Despite their identical LOA
, they are indeed very different boats.
The 70s era Tartans were characterized by use of a center board and frequently a gasoline powered engine
- you either like these features or you don't. Otherwise they are sort of a typical narrow-beamed, light weight, mass-produced design for their vintage.
The 80s era H34s are well over a foot wider, have a real aft cabin
(sort of), and generally represent a much roomier, more comfortable live-aboard for their length and vintage. BTW many people replace the monster dinette table with something smaller that allows U shaped seating. Also, H34s came in deep draft
5'6" and shoal draft
Cruising lifestyle and live-aboard comfort demands vary widely and are personal to you. My wife and I cruised the Bahamas/Caribbean for 2 years on an H34. Obviously, we found it acceptable, but we want a bigger boat. I think we would have killed eachother on a Tartan 34.
H34 sailing characteristics are interesting. Even loaded down with cruising gear
they are excellent light wind
performers. This means that they are tender
in stronger winds - reef early and often. We always had a reef in the main in anything over 15 knots, but we weren't in a hurry and we still sailed away from most cruising monohulls. Like many monohulls they can fishtail and slam in following seas and are not happy sailing directly downwind. Never sailed a Tartan.
Unless they are very well equipped and in unusally good condition, I think both boats you mention are little over priced.