Name: Makai
Builder: FORMOSA
Length: 51' 0" (15m)
Year Built / Refit: 1978
Staterooms: 2
Flag: usa
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Completely reworked / updated Formosa

I would like to tell the story of Makai from 1987 to 2020.

I bought her in 1987, from an old sailor north of Tampa on a deep water river called the Withlacoochee River....

The original purchase price was 100,000 Dollars. I was young and full of energy, and had many ideas of how I wanted to upgrade and re-fit her, so she would take me through the next 30 years

When you own a 51 foot sailboat, its a question of $$$ and knowledge, as to how far you wish to go.  Fortunately I had a little of both. I have been a boater all my life, and that background helped me immensely.

As the story goes, I sailed her down to Key West in 1988, and started learning how to sail, and fixing everything that was not working.  The first major re-do was the teak decks.  Formosa took a perfectly good deck, and put 1000 holes in it with brass screws (maybe sort of Taiwanese bronze) which caused multiple leaks. Everybody buying these Formosa's has heard of this nightmare: The deck is made up of 3/16 inch of fiberglass, 3/4 inch of plywood, and another 3/16 under the plywood. Its a very strong and heavy deck.  Here is the method I used to fix this. I First removed all the teak and sealant, then removed what was left of the 1000 screws. I then re-drilled and chambered ever hole to a 1/4 inch.  Where the wood was solid, (good screw), I filled with West Epoxy, and a cabosil mix. Where there was any water damage at all, I used a 3/16 allen key, in a drill motor and routed out as much of the bad wood as I could get at. Then used a strong vacuum to pull out all the pieces. The next part is the most important.  As all the holes were then open and exposed, some only 6 inches from each other, I used a special method to fill them. Using the large West System Caulking Tube, filling with epoxy, and the 209 slow set hardener, and cabosel, I would start filling the holes, until full or (it would start coming out of the next hole) that was the secret to filling all the voids in the deck. THIS PROCESS TOOK MONTHS OF DETAILED WORK ESPECIALLY AROUND THE DECK TO HULL JOINT.  When I was happy with this, we sanded and faired the deck, gunnels, and sides of the wheel house, (a note on this, all the molding between the deck and the wheel house and dog house was removed also, and replaced with epoxy, west 407, and faired out into a beautiful radius. This is known in boatyards as a beer can radius.) Then we put on 2 coats of fiberglass finishing cloth to cover all our work. The cloth was also run up the sides of the gunnels, wheelhouse and the doghouse. This was then faired out, Sprayed with epoxy primer, and 2 part polyurethane, wetways were taped out, and Awlgrip course Griptex was applied. 


All 10 chainplates have been updated. The formosa 51 comes with 10 chainplates, 6 actually have the heads welded to the strap, that goes down the side of the hull. They did this in Taiwan to save Money, and they were also made out of 304 Stainless Steel. 

Those 6 chainplates are very dangerous because they break at the welds, What rod they used to weld them with I have no Idea, But they polished out the front side of the weld and left the back to rust, and corrode. That's where they would break, and not on a calm day.  It would break under heavy load, causing others to let go, and a total mast failure.  The other 4 were cut from solid 2 inch X 3/8 inch plate, again Taiwanese 304 SS.

All of the new chainplates I installed were cut from 1 piece of 3/8 inch plate, 316L Stainless. No welds. Also all the bolts holding the chainplates to the hull are now, 1/2 inch 316 SS.


Located in Cartagena Colombia



Additional Details



1 Aft Cabin, with bathroom, large bed

1 Cabin with bathroom and full shower, bunk beds

Galley Equipment

Force 10 3 burner stove and oven

Custom built refrigerator and freezer

Coldplate System with 2 separate compressors 120 volt

Under sink carbon filter

Microwave oven

Electronics & Navigation:

Raymarine RL 80 C inside

Raymarine Rl 70 at helm

2 Standard Horizen VHF

Electronics & Navigation:

Raymarine RL 80 C inside

Raymarine Rl 70 at helm

2 Standard Horizen VHF

Furuno GP 32 GPS

Standard Horizen DS 45 Depth Finder (the old round style)

Raymarine ST 60 Wind Instrument 

Simrad Robertson AP 11 Autopilot 

Wagener Steering Pump at Helm (No plastic here)

Benmar Electric Hydraulic Pump (No plastic here)

Wagner Steering Ram (Bronze and Stainless)

Vetus Bow Thuster (largest 24 V Vetus makes 130 KGF)