Most late 60s and early 70s classic plastic sailboats of the 34-foot variety are actually pretty good boats but exceptionally challenged in the cruising stowage department. It’s not that they are too small but that the long-term cruising stowage was just not part of the design brief.
So if you’re looking at buying a classic plastic racer-cruiser for VolksCruising you’re going to have to use some wasted space. On the positive side, most 34ish classic plastics have plenty of wasted space that you can easily work with.
For my 1969 CAL 34, it was fairly easy to add a significant amount of stowage with a little thought. For instance, by raising the floor of the dinette and dinette seats by a foot, which added almost ten cubic feet of storage. Better yet, the raised dinette also improved the view through the port lights so you’re able to have something to look at with your Sunday pancakes.
Since we only need one quarter berth for passages, we use the port quarter berth as a dedicated stowage area. This opened up a considerable space that would otherwise go unused.
As we no longer have an inboard engine on “So It Goes”, the engine area and space just before it became yet another dedicated space for spare materials, batteries, and suchlike.
Last, in the cockpit, we decide to lose most of the cockpit footwell in the forward part of the cockpit. This gave us a cavernous hold for all of our dive gear and other needful boat stuff. That it also decreased the floodable volume of the cockpit was a win/win and increased stowage while making the boat safer.
None of these changes alter the look of the boat radically. They were all fairly simple, cost little, and could apply to most plastic classic boats.
One of my favorite classic plastic sailboats is the Bill Tripp designed Columbia 34 MK 2 CB and I keep my eye out for one of the non-cored versions which would be a great project along these lines.