Bristol 34

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The Bristol 34 was another design in transition as the company began to experiment with fin keels and detached rudders protected by full skegs in the early 1970s.


A Bristol 34.

Conceived by Halsey Herreshoff, the 34 has a respectable PHRF rating of 168, more akin to a racer-cruiser of the time than a traditional Bristol of that era.

It also has a longer waterline of 26 feet, a deep keel of 5 feet, 6 inches that helps the boat stand up to the wind and a beam of 10 feet, 5 inches that provides decent room in the cabin.

“Peregrine handles easily. Somewhat tender initially, she settles down at 15 to 20 degrees of heel with little pressure on the helm. With good sails, she’s surprisingly quick in breezes above 5 knots,” 34 owner Jim Fulton wrote in a  review for Cruising World magazine.

“Although designed as a moderate-displacement racer/cruiser, the Bristol 34 is very seaworthy when properly equipped. At least one has sailed to Europe and, under previous owners, Peregrine sailed to Bermuda and the Caribbean. We want to take her back someday.”

About 70 of the 34s were built between 1971 and 1978, when Bristol came out with its second-generation models that completed its transition away from skinny, full-keeled sailboats with attached rudders.

A big selling point was that the 34 was roomier than earlier Bristols.

“Take a long, leisurely look at the 34’s features and consider them in terms of years of comfortable, convenient living under sail. Great, aren’t they?” Bristol’s brochure for the 34 said.


The dinette model of a 34.

The cabin design is traditional, with an ample V berth up front, followed by a head with handheld shower and a hanging locker. The salon came in dinette and double-settee models. The port settee on both converts to a small double berth.

Aft is a quarter berth on the port side, with a galley on the starboard side. The double-settee model has a chart table on the port side.

The cockpit is large, but the traveler is in the center of it, forward of the wheel, which cuts down on space and maneuverability.

As with all older sailboats, have it checked out thoroughly if you are considering a purchase.

Conditions vary widely because some owners didn’t do required maintenance, and vessels can require thousands of dollars in repairs and upgrades if they were neglected.

Fulton and his wife, Terry, did a two-year refit of Peregrine before ending up with the sailboat of their dreams

.”Unfortunately, our boat had received little care for 10 years and could only be described as a project. We did our homework and, with a surveyor, made as complete an inventory as we could of its problems,” Fulton wrote.


Hull type: Fin keel
LOA: 34.25 feet
LWL: 26 feet
Beam: 10.45 feet
Draft: 5 feet, 6 inches
Displacement: 11,500 pounds
Designer: Halsey Herreshoff
Water tank: 40 gallons
Fuel tank: 25 gallons
PHRF New England: 168
Motion comfort ratio: 27.2

What the Bristol brochure said

Take a bow!

The performance is great. Halsey Herreshoff does remarkable things with bows … with sterns… and fast modern hulls he ties the ends together with. The Bristol 34, reminiscent of his winning SORC 41, is taut and exceptionally well balanced. The deep forefoot make her point higher… for unexcelled preformance to windward. Off the wind? Extremely fast! Sail one!

Lucky seven!

The seven the 34 will accomodate… in spaciousness unusual for most boats in the 35-foot range. She’s longer, lower… yet roomier. Both Standard and Dinette models sleep seven. All features and craftsmanship are in the Bristol tradition. Check such things as the navigator’s station; the large, enclosed head with optional shower; the center hatch for full ventilation; and the optimal use of space for storage. Note how teak is used for the cabin sole and interior handrails. In fact, take a long, leisurely look at the 34’s features and consider them in terms of years of comfortable, convenient living under sail. Great, aren’t they? Check “Additional Features.”

Large, convenient cockpit

Plenty of room for cruising comfort or racing. Edson steerer, standard equipment, is connected to skeg rudder …  for better handling. Lift-up hatches. Generous sail area. Line storage (hatch above). Engine located under cockpit sole, is much more accessible … stays dry.

Hull & Deck:

Molded high-impact fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin… largely woven roving, strongest material available. Thicknesses vary to suit structural demands. Deckhouse, deck and cockpit are integrally molded. Contrasting non-skid pattern molded into deck, seats and cabin top. Exterior trim is teak.

Deck hardware/spars & rigging:

All deck hardware is stainless steel, chrome-plated bronze or corrosion-resistant aluminum alloys. Standard equipment includes: anodized aluminum mast & boom; genoa track with block on slide only; anchor roller stemhead; #8 Lewmar chrome winches (2); #40 Lewmar chrome winches (2); #1 Lewmar wire reel winch; bow pupit; stern rail; lifelines & stanchions.

Engine Installation:

30 HP Universal Atomic 4 gasoline engine with proper control equipment. Diesel options available. Fuel tank has 25-gallon capacity.

Electrical System:

Running lights; spreader lights (pair); masthead light; interior lights (9); dockside power (110-volt shore power (6) outlets); extra battery with 4 way switch.

Additional features:

Standard features not mentioned previously include: hot & cold pressure water system (with shower); three-burner stove with oven; vinyl mattresses; bilge pump (manual); bilge pump (electic); 5-inch Ritchie compass; sink; ice chest; and other items shown on plan and elevation drawings.

Bristol 34: Heartthrob from the old school

Read the full brochure

Line drawings and more specs for the 34