Largest of the Sadlers, the 34 has evolved from illustrious predecessors. Her ancestry can be traced directly back to the Contessa 32, also designed by David Sadler and she embodies all the qualities of the true classic offshore yacht.
Her sleek, purposeful profile, moderate beam, generous displacement and undistorted hull lines all point towards a powerful cruising yacht, one whose design is based on what the sea demands, rather than what fashion dictates.
The timeless elegance of her looks, her remarkable performance and her complete dependability has been the key to the enduring appeal of the Sadler 34. Easy, predictable handling and comfortable motion have made the Sadler 34 a firm favourite among family crews looking for a cruising yacht with that added sparkle and the ability to go further than the next marina.
These same qualities have also lead to her being used for a quite remarkable number of offshore passages. David Katz chose a Sadler 34 to retrace Columbus’ steps from Spain to the Caribbean in 1986, while in 1989 Tom de Ruiter returned from a four year 35,000 mile single-handed circumnavigation in a Sadler 34 modified only by the addition of a wind vane and some solar panels. There were several 34s entered in the tough 1988 Two-handed Transatlantic race, where one owner commented – “As the race progressed, so our confidence in the boat increased, as it did in her ability to continue making good ground to weather in a full gale. . . never did I have any doubts about the basic structural integrity and strength of the hull and deck.”
In common with her smaller sisters, the 34 has changed remarkably little over the years. However, the new Stephen Jones designed deep and shallow fin keels, with their improved hydrodynamics and lower centre of gravity have added even more power and performance, and will help the Sadler 34 to keep setting the pace for many years to come.
“If she looks right, she is right”, is one of the oldest adages in the business. On the Sadler 34, you will notice the absence of trendy distortions like over-slim entry, over-fat waist, unsightly bulges and bustles, where excessive berthage has been crammed in.
Note instead the clean, uncluttered lines that clearly show her sea-kindliness and power, well faired-in keels (four keel options are available) and a properly supported rudder on a full-depth skeg, giving strength and directional stability.
Alastair Vallance of “Yachting Life” developed an ingenious test. “Our very first move was to go straight down to the starboard hanging locker. With a strong sun, would we see the usual x-ray of glassfibre through the gelcoat? Not a chance!” Sadler hulls are over an inch thick. They are made up of an inner and outer module with rigid cellular polyurethane forced in between under pressure. The outer module – the hull – is laid up to the same thickness as a single-skinned boat’s entire hull. The result is a “sandwich”, offering the kind of stiffness one normally associates with steel.
Why are they made like this? Firstly, it makes a Sadler unsinkable – a concept so new in production boats that at the time it left competitors in somewhat of a dilemma. Secondly, it provides standards of quietness, warmth and absence of condensation that are outstanding at any price. Thirdly, it provides a hull so stiff that it does not ask the mast and rigging loads to be shared by the dubious strengthening of interior bulkheads. Fourthly, it provides an interior moulding which is smooth, easy to clean and maintain, and contributes to the bright, open atmosphere below.
Start at the bow – by inspecting the massive stainless bow fitting with its twin rollers. Note the capacious anchor stowage, the deep moulded toerails with teak capping instead of the usual extruded alloy; the wide, uncluttered side decks; generous fairleads with midship cleats for springs; provision for jackstays to take your safety harness clip.
As you move aft to the cockpit, note the stainless anti-chafe strips in way of quarter rails, cleats and boarding ladder. Appreciate the well-sited halyard and sheet winches and cleats. In the cockpit, note the well-positioned, strong mainsheet track; the deep cockpit which you sit in, rather than on, with angled coamings providing both protection and comfortable backrests. Open the huge seat and stern lockers, whose lids are fitted with elastic restraining straps. Look for the ingenious handhole, which allows you to turn off the gas bottle without opening the locker lid. Note also, the safety-harness clip points. A deck layout designed for sailors by sailors.
Access to the cockpit from below is via a comfortably wide accommodation ladder consisting of two stout steps covered in Treadmaster and mounted on the removable front of the engine compartment.
The top step is formed by the top of the engine box and makes a useful extra worktop for the galley. The access itself is closed with a three-section, varnished teak washboard, the top section of which is fitted with a louvered vent.
The accommodation can be divided into three separate cabins. Right forward are two vee-berths which can be turned into a double with the usual infill piece. There is adequate standing headroom beneath the 500 x 500mm escape hatch, set in the coachroof.
Just abaft the forecabin is a comfortable head compartment to port and this is provided with pressurised hot and cold freshwater through a flexible shower head. The seacocks for the seawater and waste outlet of the head are easy to reach and service. A tannoy vent is set in the deckhead and there is a small mirror fitted to the aft bulkhead of the compartment.
There is plenty of open-fronted lockerage for the stowage of toiletries. A push button operated electric pump beside the basin takes care of the shower water discharge. To starboard of the head is generous hanging space, which can be closed by zipped covers, or by the part-louvered main bulkhead door. The door is to full accommodation height.
The main saloon consists of a c-shaped settee around a two-leaf cabin table. The centre section of the table forms a bottle stowage. On the starboard side of the passage through the saloon is a settee which doubles as a sea berth and is fitted with a lee cloth. A trotter box for this berth extends aft beneath the chart table to give a maximum sleeping length of 6 feet 7 inches (2 metres).
To port, the settee also converts to a double berth. With the settee backs removed, the sleeping length between the galley peninsular and the main bulkhead is 6 feet 2 inches (1.58 metres). There is stowage behind both settees and beneath the settee to port. The whole of the space beneath the starboard settee is taken up with a glassfibre 60 gallon (273 litre) water tank. Grabrails run the full length of the saloon along both sides, just beneath the deckhead. The headlining is textured, foam-backed vinyl with varnished teak battens running fore and aft to increase the apparent length of the accommodation.
Abaft of the main saloon to port and handy to the cockpit, is a well designed ‘U’ shaped galley. There is a gimballed two-burner Plastimo Atlantic stove and oven, which can be locked upright for harbour use. A cavernous ice-box is moulded into the after worktop of the galley and there is a side opening fridge beside the accommodation ladder.
The forward section of the galley consists of a peninsular fitted with two deep sinks. Both are fed by pressurised hot and cold water via a faucet on the end of a flexible hose. There is also a separate, hand-pumped fresh water supply to one of the sinks. Let into the remaining section of the forward peninsular, alongside the stove is a rubbish compartment, which is designed to take a domestic, flip-top waste bin. The plastic bin top can be removed and replaced with a flush-fit section of worktop. There is plenty of above-worktop stowage both behind the stove and along the back of the galley. Fiddled shelves are concealed behind dark-tinted acrylic sliding doors.
The navigator’s station to starboard at the foot of the accommodation access is well laid out with plenty of stowage for the tools of the pilot’s trade. The chart table will take a folded Admiralty chart and stowage for full folio folded charts is beneath the hinged top. This compartment also includes a partitioned section for pencils, dividers and rubbers. Further stowage is beneath the navigator’s seat.
Beside the navigating station is a half-louvered door, which gives access to a small aft cabin containing an “almost double” berth. The door is pintle-hinged so that it can either be opened into the aft cabin or the main saloon.
|Draft||(fin keel)||5′ 10″||1.78m|
|(shallow fin)||4′ 8″||1.42m|
|(bilge keels)||4′ 0″||1.22m|
|Displacement||12,800 lb||5,800 kg|
|Ballast||5,000 lb||2,270 kg|
|Fuel||25 gals||120 litres|
|Water||45 gals||205 litres|
|Mainsail||234 sq ft||21.7 sq m|
|No. 1 Genoa||426 sq ft||39.6 sq m|
|Spinnaker||895 sq ft||83.1 sq m|
|J||12.99 ft||3.96 m|
|P||36.98 ft||11.27 m|
|E||11.81 ft||3.6 m|
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