X-34: 2009 Best Racer/Cruiser

This dual-purpose cruiser is both easy to handle and zippy on the racecourse.

December 13, 2008


Billy Black

When Cruising World’s preliminary judges reviewed the roster of possible BOTY candidates and set up the Racer/Cruiser category for this year’s contest, little did they anticipate the semantic quandary they’d create with their grouping of performance-oriented sailboats. “Is it more racer than cruiser? Is it cruisier or racier?” asked the BOTY judges, after visiting and sailing each boat. At length, no matter how the distinctions were drawn and debated, the Danish-built X-34 emerged as the best blend of both.

On deck, the 34 is simple but all business. Discontinuous rod rigging supports a John Mast rig that carries a full-batten mainsail and full-hoist nonoverlapping jib. The sail plan is both powerful and easy to handle, thanks to ample-sized self-tailing winches and a Profurl furler recessed below the deck. The mainsail is controlled by a traveler located on the cockpit sole just forward of a wide, sporty wheel and by a double-ended mainsheet led to winches on either side of the helm. The transom is open, though a seat for the helmsman is an option. We sailed closehauled at 6.6 knots in 7 to 10 knots of wind, enjoying feather-light control courtesy of the Solimar steering system.

Below, the interior offers creature comforts for the crew, whether they be a team of grinders or a couple and their friends off on a coastal cruise. Light-colored horizontal-grain mahogany panels are found throughout the saloon and in the double cabins fore and aft. A full galley sits to port, with head and forward-facing nav station opposite. A drop-leaf center-line table and two sea-berth-worthy settees complete the saloon.


The X-Yachts design team, according to the U.S. importer, intended the X-34 to be “easy to handle for a cruising family, yet a sharp competitor on the racecourse.” After sailing the boat last October on Chesapeake Bay, the BOTY judges determined that for either purpose, the designers hit their target spot-on.


  • Amenities include a good V-berth, lots of storage areas, and bookshelves in the saloon.
  • Even with the spinnaker flying, the X-34 was easy for two to handle.
  • An optional windlass can be added to the sizable anchor locker.

To access CW’s complete 2009 Sailboat Show and Boat of the Year contest coverage, click here.


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