I contacted Bob Berg when I began writing this blog series on the Baba’s. He was a bit slow getting back to me but he did yesterday. I think I’ll just post Bob’s email to me as it clears up a few details that I was wrong or fuzzy on at the time.
Sorry to be getting back to you so late. Both Arline and I have had acute bronchitis & other problems for last three weeks and it has taken all of our “get-up-and-go” energy. I’m now on the way back and Arline is just starting to feel better.
Re retail price of the first Baba-30′s. In looking back, it appears that the first few boats sold in 1977 for somewhere around $33,000 f.o.b. Taiwan, or about $38,500 commissioned on the West Coast. The price was set for the first few boats and then went up once the yard found out their true costs of building the boat.
I am not sure of the number of 30′d built. My best guess is somewhere around 150 to 200. I had sold out my interest in Flying Dutchman who owned the tooling for the 30 and 35 when I started working with the yard on the Panda-40/Tashiba-40. So I don’t know when the yard stopped the Baba-30 production and started the Tashiba-31 production in its place.
The Baba-30 tooling and first group of Baba-30′s were built by Shing Sheng Dockyard (the Ta-Shing yard was not built at that time). It was only after the 30 production started that C.M. Juan and the yard saw the future of the boats and built the new Ta Shing facilities to build the sailboats. When I took the 30 hull lines to Shing Sheng, they were building crude Taiwan fishing boats. But I found that they were also building a beautiful small Japanese ¼ tonner sailboat. This project was being supervised by Mr. Shiga Ota. I think that the quality that Ta-Shing was able to achieve had a lot to do with the close friendship that C.M. Juan had with the owners of the Fuji yacht yard in Japan who were advising C.M. Juan on the ¼ tonner. I remember a few nice lunch and dinners with C.M and the Japanese Fuji builders.
I think that fast trip between Tainan and Taipei came about the time we introduced the Baba-35 hull lines to Ta-Shing. We had our final lunch with Ta-Shing, but had to get back to Taipei for a dinner appointment that same evening with the folks from Gold Island to talk about the Tatoosh-42 that was just starting the tooling at their yard in Keelung (that project was later passed on to Angel Marine in Kasoshiung). While I don’t remember too much about that day, I do remember having to make sure you got back to your hotel and were tucked in bed that night! I think we all did remarkably well considering the Black Label/Taiwan Beer & Chinese plum wine. The Gold Island manager also passed out that evening!
Those were good times…
I’m not sure just what pictures I still have in storage of the early Taiwan days. Sorry to say, we had two large picture albums of early Taiwan boat building stolen from our Panda-40 exhibit during one of the early boat shows in the Kingdome.
This article was syndicated from YACHT DESIGN