S&S 34 specs

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Skippy, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Skippy
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    Skippy Senior Member

    I'm looking for specifications of the Sparkman & Stevens 34. Does anyone know what they are or if they're on the net somewhere? Thanks.
     
  2. Edboat
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    Edboat New Member

    Skippy,
    If you are just looking for general Specs you might want to try one of the PHRF sites. I'm sure there are some S&S 34 racing somewhere.
     
  3. Skippy
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    Skippy Senior Member

    Aha! I got caught spelling it Stevens with a v, instead of Stephens with a ph. Sincere apologies to the designers. :( Nice boat. :)

    LOA 33'7" 10.17 meters
    LWL 24'2" 7.51 meters
    Beam 10'1" 3.07 meters
    Draught 5'10" 1.78 meters
    Ballast 5462 lb of lead 2483 kg
    Displacement 9195 lb 4180 kg
    Sail area 650 sq. ft. 60.42 sq. meters
     
  4. Morning Bird
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    Morning Bird Junior Member

    I emailed Sparkman and Stephens in New York and they sent me the specs, plans and an article on the S&S 34.
     
  5. Skippy
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    Skippy Senior Member

    Sounds good, I'd love to see all of it if you can post it. I was reading Jesse Martin's book "Lionheart", and I wondered why they chose that model for a teenager with relatively moderate experience doing a circumnavigation. With almost the same waterline length as the Contessa 32, the S&S 34 has 16 percent more sail area and 20 percent more ballast, but three pecent less displacement. They seem to have similar hulls, both kind of diamond shaped to get more favorable ratings under IOR rules from the 60s or 70s. Lately I've been interested in what other design features intended to get around racing rules are common in production boats, even though they're less than optimal otherwise.
     
  6. Morning Bird
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    Morning Bird Junior Member

    I am not familiar with the Contessa, there are very few here. S&S 34s have probably the best reputation as a sea boat of any mid 30 ft design and very good windward ability.
    I understand Jesse chose the S&S because of the previous circumnavigations in them by Jon Sanders and others. Jesse added a lot of standing rigging, three forestays for example, but otherwise it was a standard S&S built in Western Australia by Swarbricks.
    I have just acquired a 1984 one built by Swarbrick.
     

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  7. Skippy
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    Skippy Senior Member

    That's awesome MB. Thanks for the files, I'm studying them.
     
  8. Torvie
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    Torvie Junior Member

    Dear Skippy, There is a S&S 34 Association (some 40-50 boats were built in the UK and another 150 or so in Australia). They have a new website address, which is www.hyperea.net/ss34/ this is at present hard to find on any search engine (I understand this is being corrected). There are a number of useful articles (including Patrick's one), a large list of known boats and their features and some specifications. The boats were actually designed intially under the RORC rule, although Olin was involved with formulating the IOR rule and undoubtably this was also considered. As a matter of interest, they also rate extremely well under IMS (the subject of some complaining on occasion in Australia!) and now also are competitive in IRC. A Mk 2 S&S 34 is currently B Division IRC champion in at least 5 major offshore races in WA (These races vary from fairly standard to quite tough sailing). They actually changed the format of the major IMS offshore race in the 1990's as it was virtually unbeatable.

    It is important to understand the boats were built to a number of different specifications - I don't think any (including the original English ones) were anywhere near the quoted 9,195lb displacement. I suspect this may have been with out a full internal fitout. The most commonly quoted figure is 11,000lb (this is from Swarbricks' who built most of the boats), although I note Patick's article says 13,000lb. On the other hand, the ballast was in fact more than 4,800lb. Sparkman and Stephens drawing show the original kee as weighing 5,220lb. There was also the option of a "tall" rig, 2ft taller and with 2 spreaders (based on Ted Heath's Sydney-Hobart winning rig). The keel was later redesigned to move the CoG forward (the boats were found to sail better with more weight forward) and down, as well as being more aerodynamic and having less drag. I think the new keel was slightly lighter, so the overall righting moment was little changed.The rudder was also later redesigned as a deeper spade on a much smaller partial skeg. These "Mk2" boats (which usually had the tall rig) are significantly faster than the MkI or "classic" version. However, perhaps the rudder is a little more vulnerable.

    In terms of seaworthiness, the S&S is almost unparalled for a 34' yacht. Although originally designed as an outright racer (as opposed to some other S&S designs like the Tartan 34) it has proven an excellent cruising boat also. Virtually all the long distance solo records have been or are held by the S&S 34. The somewhat narrow stern (I think this was indeed influencd by IOR, and certainly does restrict space aft to some extent) has turned out to be very well balanced, and the waterline length is significantly greater when heeled (the optimum angle according to Olin is 23.5 degrees). It certainly can carry more sail than the Contessa, and more ballast, although don't forget a lot of the sail area is in the overlapping genoa so is easily reduced. Overall, though the 2 designs have a lot in common, I suspect there was probably just a little more design expertise in optimising the S&S design. I have a copy of the last "racing" design from Swarbricks', which I will try to email to you in due course.

    The S&S 34 is still being built, as a foam sandwhich/vacuum infusion layup using all vinylester resin. This probably will be much closer to the original design weight (will be interesting to see when one is weighed) and undoubtably faster again, although the hull shape and other design features are unchanged. 2 have been built so far to the new specs - I have an interest in that I am seriously considering adding to the number within a year or so. The combination of relative speed (of course modern planing racers are faster outright), seaworthiness, comfort, strength and construction quality are light years ahead of modern Beneteaus, Bavarias, Hunters and the like, for about the same price, at least in Aust. The only real compromise is that they are a bit smaller inside, although will be plenty for our purposes. I think the secret was to design a good boat first, then arrange the accomodation, rather than the other way around, which seems the norm nowadays. The conditions off the our coast are often somewhat rough and windy, so a good sea boat is certainly important, and perhaps one of the reasons why the S&S 34 has been so popular in WA.

    Hope the above is of some help.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2005
  9. Morning Bird
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    Morning Bird Junior Member

    S&S 34 Details

    Torvie, thank you for the excellent details.
     
  10. Torvie
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    Torvie Junior Member

    No problems. Steve Laws (editor of S&S Assoc Newsletter & web site would be very happy to speak further with you (and no doubt sign you up as a member- only $25!). There is a clear desire for the association to include all owners, not just WA.
    I don't know what layout Morning Bird is, but there is also a move to have a specific "classic" subclass (the original Australian Mk1 design), to be as standardised as possible - the aim being to promote cheap one design racing and also enhance the long term value of the boats.
    I have tried to attach the Swarbrick plans for the Mk 2 "racing" version as a matter of interest, and will see if I can get hold of a copy of the plans of the new layout that is now being built also - it has been designed with the aim of being the best possible combination of features.
     

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  11. Morning Bird
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    Morning Bird Junior Member

    Morning Bird

    Thanks for the advice. I have forwarded my and the boat details via the web site you provided. I am glad you provided it as I have been able to contact an old colleague of mine who put me on to the S&S 34.
    Morning Bird has the internal layout of the attachment, but is a Mark 1 with a skeg hung rudder. I suspect mine was one of the latter Mark1s, it was launched in Sydney in March or so 1984. Of interest, Morning Bird has four port holes rather than the 5 on all the other ones I have seen.
    The displacement is of interest. I am buying a tiller auto pilot and am assuming a displacement of 9-11,000lbs, making the ST4000 suitable. If it is 13,000 the ST4000 might be a bit down in capability.
    Thanks again
     
  12. Torvie
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    Torvie Junior Member

    Dear Morning Bird,
    Might be worth checking to see which keel you have. If the boat is built as late as you say, it should have the Mk 2 keel. This is supposed to give a better performance, as the profile is more aerodynamic (more lift, less drag) and the CofG is lower. It also is said to give better balance, as the Mk1 boats are a bit stern heavy, especially if the motor is fitted aft (should be much better centrally placed like yours). Over time, performance was found to be better with more weight forward, and the Mk2 keel does this. No-one seems to know the true displacement, but most seem to agree that it was around 11,000lbs on leaving the factory. Some boats are undoubtably now more as lots of gear has been added later (wheel steering, extra tanks, batteries etc). Note that the original Volvo MD2 as specified weighed around 190kg, but the new Yanmar 3YM20 is only 120kg. The hull is particularly well balanced and easily driven so around 20hp is plenty to drive it very close to hull speed, hopefully should make it easy for the autopilot too, especially with the spade rudder.
    Of interest, the mast position seems to have gradually moved forward, and the later boats (including the new ones being built) have it around 20cm (or perhaps a bit more) forward of the position shown in the original English plans. They do perform a bit better with a keel stepped mast (lighter and can be bent more readily to adjust sail shape), but lots were built with a deck stepped mast, especially the single spreader cruising rig.
    I think the Mk2 boats with spade rudder and Mk2 keel were offered with a choice of "cruising" (standard single spreader) or "tall"(double spreader) rigs. Yours may be a MK2 cruising version. The early models have twin lower shrouds, and this is the preferred rig for most long distance cruisers. I think the boom length may vary a bit between the rigs, might be worth checking on this too. Overall though, the Mk2 boats are good performers whatever type of rig you have. There is heaps of info available via the S&S34 Association, and lots of people there who know a lot more than me.
     
  13. Morning Bird
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    Morning Bird Junior Member

    Torvie,
    Thanks for the advice. I have checked the photos on my phone I took when it was being surveyed. With the proviso that the photos are small I am confident that mine has the Mk1 keel and rudder/skeg. I could be wrong but she does have a noticeable rake on the keel.
    That is interesting as Morning Bird arrived in Sydney for launching just before 31 May 1984, according to a letter from the previous owner to Swarbricks that I have on file. He gave me all the documentation for the boat from new.
     
  14. Torvie
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    Torvie Junior Member

    You could well be right, as the "cruising" version with Mk1 skeg hung rudder and Mk1 keel was available as an option all along I think. I think the new one just built for Jamie Dunross for his solo around the world record attempt (as a disabled sailor) is of this configuration, although with a lighter foam sandwich hull. There may also be various other combinations as Swarbricks were quite happy to build whatever the customer wanted. The original MK 1 rig, although slightly slower, has a formidable reputation as an exceptionally seaworthy cruising yacht, so was regarded as a good choice by anyone considering long distance cruising (it is also simpler to buy and maintain).

    One of the issues for me re looking at a new boat is to try to ensure that the design is optimised and they are all built the same. I think this will turn out to be the case, although like Jamie's some might be built as purely cruising designs (although the Mk2 specs are also compatible with a good cruising boat). It is very hard with the existing boats to ensure exactly the same specs and performance potential -probably more of an issue in WA (I think there are 25 at Fremantle Sailing Club alone). Hence the move to tighten up the class rules, and specify a "classic" (Mk1) design, the aim being to promote class racing at modest cost without compromising the virtues of the boat as a rugged and seaworthy cruiser.

    Anyway, good luck with Morning Bird. John Holder (Morning Menace) is totally rebuilding his Mk1, and is a prime mover behind the "classic" S&S 34, so may be worth contacting him if any queries crop up for you. Dick Newnham (Sulphur, another Mk1) knows just about all there is to know about S&S34s, and I am sure would be happy to talk to you.
     

  15. Skippy
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    Skippy Senior Member

    Excellent discussion guys, thanks for the additional info Torv. I like the engine right on top of the fin -- low CG, weight farther forward and amidships, very accessible to work on. It might not steer as well in reverse as a prop mounted in the rudder skeg, but might be a better position underway, in the backwash of the fin rather than spoiling the water immediately in front of the rudder. The bow is much higher than the Contessa 32, and the sheer at the bow is convex rather than concave, although I still haven't figured out yet what all the pros & cons are either way.
     
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