The Tartan 34 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Tartan 34 is a classic sailboat designed by Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens and built by Tartan Marine in the USA.

It is a centreboard cruiser/racer that was influenced by the CCA rule and the success of Finisterre, another S&S design. The Tartan 34 has a reputation for being well-designed, well-built, and reasonably fast, especially downwind.

'Endeavour', a Tartan 34C sailboatA Tartan 34

The Tartan 34 shown here is a 34C indicating that she is a 34 'Classic', the first of the 34's. Two further versions followed, the 34-2 and the 3400. The 3400 was later renamed the 345.

The following specs and data relate to the 34C.

Published Specification for the Tartan 34

Underwater Profile: Centreboard keel with rudder on full skeg

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 34'5" (10.5m)

Waterline Length: 25'0" (7.6m)

Beam: 10'2" (3.1m)

Draft: 8'4" (2.5m)

Rig Type: Masthead sloop

Displacement: 11,200lb (5,080kg)

Designer: Sparkman & Stephens

Builder: Tartan Marine (USA)

Year First Built: 1968


Published Design Ratios for the Tartan 34

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 16.9

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 44.6

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 320

4. Comfort Ratio: 28.3

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.8

Read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Tartan 34

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 16.9 suggests that the Tartan 34 will, in the right conditions, approach her maximum hull speed readily and satisfy the sailing performance expectations of most cruising sailors.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 44.6 means that the Tartan 34 will stand up well to her canvas in a blow, helping her to power through the waves.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 320, tells us the Tartan 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 28.3 suggests that crew comfort of a Tartan 34 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a coastal cruiser with moderate stability, which is not encouraging news for anyone prone to seasickness. 

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.8 indicates that a Tartan 34 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 


Any Questions?

Is the Tartan 34 still in production and, if not, when did production end and how many of these sailboats were built?

The Tartan 34 is not in production anymore. Production ended in 1978 after 10 years and more than 500 boats were built.

What is the history of the builders of the Tartan 34 and is the company still in business?

The builders of the Tartan 34 were Douglass & McLeod Plastics, which later became Tartan Marine. The company was founded in 1960 by Charlie Britton and Gordon Douglass in Grand River, Ohio. They started by building fibreglass dinghies and then moved on to larger sailboats, such as the Tartan 27 and the Tartan 34. The company is still in business today, although it has changed ownership several times. It is currently owned by Tim Jackett, who also designs most of the new models.

What keel options are available for the Tartan 34?

The Tartan 34 has a keel/centreboard configuration, with a fixed ballasted keel and a retractable centreboard that can be raised or lowered by a pennant line. The original keel had a draft of 3'11" with the centreboard up and 8'4" with the centreboard down. Some boats have been modified to have a deeper fixed keel (4'5") or a shallower fixed keel (3'3"). The centreboard can improve the upwind performance and stability of the boat.

What is the Tartan 34 like to sail?

The Tartan 34 is generally considered to be a good sailing boat, with balanced helm, good speed, and comfortable motion. It performs well in light to moderate winds, but can also handle heavy weather with reefing and proper trim. It is especially fast downwind, thanks to its long waterline and centerboard. It can tack through about 90 degrees and point fairly high when close-hauled. It is also easy to handle by one or two people, with simple rigging and sail controls.

What is the average cost of a secondhand Tartan 34?

The average cost of a secondhand Tartan 34 depends on the condition, equipment, and location of the boat. According to YachtWorld.com, the current asking prices for Tartan 34s range from $19,730 to $47,274, with an average of $27,386. However, the actual selling prices may be lower or higher, depending on the negotiation and the market.

What other sailboats have been created by the designer of the Tartan 34?

The designer of the Tartan 34 was Olin Stephens, one of the most influential and prolific yacht designers of the 20th century. He was a partner of Sparkman & Stephens, a naval architecture firm that designed hundreds of sailboats, ranging from dinghies to superyachts. Some of his most famous designs include Dorade, Stormy Weather, Finisterre, Intrepid, Courageous, Freedom, and Bolero.

The above answers were drafted by sailboat-cruising.com using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.


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