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hyway 03-16-2002 12:54 PM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
Am seriously considering this boat. It''s a ketch and priced at $107,000, looks beautiful and other than that, thats about all I know of this model boat. Would appreciate any and all opinions.
Thanks, Hyway

schnitz 03-16-2002 11:02 PM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
Sign up for "ct-list" on this site''s email lists. Post this question there. There are 60 to 70 CT owners on the ct-list. There has been quite a bit of email inter-change on this list lately and all the CT41 owners seem to be pretty happy with the performance of there boats. The price mentioned seems a little high unless the boat is in pristine condition and very well equipped for cruising. But, then, who am I to say, I have a CT35 pilot house. And, yes, I''m very happy with it. Cynthia (Ketch Me Kate)

hyway 03-17-2002 07:19 AM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
Cynthia ------ thanks for the reply. From what little I have been able to find the price does seem to high. On the web it does look prestine. We will be boarding her today for a better look. The boat can be seen at Thanks again, hyway

schnitz 03-17-2002 08:05 AM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
Yes, the price seems high unless there is a great mark up for a center cockpit. I see you are local. There is a center cockpit on a dock(E) near us (Downtown Long Beach Marina). The owners have always been there when we have visited that dock on a weekend (maybe live aboards?). They seem friendly and might be able to comment on the premiun for a center cockpit. There are also two other CT41s on that dock. Join ct-list and let us know what you think of the CT41CC for sale when you see it. Cynthia

Jeff_H 03-18-2002 02:10 AM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
To me these are boats that are about ''show'' rather than go. There are designed to look like serious offshore cruisers but with a 32% ballast to displacement ratio, low density ballast, on a short waterline and the high center of gravity of a wooden sparred boat, this is not an offshore boat by my definition. Those kind of numbers suggest a rolly boat with relatively poor stability. Its great mass sends a false message about real performance in a blow. By the same token this is not a coastal cruiser either.

CT''s are very much a cult sort of boat. Over the years I have run into owners that love them and owners that really hate them. In the 1980''s when my mother was building and importing boats from Taiwan TA CHIAO was not considered to be a ''quality yard''.

Then there is the issue of painted masts. As someone who has owned and restored old wooden boats with wooden spars, I personally would never but a boat with painted wooden spars. As much as varnish requires a lot more maintainance, it serves a very critical purpose of allowing you to track changes in the mast; to tell if water is getting into the wood and rotting it out. As someone who has lost a mast over the side that had rotted out from the inside while having few visible signs on the outside, it is important to keep the mast in a condition where it can be inspected. This is especially true on CT''s which are notorious for having problems for rot problems in their masts, rot that can easily be masked by a paint job until its too late.

I won''t even go into the performance aspects of these boats because you would not be looking at a boat like this if you cared at all about performance.


schnitz 03-18-2002 08:39 PM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
We need to separate fact from fiction here. Jeff, who is very knowledgeable, has made several assumptions about CT''s that are incorrect, in our opinion. Perhaps he has not sailed on a CT41. His conclusions follow from his arguments, but his arguments do not apply to CT41''s.

Jeff claims that a boat "with 32% ballast to displacement ratio, low density ballast, on a short waterline ... high center of gravity of a wooden sparred boat ... is not an offshore boat....". He goes on to state, "Those kind of numbers suggest a rolly boat with relatively poor stability".

Our problem with Jeff''s conclusion is that the boat is not rolly, does not hobby horse, gives a stable ride, and performs quite well given modest winds. Why the discrepancy between Jeff''s expectations and reality, one may ask?

First, the only number Jeff cites is the 32% ballast to displacement ratio. Nigel Calder recommends a ballast ratio of 0.3 as a lower limit. However, this ratio, by itself, is insufficient to determine stability, as Jeff has eloquently argued elsewhere. If this ratio told all, life would indeed be simple. A better measure of stability is the "capsize screening formula" which can be looked up in most good cruising handbooks. The CT41 at 1.6 easily passes this measure of stability (less than 2.0).

Jeff assumes that a CT41 has a high center of gravity, partly because of the low density ballast and because of wooden masts, which are heavier than aluminum masts. Neither he nor we know the distribution of mass for a CT41, but I have several observations that contradict his assumption of a high center of gravity. Firstly, the hull is solid fiberglass and is quite thick by todays standards. This implies that a lot of mass is distributed relatively low, particularily compared to cored hull boats, the type Jeff favors. Secondly, fuel and water tanks and other heavy structures are located relatively low on the centerline in the heavy displacement ratio CT41. A light displacement ratio boat doesn''t have the shape or room on the centerline to place weight as low. Thirdly, while lead ballast is generally superior to scrap iron, there are many successful cruising boats using encapsulated scrap iron ballast. Lastly, there is the question of wooden masts. True, they are approximately 25% heavier than aluminum masts. But, the CT''s wooden masts are not nearly as tall as in the high aspect ratio sail boats Jeff favors and, therefore, the smaller wind heeling moment is sufficiently balanced by the scrap iron ballast. Of course, if mast weight were as important as Jeff implies, he would advocate only carbon fiber masts which are another 25% lighter than aluminum. The problem with this ever lighter structure is that at some point the boat becomes too stiff and has an uncomfortable motion. The weight of the masts provide the rotational moment of inertia that is needed for dynamic stability. Yes, if you lose your masts, your boat is more dynamically unstable and more subject to capsize in heavy weather!

As to the quality of the Ta Chiao yard, we have heard conflicting stories. Our surveyor, a rather knowledgeable person, had some good words to say about boats that he has surveyed that came out of the Ta Chiao boatyard.

We agree that wood spars are best coated with varnish or a varnish substitute. If you are planning to buy a boat with wooden spars, be sure to hire a surveyor who is experienced at inspecting wooden masts. Remember, wood rots and aluminum corrodes. If I remember correctly, Jeff has lost two "aluminum" masts. Perhaps he will tell us the stories some time.

In our opinion, CT''s make excellent cruising boats.

Russ & Cynthia

Jeff_H 03-19-2002 02:23 PM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
Like I said, there are owners who love their CT''s and then there are other. Russ raises some good and valid points. I would like to address them a bit. While it is true that I have never sailed on a CT 41 I have observed them underway. Having had ample opportunity top watch and comment on the behaivor in a short but not especially high chop and on a gusty day in winds below 20 knots, I stand by my comments that these are tender, rolly boats that tend to pitch a lot as compared to the other boats that were around it. I think that the heel angle might have been improved if with vangs on the main and mizzen but that said they showed more heel than an offshore boat should and looking at the numbers that is quite understandable.

With regard to the "capsize screening formula", as I have stated before, this is a totally useless number that tells nothing about a vessels real likelihood of capsizing or recovering. Nowhere in the formula are the real factors that affect whether a boat will capsize or recover. It does not include the big factors like weight distribution, ballast ratio and ballast location, freeboard and cabin volumes, dampening factors or excitation factors or even minor determinants like waterline beam or beam distribution.

While neither of us do have an accurate finite measurement of the vertical center of gravity relative to the center of buoyancy, there are a number of factors that do come into play here that are easy to assess. While Russ is right that the hull is very heavy fiberglass it should be remembered that the center of buoyancy is quite low in traditional designs compared to more modern designs. As a result far more of this heavy hull and deck structure occurs above the center of buoyancy than below helping to raise the center of gravity. When you add in the low density ballast, comparatively shoal draft, heavy interior appointments and wooden spars, these boats would have a higher center of gravity than I would consider ideal and their actual behaivor as observed would suggest that this speculation about their center of gravity is probably pretty close to right.

While it is true that the CT41''s spars are shorter than the taller rigs that I prefer, the height and weight of the duplication of staying and the second mast of a ketch rig generally will offset the increased height of a similar drive taller rig.

I think you are miss-using the term ''stiffness''. Stiffness really applies to form stability. A boat with too much stiffness has a quick jerky motion. But a boat that gets its stability from a low center of gravity generally has the most comfortable motion rolling at a slower rate and through a narrow angle. Heavier masts will slow the roll rate but at the same time cause the boat to roll through a wider roll angle.

The real problem with high inertial masses is excitation, a property where a series of waves roll a boat through ever wider angles of heel.

In U.S. Navy studies of seasickness, people were found to have varying susceptiblity to seasickness with nearly equal numbers of the samples more profoundly affected by roll angle and others profoundly affected by roll rate. Roll angle is a bit more tiring as it requires more muscle movement.

If carbon fiber was a cost effective and reliable as aluminum I would probably advocate its use more vociferously. But Aluminum is a very cost effective and durable material for spars and that does not seem be to be likely to change soon. For the record the first mast that I lost was a wooden mast that rotted out from the inside at the partners and I was too young to recognize the teletale signs beneath the near perfect varnish job. The second mast that I lost was an almost new aluminum spar in which the rigger forgot to install an compression tube at the shrouds. Under load the mast crimped together and down it went. This mast replaced a wooden spar that had buckled where water had gotten into the mast and rotted it out behind the gooseneck track. Again with proper vigilence the prior owner could have saved that mast. While I think that there is nothing prettier than a wooden mast, and with proper care a wooden mast can last 30- 40 years (I owned a 1939 Stadel Cutter with its nearly 40 year old wooden spars.) it takes a lot more care to maintain and a lot more ballast to support a wooden spar.

I agree that there seems to be a diversity of opinion about CT''s. Some of my opinion came from my mother, which I know sounds strange. After living on board sailboats for a number of years she and my stepfather went into the boat business starting thier own company. Working with Taiwan yards, They commissioned and developed designs, chose yards to build thier boats, oversaw development and construction, and inported the boats to the US. In those days the Oriental boat building industry was a pretty tight knit bunch so that pretty quickly you developed a sense of who was legit and building a high quality product and who was run of the mill. Ta Chiao built a range of quality products but CT''s were not terribly highly regarded. In talking about them with an experienced surveyor friend, in his words, Quality construction was not CT''s strong suit.

I have a particular gripe with the use of encapsulated cast iron scrap metal ballast. Sooner or later moisture will get to the iron, either through the bilge or capillary action through the keel and the corroding iron will pry the ballast and encapsulation appart. A boat with this encapsulated cast iron scrap ballast would be a deal breaker for me even in the days when I owned traditional boats.


hyway 03-19-2002 05:11 PM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
First, allow me to thank you guys for the response and the education, it is really appreciated. The information given was more than one could hope for. You really did give us alot to think about as we boat shop. We did visit the boat and she is a beaut. She has quite a bit of bright work and I found that to be a little intimidating. This and some other things about her will keep us looking until we find a boat we''re more comforable with. Thanks again ------- Hyway

senn 05-31-2002 02:48 PM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
I was thinking about taking a look at the Blue Swan too. Anything you noticed that might be of use? Thanks!

schnitz 05-31-2002 11:24 PM

1976 41'''' TA CHIAO CT ??????
Only that, if you get serious, you should have the surveyor look closely at the bow sprit. Looks a little odd (maybe repaired?). Haven''t seen the inside. If you have joined the CT-list (this site), you might ask there. I believe at least one member has looked at the boat.

Let us (especilly the CT-list) know what you think of it after looking.


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