The Sailing Vessel
LOA: 35′ 1″
LWL: 30′ 4″
Beam: 11′ 7″
Draft: 6′ 0″
Ballast: 6,400 lbs.
Displacement: 13,600 lbs.
Sail area: 538 sq.ft.
Bridge Clearance: 55′ 0″
Fuel: 25 US Gal.
Water: 66 US Gal.
Engine: Volvo D1-30 30 hp diesel
Year built: 1984
Hull # 136 of 212
Designer: Holman & Pye
Review from Bluewaterboats.com
The Pretorien 35 is a French built cruiser-racer from the drawing board of the UK firm Holman & Pye that made its introduction in 1979 and has since been quietly attaining cult status. The trademarks of this classic include huge stowage, capacious accommodations, and seaworthiness all wrapped up with a build quality that rivals that of some of the finest production boats in the world. All in all, the Pretorien 35 today is an excellent example of a go-anywhere cruiser offering excellent value for money.
Built by Chantier Henri Wauquiez in Mouvaux, France, a total of 212 boats were produced between 1970-1986. Many were exported to the United States, so examples can be found on both sides of the Atlantic.
The boat feels distinctly British, but perhaps this is not so surprising given that Wauquiez, admired English boats and in particular the designs of Kim Holman. He had purchased his first boat in 1964, the English-built and Holman-designed Elizabethan 29, loving her sheerline and her tracking on open water. This lead to his first foray into the boating business by fitting out Elizabethans for the French market.
It was a time when the IOR rule was making a large impact on cruising designs – a high aspect ratio rig, large foresails, small mainsails, and a hull with pinched ends and a wide beam carried aft. The entry is raked while a reverse transom helps deliver a long waterline length of 30’ 4”. The fin keel draws a healthy 6 feet while her large skeg-hung rudder is mounted well aft providing great steering control. Of note is a ballast to displacement ratio of 46%, this is a stiff and powerful boat.
This era of Wauquiez boats were sometimes called French Swans, they are great looking boats with a low slung wedge deck that flows beautifully into her lines. The Pretorien 35’s popularity was no doubt aided by Hal Roth who circumnavigated in Whisper with his wife Margaret well documented in his book How to Sail Around the World.
The quality of construction of the Pretorien 35 is among the highest found on any production boat and is undoubtedly for ocean sailing. The solid fiberglass hull features six full-length stringers which longitudinally still the boat, they encapsulate the bulkheads which themselves are tabbed into the hull with 18 oz cloth, used for better resin saturation. The overall fiberglass work is very tidy but note that she was built in the days before vinylester resins were used, so osmotic blistering is commonly found below the waterline. This is just cosmetic so unless you’re planning to keep one for a long time, it’s not usually worth repairing.
The deck is balsa cored, with solid fiberglass in regions where through deck fittings were mounted. The deck joint, on an inward flange, is both through-bolted and glassed over. The external ballast keel is mounted on a deep keel stub with 3/4″ stainless-steel bolts.
She’s well balanced and easy to steer. In wind speeds of less than eight knots she’s definitely sluggish. She starts to shine in moderate breezes and when the wind really picks up, her capability to hold onto sail when other boats reef, helps her sail like a much larger yacht. Owners report the boat possesses enough tracking stability to fly spinnakers in high winds without any tendancy to broach which was common for boats of IOR design. Beating to windward you can count on sailing relatively narrow angles of 40 degrees or better.
Hal Roth documents the Pretorien 35’s ability to log 150+ mile days offshore – that’s a very fair number for any cruising sailboat. Through the years she has garnered a reputation for being stable, dry and seakindly. These are all very desirable qualities for offshore passagemaking.