39th Commodore’s Perpetual Trophy Race

The 39th Commodore’s Perpetual Trophy race was held in light conditions on 28th March 2021. Ten SS34’s gathered at Fremantle Sailing Club for the race. The format of the race is that Commodores from sailing clubs around Western Australia gather to skipper an SS34 for the jib and main style event.

This year Le Jag (owner Roger Raymond) skippered by  Darren Chatfield of Clarement Yacht Club was the winner on corrected time, with Swagman (owner Andrew Waldby) skippered by Glen Fahey of Nedlands Yacht Club was first across the line.

Fremantle Sailing Club hosted the catered event as usual and it proved to be a fantastic time.

Results Table

Winners are grinners! The crew of Le Jag

Swagman across the line.

Glen Fahey (L) and Fremantle Commodore Ron Greer

Photos courtesy of Chris Bender and FSC

Preparing for Racing an SS34

Recently our resident expert Simon Torvaldsen, now a JPK owner presented some advice to another SS34 owner wanting prepare their yacht for racing. Below is the text of the message. We hope you find it useful.

“In terms of racing S&S 34s, some observations, above and beyond the usual of clean bottom, no excess weight, properly measured sails etc are listed here:

  • Dyform rigging – better than plain wire, nearly as good as rod but lower rating (please check if this is still the case, rod is actually marginally better for S&S 34’s).
  • The tall Mk2 rig is better, as is the Mk2 keel and esp the rudder. SS34 Swagman in WA was converted years ago (before S&S developed the official version) from skeg to spade rudder (& modified keel).
  • The higher performance Mk 2 configuration rates only slightly higher than the old Mk1 but performs a lot better in terms of racing.
  • The main thing is to not have too much overlap on the jib – beyond about 135% you gain very little as it just backwinds the main, if you have the Mk 2 rig with a bigger main this can be better balanced and maybe more towards 130% depending upon the conditions you sail in.  So you reduce IRC rating with little if any effect on performance even in light weather (under about 6 knots the big genoas don’t set well anyway). We used in effect a No2, No3 and No 4 jib with no No1.
  • Get high tech sails, we used Doyle Stratis but upwind North’s 3Di raw is probably better, although I think the difference in a boat the size of a 34 is relatively small. Doyle’s downwind sails are good though.  North is more expensive. Forget Dacron except for storm sails
  • You will need a Code 0, this is vital reaching upwind in under about 15 knots. Doyle’s developed one especially for us.  I think North have quite a good design now too. Cableless is good but hard to furl well (can only be furled bottom up and no cable to furl around).  The 0 needs a short bowsprit –we used the s/s anchor chain guide and roller, although it was a bit short and the Code 0 was painfully close to the forestay (makes it hard to furl and gybe).  A proper little bowsprit would have been better (& begs the issue of an assymetrical reaching spinnaker).  Check with your sailmaker.
  • Other sails will be reaching spinnaker and possibly either a lightweight or a heavy weather “chicken chute” (you can generally carry 4 spinnakers without penalty on bigger races).  A good Code 0 can also be used as a heavy weather reaching or even running kite.  Again check with your sailmaker.
  • Spinnaker stays’l is of benefit, small but significant downwind speed gain mainly around 120-150 degrees. Genoa stays’l is of limited value.
  • Aim to keep weight out of the mast and rig as much as possible.  And use a lightweight anchor and chain.  Overall lower weight is better, your IRC weight should be as close to 5000kg as you can get.  Hard to get most older S&S 34’s much below 5000kg.  And don’t add unnecessary weight especially in the ends.
  • If anything, S&S 34’s like to be slightly stern heavy compared to the designed waterline. They then perform better, upwind and especially downwind.  But still keep weight out of the ends, with the short waterline they also tend to hobby horse in a chop.  Most earlier models tended to be a little bow heavy if anything.

That probably sums up what can realistically be achieved.  If you are really keen you could look at dropping the keel, taking 3-400kg off the top and adding a few cm (about 100kg) onto the bottom with some improvement in righting moment and 250-300kg less boat weight. Just be careful to maintain fore/aft balance.  No loss of age allowance, only IRC penalty would be related to draft/weight measurements.

There is also a new lighter, slimmer spade rudder that was designed for SS34 Azzurro, I think with carbon stock and blade.  This would certainly help performance, it would be worth asking Shane about it and if another could be made, presumably the mould is around somewhere.  There is little if any IRC penalty in doing this.

I have looked at carbon rig etc but if you have a good, lightweight alloy mast you will probably only save about 20kg or so without a full rig redesign.  You might as well buy a new boat!

Hope the above is of help. S&S 34s are starting to be outclassed a bit by designs like my JPK which are good upwind, reaching  and downwind, but they can still get on the podium especially in windward races. Although they are thought of as heavy weather boats, they actually perform relatively better in lighter/moderate conditions, where upwind the speed difference to bigger boats is not great and downwind the more modern boats can’t get up and plane.   There is no way a S&S 34 can compete downwind in 25-30 knots doing 8 -9 knots against my JPK doing 12-15 knots and rating only slightly higher.  But going gently upwind at 5-6 knots compared to my 5.5-6.5, it is in with a fair chance.”

As a side note you might also want to look at your motor! The old Yanmar, Volvo etc diesels are heavy. A new sail drive style motor will save lots of kilos!

Some great advice!! All the best with your yachts upgrades!

S&S 34’s For Sale Around the Globe

Here is a listing of S&S 34’s found to be for sale around the world. See if you can grab a great yacht!!

Morning Star for sale in Queensland. She has an extensive race record, Melbourne to Hobart, Melbourne to Osaka ( 2nd over the line), Brisbane to Gladstone, Surf to City. She is set up for two handed sailing, with all the good gear. Details at https://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats-for-sale/used/sailing-boats/sparkman-stephens-34/289283

Morning Bird is for sale in Melbourne. Last S&S 34 to be built in the Swarbrick Brothers shipyard, Morning Bird brings with her a pedigree of sailing history. Details at https://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats-for-sale/used/sailing-boats/sparkman-stephens-34/287391

Azzurro is for sale in Sydney. She has been maintained to impeccable standards with no expense spared by her fastidious owner and high profile ocean racing sailor Shane Kearns. She has been completely restored and fully optimised for competitive racing, evidenced by her outstanding race results including twice overall winner of the Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race, first in ORCi in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, as well as numerous divisional wins. Details at https://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats-for-sale/used/power-boats/sparkman-stephens-34/287085

Quixote is under offer. Details at https://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats-for-sale/used/sailing-boats/sparkman-stephens-34/284483

Swagman is for sale in Perth. She has been optimised over the years with the addition of SS 34 Mk II keel, UFO 34 spade rudder, skeg removed, taller 2 spreader rig. Swagman is quick upwind, and most importantly, one of the quickest and stable downwind S&S 34’s thanks to the larger rudder. Details at https://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats-for-sale/used/sailing-boats/sparkman-stephens-34-now-reduced/280389

Constellation is for sale in Perth. This brilliant S&S 34 was built in WA in 2005 using the cutting edge vacuum infusion method by Swarbrick Yachts under special license from Sparkman and Stephens, USA. Details at https://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats-for-sale/used/sailing-boats/sparkman-stephens-34-vacuum-infused-construction/277274

Ciella For Sale. Derek has had to abort his round the world trek and Ciella is now for sale. Details to follow but she is listed under our yacht directory with photos.

Of course you can still get a new S&S 34 built to your specifications! Contact Mike Finn at Cottesloe Yachts. Ring Mike on +61 419 845336.

Happy buying!!

Huckleberry Wins 71st Bunbury & Return Ocean Race

S&S 34 Huckleberry skippered by Phil Somerville Ryan has won the 71st Bunbury & Return Ocean Race off the coast of Western Australia against a field of 10 other yachts.

Huckleberry entered in Division 2 for the 170Nm race and took first in both YAH and IRC handicaps in that division. She also won the overall race and the Siska Cup for this result. She was the only S&S 34 in the race and was pitted against many faster and highly skilled yachts including a TP42, Dirty Deeds, which took line honours. In the light conditions good tactical decisions by Phil made all the difference.

Results can be viewed here http://sportspage.com.au/yacht_clubs/offshore/offshore/Result_20190222.htm

Congratulations Phil, crew & Huckleberry!!!

Huckleberry rounding the last mark in the 71st Bunbury and Return Ocean Race.

From left – Ray, Jed, Phil, Bill & Cameron enjoy a well deserved rum post race



Komatsu Azzurro named 2018 S&S Association Global Regatta Winner

The S&S Association based in the UK has named Komatsu Azzurro, skippered by Shane Kearns as winner of the 2018 Global Regatta.

The Global Regatta is a racing competition between the regions of the S&S Association. The prize, the challenge Cup is awarded at the AGM to the yacht that in the preceding year, secured a class or overall win by the greatest margin relative to the next placed yacht, in either an offshore or around the cans race.

Komatsu Azzurro won the regatta based its performance in the 2018 Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.

Congratulations Shane!

Details can be found at http://www.sparkmanstephensuk.info/page100.html


Ciella Goes Round the World the Long Route

Derek Desaunois has left Brisbane on 8 January, 2019 to go the Long Route round the world on his S&S34 Ciella.

The following is a post on the Facebook page of Longue Route 2018 officiel. This is Official page of the Long Route 2018, solo and nonstop sailing around the world in the spirit of Bernard Moitessier and Guy Bernardin.

“Derek Desaunois has sailed from Brisbane on his S&S 34, to Brisbane, and intends to fire the Horn, the Azores, Good Hope, and Leeuwin before returning.”

Don McIntyre writes in comments

“Great to see him off…here is some background he wrote about himself 4 years ago when he planned to enter a one design RTW race in 2019 for S&S 34 yachts ( Now cancelled I believe??) but still an interesting read.. :)”

Born in the Netherlands 20 June 1961. I started sailing with the Sea Scouts at the age of 12, and knew within a couple of years I wanted to be a shipwright. At 16 I got an apprenticeship with Jongert Shipyards, which were just about to break into the Superyacht market with their very luxurious sailing yachts of 70 feet and over. I worked their for 10 years. In this period built two 27 foot sailing yachts for my self and sailed them around the Dutch coast and lakes and occasionally over to the UK.

In 1982 I sailed from Holland to New York and back with 5 friends on a Tayana 42. Crewed for two Azores and back races on a Swan 391 and also shorter races around Holland. In 1987, after 10 years at the yard, I quit my job, backpacked to Australia, with the ultimate goal to sail the Sydney to Hobart. Never got to do it but happened to be at Darling Harbour, Sydney, at the finish of the Tall Ships Race and jumped on board of a yacht that was about to leave for the UK, via Cape Horn. No electricity or engine on board (for a 100 foot yacht). An awesome voyage, on which I learned a lot. (Like patience in the doldrums!).

After arriving in the UK, I traveled to the South of France, where it didn’t take me long the get a job as deck hand on a Superyacht. I worked on various vessels (all sailing yachts), from 70 to 160 foot. Over a period of 12 years, I worked my way up to Mate and eventually Master. More Atlantic crossings than I care to remember a few Pacific crossings and the last vessel- a 110 foot schooner “Aschanti IV” we took around the world over a period of 3 years.

At the end of 2001 I went ashore here in Cairns. Picked up my old profession of Shipwright. Sailing got a bit on the back burner and I got more into adventure racing, Ironman, hiking etc. A bit of dinghy sailing at the yacht club with my youngest daughter.
I bought ‘Ciella’, my S&S 34 four years ago, sailed it locally for a year and then spend 2,5 years replacing the complete interior. She is back in the water and between sailing locally, I am still working on her. My next project is to make a hard dodger. Not as big a Jessica Watson’s, but the same size as my present dodger, just running further aft for more protection.

As my personal situation: I am married, with 2 daughters, age 15 and13. My wife has always known that I bought the boat with the idea to, some day, sail around the world, possibly non-stop and single handed. Doing it as a race, makes the reasoning even stronger. When I first heard about your race, I believe you had a date set for 2014. As my kids are still young, I knew it wasn’t an option. 2019 works perfectly. Simple as that.

Ciella is in a good condition, with a new engine and a brand new interior. I have glassed-in watertight bulkheads in the aftship storage – so no water can go from the storage lockers into the interior- and a glassed-in storage cum crash box in the fore ship. Still have a small list of wants, but with 4,5 years to go, Ciella will be ready.

How serious am I? This is something I wanted to do for a long time and your announcement for 2019 is the catalyst. My wife and I had long conversations about this the last few days, but she didn’t need convincing. Her words ” Since I got to know you I knew you’re going to do this some day”.

Yes, you can use me in your blog. Barring any disasters between now and then, I’m in. And that rum better be Mount Gay.”

Pictures and details of Ciella can be found in our yacht directory.