About the Tartan 34C

Introduction and Design History


The Tartan 34 was introduced in 1967 to fill a need for an auxiliary sailboat between the company's two other successful designs at the time; the Tartan 27 introduced in 1961, and the Blackwatch Tartan 37 introduced in 1965.

As earlier, the company turned to Olin Stephens to execute the design.  During this period, Olin was also performing his magic on the America and the Twelve Meter, Intrepid.  He drew a handsome and practical off-shore performance cruiser, building on the success of his Tartan 27, and producing the second of what would become a series of Tartan "Classics".

Before production ended in 1978, the company produced 525 T34C's. A second run of 110 new design T34-2's was then produced from 1984 through 1989.

Builder Comments by Britton Chance, 1968

The Classic T34 Under Sail

A Short Class Design History:

The Tartan-34C is Sparkman & Stephens Design No. 1904. The letter "C" which stands for "classic" was attached to the class number to identify it as the first 34 from Tartan.  The second T-34, which is also a Sparkman & Stephens design, is commonly referred to as the T-34-2.

There were reportedly three sail plans or rig designs - - the original (14-foot) boom, the reduced (12-foot) boom, and the short (10 ½-foot) boom. The short boom was introduced in production year 1973 and to the writer's knowledge, the actual existence of a production 12-foot boom version is in question. However, this progressive foreshortening of the boom was done primarily to provide for a better IOR rating. An added or side benefit was a significant reduction of the rather heavy weather helm experienced while on a reach in heavy going.

Along with the short boom came a change to the standing rigging design. The original double lower shrouds were changed to be single lowers, and the chain plate footprint pattern was modified accordingly.

Also, the fuel tank was moved from a position, centered under the cockpit sole, to under the port settee (dinette). This placed the 26 gallons of fuel closer to the engine, and positioned the weight more amidships. A small interior variance, which was rarely selected, was an option to substitute a pilot berth for the cabinet storage to port, over and outboard of the dinette. This option sacrificed some storage but it created a good, usable sea berth to complement the sea berth to starboard.

Between 1968 and 1978 Douglass-McLeod and Tartan Marine produced 525 hulls, of which 25 were yawl rigged.

The following table identifies (approximately) the hull numbers that were produced for each of the years:

Production Year Hull Numbers
1968 1 - 35
1969 73 - 92
1970 81 - 151
1971 162,
1972 199 - 272
1973 287,
1974 306 - 336
1975 355 - 367
1976 377 - 391
1977 437 - 464
1978 -525

There were two factory produced, highly customized hulls. The first was hull 12, which was built for the Tartan President at that time, Charlie Britton. The second was # 464, which was also built for a Tartan Official. This hull is easily recognized by the line of five, small opening ports along each side of the cabin trunk vs. the standard two large fixed ports and two smaller ports.


by Peter Coggins

An Owners Perspective:

The T-34C is a well-balanced CCA design boat that has no serious bad habits. The underbody incorporates a skeg-hung rudder and an "Intrepid" inspired, nicely faired keel. When reaching, the centerboard is most useful in trimming out any weather helm as it develops. Going to weather, just trim the sails and adjust the board and you can lock the helm and she will sail herself for long periods of time.

All berths are of good length and width, especially the quarter berth. One may want to install a strong (cast aluminum) opening port in the cockpit to provide ventilation and light for that berth. The v-berth is not pinched in at the bow so feet don't "tangle in the night". Headroom is maintained well forward.

Engine location is near the CG and access is extremely good, but the cover does intrude into the cabin space.  As a benefit, it has the effect of adding another seat - - close to the passageway. Fuel and water tanks are close to the CG as well.

In general, the T-34 is a good sailing boat that is well built, and should hold its value better than average. The Tartan Owner organizations provide a wealth of documented modifications, upgrades, improvements and maintenance procedures. Parts support for all Tartan models is provided by the factory as well as several third party suppliers. All of these resources represent a strong enhancement to any Tartan ownership.