The Swedish builder Arcona has been producing award-winning sloops for over 40 years, though the first Arcona arrived in U.S. waters only a couple of years ago. I suspect it won’t be long before the company is a force to be reckoned with. The Arcona 340, in particular, is a true head-turner, one of those boats that just look right, even tied up at a dock.
Arcona uses resin infusion to create a light, strong hull and deck comprised of multiaxial rovings and vinylester resin with a Divinycell core. A galvanized steel framework in the base of the hull carries the loads generated by the rig and keel. All bulkheads are laminated to the hull and deck. The keel is a lead bulb bolted onto an epoxy-coated cast-iron fin. The keel-stepped mast is by Seldén. Standing rigging is wire.
A nearly plumb bow and a fairly abrupt reverse transom both look sharp and maximize the boat’s sailing length. End-boom sheeting with traveler and mainsheet controls immediately forward of the helm—right where they belong—show this is a boat that means business on the racecourse.
The Arcona’s overall proportions strike an excellent balance between performance and interior volume. The cabin trunk provides good headroom below without offending the eye. There’s not quite full standing headroom for a 6-footer like me, but this is not unusual in a 34-foot performance boat.
A teak toerail runs the length of the deck and grabrails are well positioned on the cabintop. The side decks are exceptionally wide, and the chainplates for the double-spreader fractional rig are well inboard. The helm station is comfortable and nicely proportioned. There is plenty of room behind and to either side of the 55in wheel.
The standard deck layout includes Harken primaries and a pair of Harken halyard winches on the cabintop. A German mainsheet arrangement is optional. The dodger can be tucked away in an integral well. Halyards and control lines are led under the deck to the cockpit. The headsail furler is also under the deck.
The straightforward but comfortable accommodation plan makes this a boat that will take care of you on passage or on the hook. The saloon settees are big enough to double as excellent sea berths. The V-berth is adequate for sleeping, and there is a comfortable double quarterberth to port abaft the galley.
Generous hanging lockers and plenty of shelves and lockers in the saloon provide a surprising amount of stowage. Instead of squeezing in another quarterberth on the starboard side, Arcona wisely chose to install a spacious cockpit locker.
Overall finish is excellent. The nav station is large and comfortable, and the wiring behind the instrument panel is well executed. Engine access is good, and sturdy, easy-to-grip handrails run the length of the saloon—a feature missing from far too many boats these days.
The head is surprisingly roomy for a 34-footer and features a useful wet locker that drains into the bilge. The aft bulkhead includes a hatch providing access to the cockpit locker. This has its own dedicated light, as does the engine space.
You couldn’t ask for better weather for a test sail: moderate seas and winds in the mid to upper teens. We put up the main, unfurled the standard 110-percent headsail, and the Arcona took off to windward, quickly accelerating to the 7 knots predicted by its polars.
The boat tacked without hesitation, in spite of the chop. Its cable steering system was smooth and tight, with absolutely no play. This is one of those boats where you need to be careful not to whip through a tack too quickly. It easily powered through the waves and quickly fell into a groove when beating.
Although the helm loaded up in a couple of the stronger puffs, there was never any concern about the rig taking over, thanks to the boat’s big high-aspect rudder. Still, the substantial mainsail needs to be depowered early, or possibly even reefed, when the wind picks up. While not overly broad by contemporary standards, the Arcona 340 has slightly more than 11ft of beam, and like most modern boats it likes to be sailed flat.
Falling off onto a reach, I found that steering down the growing swells was effortless. It’s nice sailing in an age of good, big rudders. Although nimble and fast, the boat is easy to manage. A cruising couple couldn’t ask for a better ride than the Arcona 340. The standard boat flies a symmetrical spinnaker on a pole, but our test boat included a removable Seldén bowsprit for flying a reaching chute.
No surprises here. The 20hp Yanmar diesel sail drive provided plenty of power as we motored through the chop prior to hoisting sail. There is a fair distance between the prop and rudder, which means it takes a little while before you get much helm control backing down. But it’s nothing that can’t be easily accommodated with practice. Maneuvering under power revealed no flaws.
This is quite simply a nice boat, a sailor’s boat. While there’s nothing overtly flashy about the Arcona 340, its quality construction, styling and many practical seagoing design features result in a smart-looking sloop that can’t help but attract attention at the dock—and make for a fast, comfortable ride underway.
• High-quality construction throughout
• Fast and maneuverable
• Easy to handle for a cruising couple
• Mainsail loads up quickly
• Headroom is a bit tight
Headroom 6ft // berths 6ft 6in x 6ft 4in (fwd); 6ft 6in x 5ft 10in (aft)
LOA 34ft 1in // LWL 32ft 2in // Beam 11ft 4in
Draft 6ft 5in // Displacement 10,400lb
Ballast 3,800lb // Sail area 664ft2 (100%FT)
Fuel/Water/Waste (GAL) 30/40/14
Engine 20hp Yanmar 3Ym20
Electrical 70AH (engine); 2 x 70AH (house)
Designer Stefan Qviberg
BUILDER Arcona Yachts, Gustavsberg, Sweden, arconayachts.com
U.S. AGENT Gunnar’s Yacht & Ship, Oak Creek, WI, 414-764-3994
PRICE $196,000 (FOB Sweden)
Photos courtesy of Arcona Yachts