1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
Re: Formosa 35
I just bought a CT 41, built by Ta Chiao, which was the boat yard
right next to Formosa. They shared a lot of resources and often built
almost identical designs (the Formosa Yankee Clipper is the same
basic design as the CT41). I did a lot of research into these boats
and give you a bit of insight that might help you out.
The hulls of these boats are generally overbuilt, and well laid up.
The keels are usually encapsulated iron and cement, but do not seem
to be a problem area (I haven''t heard of any keel problems, at
least). I do not believe that the sailing qualities are as poor as
they are often described, but these are heavy, full keel boats,
designed for comfort, not speed, and you just have to accept that.
These boats are designed and built for blue water, but they do have
problem areas that you need to look at carefully.
The biggest problem area is the deck and cabin trunk. The older boats
were made with plywood cored decks and cabins. The teak decks and
hardware were often screwed directly into the deck right into the
plywood, without proper sealant and there is often rot, often
serious. Later models boats were built with balsa cored decks instead
of plywood (this is one of the first things you should check). If
there is major deck rot, you need to seriously question whether the
boat is worth it. If there is rot in the cabin trunk, you may be able
to repair it, but if it is major, the whole cabin may have to be
Other potential problem areas:
Chainplates - sometimes poorly forged, check carefully.
Fuel tanks - usually made of "mild-steel", sometimes incorrectly
called Black Iron. These are limited life tanks and should be check
very carefully. Best to check them empty, use swabs to take samples
from the interior of the tanks. Have a professional do this. Also,
make sure that the tanks can be easily removed, without having to
tear up the interior.
Wiring - often substandard, but not always.
Teak decking - if it is time to replace it, or if there is any
possibility of deck delamination and rot, suggest removing it and
putting in non-skid.
Wood masts and mast steps - The wood masts should be surveyed
unstepped. In particular you should check the base of the mast and
mast step for rot, as well as entry and exits for wiring.
Regardless of the titles sometimes given them ("leaky teaky", "Taiwan
turkey"), these can be great world cruisers. However, if the problem
areas have not been addressed, or the boat has not been taken care
of, they can be more trouble than they are worth.
From Todd J on Cruising World message board:
[Re: Island Trader 41:]
I own the CT 41 equivalent.
I looked a number of Formosa, Island Trader and CT 41s before buying
the one I chose. They tended to be in either beautiful shape or
crappy condition. This design was one of the most popular built in
the 70s (a number were built in the early eighties), and they come up
for sale quite often. You should not need to compromise. If this is
the design you are looking for, you should wait until you find one in
really good condition.
These boats are designed to be blue water cruisers, and have very
comfortable accomodations. They have overbuilt hulls and heavy, full
keels. They make great liveaboards, and are a popular
circumnavigator. They are not fast (though not as slow as some make
them out to be). Being a full-keel design, they don''t sail into the
wind nearly as well as a fin-keel (and can be a bit difficult to tack
in really light air), but with the ketch rig, they can really do well
off the wind. If you are looking for a performance cruiser, this is
not the right boat. However, if you are looking for comfort at sea,
something that can take rough conditions with grace, this is a great
boat. Few boats get the kind of looks that these beauties do, and the
interior woodwork is exquisite. There is lot of teak to take care of,
so prepare yourself for that. I am learning the joys of Cetol right
Supposedly the CTs were known for a bit better construction quaility
than the others, but I''m not really sure what that means in terms of
exactly how they compare. There was a lot of variance in the quality
of the work done on these boats, depending on when they were built
and how well the owner supervised the construction.
Problem areas to look for:
First and foremost, the decks and cabin house. During most of the
seventies, the decks and cabin house were made cored with plywood.
For CT, in 1977 they began building with balsa cored decks, but still
used plywood (covered with fiberglass) for the cabin trunk. Somewhere
around 1980 they switched to a one-piece molded deck/cabin trunk for
some of the boats. I don''t know what the schedule was like for
Formosa / Island Trader. The reason this is all important, is because
these boats are notorious for deck problems. Often the deck hardware
or the teak overlay was poorly installed, leading to leaks into the
deck coring, and subsequently rot (they don''t call them Leaky Teakies
for nothing). This is the single most important thing you need to
have looked at. Make sure the deck is in really good shape. If it
isn''t, walk away, you''ll find another.
The teak overlay itself can be a real headache. Personally, I intend
to remove most of the teak deck on my CT41.
The quality of the stainless steel on these boats was often not very
good. If it has the original chainplates, they should probably be
These boats were built with wooden masts. Sometimes the masts are in
great shape, often they are not. Look for rot at the base of both
masts, and also where cables feed in and out of the mast for the
anchor and steaming lights. IMPORTANT: Look for rot in the mast step
itself! This is a common problem area, though fairly easy to fix. If
you find a boat that has had its masts replaced with aluminum, mark
that as a BIG plus.
The fuel tanks: Usually made of mild steel (sometimes incorrectly
called "black iron"), there are often problems. These tanks corrode
more quickly than others, and have a decidedly limited lifespan. What
is important here is that you look at the tank layout and determine
how easy it will be to replace them. You don''t want to have to rip up
that beutiful teak interior to do it. On my CT41, the tanks lift
straight out, without any cabinet removal. However, the fuel tanks on
my boat are in good shape, but the water tank needs to be replaced.
Steering hardware: On the center cockpit boats, it is hydraulic, on
the aft cockpit boats it is usually mechanical. The hardware used
varied. Sometimes it was genuine Edson, sometimes a pretty good
knockoff, sometimes a really crappy knockoff. Have it checked
On the aft cockpit boats, the lazarette construction was poor, and
will probably need to be re-built (if it has not already been done).
This is NOT a major project.
The electrical wiring was sometimes (but not always), sub-standard.
Usually there is no GFI on the AC power.
From Stinger: The deck of the CT 47 "Stinger" is fiberglass balsa
core. The teak is attached on top but the screws do not penetrate the
core. No leaks. I have never done anything but clean them well with
detergent and clorox. Works fine for a light tan natural look. Less
maintenance for the strong Carib. sun.
From Todd J on Cruising World message board:
I own a CT 41.
Pros: Generally well-made, seaworthy design. Good fiberglass work.
Gorgeous interior woodwork. A lot of boat for the money. They look
great. Nice liveaboard interior. Lots of tankage. Very seakindly, and
tracks well. Not as slow as some critics claim. Same basic design as
the Formosa 41, but the Ta Chiao yard generally had better
workmanship and QC than Formosa.
Cons: This is NOT a fast boat by any means. With their stock sails
they are undercanvassed (really needs a big genoa). This is a full
keel ketch, and its performance to weather does suffer (though not as
bad as often claimed). There is a lot of exterior woodwork to take
care of, make sure you are prepared for that.
There are often deck core problems because of leakage. This needs to
be checked out very carefully (and should be a deal breaker). "Black
Iron" used for the fuel tanks has a limited lifespan (have a pro
check the tanks). If the tanks need to be replaced, make sure they
can be removed without ripping up the interior (this varies depending
on interior layout). Wooden masts and mast step need to be checked
VERY carefully for rot. When doing the survey, have the masts
unstepped and examined. Carefully check the condition of the
chainplates (and the deck core around the chainplates, as they often
leak), and all fittings, particularly at the bowsprit and the
masthead. The Taiwanese steel quality was very inconsistent (ranged
from decent to crap).
From Zac Brown: Since my CT 41 was ordered as a bare shell, the
original owner did the fit out and avoided CT''s famous shortcomings
as listed by others in your site (leaking teak decks and black iron
tanks). Also the wood trim at the trunk cabin deck interface was
removed when new and glass-reinforced to avoid rot and separation.
Sailing a CT 41: Bill Garden got a lot of things right when he penned
the CT 41, the hull is well-balanced and smooth and stable in all
conditions. If you have ever sailed an Endurance 35 you will know
what a boat with too much overhang feels like (rocking horse action).
I''ve had my CT in 40 knot winds in a following sea and can only
describe the experience as fun and filled with a sense of solidness.
At no time was there the slightest indication of her coming unglued.
Being a ketch the variety of sail plan options is helpful in big
seas. One can drop the main and balance well under just mizzen and
genoa. Reefing the main is an option as well.
CT 41s are cutter rigged from the factory and I would recommend
removing the inner forestay and staysail and using a big (140%)
Genoa; roller furling is nice too. My boat is fitted out with self-
tailing winches and a Profurl unit. This setup allowed the original
owner of the CT 41 to sail from Vancouver to Tahiti and back solo.
Docking this full-keeled girl can be tricky particularly maneuvering
in reverse. I intend to add six inches to the rudder to give a little
more paddle and increase the bite of the rudder in reverse. The
fiberglass work is first rate and to Lloyds spec. The surveyor of my
boat had surveyed many CTs over the years and said that he had never
found a CT with hull problems or delamination. Deck rot is CT''s
Other things I like: 6 foot 4 or more of headroom, lots of storage
and fuel capacity, great motor access, huge cockpit, clipper bow and
romantic counter stern (I pull into an anchorage and get looks no
plastic fantastic Hunter could get). Classic looks without the wooden
Wooden masts?? Well, more maintenance but look great and I''ve not had
to revarnish them since I''ve had the boat. No cracks or structural
problem; if replacement becomes necessary I would consider aluminium
but wouldn''t rule out wood. Mine are 28 years old and no problems yet
so wood is not so bad.