I’ve lived aboard my boat for about six months now, both in summer and winter, and have come to the conclusion that, though the S/V Libby is a great boat and a cozy home, she’s also my starter boat. When other liveaboards would say “It’s your first boat,” I shook my head at them, whispering: “My only boat,” like I didn’t want Libby to hear such words.

Here’s what I love about Libby:

  • She’s wicked fast, and it’s easy for me to beat other boats out on the water. And I do. Then brag about it later.
  • She’s maneuverable. I can tack Libby easily, in high or light winds, and she turns smoothly on the spot.
  • She’s beamy. 30′ LOA with a 10′ beam makes her live pretty large for a small little boat.
  • The wood. Libby’s interior is decked out in wood, which makes her warm, cozy, and classic.

What I wish Libby had:

  • 6 more feet of length. I want more space. I’ve heard of lots of liveaboards who start big then downsize. That’s not me. I want a little more room.
  • A full keel and more weight. Libby is a coastal cruiser, not meant for blue waters. What makes her manueverable and fast is also keeping her inland. Though I’m not sure if I’ll ever brave the Pacific, I kind of want the option.

So even if I added all the toys, bells, whistles, and modifications I originally planned on adding to my boat, it would still be 30 feet and not able to cruise the ocean. Those are two things I can’t do a gosh darn thing about.

I’m not financially able to buy a new boat right now, nor do I have the necessary skills to comfortably cruise the ocean. But I’m nothing if not a planner, always living in the future, therefore I’m actively dreaming about my next boat. Since I’m already in a boat, one that I like, I can look for, save, and plan for a boat I deeply desire. I’m not going to jump into a great deal just because it’s a great deal. I care about form as well as function, and want my next boat to suit my needs and tickle my fancy.

Enter Robert Perry and Ta Shing.

I’ve seen a couple of Baba 35s around my port, and even took a photo of one a few weeks ago. They are beautiful. The curves of the boats, the character in the brightwork, and the detail to the craftsmanship has pulled at me. The designer of the Baba (Flying Dutchman) is Robert Perry, who is pretty much the rockstar of the sailboat world. Perry has designed many a sailboat, including some Islanders, and if you’re looking to buy a boat and it’s a Perry designed craft, that’s usually the first sentence on the listing. He’s a genius.

Think of how cool it is for him to be introduced to people.

“Hey Courtney, this is Bob.”
“Hi Bob. What do you do for a living?”
“I design sailboats.”
Damn, that’s cool. It’s right up there with “I fly jets,” or “I’m a tour guide for Mordor.”

Anyway, I’ve been reading up on Perry’s boat designs. About 75 Baba 35s were made. There’s also the Union Polaris 36, the Tashiba 36, and the Hans Christian 36, all of which would look amazing with me in them.

Naturally I had to check them out on Yachtworld. Below are some photos of different boats. Click the photos to go to the listing.

union under sail

butterfly hatch

union 36 cockpit

baba35 interior

Union 36 Galley

Yeah. Are you salivating yet? The photo of the galley above makes me jealous. Look at those counters. Freaking tile! It’s perfect. It comes from a Union Polaris 36 for sale in Ventura, California. She might be my dream boat. As I said in the beginning of this post, I do not have the funds or the means to purchase a boat right now, but dreaming is free, and I dream of Caballo Del Mar (Spanish for Sea Horse. How perfect is that? I have a horse! It’s like so meant to be!!!).

By the way, if you are looking for a Union and you live in or around Ventura (or even if you don’t), and you buy this boat, then you tell me about it in ways that can only be described as “neener neener”… I will make a voodoo doll of you (send your photo) and stick pins in it! If you must buy it, have the decency to pity me and not show it off in front of me. Don’t you dare make me cookies in that galley then send them to me with a video of you making them in that galley, perhaps as you’re cruising down to San Diego or over to Hawaii. That’s just mean. Why would you do such a thing?

Anyway. Turns out Mr. Robert Perry, boat designing Jedi master, lives in Washington, in my area code no less. That’s pretty cool, though it’s annoying there aren’t more of his boats for sale around here.

Now what?

I’d like to continue living in my dream world for as long as possible. I’ve seen some Ta Shing boats from the outside, but have yet to see one’s interior. Photos are great, but they don’t replace actually being there. Do you have a Union, Baba, Tashiba, Hans Christian in the Puget Sound area? Would you like to show it off to someone who envies you? I’d love to have a tour, just so I can not-so-secretly hate you for owning such a gem. Doesn’t that sound fun? Oh, and if you don’t live here, but you think “Hey, our boat is a blue water cruiser, let’s go up there just because we can,” then you come here, at least bring cookies or brownies. I’ll provide the milk. And voodoo dolls.


  1. bljones January 24, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Courtney, Bob is a forum regular on Sailnet. Anything Sailing and Cruising Anarchy. Start a thread in any of those locales and link this post, and I bet Bob will be in touch .

  2. Jaye January 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Your humor cracks me up! Voodoo dolls, indeed. You may want to consider adding a CSY 37 to your list – its the big sistership to our boat, but has the classic look, heavy full keel, great living space and bluewater capable etc that you have prioritized. Made in the very late 1970s to early 1980s and priced to match.

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  4. Rado January 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Bob Perry has a book, “Yacht Design According to Perry”. It’s available in Kindle format, and your local library might also have it as such (at least SPL does). It has the stories behind his major designs, and is also highly insightful about the considerations that go into sailboat design in general.

    1. Morgan January 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      I recently purchased Bob Perry’s book and it has been such an eye opener. Yes the Baba, Tayana and the others are just amazing. I restore historic homes for a living and looking at those older boats just gives me a big smile and warmth in my heart. I recently purchased a 1977 Sabre 34, the deal of the year, $2,500. with a 4 axel trailer and extra sails. It needs a little love but it sails fine and the engine and trans are in fine shape. I am restoring it, learning to sail and then it’s off to the races. Eventually a Tayany 37 ketch will be on the horizon. I live in Louisville Ky. and the plan is to sail the Sabre 34 down the Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico and through the Panama Canal up the west coast and on to Alaska. Would Love to be there in time for the next Perry Rendezvous and meet you and all your wonderful boat loving friends, Would love to meet Bob Perry. Ta Ta for now. Morgan

      1. Courtney January 31, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        Bob is good people. He loves his boats and really knows his stuff, and I would LOVE to have Baba 30 one day. Good luck on your boat dreams and I hope you get the Sabre sailing soon.

  5. Karen Sonnenberg January 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    You go Courtney!! You’ve picked the right boat. The Baba 35′ has been my dream boat for many years and last year I finally bought one. Get this…$15,000 on Craigslist! However, since then, I’m up to $80,000 rebuilding her back to her natural state of perfection. Robert Perry is a genius and he did such a wonderful job with the Baba’s. Keep this in mind when you find your dream Baba…He will help you design modifications for it if you have any bizarre wants or changes in the design. (Of course there is a $500 fee but small price to pay for his expertise…oh and I hear he is a little bit aloof but hey, we can’t all be talented and humble!)

    They are great boats and you have impeccable taste! If you’re ever in Southern CA and want to sail on one, look me up (send an e-mail) and I’d be happy to entertain you with her.
    I’ll be cheering your dream on from afar and good luck!

    1. Courtney January 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks, Karen! Babas are just so freaking beautiful, I can’t help myself but be drawn to them. Do you have any show-offy photos of Penelope to make me jealous?

  6. kerrychristianson January 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm


    My husband and I live on a Baba35 PH (S/V Brigadoon) in north Lake Union. If you’re ever in the area, we’d love to have you aboard to check out one of Bob’s beautiful creations. We’re pretty smitten with her. 🙂

    1. Courtney January 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks, Kerry! I’ll have to take you up on that next time I’m in Seattle.

      1. kerrychristianson January 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

        Please do! 🙂 I think you can connect with me via facebook – just look me up on there.

  7. John Peltier January 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Salivating over other boats already? After six months? I guess it was bound to happen…I’ve been guilty of it myself (having been a liveaboard for the same amount of time). But be careful what you wish for! Soon you’ll be neglecting Libby to go look at Perry boats! Part of the fun comes from all the projects and making it work with what you have!

    1. Courtney January 25, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Oh, I’d never neglect Libby! She’s my home. I’ll still be working on her, making her a better boat and place to live.

  8. Cindy February 2, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Six foot itis! Every boater has that at one point or another, especially live aboards! It is fun looking at other boats, dreaming and setting your sights on what you love. I agree Robert Perry designs are beautiful and have a presence at the dock. However, all boats have their compromises, it’s a boat!

    Our boat is an old IOR Race boat, fin keel, sails fast and has amazing maneuverability. Raced in open ocean also and has many ribbons to her name. I love my boat, but as we are live aboards I would love to stretch her another 6-10 feet! We went out for a day sail on a friends 38 Hans Christian a few years ago and it was nothing & I mean NOTHING like the performance of our sail boat. It is heavy, cannot sail with the degrees that ours can & it doesn’t maneuver at all! It was turn this way & wait, wait, wait for it to catch up. The docking was a challenge to & they are very familiar with their boat! The beautiful looks, traditional design & shiny brass didn’t mean anything to me at the end of that day! That experience was the best for me in my boater’s dream world & changed my mind drastically!

    Jessica Watson circumnavigated the world in a 34′ Sparks & Stephens, fin keel boat. All boats can sail the open ocean, it all comes down to your comfort level & the quality of the ride! Enjoy your dream, but I wouldn’t suggest jumping until you try out a few to be sure. Libby may have spoiled you for sailing full keel boats 😉

  9. Kevin April 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Love this post and love the boat! I’m still searching for my home but a boat similar to the Robert Perry boats (havent seen any on the east coast) is the Cabo Rico — I think you’d love thier design and interior as well. Thanks for the great post — you’re one of my favorite blogs!

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  11. rickbeddoe May 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Courtney.
    I own a Baba 30. You might want to start there. Your chances of finding an affordable one will be much higher. There is a Yahoo Group for Baba-philes you could join (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baba-l/).

    Or if you’ve got good constitution, you can read my blog at http://sail2live.com as well as my detailed account of my 2 year rebuild here http://baba.sail2live.com/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=15.

    I’ve only owned one other boat (a Capri 22). While that boat was fun and had it’s own personality, Soñadora (our 1978 Baba 30) seems to be a living and breathing entity. At 15,000lb, she’s a big 30’er. She takes great care of passengers and crew.

    1. Courtney June 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks for telling me about your blog, though I have to say I hate you a little bit for it. Number one, I love Babas, they’re just gorgeous, and I can’t seem to stay away from pictures of them, so shame on you for flaunting yours. Number two, before and after pictures of projects, especially boat projects, are somewhat of an addiction for me. If it weren’t for all the sappiness, I’d be a dedicated Extreme Makeover Home Addition fan. Projects are great. Projects on a beautiful Baba 30, that’s too much for me to handle!

      You also decided to give the brightwork on Soñadora some proper love. Baba’s are teaked out, so how long would you say all the sanding, prepping, and cetol/varinishing took you?

      Also, nice choice on the headliner. You’ve inspired me there, too. I hate Libby’s headliner. Is it functioning, sure, but it has the look of a kindergarten classroom ceiling: shiny, textured, and icky. I envy your classy panels.

      Regards a 30 footer vs. 35 footer; Libby is 30 feet, and I have what’s been adeptly coined “six feet-itis.” 35-36 footers live more comfortably on the inside, and I’d like a bit more room to stretch out. We’ll see what happens in life!

  12. bob perry May 21, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Thanks for the kind words.
    Please come to the Perry rendezvous this year so you can fawn over me in person. I’d like that.

    1. Courtney May 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Shall I also bring the pom-poms?

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  14. Dan August 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    There is a Bob Perry rendezvous coming up at Pt Ludlow on the 19-21 of August. I just got the survey done on my (soon to be mine) Passport 40. So I am going to sail up there for it. Check the calendar… I posted it there on 3sheets site. Actually.. here –

    Perry Design Rendezvous 2012 –

    Clubs and meetings

    Pt. Ludlow, Pt. Ludlow
    Friday, Aug 17 at 12:00 am

    Join Bob Perry and fellow Perry Design owners for a fun filled weekend at Port Ludlow Marina and Resort.

    Pt. Ludlow is a great location with plenty of dock space, nice facilities and a secure anchorage off the marina. There are two restaurants on the premises open for lunch and dinner.

    The average attendance is around 50 boats of various designs. If it is not practical to bring your boat you are still welcome to attend. Most boats arrive during the day on Friday and are greeted by dock line handler, Bob Perry.

  15. Dan August 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    OOps.. got the dates wrong at first, sorry! lol

    1. Courtney August 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      If my boat is fixed by that time, I might go up there and offer Bob some offering to his greatness. I hear Pt. Ludlow is a lovely anchorage. If my boat is not fixed or no longer mine, it’s possible I’ll make the drive. Though I’d worry that looking at all those gorgeous boats would make me pine for one of my own!

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