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On Board: Buzzards Bay 34

For coastal adventuring, the Buzzards Bay 34 suggests that two hulls are better than one.

November 15, 2011

Buzzards Bay 34

The GPS showed 38 knots over the ground — helped along by a 3-knot current. In the steep four-foot seas of Vineyard Sound, the Buzzards Bay 34 Power Catamaran didn’t pound, and the helmsman didn’t have trouble keeping her on course, but I suggested we reduce speed, as would most prudent seamen.

This remarkable performance is the direct result of good design. Chris White, of Chris White Designs, drew the Buzzards Bay 34 PC for Russell Hunt’s Multihull Development Inc. We don’t normally associate a top speed of more than 35 knots with displacement hulls, but that’s what White drew — each very slender with a fine entry and fuller sections aft. Chine flats, parallel to the waterline and running from the transom to a short distance abaft the stems, create the lift this boat needs to flirt with a 40-knot top speed. The chines also prevent water from climbing up the topsides. The under-wing clearance — the distance from the water to the structure between the hulls — is 20 inches aft and slightly more than that forward. Under-wing clearance is always a compromise.
Too much of it cuts into the headroom in the house. Inadequate clearance causes pounding at almost any speed, especially in short, steep seas.

After we throttled back to 20 knots, the BB 34 PC tiptoed through the waves. In addition to her extraordinarily comfortable motion at this speed, she sipped fuel, getting close to two nautical miles per gallon. The 34 PC accelerated briskly from a dead stop, and because her hulls don’t have the resistance hump normally experienced aboard a V-bottom planing monohull, she stays nearly level. She tracked accurately, in head seas and in following seas, and she stayed flat in the turns.

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Aboard this high-performance cruiser for two, the pilothouse/salon is the social center of the accommodations. The L-shape dinette on the starboard side seats five adults, and its seat base lifts on gas-charged stainless-steel struts to allow access to the stowage bins. Large windows give the occupants an excellent 360-degree view, even when they’re seated. The in-line galley on the port side is adequate for a couple who cruises from marina to marina and anchors out occasionally.

The stateroom’s queen-size berth, with stowage under, sits athwartships, a step up from the cabin sole, and a hanging locker snuggles hard against the main bulkhead.

After a day’s run to your favorite skinny-water cove, lift the outboards and coast onto the beach for a cookout and a moment to admire your cat.

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View the complete photo gallery.

Test conditions: Speeds were measured by GPS in Vineyard Sound off East Falmouth, Massachusetts, in approximately four-foot seas and 20-knot winds, with a ¾ load of fuel, a ½ load of water and four people on board. Fuel consumption was measured by the electronic engine-monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.

RPM Knots GPH dB(A)
1000 5.2 1.9 69
1500 7.1 3.30 67
2000 9.3 5.15 74
2500 13.5 8.08 74
3000 18.2 9.88 82
3500 22.0 14.87 82
4000 25.4 20.20 85
4500 29.5 27.79 87
5000 33.3 37.00 99
5500 38.0 48.00 95

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LOA: 33’9″
BEAM: 12’6″
DRAFT: 1’6″ (hull only, light load)
DISPL.: 12,000 lb. (half load)
FUEL: 190 gal.
WATER: 66 gal.
TEST POWER: 2 x 225 hp Suzuki V-6 4-strokes
STANDARD POWER: 2 x 225 hp Mercury Verado V-6 4-strokes
BASE PRICE: $405,000

Multihull Development Inc., 508-403-0301; www.mdcats.com

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