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Old 15-03-2019, 05:29   #1
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Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

I am seriously considering buying a Formosa 41 Ketch for sale locally to me. However being a long keeled boat I have serious reservations about its suitability for the type of sailing I intend to do, namely coastal cruising as a fair percentage of marinas on the East Coast of Australia are quite old and some have very little room to maneuver. While this has never been much of a concern to me in the past I’ve always owned fin keel designs which have been very nimble and gone backwards as well as they have forwards!
I would love to hear from other owners, ideally of Formosa 41's or very similar designs and get their views on just how maneuverable they are, especially in reverse!!
I already know they cannot match a fin keeler in this regard but as that is all I’ve owned I have no idea how great the void between the two is.
Any constructive views/help/tips would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 15-03-2019, 05:37   #2
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

Greetings and belated welcome aboard the CF, clayjay.
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Old 15-03-2019, 05:38   #3
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

While I don't have a Formosa 41, (I have a Morgan Out Island 41, also long keel) and I've had other long keel boats. Long keel boats don't back very well. my OI has strong prop walk to stbd in reverse ( and she's heavy) so going straight backwards is hard, It requires bursts of power to get her to move and steering requires more effort and thought than a fin keel boat. Its doable but you have to go slow and plan your turns and really think about your exit plans in case things don't go well. I get jealous of my friends who just put their boats in reverse and can steer just as well as forward. there's no way I would voluntarily back into a slip unless I really needed to.
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Old 15-03-2019, 08:04   #4
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

specific to formosa 41. yes mine backs perfect. tried frist time in front of captains of mega yachts lining barra marina.. was sent out the slip wrong direction and corrected by backing 1/4 mile then exiting marina. yes i was watched very closely. was easy. ye just reverse and steer.
tight out of a dock into a ways.. easy crank wheel goose throttle, boat will go. aint gonna go like my ericson flipping self in own boat length, but these are do able issues. no big deal. gotta know how to use a boat for it to be easy. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.
i have been using my formosa 41 for coastal cruising...is nothing like it when slammed by a heavy strong wind. is what these are made for. light airs-- oopsy. is drifting time. or anchoring time.
prefrontal winds are lovely sailing. i actually enjoy being able to go sailing when the sloops and modern craft are running for safety of marina.
backing into a slip??? that is what long lines are for.
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Old 15-03-2019, 08:19   #5
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

I seem to do fine with that type of boat. Yes, it wont turn on a dime, but it doesn't blow sideways fast like a leaf on the water either. It's predictable, you learn to use prop walk etc and can do most anything with it. It's actually my comfort zone.
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Old 15-03-2019, 08:31   #6
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I seem to do fine with that type of boat. Yes, it wont turn on a dime, but it doesn't blow sideways fast like a leaf on the water either. It's predictable, you learn to use prop walk etc and can do most anything with it. It's actually my comfort zone.
exactly why i didnot cruise my ericson 35mII.. i chose this formosa for its heaviness and stability. is a perfect cruiser in that any wind condition is acceptable, especially as we donot hurry to be anywhere.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:49   #7
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

i own a 34 double ended atkin gaft cutter. 25000 pounds displacement with a 7 foot sprit. long keel. i sail in maine . small engine for the size of the boat. small prop.
in all conditions i have never had a problem. wind on , wind off, astern, bow.lots of boats around. no problem. i learned from big steamships. GO SLOW. PLAN AHEAD.
if you mess up, go around. use the wind, the current. plan as if only one person on board and no dock hands. don't get over confident. slow is the way to go.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:55   #8
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

I had a CT 41 and can tell you that zeehag is spot on. The CT 41 had prop walk that made it virtually impossible to back into a slip unless you really got going and then put it in neutral and steered it in drifting, which meant that you were going at a pretty good clip, and you better aim right. High anxiety, for sure. Even backing OUT of the slip was a hassle, because the prop walk was so intense. You had to anticipate it.... use bursts of power and then drift out. Also, unlike most modern boats, since the thing weighs a lot, you've got a lot of inertia to deal with, so when you commit to doing something, remember, this baby is not going to reverse on a dime, and it's going to take lots of time, and once it starts moving, you have a lot of inertia.

Other than that, they are great sailing boats in the wind. Light airs? Motor time.
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:11   #9
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Thumbs up Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

I was the proud owner of a Formosa 51 for five and half years in Hawaii. I certainly loved the boat. It was big, roomy, great gally layout, etc. Formosa’s are not race boats but well built blue water boats, will take you anywhere in the world safely. They are very stable in most all sea and weather conditions.

Formosa’s are heavy boats with full length keels so turning in small areas i.e. marinas can be problematic. Prop wash is a factor as well with length and weight. The secret is “slow and steady”, practice, practice, practice.
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:20   #10
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

There is no doubt that seamanship and practice can make any boat maneuverable. And if everything else fails, add a bow truster

On the other hand, there is also no doubt that some boats are easier than others, and a fin keel with single rudder is bound to be more nimble and easier to handle in close quarters than a full keel. Both can be mastered.

I think it is a matter of priorities and of what "makes you happy and comfortable" when sailing. For me, having a boat that "sails like a dinghy" is a priority, since I am so used to sailing dinghies and I truly enjoy sailing a reactive, nimble boat. For others, steadiness under way may be more important, so they would likely choose a different boat.
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:22   #11
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

Don't plan on maneuvering much in reverse - get her moving in the direction you want and pop into neutral to coast. With all that inertial - man do we coast (Hans Christian 38 Mk2 for me). Be prepared to use your engine to control that inertia.
Take everything as slow as you can and ignore the shouted "help" the morons (excuse me, the uninitiated) dockers throw at you.
And yeah - enjoy the smooth sail (well, relatively smooth) while the fin keelers are hiding in port during heavier weather. When it's light, throw up a spinnaker, fish or read, or hoist the iron topsail.
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:42   #12
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

Consider installing a JetThruster system to provide for full sideways movement and then just let the prop provide the propulsion force [fore or aft].

Such system can be used as a bow thruster or placed at the four corners it can provide turning in circles and full lateral control.

http://http://myboatsgear.com/2017/01/08/jet-thruster/

https://www.jetthrusters.com/jet-thrusters
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Old 15-03-2019, 13:47   #13
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

we have a 44' nauticat 1981 motor sailor with a full keel 6' depth. always try to come in very slow to the dock, watch the winds, and have all the fenders deployed. if needed we use the bow thruster. avoid backing up unless there is no other choice. with our full keel a course is easy to maintain but hard to change. we are heavy at 40,000 lbs. for sure there are those who can do it without a thruster too. I was spoiled before with a powerboat that had 2 engines..........no need of a thruster at all then. just think of of it, in the old days a boat had only 1 engine and no thruster. where there is a will there is a way. michael
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Old 15-03-2019, 22:54   #14
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

While it may not be easy to manuver, it's just a skill that takes practice to acquire. As a charter boat captain of several 60-90' 1920-30s era boats, they had their quirks and we had our tricks. Not a deal breaker. But if you want easy, install a bow thruster.
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Old 16-03-2019, 00:16   #15
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Re: Maneuvering a FORMOSA 41?

Our Cheoy Lee 43' pilot house ketch is the same as all the full keel boats already mentioned. No real steerage in reverse (Thank God for bow thrusters) and heaps of prop walk to stbd. I learned the hard way re handling in tight marinas. Dead slow and burst of power gets us there! Oh, and bow thruster as required!
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