I'm not sure why I chose that cold and wet Friday to go for a sail, but I did and in retrospect I had a nice sail. The afternoon was punctuated by a run-in with a boat that simply looked great from every angle. It was the new C&C 34R or plus under power and on its way back to the marina. Credit C&C's designer Rob Ball or having the confidence to give this boat strong and distinctive lines. As the boat slipped away and I admired it one last time from the quarter, all I could think of was I wish I hade designed it.
Let's dissect this design and see just what makes it so successful, I don't have any meaningful race results at this time, so I am not going to comment on the comparative speed of this boat. Initial indications are that the boat has plenty of speed, but keep in mind that it is in a very competitive size range and will go head to head against some of the newest and hottest IMS boats. Our discussion will focus on the design as seen on paper, being cognizant of the many variables, such as skipper, crew, sails, etc., that go into making a race winner.
Rob Ball has had but one job and that has been as a yacht designer for C&C. Rob started here in high school and has stayed with the company through various changes in management to the point where he has been chief designer for several years. So while the brochures give no individual credit for design, you can assume that you are looking at the work of Rob Ball when you see a new C&C. Of course Rob owes some of his skill to the very long list of talented designers that have also worked at C&C, not the least of which were the two Cs, George Cuthbertson and George Cassian. Ball has been well trained.
To begin with, the 34 is not 34 feet LOA. It is 35 feet 6 inches LOA. "Boy, this sure feels like a big 34-footer." It is. Second, this boat comes in an R version for racing and a plus version for cruising. Twenty-five have been built; 50 are on order.
In overall design, this new C&C follows the style set by the C&C 37R. The 37R was really a 39-footer and was quite successful on the race course. The 34 is relatively light for a C&C; in fact, it has the lowest D/L ratio of any C&C at 177. The new 34 also has the highest length-to-beam ratio of any previous C&C. The midsection shows a shape derived from IOR shapes but smoothed out and without any flat section at the centerline. The keel has a curved trailing edge to help reduce root chord then fills in this joint with a long fillet radius. The sweep angle of the leading edge is 25 degrees. Utilizing a bulb on the keel obviously dramatically lowers the VCG and allows the 34 to carry a very tall rig.
Just for fun I pulled out some old IOR certificates and began comparing righting moments at one degree with the 854 foot pounds of the new 34. This was one of those quick little looks that turned up some surprising data. Consider this: Ted Hood's 1972 One Tonner Robin had a righting moment of 1,003 foot pounds; a 34-foot Mull three-quarter-tonner had a RM of 607 foot pounds; Bruce King's Terrorist at 35 feet had a RM of 929 foot pounds; Peterson's Ganbare model had a RM of 780 foot pounds; and the venerable Pearson 36 had a RM of 894 foot pounds. Of course we are talking about a wide range of diverse boats.
While we are studying the hull, take the time to admire the sheerline of this design. There is nothing timid in this sheer. With the high bow the look is one of plenty of sheer spring, but in reality the sheerline itself is quite subtle. The transom features a splayed cutout that extends the cockpit and adds a very shapely look to the transom. Note the extreme aft location of the elliptical rudder.
The C&C tradition of excellence in deck design goes back a long way. A long way. Back to the days of the two Cs. C&C decks have always been the best. The result is a deck that enhances the lines of the hull and blends a high degree of art with a good dose of functionalism. The new 34 is indeed a handsome yacht.
One of the more interesting aspects of this deck design is the way the rudder post has been brought up through the cockpit sole with the steering quadrant mounted on top. A removable panel in the cockpit sole covers the quadrant until servicing is required. This feature provides excellent support for the rudder stock.
The rig of the new 34R gives the boat a strong power plant with a SA/D ratio of 22.9. Note the end boom sheeting on the main allowed by the long E. This puts the traveler right at the corner of the cockpit and frees up a lot of working area forward. The plus version has the traveler moved to the housetop and too far forward for my eye. The spar is a special section to accommodate triple spreaders. It is controlled with runners, checkstays and a babystay. The combination of large rig and large planform keel give the 34 quick acceleration out of the tack.
The accommodations of the two versions differ considerably. I know I could cruise very comfortably in either but it is clear that the cruising version was design oriented and not simply function oriented. This version has an amazing layout for a small yacht.
C&C has targeted two groups with the new 34. The R version is well refined for the owner who wants to race and the plus version certainly maximizes the cruising comfort. I think you could have a lot of fun in the C&C 34.
|Draft fin keel||7'4"/ 7'3"|
|Displacement||12000 lbs./ 10500 lbs.|
|Ballast||4700 lbs./ 4520 lbs.|
|Sail Area||669 sq. ft./ 686 sq. ft.|
|Fuel||40 gals./ 20 gals.|
|Water||60 gals./ 30 gals.|
"Bob Perry's design reviews are available in book form. Five volumes of his work, going back over twenty years, have been assembled. Information on ordering these books is available from Sailing Magazine, www.sailingonline.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org."