Tayana 48 Review: Hylas Comparable

Tayana 48 Standard

The Robert H. Perry designed Tayana 48 is one of Taiwanese yard Ta Yang’s most successful models. In the 1970’s, Ta Yang was one of the earliest yards in the world’s boat building city, Kaohsiung. They built Yankee Clippers and the Tanton cat ketch among other design. Ta Yang which means in Chinese “Big Ocean” branded their own yachts “Tayana” meaning “belongs to big ocean.” And, oh did they belong. In 1979, Ta Yang started building the prolific Robert H. Perry designed Tayana 37. The famous Robert Harris designed Tayana 42 followed. They became one of the first Taiwanese yards to scale up and soon started building larger yachts including a Perry 52, Harris 65, and this Perry 48.

In the mid 1980’s, Tayana built a 47 version along the same Perry lines. According to SailboatData.com, Tayana extended her to become the 48 in 1992. Tayana is still making these fine yachts. As a side benefit to ownership, Tayana boasts arguably the most active owners group, TOG News. On their website, you can find detailed information about the 48 and other models. If you cannot find what you are looking for, email your question to the TOG News list, and many happy owners will respond.

Tayana 48 DS
Tayana 48 DS

First Impressions
The 48 has a roundish aura. Some combination of the slight sheer, rocket ship stern, and flow of stanchions on deck give her a soft, appealing appearance. She has above average freeboard, a sharp bow with a broad beam of 14′ 6″ carried slightly aft of amidships. I will compare her here and throughout to the Hylas 46 and 49 as these are strikingly similar yachts in build and arrangement. In fact, the yards are in the same Taiwanese city. In the small world of Taiwanese boat building, the yard founders are related. Along with the 46 Hylas, the 48 has two portholes below deck one each side: one amidships and one aft to lighten up the saloon and master stateroom. The 48 is beamier amidships than the Hylas while the Hylas maintain that maximum well aft. The Tayana has more freeboard and a broader entry, a dryer yacht. At 70′ bridge clearance, she has more sail area than the 63′ high rigs of the Hylas 46 and 49. Bob Perry’s original specifications called for 70′, but many were built with Intracoastal rigs of 64′ clearance. Underneath, the 48 has a skeg hung rudder paired with a longer fin keel than the 46 and more like the 49. Her bottom is more roundish like the 49 S&S Hylas.

I feel like being a bit hard on Bob Perry because there is something missing aesthetically to the Tayana 48. The symmetrical portholes and generic cabin trunk of the Tayana 48 have always stuck me as a bit uninspired. The good news if you feel like me is that the Tayana 48 comes in a deck saloon version by Rob Ladd that breaks up that monotony with two large windows that may incite your passion, not to mention provide a panoramic view from below.

Ta Yang builds their yachts tougher than cobs. They have lead the way in Taiwan since the beginning and continue to be one of the finest yards. The layup schedule uses mat and woven rovings and ortho-phthalic resins. An isopthalic gelcoat is sprayed on all exterior fiberglass surfaces. Interestingly, they use PVC cored hull construction in these days of solid glass. PVC insulates, strengthens, and lightens the hull. And with quality workmanship makes a solid shell that protects the core. The deck used to be high end grain balsa and now synthetic Balsatek. All deck hardware areas are reinforced using encapsulated marine grade plywood. Deck hardware is through bolted using stainless steel backing plates. There is not a molded liner in sight. An eggrate-like matrix of longitudinal and transverse foam cored stringers maximizes hull stiffness. The skeg mounted rudder has an internal stainless steel rudder post and integral stainless steel reinforcement secured with a bronze shoe.

One owners says, “I am generally pleased with the level of construction in our T48 – the hull seems to be bombproof, and the deck as well…I’ve not found any deck leaks yet, tho the mast leaks a fair amount during blowing rain. Every thru-deck opening I’ve encountered was properly epoxy-sealed to keep the core dry.” Compared to Hylas, the construction is similar except for the foam cored hull. Hylas are solid glass or possibly Twaran, a bulletproof Kevlar like aramid. The ballast material on Tayana 48’s is difficult to ascertain. According to the manufacturer, they use both lead and cast iron, depending on the order. The keel comes in shoal 5’3″ and deep 6’0″ versions. Usually the deep draft is cast iron. The shoal draft 5′-3″ has lead ballast. The Hylas 46 has external lead in 5’5″ and 6’6″ drafts while the Hylas 49 has internal lead of 6′ 0″ draft.

T48 Nav Station

What To Look For
Reviewing the TOG News archives, the most common complaint is of the steering. It is a cable-in-sleeve design which is “spongy” owners say meaning there is some looseness in the sleeve system. When it is heavily loaded, the cables act like they are stretching. One owner says, “The chain will jump cogs in the pedestal if you push hard enough. He suggests increasing the amount of support for the sleeves. Another owner says, “It can be a little unnerving to hear the chain bumping against the inside of the pedestal.” He thinks increasing his tension at the steering quadrant might help.

Another owner was disappointed in his stainless steel water tanks. He says to look for “poor welds that are rusting (and leaking) – the tanks will need to be completely replaced, and it won’t be cheap. The access plates should not be difficult to remove – but be warned, they will only go back on one way, so mark them before you remove.” Hiring Bob Perry as a consultant might be a worthwhile investment. Besides getting the change to speak to the legendary designer, Perry knows intimately the production problems of the Tayana 47/48 series. For the 47, Perry describes insufficient bracing with the rudder post in the first few hulls. Ta Yang retrofitted these with a strange steel framework.

Watch for the shoal versions of 5’3″. That is really a great Bahamas draft for a serious offshore yacht though the real draft with cruising weight is probably deeper. The DS versions have a deck mold by Robert Ladd with the same Robert H. Perry hull. These are raised salon models with extra tankage below the sole and a pilothouse type atmosphere. The 48 DS is more similar to the 46 Hylas than the standard version.

On Deck
Aftmost built into the stern pulpit sometimes are teak seats. These seats are surprisingly comfortable and great spots when cruising. The swim platform is modern unlike most of the canoe sterned Robert H. Perry-Ta Yang designs. There is a handy aft lazarette but no chain locker access forward. The cockpit is beautiful with long seats for laying down and perfect level seating for the helm. One I saw had running backs which cluttered the side decks. The owners had a clever system of pulleys that once revealed fixed the problems. Using a pulley forward, the backstays neatly came down flush against the cabin trunk and quickly out of the way. My client noted, “Well one thing I do not like is there is not any space for a dinghy?” He was right. The coachroof goes well forward as on many R. Perry designs. The best option would be to have a special case built for a dinghy on deck to keep her out of the way. Davits would be another option.

Tayan 48 Standard Layout
Tayan 48 Standard Layout

Down Below
The 48 comes in three standard layouts (A, B, C) and more custom ones. The changes affect the forward stateroom area while all version have a centerline queen aft and similar galley along the walkthough. The variations slightly change the orientation of the settees in the saloon and the navigation station. I saw one with exactly the same layout as a 46 Hylas with the head forward and portside Pullman. My client much preferred the Tayana 48’s layout. Particularly, the navigation station is a highlight. As the 48 is two feet longer than the 46 Hylas, that length enlarges the saloon-navigation station area. The comfortable swivel chair and extravagant controls made the navigation station the best I have ever seen.

A 48 may have two or three staterooms. The three stateroom versions remind you of a Hylas 49. With a V-berth forward and portside double, she is a small three stateroom yacht with tighter quarters than the 49. The two stateroom versions which are more common and valuable have a V-berth forward or portside Pullman and enlarged head and vanity storage areas. Ta Yang’s trademark golden tones of premium teak and stellar joinery work makes the interior spectacular on this truly luxurious yacht.

The number one reason a client might prefer the 48 over a Hylas is the separate stall shower in the aft stateroom. Standard layout 46’s and 49’s have the tremendously popular double walkthrough layout which opens up the interior but prevents the inclusion of a true stall shower. The 49 has a separate alcove in the head and meets this requirement better than the 46, but neither Hylas matches the value of the Tayana 48’s master shower.

Engine and Under Sail
Access to the standard 62HP Yanmar is under the stainless sinks in and through the walkthrough. That means there is access from a single side on the engine while the generator under the sinks has front access through the companionway ladder. The fuel capacity is 120 gallons in a black steel tank. The 48 Tayana is a rare bread: a serious offshore sailor combined with excellent Caribbean cruising capability. The freeboard at the bow is relatively low, and waves can come over. An owner says, “We’ve taken a few waves that have hit the dodger but not often. At one point we were caught in a 10 mile six foot ‘square wave’ situation (height in feet = period in seconds) going upwind and we saw the bow lights glowing red and green from under water. The boat was fine the next day and we learned to listen to weather forecasts in Mexico.” Another owner notes:

How does she sail? Well, I don’t have any complaints, especially now that we’ve replaced the main and gotten the weather helm under control – good speed, quite stable and if you have a rail in the water, you really ought to reef, ‘cuz you’ll go faster. We tack thru 90 degrees if the wind is above 10-12 knots, and I am NOT a racer, nor are my trimming skills race-ready!

These 48’s are a relatively common yacht with the success of Ta Yang. Robert H. Perry and Ta Yang have given this soft appearing cruisers serious skills offshore. A quick search of the brokerage market shows 11 48’s ranging from $320,000 to $675,750 on the used market. The TOG News owners exchange is the premier place for more questions.

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