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Formosa 34 1979 Center Cockpit

9728 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  SloopJonB
Goodmorning everyone - In my seemingly neverending quest to find the right boat to buy at the right price, I am going to look at a 79 Formosa this weekend. Does anyone have any opinions, knowledge or feedback on this boat?

I plan on sailing (which ever boat I eventually buy) in eastern Florida, Bahama and the Caribbean. All opinions will be appreciated.

Thanks and good sailing!
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Generally these are considered poorly built, high maintenance and slow sailing. They offer a lot of room for the length on deck but in most cases the cost of trying to keep one intact is a killer. Most that I have seen have teak decks over plywood which means core rot by now. They were very probe to blisters. Their electrical systems were notorious.

Doing a center cockpit in a 34 footer requires serious design compromises. (I genuinely believe that center cockpits really do not make sense in boats under about 40 feet.) In this case the cockpit sole is mounted at the deck level meaning a lot more severe motion in the cockpit, and a higher center of gravity and center of effort, both increasing heel angles over a more conventional design. This is significant because at 5000 lbs ballast in an 18000 lb boat these boats are severely under-ballasted.

Beyond that at 18000 lb these boats are rediculously heavy for a short waterline 34 footer. As I have said before, weight in and of itself does absolutely nothing positive for a boat. It does not make it strong, or comfortable, or seaworthy. It does not permit you to carry stores or gear. It does not add to stability. It just adds weight and weight slows a boat down, it increases stresses in the boat, it increases loads on control lines and puts the sailors on board at greater risk of bodily harm when something does go wrong.

And with all of that, they are not even all that cheap to buy. While you see some comparatively inexpensive ones on the market these are usually boats with serious problems of the kind that can easily add to more than the boat is worth. I really think that there are much better constructed and sailing boats in that price range.

Sorry to be the voice of doom and gloom.

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Hey Jeff - no problem. That is why I asked. You just saved me a three hour drive! Have a good one.
Full of **** , this boat is a tank sails in 35 knot winds with 12 ft sea and 30 degrees of heel like a champ ! the center cockpit is dry and the decks have ample room . Plywood core is not always bad 5200 up your hardware screws and epoxy fixes anything!
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anyone passing up a formosa of any size due to someone else saying it is bad is someone not desirous of cruising.
sorry. the best cruising boats happen to be formosa.ct.seawolf. sturdy, heavy, sail nicely and fun. comfortable and beautiful. go see it and then decide.
do not take the word of someone not owning or sailing one.
there are 2 points of view, apparently ,on formosa ct, et alii. one is they suck. not ever having sailed em, folks like to bash.
the other is they rock. yes they do. easily repaired and sea kindly and quite fast when they feel like it. they can easily take on chubascos and other wondrous evil winds sloops cannot manage to handle. they were designed to sail trade winds.
so. listen to the guest that has nothing good to say about them despite not being an owner or sailor of them, or listen to someone who is actually sailing a 41 out and about in the real cruising world.
if you seek a production boat and the speed and construction that goes with those, do it.
formosa are not production boats.
ANYONE can have a production boat, not everyone can have a formosa.
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There are obviously pros and cons. The one thing for sure is to be careful of the teak decks. If they have been allowed to fail, there can be considerable cost and work to reparing the deck. But, if you like that style of boat, it might be a great one for you. By the way, buying a boat can be fun. Look at a lot of them!!
Full of **** , this boat is a tank sails in 35 knot winds with 12 ft sea and 30 degrees of heel like a champ ! the center cockpit is dry and the decks have ample room . Plywood core is not always bad 5200 up your hardware screws and epoxy fixes anything!
Well that is flat out the worst use of 5200, not very flexible, will eventually leak (sooner rather than later) and next to impossible to remove without damaging the substrate. It may not leak while you own it, but it will leak and be a major problem for someone. Use proper beading material on all hardware. Butyl tape(has life span of 40+ years), beding compound(25 + year life), or some sort of removable sealant. Not an adhesive! You are not worried about the sealant holding the hardware on, but to seal, so use a product designed to seal and can be removed when needed.

These boats are not necessarily poorly designed, but have some poor building practices and material choices. The term "leaky teaky" is a term of endearment to some, the bane to others, and quite accurate. They are designed to be slow comfortable passage makers. Jeff's assessment seems to me to be quite accurate. The bigger boats are fine boats for long passages if you are not in a hurry, not a boat I would choose for the OP's use, coastal cruising. The bigger boats are pretty but this thing is just plane ugly, but to some degree that is an issue with any small center cockpit boat unless a walkover.

Also if you are sailing at 30 degree heel, there is something wrong with what you are doing! Not a good or efficient way to sail at all.
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15 years - this has to be the greatest resurrection in thread history!
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Holy 15 year old thread revival, Batman!

I have to say that although JeffH seems to be a knowledgable guy, I find it hard to take any of these type of reviews of his seriously - I regularly scan the archived threads for reviews of different models of boat. Everytime I find a thread asking for advice about X model, invariably JeffH answers with "poorly built". I honestly wonder what he would consider well built, after reading the type of stuff he poo poos (Pearsons, Albergs, Bristols, etc).

That being said, my biggest worry about a Formosa would be teak deck problems/maintenance. I would shop for one that had already had the teak removed. As lovely as it is, it is cosmetic, a good source of potential leaks, and a constant source of maintenance. The Formosas I have seen have heavily built hulls and are proven capable blue water passage makers.
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I read the same thing over the years so I asked Jeff that very question once. He listed off a few moderate priced boats - not just Swans & Hinckleys but IIRC it was still a pretty short list. :wink
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