2009 February 2

Performance cruiser

Here is the latest from X-Yachts of Denmark and its in-house design team. This new 34-footer will be the smallest boats in the X-Yachts "Performance Cruising" range. In other words, it's another bowl of good, hearty soup; this time made from a Danish recipe. That sounds good to me. Gule Aerter is one of my favorites. Just keep the hatch open.

There are no surprises in the hull design. The brochure says, "Attention is paid to constructing smooth and harmonious hull lines." I would hope so. Those lumpy, bumpy inharmonious hull shapes seldom sell. Brochure copywriters aside, I have faith in the designs at X-Yachts. They always do a great job. What strikes me when I look at this hull profile is just how far aft the keel fin is placed. It's always good to get the keel aft but not always possible. We'll get into why when we look at the rig. The D/L is 197 and the L/B is 3.03, so this is a beamy, moderate displacement boat. You can have your pick of 6 feet, 2 inches of draft, or 5 feet, 2 inches. Like most of today's boats the entry is quite fine and the stern is very broad. There is just enough overhang aft that the 34 leaves a clean wake and does not drag its transom when heeled. This is a very good looking hull.

The key to making this interior layout work is pulling the engine box forward and using the indented companionway detail to allow the companionway to also come forward. This in turn allows the double quarterberth to expand across the centerline under the cockpit sole so it can be really big. I think you will be in a bit of a cubby hole if you are the one sleeping inboard in that berth but you will have plenty of room. There is a large hanging locker in that stateroom. The galley is tight but there is counter space on each side of the stove. I might have let that sink counter creep in toward centerline a bit more, but then it could be an obstruction when you come down the companionway.

The nav station is big. Nav stations are controversial components these days. You don't need to spread out a big paper chart much anymore as you navigate from your laptop, but for many of us the nav station is an area where we feel comfortable with our drink while the guests sit on the settees. We can argue the ergonomic pros and cons of fore-and-aft heads vs. athwartships heads too, but in this case the fore-and-aft head appears to make the best use of the space. The rest of the layout needs no comment. This layout will work very well for a family of four.

The rig drawing shows 20-degree swept double spreaders and an SA/D of 21.9 with no overlapping headsails. Moving the keel aft allows the mast to move aft and, in this case, this allows the headstay to move aft off the stem. This provides a little room for you to tack an asymmetrical chute on the stem. The sailplan rendering shows a mainsail with almost no roach. I wonder if this is done to prevent the roach from overlapping the backstay?

The cockpit features a huge wheel. The traveler spans the cockpit seat tops directly forward of the wheel. You can insert the filler piece to close off the transom or you can leave the transom open.

This is a good-looking yacht. I like the low freeboard and the clean lines of the deck structure. This boat should make an excellent club racer regardless of the rule your area uses.

LOA 34'; LWL 29'10"; Beam 11'2"; Draft 6'2" (standard), 5'2" (shoal); Displacement 11,684 lbs.; Ballast 4,850 lbs.; Sail area 681 sq. ft.; SA/D 21.9; D/L 197; L/B 3.03; Auxiliary Yanmar 20-hp; Fuel 21 gals.; Water 52 gals.

X-Yachts USA, Foot of Washington Blvd., Stamford, CT 06902, (877) 208-6247, www.x-yachts.com,

OBE: $185,000
Our Best Estimate of the sailaway price