often.  I would say that without battens good sail trim is a must. If you have a dodger, not having to climb and reach the main for the cover is a real plus safety wise. 
Having said all that, I wouldn't let standard/in-mast mainsail be a deal maker or breaker.  I do think for cruising and short handed sailing its a plus.
The only real disadvantage of owning a Catalina 34 is when you are with other sail boats, your cockpit is the perfered R&R area, it's much more confortable and functional than most, even much larger boats.  Be warned and prepaired.
Jim
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Jim Hardesty
2001 MKII hull #1570 M35BC  "Shamrock"
sailing Lake Erie
from Commodore Perry Yacht Club
Erie, PA

Footloose

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Re: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2012, 06:38:20 AM »

You asked about sail peformance.  We race on club beer can races.  The boat points reasonably well but not as high as the better equiped race boats.  I don't have a backstay adjuster yet but expect that it will make a difference.  Also, and Kyle Ewing also stated this during his Mackinac race, we seems to get left behind going dead down wind.  If we get into a reaching race we fair much better.

I love this boat overall.  We pass almost everyone when cruising.
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Dave G.
"Footloose"
Hull# 608  1988 Tall Rig/Fin Keel
Malletts Bay, VT- Lake Champlain

Clay Greene

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Re: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 09:16:29 AM »

Another thought - I would make sure you go on a test sail in decent wind with your likely companions.  The most obvious design difference between the Mark I and the Mark II boats is that the Mark II design carries the beam width most of the way aft.  The benefit of that is the cockpit on the Mark II boat is great for entertaining - absolutely huge for the length of the boat.  And you can take a lot more guests when underway - our boat gets cramped with more than the four of us.  The downside is that it becomes difficult to brace yourself when the boat is heeling, particularly if you are height-challenged.  Some of the Mark II boats have the fixed cockpit table so that does provide something to brace against underway.  So, think about how you intend to use the boat and see if it is a good fit for you underway, particularly going upwind when you have a decent degree of heel. 
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1989, Hull #873, "Serendipity," M25XP, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Les Luzar

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Re: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2012, 09:41:15 AM »

I have a 1987 Mk 1 and recently had my bottom stripped to the hull, and I did not have any blisters! I also have a dock neighbor with a 1996 Mk II that I sail on often, and the improvements are a larger cockpit, walk through transom, stainless steel handrails and virtually no teak to varnish. There is also a bit more storage down below which is always a plus. These are all benefits. Both boats sail well in heavy weather or light air, and we can keep up with and pass many similar sized boats when on a close or beam reach. The nice thing about the C-34 is it is a very roomy boat for the size, and it handles very well in light and heavy air as long as you reduce sail when it blows over 18 knots. Many times I sail with full main and reduced headsail, and she handles well, but reefing the main would be slightly better but the C-34 will take it either way. And as previously mentioned, this website will help you understand more than you will ever think you will need to know.
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Les Luzar
#355    1987
Windshadow
Long Beach, CA

Kyle Ewing

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Re: Considering purchase of C34 Mark II
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 03:49:46 PM »

Elliot--Footloose is right, I can't make the boat go dead downwind like I'd like to.  The polars (see http://c34.org/wiki/index.php?title=Fin_Keel_Polar) confirm this is the C34's slowest point of sail--note the specific boat config, 150% genoa and feathering exposed prop.

Generally the boat handles fine in gusty conditions.  If wind is pushing the reef threshold (mid to high teens) it's better to reef as the traveler is on the cabin top so playing it to the wind takes a second person or some modification.  There have been posts about moving the main sheet to the helm.

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Kyle Ewing
Donnybrook #1010
Belmont Harbor, Chicago
http://www.saildonnybrook.com/
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