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post #152 of Old 10-15-2010
Jeff_H's Avatar
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NO way is a Formosa 41 a decent offshore vessel!!!!!!!!!!!
It is a relic of a bygone error!(and yes, I meant 'error') See its not hard to use large bold letters instead of a detailed argument.

Seriously, without getting into their legendary poor quality building practices, boats like these were intended to be slightly updated versions of late 19th and early 20th century cruising boats. In converting the concept from wood to glass, these boats became even heavier than the boats that they were derived from. This triggered a whole range of compromises. To begin with, since most of the extra weight was in the hulls and interior appointments, it meant that there was a reduction in ballasting from what would have been the norm historically. This meant that they could not stand up to as large a sail plan as their historic precidents would have carried and so had very small sail plans for a boat of this displacement. The decision to go to bermuda rigs aggrevated this reduced ballast related reduction in sail area. The net result were boats that could not turn in decent average passage times. To me an important factor in picking an offshore cruising boat is that it capable of reasonable passage times, if not there is a tendancy to motor more and sail less, which for me is not exactly ideal voyaging under sail.

But these are very high drag boats with lots of wetted surface and lots of windage. They need a large amount of sail area to sail even in heavy conditions but because they are relatively tender compared to their drag, it is very hard to carry enough sail to make to weather in a blow. While some might argue this is acceptable on an offshore boat, I would suggest that even offshore boats encounter lee shores and from my point of view the inability to make to weather in a blow is very much a desirable quality for a boat going offshore. While I would agree that offshore boats do not have to offer a race boat's ability to sail well in all conditions, the compromises that these boats represent would eliminate them from any list of offshore capable boats that I personally would compile.

So while I would suggest that a Formosa 41 that someone had lovingly and knowledgably restored and upgraded might make a nice live aboard, I would suggest that if your primary goal for this boat is to go offshore,you consider one of the more up-to-date offshore designs such as a Valiant 40 or Kelly-Peterson 44's.


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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

Last edited by Jeff_H; 10-15-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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