Bellatrix at anchor in the Dry Tortugas, showing her graceful traditional lines, a signature of Bill Crealock, boat designer..
Pacific Seacraft 34 — A World Cruiser By Arlen Bensen Photos by Glenda Libby and Arlen Bensen
or those of you who may be unaware of the work of the original designer and manufacturer of these beauties, Pacific Seacrafts were designed by Bill Crealock and range from the 24-foot Dana up to the 44-foot top of the line. No matter the length, all the models were envisioned and created as cutter-rigged, blue water cruising boats with canoe sterns, useful keels, stout guts and extraordinary workmanship. Indeed, the 37-foot Voyagemaker is enshrined in the American Sailboat Hall of Fame (www.sailamerica.com/halloffame/pacificseacraft.asp). Many of these classy dames have circumnavigated, and it’s deeply encouraging to me to think that wherever I might wish to sail, Bellatrix could take me there. The standard model Pacific Seacraft 34 draws 4’ 11” but carries only 4800 pounds of lead ballast. Bellatrix is a 1989 shoal draft model, which means she draws just 4’ 1” (a big plus when gunkholing Florida’s Gulf coast). This model was
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designed with an extra 400 pounds of lead in a bulb in her keel to help counteract the shallower draft. Owners’ group discussions promised I’d sacrifice little or no pointing ability or sailing performance with this shorter keel and, in my experience, they were right. Bellatrix will pinch up to 15 to 20 degrees off the wind and sail well at 25 to 30 off on either side. Before we start our tour down at her undersides, I’d like to offer praise to the previous owners of Bellatrix for their great care in maintaining her and to my great surveyor who prepared me well for what was needed next. She was immaculately clean when I took delivery, everything on board was functioning, and she’d been lift-stored for the past 3 1/2 years. It’s not surprising, then, that she’d need bottom paint. Her bottom wasn’t fouling while she was up in the air. The prior owner had upgraded things like the foam in the V-berth and, delightfully, a flex-o-fold propellor.
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