Passport 40 Review: Evolution of the Valiant 40

Passport 40 PDF Specifications (Click to Download)

Robert Perry’s Passport 40 is the combination of his Valiant 40’s underbody and Freeport 36’s interior. Passport contacted Mr. Perry specifically because of the Freeport 36. He received a letter with the stationary marked, “Yacht Builders, Frozen Foods, and Eel Farms.” Perry decided to quickly flush out the ridiculous inquiry by sending back to the Taiwanese yard a promise to design a 40-footer for $10,000. To his surprise, the eel farm manufacturer sent back a check for $9,500 withholding $500 until the delivery of the design. Two American dreamers, Wendel Renkin and Peter Hoyt, were in behind the inquiry. Under the brand Passport Yachts, Mr. Renkin and Mr.Hoyt were building a Stan Huntingford 42-foot double ender in Taiwan. For the Perry 40-footer, they wanted the Freeport 36’s head forward and portside Pullman layout. From 1980 until 1991, they would build 148 of these Passport 40’s and then extend the design with a swim platform into a 41-footer and then again into the 43 Passport. They built the yachts in Tansui, Taiwan first at King Dragon and later also at Hai Yang. Today, Passport builds their line of sailboats in China. Wagner-Stevens is the importation agent and the best place for more information about these yachts.

Passport 40
Passport 40

First Impressions
The Passport 40 has softly raked bow with a hint of concavity forward, a springy sheer, and standard transom. A teak rubrail with stainless striker attaches to the hull. The coach-roof runs unusually far forward because of the head forward interior layout. This posed problems for Mr. Perry, so he terminated the roof with a wedge like section and cambered the edges. These softenings avoid the shoe box on a banana look of his original Valiant 40. Still, it is difficult to stoy a dinghy especially when a 40 is rigged with an inner fore stay. These are sloops with the mast neutralized unlike the cutter Valiant 40’s. A large porthole is amidships along the cabintrunk between two smaller portholes on each side. The cockpit is fully aft without any aft deck space.

Underneath her soft forefoot quickly leads to a long fin keel keel like the Valiant 40. The garboards are sharply turned for a initially stiff sail. This lead aft to a powerfully skeg mounted rudder. It is an outdated underbody but did allow Passport to keep the ballast low. There are even shoal and deep versions. Passport overbuilt these yachts and the freeboard is less than Mr. Perry planned which gives her a sexier look. Above, the sloop rig was originally just a single spreader, but I previewed a later model 40 Passport which had the turbo charged double spreader rig of the swim platform extended 41/43’s. Because of the heavier build, the rig is underpowered. They are meant to sail under main alone mostly with a small 100% jib.

Passport 40 Video Review by first class sailor and friend John Kretschmer

Passport insisted on overbuilding their yachts. Wendell Renkin would show off a 2 inch thick cut-out of the aft cabin trunk. While this was unnecessary, customers loved the security of these ideals. The hulls are solid glass, and though bonded with polyester resin, they are not known to blister. Longitudinal stringers and transverse floors stiffen the hull. Passport 40’s have encapsulated iron ballast, and while lead would have been better with the long fin keel, they were able to keep the ballast pretty low. The decks were originally plywood cored, but later they moved to foam core. The side decks are teak on many. Teak eyebrows run along the coachroof. The cabintop is nonskid and later sidedecks were often nonskid. Passports are beautiful with their teak drapes though the bright-work is serious to maintain. The hull deck joint was designed by Wendel Renkin. It is of the raised bulwark style. Mr. Renkin insisted on burying steel into the laminate so stanchion bases and other hardware could be tapped instead of bolted into place. This was nice in the beginning but has made refitting more difficult. The mast is keel stepped though according to brokers some might have been deck stepped.

What To Look For
The teak sidedecks with the copious fasteners and cored deck are known to leak. While much better than other Taiwanese leaky teaky builders, Passport is not immune to these problems as any cored teak deck is after 30 years. The chainplates should be looked at after all these years. According to Mr. Perry, Wendell Renkin though himself as a designer and would modify the original designs including bulkhead and chainplate placements. The tankage was originally in black iron tanks that Passport glassed over. They glassed them over to prevent them rusting from the outside in. Later 40’s have aluminum tankage.

I noticed crazing of the laminate in the cockpit and along the raised bulwarks on a late model Passport 40. The teak was left bare and lightly oiled which is a way to avoid varnish. You will come across many 40’s with tired brightwork because of the high maintanance. While non-structural do not underestimate the time and finances required to cosmetically upgrade a tired sailboat. The teak interior was worn on another one I previewed years ago. The dark teak verneer needed replacement.

On Deck
The foredeck is rather small and foremost is a single bow roller. If she is not equipped with one, an electric windlass is a great upgrade here. There are three dorades on the coachroof, two small and two larges hatches, and two ventilators. The teak side decks give great traction but get surprisingly hot in the Fort Lauderdale sun. The teak caprail and teak handrails are nice looking and functional too. The coachroof is always nonskid. There are tank caps for water port and starboard, diesel aft portside, and waste starboard forwardmost. The genoa tracks are along the inward edge of the side decks. I previewed on with an inner forestay and short staysail tracks on the coachroof. All the lines run into the cockpit for single-handing.

While the combings are low and ergonomically angled and the seats are wide, there are some unusual features. Most obvious are port and starboard grated seating that removes. This removable seating allows better maneuvering room in what is a relatively tight cockpit. With these grates in place the captain needs to jump over the seating to leave the helm as the wheel blocks access. These grates lockdown the cockpit lockers under the helm and side seat which is somewhat annoying. It is annoying to remove the pins which hold down the grates and then store the grates to just open up a locker which secures down with a latch anyway. Two cowl vents are aftmost port and starboard.

The cockpit is secure and has long seating which are the most important features. The scuppers forward are four inches or so in diameter. The stout bridgedeck consists of an aft facing sea that you step over to reach the companionway. There is a boom gallows connected to the dodger supports which gives you a great handle for going in and out of the companionway. The companionway doors are two hinged ones that lock down with bolts.

Passport 40 Review by Nautical Quarterly

Down Below
Passports are known for a very dark cherry colored teak verneer. Forward most is the head arrangement on most. Interestly while this was the main design component, Passport was a semi-custom builder and made alternate layouts with the standard V-berth forward. Aft on the standard layout is the portside Pullman and storage to starboard. Next past the main bulkhead and keel steeped mast is the saloon with either an L or U-shaped settee portside and straight settee starboard with the nav station. The mast is covered with a louvered teak piece that lifts out for quarter access. Aftmost is the galley portside and the aft stateroom starboard. There is either a second head aft or a wet locker.

Engine and Underway
Engine access is in an unusual spot. The Perkins 4-108’s standard are set deep in the bilge. In the U-shaped settee layout, the engine access is under that last aft centerline portion of the settee. You lift away the seating for full topside access. The tankage is in either fiberglassed over black iron tanks or the later aluminum ones. The companionway ladder has a cool feature where it hinges upward and then latches to the rooftop. This avoids having to move around and store the ladder always an annoying endeavor. While you might expect engine access here, instead there is just room for batteries with the sharply rising hindquarters. Passports were designed to be real sloops with the sailpower mostly in the main. Robert Perry might shake his head if saw a double headsail sloop rigged Passport 40 called a cutter. For cruisers, he figured the main is the easiest to handle. This sloop mast positioning makes a design without the weather helm of the Valiant 40 but with the same smooth motion. The turbo double spreader rig is the best while the single spreader versions will be undercanvassed.

The Passport 40 one of Mr. Perry’s earlier designs draws on the Valiant 40’s underbody and Freeport 36’s interior. Another key is the quality of Passport yachts, one of the better Taiwanese builders. These are priced according at more than other vintage cruisers ranging from $100,000 to $160,000. Wagner Stevens is the importation agent as well as king of brokerage passports. Give them a call for more information.


2 Replies to “Passport 40 Review: Evolution of the Valiant 40”

  1. Nice review, and fairly close to my observations and experiences.
    There are P-40s with deck stepped, double-spreader masts. Mine is rigged this way. It does not have the grated seating that so grated on the reviewer.
    In the cockpit one finds a spacious, aft stbd catch-all lazarette, an aft port propane locker, and another spacious, portside catch-all lazarette. Starboard in the cockpit one finds two operable portlights which provide light and cross-ventilation for the aft sleeping berth below.
    The engine is located under the saloon table (L-shaped settee) with removable side panels which allow excellent access for routine maintenance. The table was recently (and easily) disassembled for replacing the old Nannni Mercedes 636 with a new Volvo D2-55. The Volvo fit perfectly and required no modifications while upping the powerplant by 30%.
    S/V Golden Eagle
    P-40 #048 (1983)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *