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Old 21-07-2003, 11:43   #1
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Crossing the Atlantic in a c&c 34?

Hi all!
My and my wife are currently looking for a boat to take us from Sweden to the Carribien and back.

We've been looking at various boats in the range 45.000-70.000 USD. We would like to stay closer to the lower end of that scale of course...

Lots of boats available in Sweden are Swedish (Hallberg-Rassy, Najad are the most well-known) or European (Benetau, Bavaria, etc).

But right now the leading candidate is a canadian made C&C 34 from 1980. This is an fairly unknown boat in Sweden, so we would like to gather more opinions about it.

Searching the Internet, other models from C&C than the 34 are mentioned a lot more. Also, a lot more inforamtion is around about the newer type of the 34 (after 86 I believe).

We like the C&C34 and get the impression it is well-built, but would like to get more opinions.

My questions are:
- What is the general opinion about the quality of the C&C 1980 models, particulary the 34. Any serious problems known?
- I have a fear that these boats are primarily built for coastal (or lake) cruising/racing. Does this mean the C&C 34 lack capabilitites for long-distance sailing in your opinion?

Thanks.

Best regards,
Jonas
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Old 21-07-2003, 12:25   #2
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C&C

Check out the C&C owners' site at:
http://www.cncphotoalbum.com/index1.htm
C&C Photo Album & Resource Center
Including these comments:

"Owner's Review for the 1981 C&C 34

The 1981 C&C 34 was a clean design with a fine waterline and ease of sailing control. Easily sailed by one, and competitively sailed by two or more, she "gets up and goes" with any breeze. The boat is very responsive to subtle changes in sail control lines, and is at her best when the captain pays attention to small details. The one problem (major) with this boat, and I'm told with most C&C designs, is the cored hull. Although a cored hull (this model cored with end-core balsa) can be almost bulletproof in its strength when in good shape, mine developed a slow capillary-action leak, and required an extensive refit with new balsa and fiberglass. A major job in terms of time out of the water and $$. I would still recommend the boat to anyone looking for a performance coastal cruiser, but pay attention to the surveyor's moisture meter.
comments by:
Randy Hitchcock [rhitchc615@aol.com]"

Regards & Best of Luck,
Gord
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Old 21-07-2003, 16:31   #3
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Thanks a lot for your reply Gord

The comment is good, although it is not specifically talking about ocean sailing.

This thing with the cored hull is somewhat confusing... The current owner of the C&C we are looking at are telling us he is sure the hull is not cored. It is solid fiberglass.

The deck, he says, is cored (at least partially). But it is cored with "divinycell", or similar - not balsa.

I do not know what to make of it. Perhaps the 1980 and the 1981 were different...

Best regards,
Jonas
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Old 22-07-2003, 13:45   #4
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By the early 1980's C&C's were reasonably high quality performance oriented cruisers. They were very good boats for thier purpose which was coastal cruising and club racing. I would not think that they would make a very good offshore cruiser. I would think of them as being the equivilent of a Dehler Optima 101 or the Sigma 33 which were also well made coastal cruisers and
club level racers but not my idea of an good choice for an offshore boat.

While I am a proponent of light weight cruising boats for offshore work, I think that three are a number of shortfalls to these particular boats in terms of layout, lack of seaberths, storage (especially low in the boat where it counts), useable ventilation, tankage, ground tackle handling gear, and motion comfort. These boats were heavily influenced by the IOR rule and so are a little light on stability (counting on crew weight on the rail), are slow reaching and running or when heavily loaded, and can be a real bear to keep from broaching down wind in a rough sea and a breeze.

While I basically like these boats for their original design intent, I really think that there are better choices out there for transatlantic work.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 22-07-2003, 18:20   #5
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Hi Jeff, thanks a lot for your comments. I hear what your are saying and I certainly agree to some extent.

However I believe the 34 model of C&C is somewhat different to what other C&Cs looked like in the 80s. I think it definitely looks more ocean going than e.g. the Sigma 33.

It has got a mast head rig and the hull looks pretty ok to me. Perhaps not that extremely "IOR influenced", but I do not know for sure. I do not think it is as race-oriented as you describe it when you talk having to use the crew weight extensively. It has more of a ocean racing look I would say, even though I understand fully that there are other boats more optimized for it.

But.. I am worried.. Since it is coming from a manufacturer known to make racers/cruisers I do not know if it has the seaworthiness and quality be a safe boat on the ocean.

It is a question of compromising, I guess. We get more speed and "feel", but sacrifice qualities we will miss in a storm... I think we are prepared to do that, but we would feel better if we had seen those C&C 34s go back and forth over the Atlantic a couple of times...

Thanks

Jonas
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Old 23-07-2003, 10:53   #6
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Further to C&C

JONAS:

As Jeff_H said:

"...a number of shortfalls to these particular boats in terms of layout, lack of seaberths, storage (especially low in the boat where it counts), useable ventilation, tankage, ground tackle handling gear, and motion comfort..."

These are primarilly issues of comfort, VERY important, but not safety. I've never seen a C&C that could not be made safe for offshore work. Their engineering & construction were excellent. I've re-fit, lived aboard, and cruised (10 years) a C&C29 - and would not hesitate the same undertaking on another suitable C&C. That said, they may be a little overpriced compared to some other fine boats, which often have lower quality finish (mere cosmetics).

Any specific boat requires an exhaustive survey, prior to undertaking an offshore passage.

Jeff also addressed stability & ballast issues, which ARE important safety factors. I've followed Jeff's postings (here & elsewhere), and have a great deal of respect for his learned opinions. You can also run the numbers yourself , and make comparisons to other potential boats at:
http://www.image-ination.com/sailcalc.html
Sail Calculator Pro v2.72

In short, I think you need a lot of information SPECIFIC to this (or any vessell) prior to deciding on it's suitability & value (cost vs utility).

Carry on, your research - it will pay big dividends.

Regards,
Gord

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Old 23-07-2003, 13:09   #7
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A couple quick follow-up points here:

-I have spent a lot of time watching and a little time sailing on these boats. Granted much of this time was on the race course but the deep canoe body and pinched ends makes for a boat with a comparatively high amount of drag and that will wipe out if not held pretty flat, and which is light on ballast. The compartively high drag means that it takes a fair amount of drive (sail force) to safely keep one moving in a seaway and the low-ish stability and tendancy to wipe out (without a lot of crew weight on the rail) makes a pretty poor choice for an offshore boat.

-Their tendancy to excitation roll and their tendancy to broach downwind eliminate important light weight boat storm strategies.

-While there is a lot of C&C owner loyalty, my experience with these boats is they were clearly engineered to be racer/cruisers. When I compare the hull panel size, number of bulkheads and transverse frames, near total lack of stringers, and the normal kinds of structural design that one expects to find in a boat that has a "ocean racing look".

-I really think that both the Sigma 33 and the Dehler are better suited for offshore work and should be more readily available over there. They are both later designs and so benefitted from the rule change after the Fastnet and so had greater stability and motion comfort than the pre-Fastnet C&C. (I know of two Sigma 33's that have crossed the Atlantic and done extensive cruising.) The engineering on these boats is better suited to the kind of hammering that you can take offshore (The Dehler meeting the very high Deutische Lloyds standards.) The Sigma's and Dehler's fractional rig makes these boats far better suited for offshore sailing than the C&C which depends on a rather large sail inventory to deal with shifts in weather. (The C&C's required large headsails for moderate conditions which are too large to effectively roller furl down to storm sizes.)

-There is nothing on the Sail Calculator that really tells you anything about the C&C's offshore capabilities. As I have explained before, the motion comfort and stability index are surrogate formulas that contain none of the factors that control either stability or comfort and as such provide no useful information. Neither formula contains such useful information as the height of the vertical center of gravity, waterline beam, weight and buoyancy distribution and so on, which are the factors that would give you a clue about how these boats might really behave.

-These boats are now more then 20 years old. Even when new they were not engineered for the kind of use you are proposing. This boat now has twenty plus years of use.

So, I personally see it like this, there are a lot of boats that would seem totally unsuitable that have very successfully crossed the Atlantic or gone most of the way around the world, but you are asking about the suitability of these particular boats and by any normal standard, even those of an offshore racer, I see the C&C 34 as ill suited for the kind of passage that you are proposing.


Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 23-07-2003, 17:39   #8
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C&C Offshore

Jeff's (2) previous postings make great sense, as usual.
Gord
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Old 23-07-2003, 19:19   #9
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Jeff, when you get a chance, check your messages on this board...

Don
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Old 01-10-2003, 18:48   #10
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c&c 34

Well, you've got your sights on an interesting yacht for cruising. I plan to cross the atlantic in my 1980 C&C 34 in about a month.

I've owned mine for 5 years and did a complete refit. I guess I'd have to say it is a light boat for off-shore work. I've sailed it 7500 miles and it has never let me down. As with any yacht, it took a lot of work to get it to the point I was comfortable to take it to sea. There are still more things I'd do, but time and money are constraints.

The structure is good. The sailing characteristics are very good. The plumbing was poor (I've redone all of it, including new thruhulls), the electrics were not great (I've redone all of it). The gear (winches, steering, etc) is good. The rig is good, but I'd like to change the navtec rod to wire and thinking of adding an inner forestay. The yanmar is excellent. The original windows were poorly installed, but I've replaced them. The hull to deck joint is good and can be snugged up to stop leaks. C&C's do get blisters, as mine had (I've redone the bottom completely to remove them, and barrier coated).

So, you're right. It is basically a club racer, but with a lot of work it can be a seaworthy ocean cruiser. I probably would not take the boat north of 50 degrees north or south of 40 degrees south, but in between those, I like it.

Mine was originally imported to Sweden, so they probably were delivered from Ontario to Sweden on the same ship! Mine is hull no. 229. It was sailed from Sweden to Cyprus, where I bought it.

Let me know what you decide. When do you plan to cross the Atlantic?

Good luck. Any questions, just shout.

Fred
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Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
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Old 14-12-2003, 10:50   #11
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I would agree with Fred that you could sail a well-prepared C&C 34 across the Atlantic with reasonable security. I also agree with Jeff that it would not be a first (or near to first) choice for the task. Some comments:
- since the boat is not well-known in Sweden you probably could get it fairly cheaply compared to what it would see for here (within a few miles of where they were built).
- the hull is almost certainly balsa-cored. You can see that it is cored by looking at where the coring was left out where holes were to be drilled through the hull (eg around through hull fittings); I have had several balsa-cored hulls and have not any problems with them - perhaps because there are no hulls through the cored section of the hulls
- the coring in the deck is almost certainly balsa again, I have not heard of C&C using anything else in the early 80s) and is more problematic since there are many holes through the coring. Get a surveyor who knows this construction to check this very carefully and be prepared to remove all deck hardware, over drill the fastening holes and fill with epoxy before rebedding.

In total, without seeing the boat, I have no way of concluding whether this particular boat makes sense for your task - at the price you are considering. It may be just fine - or not at all, if the deck is rotten and many upgrades are needed.
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