Many of today's boats are designed to be both quick and comfortable, and X Yachts continues to stake its claim in the performance-cruiser market. The X-34 is light, nimble, and sturdy, as I learned firsthand during several hours of thrashing into a stiff 17-to-20-knot headwind and steep chop on a recent 50-mile test sail/delivery.
The hull and deck are built of hand-laid E-glass fabric and isolatic resin and cored with Divinycell. The hull-to-deck joint is bonded with polymer adhesive. The hull liner provides a base for furniture, and hull stiffness is achieved with a structural grid built of solid fiberglass with hot-galvanized steel beams. The keel foil is cast iron, and the bulb is lead. The rudderstock is solid aluminum, and the steering system is chain and cable.
The cockpit layout received high marks. The boat has the responsiveness of a dinghy, and the excellent ergonomics and comfortable helm station made it easy to work upwind. Since both the mainsheet and the traveler run right in front of the wheel, the helmsman can easily play the puffs. I quickly settled in at the helm, happy to take advantage of the well-placed brace points, excellent visibility, and comfortable seats. It was obvious to me that these were the conditions the boat was built for.
Other abovedeck features worthy of note include a walk-through transom, sticky (but not abrasive) antiskid, and wide side decks that make it easy to work the foredeck. None of these features are revolutionary, but all the little common-sense things that are done right on this boat make it fun to sail.
The accommodation plan is functional rather than flashy. The long straight seats, simple centerline table, and small nav station are well proportioned and make good use of the available interior space. The saloon seats have comfortable backs that hinge up to create two reasonably wide and comfortable sea berths. The V-berth is all you'd expect of a 34-footer, and both cabins have good (not great) headroom. The galley is big enough for making coffee and sandwiches, and the head is just big enough for a vanity, a toilet, and room to shower. The table of the forward-facing nav station is big enough for working on a paper chart, and there's space for mounting any electronics you'd desire.
Our test sail took place during a delivery from Newport, Rhode Island, up Buzzards Bay to Marion, Massachusetts, which is usually a low-key downwind trip. But not this time—a norther blew through and didn't let up until we were on the mooring in Marion. Thus I'm intimately aware of (and impressed with) the boat's windward ability. We kept boatspeed between 6.5 and 7 knots and tacked through 70 degrees, flying a North 3DL full main and blade jib. A quick ease of the traveler in the puffs kept the boat flat and fast. Easing later rather than sooner resulted only in a bit more heel and weather helm, rather than a round-up. Falling off 20 to 30 degrees pushed speeds into the 8s.
The X-34 turned on a dime. A quick burst of throttle was all we needed to nose out of a very tight slip. With a 2 blade folding prop and saildrive, cruising speed was in the 6s; speeds in the 7s are possible with the throttle wide open. Many smaller boats can be noisy below, but the X-34 has sufficient engine-room insulation to keep the decibels to a minimum.
HEADROOM: Saloon 5'10", aft cabin(s) 4', forward cabin 5'8" » BUNKS: Aft cabin 6'8"×4'3", forward cabin 6'8"×5'9" » SETTEES: 6'5"×3', COCKPIT SEATS: 5'10"×1'6"
Price: $189,000 (base, subject to currency value, FOB Stamford, CT) includes running rigging, hot and cold pressure water, ground tackle.
Builder: X-Yachts, Haderslev, Denmark, www.x-yachts.com
Designer: X-Yachts Design Group
U.S. Importer: Prestige Yachts, Stamford, CT; www.prestigeyachts.com
LOA: 34' » LWL: 29'10"
Beam: 11'3" » Draft: (std/shoal) 6'2"/5'3"
Displacement: 11,684 lbs » Ballast: 4,850 lbs
Sail Area: 710 sq ft
Power: 20-hp Volvo Penta
Tankage Fuel/Water/Waste: 39/66/15.8 gal
Electrical: (1) 115-Ah AGM (house), (1) 55-Ah (engine)
Displacement-Length ratio: 195
Sail Area-Displacement ratio: 22
Ballast-Displacement ratio: 41%
Certification: CE Category A (Ocean)
- Quality construction
- Sailing performance
- Cockpit layout
- Limited headroom
- Weak dollar affects U.S. price
The X-34 is a capable performance cruiser that benefits from top-quality hardware. It's sturdy, quick, and comfortable down below. The no-frills layout isn't revolutionary, but it is also hard to improve on. This boat gets most of the important stuff right.