Think about this – the Express 34 is thirty years old.
Does that make it a classic? What makes a boat a classic? Speed? Popularity? Longevity?
Whisper in the rainbow
On the short list of fiberglass boats that define a classic plastic from the 1980’s, here’s what I came up with:
Express 27 & 37
Olson 30, 911s
Santa Cruz 27, 50
While the Alsberg Brothers produced the 34 in nowhere near the numbers of the more popular 27 and 37, the Express speed, strength and versatility DNA is still deeply embeded. No doubt it’s a better cruising boat than either of her sisters.
Of course I’m biased, but I’m calling the Express 34 a ‘Classic Sleeper’. What do you think?
So I finally bit the bullet and bought a new prop for Wailana. A folding Martec elliptical 16″ x 12″ RH.
This means that it’s 16″ diameter with a 12″ pitch (the distance traveled forward in one rotation) – right hand turning.
The old one was 16″ x 10″ and when they replaced the engine with a more powerful one they didn’t re-prop so I could never get much past 5.5 kts. I’m now getting 7 kts easily at 3,000 RPM. I couldn’t be happier! Price with tax was about one boat unit = $1,000.
Installation was straight forward.etting the old prop off was the hard part. Luckily the yard had a special tool that looks like a giant ‘C’ clamp and it popped off with a bang.
More from Tom B., the owner of Whisper out of Monroe Harbor, Chicago IL
“I own hull number 24, Whisper. She races out of Columbia YC located in Monroe Harbor, Chicago IL. PHRF handicap is now 96. The only changes to the boat are moving the secondary winches to the cabin top, removing two of the halyard winches and replacing the other two with Harken 40 ST winches. The check stays now lead directly (no purchase) to the cabin top winches. We also switched to a MaxProp classic two blade propeller. The only structural repairs we have made are cutting out the bottom 8 inches of the main bulkhead and scarfing in a G10 panel. This seems to be a common repair to both the 34 and 37. Whisper has done very well racing. We have won our class once in the Chicago to Mackinac race, we dominate our class in the light air Wednesday evening series, and we do very well on the weekend races as well. We were the Chicago Yachting Association Boat of the Year last year. Our sail inventory is all North.: Nordic Radian mainsail, 0.6 oz Norlon deep running spinnaker (shape between code 1.5 and 4?) and carbon 3DL genoa. Sail Number is US42934. The most annoying thing about the boat is the location of the traveller. I have seen two Express 37s with racing cockpits (one originally built that way and one modified) which look great. But I do not have the money to do that with my boat. The original name of the boat was Taxi Dance. Ownership history is somewhat murky but I believe we are the third owner. There was another Express 34 in the Chicago area in the early 90s, Second Helping USA41362, but I do not know were she is now.”
Jim H. has Sabrina home at last in Callao VA.
That’s a pretty sweet spot!
From Jim: “My brother and I sailed 400 miles from Glen Cove NY to Callao VA, stopping along the NJ coast 3 nights then an overnight 200 miles from Cape May to Callao. We had 30+ every day off NJ, the boat managed fine as long as you reefed early. We learned pretty quick that as soon as you see 20, 30 is right behind it! We left just after a coastal low passed NY and were in the Potomac just as the next one arrived, giving us NW wind in the Atlantic then a nice Easterly in the Ches Bay, fast, flat water sailing most of the way. We hit the Hells Gate current window on time and “squirt” out of NY harbor sometimes hitting 10 ktsSOG, then a 2am departure from Cape May let us enjoy 12 hours of fair current all the way up the Delaware Bay, through the C & D Canal and down the first 25 miles of the Chesapeake, pretty neat.
I’m moving up from a sport boat to the Express 34, will do some crewed racing on the Ches Bay this year, then after a year or two of practice maybe do some shorthanded racing. I could not be happier with the 34 design, the condition of the boat and support we got from the previous owner. Greg and the info on this site have been very helpful and I look forward to contributing.”
Tom B. the owner of Whisper out of Chicago sent us his ORR certificate! I’m not sure exactly what all this stuff means but I’m pretty sure it’s a license to kick ass on the race course. Click on the graphic or link below.