The original Dehler 34 marked a turning point in the history of Dehler yachts. Can the new 34 do the same? Graham Snook tests her to find out and here's his review
Dehler 34 review
See the February 2017 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test
What’s she like to sail?
I got a pleasing glimpse at her potential speed when the apparent wind did increase into double digits. If we’d had a gennaker she would have been faster and I’d have been the proverbial cat who got the cream. The helm was a comfortable weight but the Jefa steering wasn’t as light as on other boats with a similar setup – merely a comment, not a criticism.
Sitting outboard, it’s easy to trim the mainsail from the helm, although when tacking and hardening up, it was easier to stand between the wheels and take the slack out of the mainsheet. Seated at the helm, the space is confined by the pushpit and backstay, but the pushpit does make a good backrest.
Even in a gentle breeze she was enjoyable to sail, but with a few more knots she’ll transform into something a lot more fun and involving, eagerly responding to the wheel. There is plenty of room to work in the cockpit, and sitting on the sloped coaming is comfortable, although you do have to be aware of the mainsheet, which is led up the coaming to a winch by the wheel.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
Although the coamings around the cockpit are low, the curved area at the forward end is worth fighting for. The seats aren’t that long, at 1.52m (5ft), so lounging here is more comfortable than lying with feet overhanging and resting against a wheel pedestal.
The windlass is set below deck level but there is room for the chain to fall without piling up. The pop-up cleats look good, but there isn’t a fair lead from the bow roller to a cleat; the cheek of the roller and leg of the pulpit get in the way. These cleats could also do with rubrails on the hull nearby, to protect the glassfibre from chafe when mooring to low pontoon cleats.
Access to the shower and toilet compartment in the heads requires needless effort, requiring those in need to walk around the door like a kissing gate, rather than straight through the doorway. The galley is a little small, but the saloon and cabins are all a decent size. The aft cabin especially has a vast berth, even with the rudder post taking space from the inboard far corner.
Would she suit you and your crew?
She’s designed for people who enjoy sailing, which might sound odd because, as readers of this fine publication we all enjoy sailing. But rather than just being out on the water, a Dehler owner will know about and feel the need to adjust sail shape. Whether they’ll be doing that cruising from port to port, on short-handed passage races or racing around the cans or daysailing with family at the weekend, it matters not, the Dehler 34 rewards those who like to tweak.
Many cruisers offer more living space, but they won’t be as swift or as enjoyable to sail. Dehler is known for fast cruisers with a comfortable motion under sail and it built that reputation on the first Dehler 34, thirty years ago. This 34 is true to the original in that she sails very well, has a good turn of speed, but is still comfortable enough to cruise with your friends or family without feeling like you’re on a racing yacht. She’s not extreme in any way; she’s a good-looking, quick and enjoyable boat to sail.
What more could you ask for?
FACTS AND FIGURES
Price £165,818 inc VAT (Feb 2017)
LOA 10.70m (35ft 1in)
LWL 9.60m (31ft 6in)
Beam 3.60m (11ft 10in)
Draught 1.95m (6ft 5in) as tested, or 1.55m (5ft 1in), or 2.1m (6ft 9in)
Displacement 5,950kg (13,117 lb)
Ballast 2,100kg (4,630 lb)
Ballast ratio 35.3%
Sail area 65m2 (700 sq ft)
SA/D ratio 20.1
Diesel 160 litres (35 gal)
Water 230 litres (51 gal)
Engine 30hp saildrive
RCD category A
Designer Judel/Vrolijk & Co./Dehler
Builder Dehler Yachts
UK Agent Inspiration Marine Group
Tel 02380 457008