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Old 18-05-2009, 11:57   #1
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Formosa Boats - Your Thoughts ?

Hi everyone,

Im not the first, nor will I be the last to be attracted to the Formosa style of boat.

Ive done a lot of reading and am under no illusions about the pitfalls of this make. Poor quality materials, poor build quality, termite damage, hidden rot, high maintenance etc are just a few concerns.

Add to that, the heavy handling and slow cruising speed, makes me wonder what the attraction is when a newer, shiny plastic, low maintenance, mass produced racer with off the shelf spare parts might make more sense.

There is a glut of plastic boats available right now and they represent such better value and the quantity makes it a buyers market.

So why do I keep coming back to the Formosa dream? Ironicaly, when I first saw "Captain Ron" at the movies all those years ago, I was instinctively attracted to the boat without knowing what it was.

Here I am, looking for my first liveaboard, trying to wade through all the fora and websites, gleaning as much information from all aspects as possible.

Its a bit like dating, ........trying to find that magic chemistry that will work for me, yet knowing that a compromise has to be made. We all to the tickbox list of pros and cons to help the decision process and ive already worked out I need a boat thats 30-36ft, ketch or sloop, equiped to live aboard with the basics we all look for.

But i keep coming back to Formosa. Why?, ........there cant be too many other boats with the style, charactar, living space, individuality, seaworthyness etc.
Im not looking for a racing yacht, a gin palace, a showboat, but something thats going to be my home, reliable, safe, fun, a boat that I want to live in full time, not uncomfortable to cruise and which I feel confident in putting my money into.

Your thoughts please
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Old 18-05-2009, 12:24   #2
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For most of us it's what is appealing to the eye first. My friend sails a 51ftr, and it is a handful for single-handing. He finally put the genny on a rollerfurler, and that's when he was in his mid 70's. I find them appealling to my eye, and I would guess it depended on what kind of sailing you were going to do with her......i2f
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Old 18-05-2009, 18:02   #3
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I have owned a Formosa 51 for the last 10 years, three trips from San Deigo to Puerto Vallarta and a bunch of local stuff on each end. You are right that they are not easy for one person to handle, primarily when docking. But I have found that the space and comfort when cruising is fantastic. On both the Baja Ha Ha runs I did we were one of the first 20 boats to finish each leg. We did motor more than some, but with 500 gallons of diesel we could. On the bash north in the spring we stayed warm and dry the whole trip. Winds were 15 - 25 on the nose with 10 -18 ft seas. All the light weight modern boats turned back to Turtle Bay and we just jogged along into it. Only had green water on deck twice, we kept it at 4 - 5 knots and just kept going. Would not trade it for a newer boat.

They also have a lot of character, not just looks but crazy electrical, bad decks, and strange plumbing. Once you either fix those things or live with them they are a pleasure to travel in.

For more info checkout the Formosa Owners site

Force 50 and Formosa 51 Owners Group
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Old 18-05-2009, 18:11   #4
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Here I am, looking for my first liveaboard, trying to wade through all the fora and websites, gleaning as much information from all aspects as possible.
Well, you were astute enough to find Cruisers Forum - that bodes well for you finding your dream vessel.

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Old 18-05-2009, 19:18   #5
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Well, you were astute enough to find Cruisers Forum - that bodes well for you finding your dream vessel.

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You old smooth talker.
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Old 18-05-2009, 19:21   #6
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For more info checkout the Formosa Owners site

Force 50 and Formosa 51 Owners Group

Thanks for the pointer. A 51 is too big but maybe a 41. In which case, is the advice and knowledge on that site also applicable to other Formosa types?
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Old 18-05-2009, 19:28   #7
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You old smooth talker.
Well, you got the "old" part right.

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Old 19-05-2009, 01:31   #8
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I love the look at the old Formosa’s as well.

It sounds like you've approached them with open eyes.

You might have a look at the old Choy Lee's (sp) Valiant’s and CT's as well. You may find them similar in style.
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Old 19-05-2009, 08:36   #9
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Buy the boat that when you leave you always look back at one more time and smile.Most things can be fixed/changed or lived with if she holds your eye/love.Basic looks/hull shape can not.
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Old 19-05-2009, 08:43   #10
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Check out the Kelly Peterson 44 as a possible alternative. They were built in that part of the world but with excellent quality control. Great cruising boat, especially for blue water cruising.

Owners' website:

Peterson Cutter Website - Welcome
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Old 19-05-2009, 09:33   #11
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Check out the Kelly Peterson 44 as a possible alternative. They were built in that part of the world but with excellent quality control. Great cruising boat, especially for blue water cruising.

Owners' website:

Peterson Cutter Website - Welcome
What I realy want is something as pretty, sexi, traditional etc but built ANYWHERE in the world apart from the far east.
Having said that, the woodwork in the Formosas is gorgeous, as is the design but im just so worried about buying a moneypit thats going to cost far more in time and money than i can afford.
I guess Its all down to a surveyors report but if he misses something then im stuck.

Ive found a 41 here in the UK, now UK registered but ex Panama and she has wooden masts.
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Old 19-05-2009, 10:00   #12
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If the wooden mast is varnished you have a chance of knowing its condition ...if its painted its far more difficult.

There are lots and lots good boats built in the far east.

One big ticket item with older boats is the fuel and water tanks....they may be fine now but if they need replacing, it sometimes means tearing out a lot of that beautiful wood work.

The picture below was my beautiful galley after getting to the tanks.

My new aluminum mast and standing rigging was $25,000 in 2003
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Old 19-05-2009, 10:06   #13
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What I realy want is something as pretty, sexi, traditional etc but built ANYWHERE in the world apart from the far east.
Having said that, the woodwork in the Formosas is gorgeous, as is the design but im just so worried about buying a moneypit thats going to cost far more in time and money than i can afford.
I guess Its all down to a surveyors report but if he misses something then im stuck.

Ive found a 41 here in the UK, now UK registered but ex Panama and she has wooden masts.
I'm a bit confused. You say don't want something built in the far east, but you are looking at Formosas.

Assuming you are willing to "take a chance" on something built in the far East, if you can reduce the odds of acquiring a money pit, I will again recommend that you consider the KP 44. It's probably a better risk than a Formosa because the KP 44's were built with better quality control, at one of the more reliable yards in Taiwan (at least at that time.. late 70's - early 80's). I think the potential problem areas for a KP 44 are now well known: water and fuel tanks, teak decks (which were available as an option, installed over solid fiberglass decks and therefore removable), blisters, waterlogged rudders, and on some boats, the genoa tracks. In addition, as they are 30 year old boats, chances are the electrical and plumbing systems will need some work, and of course the engine and sails must be checked out carefully. A good surveyor should have no trouble checking out those areas.

You might want to take a few minutes and read this article. IMO it's very informative.

http://www.kp44.org/ftp/ArticleFromB...nKp44_1998.pdf

And here ends my KP 44 sales pitch!
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Old 19-05-2009, 10:49   #14
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anjou, have you seen this one? A Formosa 41....nice price too..tho she'll need some work on the teak...
1977 Formosa 41' Formosa Ketch sailboat for sale in New York
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Old 19-05-2009, 11:32   #15
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Ohhhhhh

If the New York 41 was this side of the pond, i would be so tempted to take a chance and just go for it.

Its all new territory for me. I dont know where to start. I guess she has to be seen which means jumping a plane or would it be better to find an experienced Formosa surveyor to report first?

Then I either bring her back to UK for a refit or find a boat yard in the US.

One good thing in my favour is the $- exchange rate and as she stands, she would be 19,300 today. Comfortably within my budget, provided there are no nasty surprises.

I currently pay out just over $8,500 in rent and domestic bills per year, so I would save that money by living aboard, but I can dock here for @$ 1,800 plus water and electric hook up.
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