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.
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.
Helped by her beamy sections, the Pretorien’s interior feels very spacious and compares well to those found in more modern boats. The layout is no nonsense, with a roomy v-berth forward, followed by a head and hanging locker section. The saloon is large with two settees either side of the dinette. Further aft is a spacious galley to starboard with double sinks close to the boat’s centerline, but some will find their depth a tad shallow when the yacht is well healed. Opposite the galley on port is a nav station. There’s a small separate stateroom to the aft on port side which features a smallish double berth. A great deal of storage is found throughout the boat and the joiner work is excellent. Ventilation on the other hand has been found lacking and some owners have installed extra ports and cabin fans.
he’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.