Redwings Round the World

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A Formosa 46'?.... or a 45' Peterson 44'?

Doug Peterson is one of the US' most famous yacht designers of the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's. In the late 1960's, he designed Stormvogel and Ticonderoga, two of the most successful maxis of their era (Stormvogel has been operated as a charter boat in Asia over the past few years - we saw her in Phuket). His biggest successes were probably the IOR boats he designed in conjunction with Ron Holland during the 1970's and early 1980's which included high profile racers like Ganbare, Gumboots, Imp, Eclipse, Yena, Rubin, Ragamuffin, and Moonshine.

As far as we know, his one major cruising design was the Peterson 44' (although some, like the Contessa 35 and New York 40, were racer-cruisers). Peterson was looking to combine the solid construction and comfortable interior lay out of the boats then plying most of the world's cruising routes with some of the go-fast lines of the newer racing boats. With a view to making the boat affordable to a fairly large segment of the would-be-world-cruising community, the boats were built in Taiwan to reduce costs. In addition to the boats built in Taiwan, about 200 were built and commissioned by Jack Kelly Yachts out of California. These boats were generally better fitted out than their Taiwan counterparts. Click here to view a November 1997 Cruising World article on the 44.

The design, end product, and pricing appear to have been very competitive and about 600 Peterson 44s were sold. The design was so successful it appears the Taiwan builder, Formosa Boat Building (though boats were also build at the Queen Long yard as well we understand), reasoned that the boats would sell themselves without Peterson's name attached, so why not just neatly cut him out of the loop and thereby increase the profit margin.

To achieve this, we understand that Formosa simply added one foot to the 44" design (apparently in the cockpit area where the 44's are a bit short on space - our observations support this) and marketed it as a Peterson 46 even though it was officially called a Formosa 46. There seems to some truth to this as all of our ship's papers indicate that Redwings is a Formosa 46 even though when we bought her there was a Peterson 46 emblem on both sides of the transom and it was marketed to us as a Peterson 46.  In general, these boats are referred to as Peterson 46's - at least the two others in Hong Kong and the several I saw in Singapore were.  We understand that about 200 were built.  However, Doug Peterson has reportedly never received any royalties for the design.  However, Kelly Yachts also made a stretched version of the 44 which was actually 46 feet.  The design apparently had significant deck and keel differences to the 44 and also a materially different interior layout and it seems Peterson did receive royalties for this design.

Most of the details of this "F'in" story were provided by "Chas from Tas", Asia's most experienced delivery skipper with over 650,000 ocean miles to his credit who happens to know Doug Peterson personally. So it must be true (ish)!! Thanks also to Bob Hawk, a Peterson 44 owner and net surfer who stumbled on our site and e-mailed us some additional information.

Check out the Peterson 44/46 Owners Page.  Sign up to be on the mailing list and you will frequently hear from other Peterson owners.

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Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved by Aaron Henderson and Colleen Duggan