The Voyage of the Swan
My first sailing experience was in a Sabot, an 8’ pram, in 1954. I was eight. A friend and I tried to sail it out of the Alamitos Bay channel into open water. We encountered a steep two foot head sea that stopped our forward progress and threatened to swamp us, so we turned back. That was my first experience with sailboat design. The flat snub nose of the pram greatly hampered our forward progress in any sea. I learned, that day Sabots were made for smooth water. So it is with all sailboats. Each design has its purpose, strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve sailed many boats since the Sabot, including the Yankee 26 I cruised to the South Pacific. I’ve learned that very few boats are purposely built for crossing oceans safely and comfortably. Why? Because the great majority of people who buy “cruising” sailboats never intend to cross oceans. They buy boats to cruise, for the most part, coastwise and on weekends when the weather is favorable. Consequently, most designers and builders concentrate on meeting that greater demand, which places more emphasis on interior accommodation and light weather sailing ability. Building true blue water cruising sailboats is risky financially, because the market is limited. Thankfully, there are still those with the courage to do so.
The Pacific Seacraft 34 is one of a very limited number of true purpose-built blue water cruisers. Why was it our personal choice? Because, it possesses the following qualities, not necessarily in order of priority:
  1. 1. It’s designed and built for serious cruising. John Holtrop, a yacht designer who did a study of sailboat design parameters, concluded that the Crealock 34 was one of the best offshore cruising boats. Some of those parameters are listed below. His acceptable range for each parameter is shown first. The PSC34 value is in parentheses. (John’s Site archived)
  2.  Sail Area/Disp Ratio = 15 - 17 (PSC34 = 15.12)
  3.  Velocity Ratio = 1.04 - 1.08 (PSC34 = 1.05)
  4.  Comfort Factor = 30 - 40 (PSC34 = 34)
  5.  Capsize Risk < 1.8 (PSC34 = 1.62)
  6.  Roll Acceleration < .06 (PSC34 = .049)
  7.  Roll Period < 4 (PSC34 = 3.9)
  8.  Disp/L Ratio = 280 - 320, max 370 (PSC34 = 335)
  9. 2. Tough hull and deck built to ABS (American Bureau of
  10. Shipping) Approved Plan Certification.
  11. 3. Impeccable build and components quality.
  12. 4. Scantlings are heavy without sacrificing performance.
  13. 5. Lead ballast is bolted on, not encapsulated.
  14. 6. Vinylester resin used in first hull laminates.
  15. 7. Hull/deck joint is above deck level; it has a bridgedeck,
  16. and other seakeeping design features.
  17. 8. Forty HP Yanmar diesel engine.
  18. 9. Sits in the water, not on it (no excessive freeboard), thus
  19. more weatherly. Heaves to or lies ahull better with less way.
  20. 10. Rudder is hung on, and protected by, a skeg.
  21. 11. Canoe stern for safer “running off” ability and broach
  22.  resistance (the Vikings were right).
  23. 12. Proven voyaging pedigree (circumnavigations).
  24. 13. Good water, fuel and stores capacity.
  25. 14. Small and rugged bronze opening portlights.
  26. 15. Beautiful to look at.
  27. 16. Articulate sail plan (read “cutter rig”).
  28. 17. Low aspect rig for low mast, rig and hull loads, lower
  29. angular momentum (pitch/roll) and better off wind stability.
  30. 18. Moderately fast, close-winded and well-balanced.
  31. 19. Easily handled by a middle-aged couple (I’m 66).
  33. These are the basic reasons we chose the Pacific
  34. Seacraft 34. Pretty much everything else required
  35. to make her ready for successful voyaging can be
  36. bolted on, hanked on, easily fabricated or customized.
Why a Pacific Seacraft 34?
Click Here for PSC34 Data & Other Useful Info Why a Tiller Instead of a Wheel? Swan in Ventura, California (Photo by Ricki Ormson) Swan off Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas (Photo by Horst Wolff)