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!

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.

Melbourne to Osaka – Morning Star Second Across the Line

After 39 days 15 hours 23 minutes and 56 seconds, SS34 Morning Star was second across the finish line in the Melbourne Osaka Cup double handed race on 24 April. Skippered by Jo Breen, 27 and Peter Brooks, 39, both from Tasmania, Morning Star led the staggered start 5,500 nautical mile race until just 250 nautical miles from the finish when the 62ft Judel-Vrolijk 62, Chinese Whisper, passed her on the way to breaking the race record in 21days 12hours 41minutes and 13seconds.

Jo & Peter’s efforts in maintaining their lead right up to the very end has been a testament to their great sailing ability and a very well set up yacht. They have done a fantastic job averaging 5.6 knots and reaching a top speed of 11 knots during the race.

Morning Star was built in 1984 by Swarbricks and was purchased by Jo in 2016. She is a mark 2 hull and has undergone a complete refit including having a new keel stepped tall rig fitted and changing the wheel steering to a tiller. Careful sail selection has given her an IRC rating of 0.913.

Many of us have been following Morning Star’s progress on the Blue Water Tracks website where progress of all the yachts in the race can be viewed. The race still continues with a large part of the fleet having been delayed by tropical cyclone Iris off Australia’s Queensland coast early in April. A link to the tracker can be found below.


The Melbourne to Osaka website is http://melbourneosaka.com/en/home/

2018 Commodore’s Perpetual Trophy Race Results

The 2018 Commodore’s Perpetual Trophy Race was held on the 25th March at Fremantle Sailing Club. We had 10 S&S34’s present and 12 Commodore’s from various clubs in Western Australia.

The wind was a great 15-20knots and conditions were just right for our yachts up until midway in the race when the wind died and we were all left floating for a while. The breeze kicked in again and we were all away to the finish line. Refreshments and presentations were held after and enjoyed by all.

The final results were,

1st and Fastest  – Perie Banou III – Owner Colin Sanders and Commodore Danny O’Byrne from East Fremantle Sailing Club

2nd Morning Tide – Owner Jim Putt and Commodore Graeme Cole from Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club

3rd Seashell – Owner Dave Mitchell and Commanding Officer Brian Delamont from HMAS Stirling, Fleet Base West.