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Douggie 10-04-2004 02:02 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
I am looking at array of heavy cruisers made in Taiwan, any comments on their short comings would be appreciated. The wood work looks really nice but i worry about the basic build. My experience with a 1975 Formosa built yacht was that the castings of things like cleats etc. was not up to scratch. The wireing was also doubious. Since they probably build more boats than any one, have they gotten over these problems now? I am now looking at the 1982-3 year builds.

PaulBl 10-06-2004 02:42 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
Taiwan has and continues to build a LOT of boats of all kinds. Some of the yards are exceptionally large and can build almost anything that floats.

The don''t and didn''t always use knock off equipment. Wiring in almost all boats from the mid 70''s isn''t that great after all these years.

The fact that a boat was made in Taiwan isn''t enough to say one way or the other if it is not a good boat. You would need to get into specific boats and years to get any more information. Two of my neighbors have 1979 Trawlers from Taiwan and they are basaically a decent boat with all the problems you''ll find and any 20+ year old boat.

Jeff_H 10-06-2004 03:42 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
My mother and stepfather were in the boatbuilding and importing business during the period that the boats were built that you are considering. They had their boats built in Taiwan. The boat building community in Taiwan was quite close knit. Mom used three different yards during the time that she was in business and so spent quite a bit of time investigating the various yards over there in order to pick one that made sense for which ever model boat she intended to have constructed and so knew the yards quite well.

Just like the U.S. there were huge differences in quality between the best quality yards and the worst. Boats like the Formosas were generally considered extremely poor quality relative to boats built at the better yards.

In a general sense, some very well built boats came out of some of the yards, but for the most part they still had some big design and quality control issues. Taiwanese boats from the early 1980''s tend to have very bad blister problems (far worse than found on most other areas of the world) due to the poor climate control in which these boats were built, the wholesale use of accelerators, careless batching of the resins, and resin rich laminates. There was a tendancy to layup thick hulls with a lot of non-directional material (mat), improperly handled poor grade fiberglass fabrics and resin rich laminates, which tends to produce poor impact resistance and an increased tendancy towards fatigue. Structually many of the Taiwanese boats tended to be crudely done lacking the kind of internal structure systems that were becoming the norm world wide during this period.

Depending on the yard, many, if not most, of the yards tended to use a lot of non-marine plywood even in such vulnerable locations as deck coring and structural bulkheads. Many, if not most, of the yards tended to use knock off fittings so that replacement parts are imposible to find and the useful lifespand is comparatively short. Poor grades of stainless steel fastenings (or even steel fastenings within the interiors and concealed locations on the boats)were typically employed. Many of the better yards were still using black iron fuel and water tanks. Tinned wire was virtually unheard of. Electrical panels and fixtures were generally knock offs of better quality equipment and would prove troublesome once placed into service. (That was the largest source of warranty issues for my folks.)

The tendancy towards heavy but not especially strong laminates meant that boats were often over their design weights and which were also often under-ballasted. That combo would result in some mix of less stability, less carrying capacity, and a more uncomfortable motion than would be expected if the boats were built as designed for other building venues.

The list could go on and obviously there was some variation between individual yards and individual importers. At some level it is not far to solely blame the yards for the corner''s that were cut. It was often the importers who set or failed to set the standard as to what would be an acceptable quality level.

All of that said, I personally would probably be comfortable buying some of the better built boats from that era. I am a big fan of the (non-Formosa built versions) Kelly-Peterson 44/46''s for example. I would rule out any boat that had teak decks in that the cores are likely to be plywood which is far more rot prone than balsa.

In the end, these boats are also more than 20 years old. A careful set of prior owners will have upgraded and corrected many of the likely building defects. You are only buying one boat so if you are willing to take the time you should be able to find an example that represents a good mix of a reasonable price, a good initial build quality and a regime of proper mainatenance and upgrading of the boat.


fenixrises 10-06-2004 07:51 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
Hi Douggie,
This is anecdotal.
Please buy a boat made in Taiwan.
It helps keep boat repair people in business.
I got:
One free trip to Hilo because of the failure of a SS bowsprit fitting.
A $60,000 repair job on a Peterson 44 that cracked in half. Boat had a thick f/g hull(1/2") in the topsides but only one layer or woving roving. Also had scrap steel ballast encased in concrete instead of the called for lead.
While in a Taiwan yard in 1987 I saw building procedures for offshore boats that would bring tears to the eyes of anyone knowledgable about boat building. I witnessed first hand much of what Jeff stated.
Taiwan built boats are by and large frightening, unless you are there full time when the boat is being built and knowledgable enough to know what you are seeing. And can some get the builder to do as you ask.

Take care,
In this case a great deal of care.

AGP 10-06-2004 11:19 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
How old is your Peterson? Do you have any knowledge of cyrrent building practices at Ta Shaing?

Jeff_H 10-07-2004 06:39 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
I have a question on the Peterson 44. Formosa built a countrfeit Peterson 44 until they were ordered to cease and desist from calling it a Peterson. That boat had a dismal reputation, including the substitution of iron for the lead ballast used in the original Kelly Peterson''s construction. Do you know if the ''Peterson 44'' in question was a Formosa?


Douggie 10-08-2004 03:04 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
It''s the Ocean Eagle Yard that builds or built the Hans Christians that I would like to know about. I would like to know what lay up method they used and were they cutting corners?

Sailman123 12-31-2004 09:28 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
I also have investigated these type of boats. My impression of them (formosa 51; Hudson 50; CT;Hardin 50 etc) is they are "houseboats with sails". If you want to mainly live aboard and occasionally move around, they will fill the bill. If you are interested in crusing, then they are SLOW, hard to handle and may be in need of major repairs.

chas2u 03-25-2005 01:58 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
You might want to refernce a book called "Heart of Glass", I don''t remeber the author''s name. This book gives you a history of the fiberglass industry. There is a section devoted to Taiwan''s boat building effort. They will mention some boats to stay away from and why. Per this tome, there were (and are)quite a few excellent boats manufactered in Taiwan

Hope this helps,
C. Wilson

SailorMitch 03-25-2005 02:55 AM

Taiwan boats, any good?
Dan Spurr wrote "Heart of Glass." It''s an excellent book on the history of fiberglass boats in general and more specifically on the history of the large (and many small) fiberglass boat manufacturers that ever tried to market a boat. Lots of excellent sidebars on the many characters who started this industry.

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