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Tayana 55 1988/90 is she good for serious oceans crossing???

30666 Views 20 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  sokrates
Hi i have heard good things regarding the 55,Finish is good, tankage ect is huge for extended periods at sea and beam is almost 16 feet.I will be living aboard for years and crossing oceans.
Any advice on the 55 good or bad please.
thanks johnnymac
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I almost bought one and when things turn around, I'll start looking again for a 55, right now we are living on a 37 tayana.

Cam will give for first hand info, I think he still has his
Nope...I had a 52 and prefer it to the 55...but if the question it built well to cross answer is that there are few better at any price and none in the same range.
Problem areas tend to be tanks...removal and replacement is a big job. Decks...20 year old teak decks can cause big repairs IF they have not been well cared for...but the teak is thick and ours (1987) were absolutely no problem as they had been well cared for.

You have to also consider the draft and mast height on the 55. It is a bit deep for some places and too tall for the ICW. Other places it is not an issue.

Note that the mainsail is huge and you absolutely need help in handling it...roller furling, boom furling, battcar/stowaway system or similar and perhaps a power winch for raising and putting in a reef. I'm a VERY big guy...and ours exhausted me till we got the winch...and it is smaller than the 55. Be sure you are capable of doing it manually too though...can't rely on electrics!
Peter Beeldsnijder is the designer...unlike the Perry designed 37 and 52...but Bob apparently likes the boat too based on his review. Me...I like the 52 ...and she sailed like a dream and was soooo seakindly compared to all our other boats.

That said...either boat has a wonderful liveaboard space and craftsmanship b elow decks you don't find today...and either will take you anywhere in safety and comfort.
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Thanks cam.Yes for the price around 300 i think they are a fine fine yacht,the deep draft is fine with me as it ads to the stability index ect.Some blue water so called experts by pass the Tayana in good deep water ocean crossing yachts, and some love them.The tayana's iam looking at are 20 years old so there could be problem with decks and blistering,but i have work in many boat yards in my youth so working on my floating palace is not work at all for me.
thanks for your input.
We had both the 52 and 55 on our short list. No reason not to get one. WE just found something we liked better.
Svsirius.cheers, the moody 47 is a fine yacht
I tried to ignore this as best I could but curiosity got the best of me. I guess I need to ask, "why are you considering such a large boat?"

I see inquiries like this and it really raises my curiosity. I think what is this person planning? I know you can buy these boats pretty cheaply for their size and they are far superior than some of the other boats of this size and age, but takes a lot of very strong folks to sail a boat like this and a lot of money to keep one of these old girls in operational condition (maybe 15%- 25% of purchase price per year in operating costs for one that hasn't been updated and had all long term maintenance performed. For example, a new mainsail designed and built for offshore use and some standing rigging, costs almost as much as I paid for my 38 footer) Boats like these take a huge amount of skill to handle safely, and at some level, I find myself thinking, if a person had the experience to handle a boat like this, they would also probably have the experience to know whether a boat like the Tayana 55 made sense for them without coming to a forum predominantly populated by, relatively speaking, small boat sailors.

I think my esteemed friend, Cam</ST1:p glossed over the sheer manpower that it takes to sail and properly handle a boat this size safely and reliably. The loads increase exponentially with length and displacement. This is after all a 48,000 lb boat

To couch this in the simplest form, without power winches or really high tech manual (i.e. coffee grinder type) winches and a lot of strength and endurance, simply tacking the jib and traveler will grind a normal person down. (Most of the early Tayana 55's do not appear to have electrically driven winches or coffee grinders.) And with the double headsail rig, dragging the Genoa through the slot precludes the type of timed tacks that make tacking a big boat manageable.

It is the sheer forces involved and the size of the crew needed that make this a questionable choice as a globe trotter, except in the case where the boat is being used as some kind of training vessel for young adults or where there will be professional crew managing the boat.

<O:pIts not that properly set up, a very talented and experienced skipper could not handle a boat this size in most conditions, and it's just that when something goes wrong, the forces are overwhelming and things are likely to escalate.

So while my question, "What do you have in mind?" is just curiousity, to get a meaningful answer I suggest that it might be helpful to formulating an answer if you provided more information.
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As Cam mentioned, sea and air draft could be issues. That is where Cam's old boat, the ketch rigged 52, had an advantage. Along the lines of what Jeff said above, there comes a point where it begins to make sense to split the rig. Where exactly that point falls is debatable, but I think once you're up above 50 feet you're well within the realm.

I could be mistaken, but I seem to recall that there is a schooner-rigged version of this model? Maybe that would serve?
Jeff,first of i want the longest water line i can afford,the faster the passage for me the better,as she will be sailed in the south pacific mostly.When making passages there will be 3 blue water sailors on board.i will be living on board with my girl and dog and working out of her.iam not a big fan on cramped spaces,iam 40 years old so strength is not a problem, i am not racing from island to island at all, and slow is fine, especially in tight areas,the size of her is no big deal for me.i know Tayana is a good yacht but it does not hurt to ask people who owen then if they are happy with the performance.
As far as iam concerned bigger is better in the yachting world,i have work on yacht most of my live in pro boat yards, decks engines varnish/paint antifoul.Is no problem.
the hight and the draft is not a problem for me as she will not be going near the ICW.
I think there is a conflict between saying, "I want the longest waterline I can afford, the faster the passage for me the better" and saying, "I am not racing from island to island at all, and slow is fine".

As a professional sailor you know that the fastest passage times often comes when you can keep a boat at speed for a greater percentage of the time rather than when you have a boat with a long waterline length but cannot take full advantage of its theortical hull speed. While a Tayanna 55 is a reasonably quick boat for its length, you are talking about pushing around 48,000 of boat with a very small crew. As a professional skipper, you probably know that as the displacement per person increases, it gets harder and harder to carry enough sail to make reasonable passage times. its one thing reaching down the trades but another as you start island hopping and start experiencing the kinds of variable conditions that you are likely to encounter as your approach island related high pressure systems.

While I've never been a proponent of buying a short boat and then trying to pile a huge amount of displacement on it, I also am not a proponent of pushing the displacement per person too high and 16,000 lbs per seaman is really an enormous amont of displacement per person.

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While I've never been a proponent of buying a short boat and then trying to pile a huge amount of displacement on it, I also am not a proponent of pushing the displacement per person too high and 16,000 lbs per seaman is really an enormous amount of displacement per person.


We have owned Sirius which displaces 32,000 lbs give or take loaded for over 9 years. In that time we have sailed her at least 15,000 miles [most of which in the 2 1/2 years we were cruising]. While docking requires both of us on deck and being very aware of all the factors we have cruised with a crew of 2for 90% of those miles. If you have at least an electric halyard winch, good windlass, and oversize sheet winches there is no reason not to sail a bigger boat from a crew standpoint if you have the skills. All this conversation is moot if you can't afford the $$ that these boats cost. We truly appreciate the comfort the extra size brings and can't count the number of times we pulled into an anchorage either significantly ahead of boats that left with us or upon arrival and comparing notes of our experiences out there.. we thought it was great.. they were a little beat up.
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I think that you and I are essentially in agreement. Depending on whose published figures you believe, the Moody at roughly 26,400 to 32,000 lbs is roughly 55% to 2/3's of the weight of the Tayana 55. This is an enormous jump in displacement for a small increase in crew. It means that the loads will more than double and the cost of ownership will also more than double. You report that you have much more comfortable passages than smaller boats, but I have to question whether the extra length (from something more moderate at 47 feet to 56 feet) will add to the comfort of the crew when you consider all the factors.

And while you are right that with modern machinery, a small crew can set and fly some very big sails and handle a very big boat, a boat like the Tayana 55 in question was not built with this equipment, but also, this kind of equipment has the habit of failing in the most inopportune times, as in mid-cyclone. Adding to this issue is the remote areas that Johnny is proposing to take this boat.

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Hi Jeff.Sailing to me is a wild adventure, and some times right on the edge.I have been going to sea from a very early age,in all sort of vessels thats the Tasman sea.Its just sailing and pulling ropes, the longer the water line for me personally is the best, the longer you are out there in a dangerous ocean well you know, A 55 foot yacht can be easily handled by your self with some good quality electric winches and if they break well bad luck,Dont be out there if you can't handle it,when small problems occur.thats my look at it any way Jeff.

I beleive 32,000 as I took it off multiple travellifts over the years.

Only comment on even bigger is a few years ago we were headed south in the fall and waiting on a window off Old Point Comfort. Also waiting was a Tayana 58. They left a day before us on a front and actually left before the front had fully passed. They did a straight shot to Miami and had the northerly push them the whole way. 3 total crew [husband, wife, friend]- fully mechanized boat.

Now they were all experienced, but when we traded emails said it was a little bouncy for the first 24 hrs then great ride. We left a day later, it was still bouncy by our standards 25-30 knots, 8-10 ft out of the northwest...I'm sure it was worse a day earlier. We had a great ride to Charleston but ran out of air before we got there. If we had left earlier could have made it all the way on one tack. FWIW we did not push the boat at all and were comfortable with a #3 and a reef in the main. In fact as the wind died and came aft we let out the reef and added the staysail.

Difference was they are over 50' WL length we are 40. It's the delta between 7-8 knots avg and 10+.
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Tayana 55

I know the later 55s are really 58s but the "55" was placed for some import tax reasons. A guy named Milles Poor at Nanny Cay tortola is a 55 expert as he owns one and has done several refits with his company there. He is full time at Nanny Cay (sorry I don't have his email handy)
I sail a Moody 46, have gone from lk mi to the Caribbean last year and am in the Med now. I have looked a lot at slightly larger boats and the one I like best so far (and I really like the Tayana) is the Amel Super Maramu. Very safe ketch, true watertight fore and aft bulkheads, very easy with one or two people, and company support like no other in the world at this point in time. Not the best looking but built to take heavy water, stay dry in cockpit and below, and systems tested and re-tested. Very few Amel owners buy anything other than another Amel. Just my thoughts, good luck
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Orthomartin,thanks for the info regarding the Tayana 55.The amel super is a nice blue water yacht, but i don't want a ketch.The moody 54 is a very nice choose but is way out of my budget,this is way iam looking at the tayana 55.I know its 20 years old but thats my only deal,i have spoken to to at least two sailors and there must be a lot more out there that have had there dreams dashed after spending years and years getting there vessels ready for life long cruising,top side paint major refits engines ect, and the depression in the country and around the world has put a huge stop to that for some people. Its very sad.Hence forth there are some great deals out there for people like me on a real budget to get a great deal sad but true.
regards johnny
Tayana 55 purchase

Hi Johnnymac,
I hope that you went ahead with your proposed Tayana 55 purchase. We do not have electric winches on our Tayana 55 and have never had a problem managing the sails. Furling stay and headsail and just lazy jacks for the main.

We sail with 4 kids from 2 to 13 and naturally take a conservative approach. Value for money, speed, safety, quality of fitout - I have never seen any other design come close.

We will also be sailing Pacific this season. Let us know if you are around.
S.V. Laroobaa

Last we heard from JohnnyMac was in August last year by which time he'd flicked the idea of the Tayana and was after a multi.

Welcome to the board btw.

One feature to assist on the other persons opens up a drop down menu giving info on the other member.


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My wife and I have sailed our Tayana 55 over 12,000 miles in the last 3 years from Puerto Rico to Canada and back and then a Caribbean circumnavigation, most of the time without crew. We will probably take a couple of crew for the planned transatlantic in 2012 but that is still to be decided.

Worst weather was a F9 off New Jersey and I went to bed while my wife took her own single handed watch. The boat handled the 20 ft waves with ease.

We have a slab reefing main with 4 reefs but only 3 rigged and we usually are very conservative reefing early and rarely fly the 2000 sqft asymmetric. However, the only time the size of the boat is a real problem is docking nose or stern in without assistance on the dock, no rub rail to lay against the posts and a nice paint job. Especially since the bow thruster quit about 4 months ago

I am 62 and I might buy a roller furling main for my 70th birthday.

She is a fantastic live aboard but expensive to maintain, the quote for a new teak deck was $40,000 but we had the old teak removed and relayed, it was still 6-7mms thick, in Cartagena for $4,000. The deck and core beneath the teak was in perfect condition and we now have a functionally new teak deck.

However, it is easy to be seduced by the accommodation and no realize that she is not a boat for beginners, we have seen that happen and the boat was back on the market within 6 months.

We intend to keep and sail her until we are ready for assisted living.

Phil & Nell
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