Wednesday, May 6, 2020

A J/34C Owner's View from Camden, Maine

J/34c Astrea sailing in Maine
* J/34C cruiser owner Jim Bennet from Camden, Maine offers some of his perspectives sailing his beloved J/34C ASTREA to fellow J/Sailors around our Blue Planet Earth....

"Her name is ASTRAEA (after Nathaniel Bowditch’s first command). I have owned her for eight years. She is a wonderful boat and is kept in very fine condition.  And yes, she does better than 8 knots on a broad reach whenever we see 15 kts or more of breeze on Penobscot Bay, which we do often enough.

To come back on your love of Maine, my family ties to Maine date back to pre-Civil War times. I moved to Camden from Bath in 2017 to be closer to Penobscot Bay.  My partner and I live in Camden.

We had a marvelous cruise on ASTRAEA this past summer (2019) during which we stopped at Islesford.  Both of us had been there before, but this was the first time I was able to stay for two days and explore the island.  The museum there is a treasure.  We were on our way back from Nova Scotia.

I had raced ASTRAEA in the Marblehead to Halifax race and we had taken ten days to get back to Maine, stopping in our favorite places along the way.  All told, I had 65 days underway this past season.

J/34c Astrea owners sailing in Maine
The 34C is a marvelous boat to use as a couple for coastal cruising. 

To have such excellent sailing qualities along with the comfort in a boat of this size is truly an extraordinary achievement.

Among many excellent features, the keel design and underbody design of this boat is outstanding. I speak from experience as a lifelong sailor and from having practiced as a Naval Architect for 25 years working on high-performance craft for the U.S. Navy. She handles well in a seaway, stands up to a breeze (never even think about reefing under 20 kts) and she puts the Sabre's and Beneteau's in our wake every time. Many times I have taken her across the line ahead of Sabre 42’s and even J/42’s on occasion. She is perfectly balanced when properly trimmed on every point of sail. I frequently single hand with a spinnaker even in 18-20kts. For example, we sailed her to first place overall in GMORA cruising division in 2017!

And, she is comfortable and easy to handle. She is just the right size for my partner, who can be intimidated by the loads on big headsails. Her responsiveness on and off the wind makes her a joy to steer. Anchor handling, docking, and every aspect of the boat is easy for my partner, which makes it immensely enjoyable for me.

You lads did a fine job with her design and construction. Many experienced sailors continue to admire her. Several are standing in line if I ever decide to sell her! That is a further acknowledgement to the excellence of her makers! Thank you!  Best, Jim" Add to Flipboard Magazine.