Bristol 34 Gusto
New Orleans, LA
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Updated September 2013 AMZ

Gusto is a 1972 Bristol 34 sailboat, hull #37, owned by Arthur and Georgette Zatarain in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was acquired in pretty good shape in January 2002, yet has undergone considerable renovation and restoration by us to make it a very comfortable day sailor for Lake Ponchartrain. The boat is a joy to sail with a crew of 1 to 8.

The boat features both a roller furling main and genoa, smooth running 4-cyl diesel, and autopilot to simplify life in the 9 foot long cockpit with large teak backrests. Gusto is usually sailed single handed (even when there are other folks aboard), so all working lines are routed to the forward or aft end of the cockpit. The original 2 genoa winches were replaced with a single self-tailing Lewmar 40 mounted on center at the aft end of the cockpit. This "mono-winch" design works very well, allowing either the helmsman or a crewmember to tack the genoa without anyone moving from their seat. All this is done in the shade of a huge bimini that we added shortly after acquisition that is augmented by a flat awning over the boom during the summer months. We really like to stay out of the sun.

I made the stern pulpit seats in Oct 2004, modeled after the Stern Perch seats sold over the internet. Three plywood prototypes were made to perfect the design before cutting the costly Starboard. The seats are cut from 3/4 inch Starboard rather than 1/2 as used in the "store bought" seats. The stainless steel cup holders came from a casino supply place. The seats tilt up and aft to access the stern cleats. The pipe insulation foam shown on the upper rail is temporary for testing.

Gusto's interior is now setup for comfortable overnight trips for 2-4 friendly folks. What was once a portside quarter berth had previously been converted into an enclosed storage locker and small seat. Following our acquisition, the galley and head were completely rebuilt after taking the old interior down to the bare hull. Usable storage space doubled, and is much more dry and useful. The dinette table was replaced with a smaller, folding design that make the seating more accessible. The aft section of the cabin floor was raised about 2.5 inches to provide a 4'x4' flat floor surface, replacing the very narrow space of the original design. This modification sacrificed some headroom, but greatly improved the utility of the galley by allowing room for 2 people to comfortably stand while another person passes through. No more galley gymnastics are required.

Mechanical equipment includes a 30 gallon pressure water system (with fresh water flush for the Lavac toilet), and 6 gallon sewage holding tank. Fun stuff includes a CD changer with 4 speaker stereo, and AC/DC refrigeration. A microwave oven and 10,000 BTU air conditioner extend dockside leisure time.

Nearly all AC and DC wiring has been replaced, including 2 new DC distribution panels with metering, and a separate AC panel. Galvanic isolation on the 30 amp shore power connection helps reduce electrolysis. Several AC outlets and DC "lighter plug" sockets were installed at convenient locations throughout the boat. Several interior lights have been fitted with auxiliary internal red LEDs for very low power area lighting. A removable lightning ground system was devised for quick-attachment to the base of the mast, with the electrode going over the side on a large flexible cable.

A "Mighty-Dry" dehumidifier was permanently installed under a dinette seat. It is powered through a thermostat that prevents operation when it's either too hot or too cold, and also cuts power when the 12 volt power ventilation system is blowing through one of the head's cabintop vents. This system keeps the interior dry, and also prevents it from getting hotter than the outside air temperature when the boat is closed up.

DC power is provided by separate Engine and House banks, each having 2 switchable batteries with ample capacity. Separate 20 amp AC chargers are provided for each bank. The two banks can be switched into parallel for engine charging, and for emergency starting or operation of DC appliances.

The Bristol 34 has proven to be a very suitable boat for our purposes. Although her design is outdated, and her varnished teak demands loving care, Gusto often receives complements from owners of more modern boats that (to me) look like big white Clorox bottles. Gusto is a charming example of a classic Halsey Herreshoff design.

Stop by Pier 6 Slip 12 of the Orleans Marina if you are in the neighborhood. Or drop me an email to arthur "at"

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Updated  September 2013
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