The Rival 34 Sailboat

The Rival 34, a masthead sloop, was designed by Peter Brett and built in the UK by Southern Shipbuilding Ltd.

A Rival 34 sailboat at anchorThe Rival 34 was a further development of the Rival 32 with a slightly deeper afterbody and longer overhangs to give improved steadiness in a seaway.

Published Specification for the Rival 34

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 34'0" (10.4m)

Waterline Length: 24'10" (7.6m)

Beam: 9'8" (3.0m)

Draft: 5'10" (1.8m) - Shoal draft version: 4'8" (1.4m)

Rig Type: Masthead sloop

Displacement: 11,900lb (5,398kg)

Designer: Peter Brett

Builder: Southern Shipbuilding (UK)

Year First Built: 1972

Number Built: 174

Owners Association: Rival Owners Association

Published Design Ratios for the Rival 34

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 13.9

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 39.5

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 347

4. Comfort Ratio: 32.5

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

read more about these all-revealing numbers...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Rival 34

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 13.9 suggests that the Rival 34 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 39.5 means that the Rival 34 will initially stand up reasonably well to her canvas in a moderate breeze, but she'll need a reef in the main to avoid heeling excessively in a gust.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 347, tells us the Rival 34 is clearly a heavy displacement cruising boat. You can load her down with all your cruising gear and equipment and it will hardly affect her waterline. Not an ideal choice for coastal sailing, but she'll come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 32.5 suggests that crew comfort of a Rival 34 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.7 tells us that a Rival 34 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

More about the Rival 34...

The Rival 34 is a classic long-distance cruising sailboat designed by Peter Brett and built by Marine Construction Ltd. in the UK since 1972. It is a sturdy, seaworthy and comfortable boat that can handle heavy seas and strong winds with ease. It has a high bow, a fine entry, a modest beam and an attractive sheer that give it a good protection in the cockpit and a secure feeling on deck.

Rival 34 Accommodation LayoutThe Rival 34 Accommodation Layout

It is best to windward, when it can point high and provide an easy motion and a dry ride. However, it is not very fast or agile in light conditions or downwind, compared to modern fin keel yachts. It has a masthead sloop rig with piston hanks on the headsails, which are more efficient but also more demanding than a furling system. It has a deep or shoal draught fin keel with a skeg-hung rudder, which offer good stability and tracking but also limit the manoeuvrability and versatility of the boat. The Rival 34 is a superb choice for long-distance passage-making, but it requires some skill and effort to sail well.

The Rival 34 has a traditional layout with two separate cabins, one forward and one aft, each with a double berth.

  • The forward cabin also has a hanging locker and some storage space. The aft cabin is accessed through the cockpit and has a small hatch for ventilation.
  • The main saloon has two settees that can be used as single berths, a folding table, a navigation station and a galley.
  • The galley has a two-burner stove with oven, a sink and some storage space. There is no fridge or pressurised water system on board, but these can be added if desired.
  • The head is located between the saloon and the forward cabin and has a manual toilet, a sink and some storage space. There is no shower on board, but there is an option to install one in the head or in the cockpit.

The interior of the Rival 34 is cosy and functional, but not very spacious or luxurious compared to modern yachts. It has plenty of hand-holds and ventilation ports for safety and comfort at sea.

Hull and Deck
The hull of the Rival 34 is made of solid fiberglass with no core material. It is strong and durable, but also heavy and prone to osmosis if not properly maintained. The deck is also made of fiberglass with balsa core for stiffness and insulation. It has teak trim on the toe rail, handrails and cockpit seats, which add some elegance but also require some care.

The deck layout is simple and practical, with wide side decks, a large foredeck and a small aft deck. There are two large cockpit lockers for storage, one of which can accommodate a liferaft. The cockpit is deep and well protected by the high coaming and the sprayhood. It has a tiller steering system that sweeps across the cockpit when sailing, which can be inconvenient for the crew but also gives good feedback to the helmsman.

The mainsheet traveller is located in front of the companionway, which can be dangerous if not careful. The boom is fairly low, which can limit the headroom in the cockpit but also makes it easier to reef or flake the mainsail. The mast is deck-stepped and supported by stainless steel wire rigging with single spreaders.

The headsails are hanked on to the forestay or the inner stay, which can be removed for downwind sailing. The sail area is moderate for the displacement of the boat, which makes it easy to handle but also limits its speed potential.

The Rival 34 is a boat that appeals to sailors who value quality over quantity, who prefer simplicity over complexity, who enjoy sailing rather than motoring, who seek adventure rather than comfort.

The above text was drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; we believe it to be accurate to the best of our knowledge.

Other sailboats in the Rival range include:

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