Posted 01 January 2013 - 03:41 AM
I think 50-ish is the perfect age to own a 34.7! We have just returned from a local regatta (Cockburn Sound Regatta), where we sailed with six crew (inc three women), slept five on board and finished third in IRC1. That gives an idea of the versatility of the boat. They are fairly simply rigged (with the A-sail only config), but technically interesting enough to provide a challenge - for example, learning to sail deep and fast with the A-sail, and keeping the boat in a straight line in breeze.
The rig is not stubby - quite high aspect in fact. With a 135% overlapper, they are fully powered in 10 knots. Most were delivered with Hall Spars carbon mast and rod rigging - that is definitely the way to go (as is a clew strap!).
A season racing "white sails" (jib & main) would be a great idea to get a feel for the boat, with some low-key kite practice on good days. You will need more grunt and weight than just a spouse and the young kids to race hard, but there will be real jobs for the little fellas (sewer rat, jib release, bow, vang trimmer (the latter being rather important when reaching on a 34.7)).
Happy New Year and good luck with the search. Icedtea will be a good contact for you in Dublin Fair City.