We had previewed it in Cannes but were looking forward to trying it out. Cantieri del Pardo ‘s new entry level, the Grand Soleil 34, Skyron design, is one of the most anticipated boats of the boat show season, and expectations, from what emerged from our test, were not disappointed. The target is clear: to go and challenge in offshore trials, in the Mediterranean and Ocean, the French queens, JPK and Sun Fast above all. But not only this, also a young and fresh boat to break the classic canons of sport cruising.
We went to try it out in the Gulf of Tigullio, on a day that was not the easiest because of the shifty wind but nonetheless significant for testing the boat: from the initial Tramontana on 8-9 knots we switched to a light South of similar intensity, the test of the Grand Soleil 34 thus took place in its potentially critical conditions, those of light wind.
The new 34 is a boat that has to be “tasted” at the helm: the tiller (but will also be produced with a double wheel), must be touched carefully and corrections must be minimal so as not to penalize speeds. With a double blade and a rather pronounced backward maximum beam, it is necessary to affect the rudder little in order to avoid unnecessary and counterproductive water displacement. Once placed on its track, the 34 increases numbers rapidly, and even in turn-out the speed loss is only half a knot.
Under the conditions of our test, the new 34 does not struggle to sail half a knot below the true wind speed, with an apparent angle around 35 degrees, but at times we were even able to equalize the wind speed.
At the slack under gennaker the new 34 enters its natural size. It is not a deep-going boat at the lee but, being able to produce a good apparent, it prefers slack and has no trouble rising above 7 knots as soon as the wind reaches 9, with an angle to the wind between 100 and 110 degrees, and then being able to lean further on acceleration.
Grand Soleil 34 – Technical Specs
STAY HOME, READ SAIL, DO GOOD
If you subscribe to the Journal of Sailing, we donate 10 euros to San Raffaele Hospital in Milan to address the coronavirus emergency