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  #1  
Old 07-25-2005
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51 Formosa

Dose anyone know where I can find information on the build specs for a 51 Formosa. I`m looking for information on the quality of construction, any problems the boat was prone too and if anyone that has one if they could tell more of there expierences with the boat. there are two boats that I have in mind a 1974 and a 1979. Any information would be helpful.
Thanks, Chuck
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Old 07-26-2005
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51 Formosa

The Formosa(s) are generally poorly built ‘pigs’. The builder did''nt adhere to the design specifications, so they may not be of much use (if available).
IMHO
Gord
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Old 07-27-2005
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51 Formosa

Can you be more specific? Where did you get this information?
Thanks,
Chuck
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Old 07-27-2005
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51 Formosa

The Formosa 51''s are a pretty well known quantity. The design is a loose interpretation of a William Garden design built to a very loose standard (although there appears to be some variation in the build quality). They are grossly overweight, undercanvassed, and grossly underballasted. You might want to do a search. There has been a lot of discussion of these boats in the past with owners and people experienced describing the good (roomy and cheap), the okay (you can find some of these boats lovingly restored, updated and upgraded), and the bad (worse than poor sailing ability, miserable motion [at least to some]and extremely shoddy original build quality).

Jeff

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Old 07-28-2005
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51 Formosa

Thanks Jeff. Do the CT 54`s also fall in this relm or are they a better boat?

Chuck
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Old 07-28-2005
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51 Formosa

CT''s are something of a mixed bag. They made some really dismal boats that were pretty poorly built and some pretty neat boats that seemed to have been built to a reasonable standard. I don''t have any first hand knowledge of the CT-54. I think that the CT54''s started life as a Bob Perry design and, as such, probably would have been a bit more moderate than the Formosa 51 and probably better thought through. Like the Formosa 51 the CT54''s are also wildly heavy boats but they do have a better ballast to weight ratio than the Formosa.

I would suggest that you post your question on the Cruising World General Forum website.
http://phpbb.worldpub.net/index.php

Bob Perry frequents that website and might give you a better appraisal. You might perhaps try a subject title like ''CT 54 question for Bob Perry'' to catch his attention. Bob also has an extremely reasonably priced consulting service that he provides.

Frankly, I am probably the wrong guy to ask about boats of this genre. I just do not understadn their reasons for being. It is not that I do not like traditional water craft. I have been a student of small craft history since a small child and have sailed on traditional small boats when ever I can get a chance. IOW, I truly love traditional working craft and yachts that accurately reflect the virtues of traditional boats. And I also really enjoy the better sailing capabilities, ease of handling, and enhansed seaworthiness of the better contemporary designs. I am not a fan of the ''character boat'' genre that, for the most part, neither have the virtues of historic sailing craft nor of modern design.

Just out of curiousity, and I may be mistaken on this, weren''t you the fellow who was in the process of buying a Beneteau 473 last year to go distance cruising. What happened with that?

Good Luck,
Jeff
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Old 07-28-2005
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51 Formosa

Yes I was looking at the 473 but decided against it. I guess I must have been an old salt in a past life. Even though I currently own a 2004 41 Hunter, I still think that the fin keel flat bottom boats have there special place of coastal cruising, sounds and rivers. My wife and I really like the old classic boat such as the CT`s and the Formosa`s. With the heavy wieght deep full keel makes the boat far more confortable and in follow seas a little more forgiving. Coming from a 4000 sq ft house my wife love the extra room. I like the ability of having a bit of a work shop on the boat. As a marine technician of main engines and generator it makes it use for earning while you cruise. So having room to carry spares for some of the more popular equipment that in other boat makes it nice for fellow cruiser that may need an impeller or belt. I love the old craftsmanship that you just don`t see anymore. By the way what is your thought on wooden spares? Each of the boats that I am looking at hvae them. they are in excellent shape and are keel stepped. I know it will require more maintenance but what the hell, what else are you going to do out there when all the beer and wine is gone. Well thanks for you thoughts.
Chuck
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Old 07-28-2005
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51 Formosa

Here''s the deal as I see it, first off you have been sold the old myth that "full keel makes the boat far more confortable and in follow seas a little more forgiving". Sorry Dude there really is no truth to that. Its an old wive''s tale pretty much debunked in testing and in practical reality. While radical fin keels don''t do a great job of tracking on their own, moderate length fins coupled with skeg hung rudders and a properly shaped hull form are actually better in a following sea situation where. Full length keels tend to lock in on whichever direction the waves have thrown them and their relatively inefficient rudders generally do not have the ability to steer them out of the broach. Been there, done that......Boats with a cut away forefoot and a skeg rudder have a better chance of being steered out of the broach.

There are a whole range of factors that affect how well a boat steers in a following sea. Finer hulled designs with finer entries tend to track reasonably well regardless of their keel type. Blunt ended boats even when they have long keels (like the Formosa) tend to be a bear to steer in a large following seas as they will skew.

Long keels are not any more inherently stable than fin keels. Stability is a product of weight distribution, displacement distribution (both static and heeled), and the forces that come into play that try to roll the boat. Generally fin keels have more stability and generate lower rolling forces than full keels. Full keels have enormous side areas and in a broaching situation, (which is the most common case where a roll over occurs) tend to generate disproportionately high roll moments compared to fin keels.

Boats like the Formosa have extremely small ballast to weight ratios, and extremely high vertical center of gravity that comes from a combination of their high and heavby deck structures, heavy interior appointments, heavy spars, and comparatively low balalst ratios and low density ballast (typically scrap iron set in concrete on these older Taiwanese boats).

As to the wooden spars, I have owned a number of boats that have had wooden spars. In the topics these really need a lot of maintenance. In Florida, we were averaging one or two coats of varnish ever two months (the sails abrade spots on the spar so you end up vanishing spars more frequently than you do other varnish work.) The oriental spars have a pretty poor reputation. The wood used was not as rot resistant as the Sitka spruce that was typically used in the States (not that sitka spruce was all that rot resistant). And the glues were not that great either. Wooden box spars, as used on these boats, rot from the inside out and so can look perfect but be shot inside, and the glue is thought to have a 25 to 30 year practical lifespan. In other words these spars are near the end of their reliable lifespan. Its fine for coastal cruising but not something that I would ever take offshore.

As to the ''old craftmanship'', these boats were beautifully finished, but they were not what I would call an example of good craftsmanship.

In any event, the last time we discussed your plans, you were talking about doing a circumnavigation. If these were comparatively new boats, I''d say, go knock yourself out, just bring lots of spares and plan to spend a lot of time and money on maintenance. But you are discussing nearly 30 year old boats which were built in a manner that they will need major rebuilding to be able to stand up to the rigors of what you were proposing.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 07-29-2005
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51 Formosa

So what boat should I buy for under 200k? What kind of boat do you have?
Thanks Chuck
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Old 07-30-2005
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51 Formosa

Jeff talks a little about his own boat and general boats like his here:
http://tinyurl.com/c9pum

Some searching on yachtworld.com turns up some interesting hits with the parameters of 160-200k, 40-55 feet. These are fin keeled boats with no teak deks mostly built by yards with decent reputations. Of course, as has been said many times, when talking about boats that are 20 year old or more it''s all about the maintenance and the care that was taken with it.


http://tinyurl.com/b5d7u
http://tinyurl.com/8xewc
http://tinyurl.com/apkwb
http://tinyurl.com/8bd2x
http://tinyurl.com/8snpe
http://tinyurl.com/9hjun
http://tinyurl.com/cbk3k
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