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I just typed a long reply and the system crashed, so here is the shorter version.


As far as I know glass boats became available almost straight away (somewhere around 3, 4, or 5 hopefully someone who has a longer history in the class will confirm) and there as been a continuous drip feed of timber boats into the class including more than one national champion.  When you're looking a Taipans you have to weigh up a few things.


Composite Boats:

1. Are the skins glass or Kevlar?  Typically a glass boat will be stiffer but a Kevlar boat stronger.  Double kelvar (inside and out) became very popular but from an engineering point of view a superior boat will have glass outer skins and Kevlar inner skins.

2. Is the boat still fair?  Compared to a Nacra or Hobie, Taipans are built light and as a result are more prone to "golf balling"  on a boat with a glass outer skin this isn't a big deal but if your boat is Kevlar and you can't get the dint out with a heat gun then it will be very hard to fix as sanding or grinding may turn it into a golf ball.


Timber boats:

1. Is the boat on weight?  Out of the box, most well build timber boat made weight easily but they may have been painted and patched over the years.  It takes about 4L of paint to paint two taipan hulls (if you apply it thin).  That is about 4.5-5kg of paint.  If the boat has been re-painted a couple of times without being fully 100% stripped it could have easily increased in weight by a couple of kg each time it was painted.

2. check the tramp tracks.  These are not only a potential leak point but also prone to ripping out if not maintained.

3. check the deck for soft spots.

4. check the chain plate attachments.


All boats:

1. How has the boat been stored / trailered?  Many of the boats use "no-tie" trailers with the boat supported by the front beam.  This is great for protecting the hull bottoms but puts non-designed high vibration loads on the beam and tops of the hulls.  So if you're looking at a boat stored in this way check the front beam for cracks and the overall stiffness of the platform.

2. This one is going to sound weird and isn't a big deal, but check the back beam and traveler car.  Ronstan no longer make the car and track used on most Taipans.  AHPC still have a small stock of both but I believe you have to buy them as a set, so while possible replacement will cost more than you expect.  Alternately our rules allow you to fit an off the shelf RHS extrusion and bolt/rivet a Harken, Ronstan etc track to it.  Not a big deal but definitely something to be aware of when shopping for boats. 

3. Finally don't get too hung up on what sails come with the boat.  Sails are generally viewed as a consumable item by the guys at the front of the fleet turning them over every 2-3 years.  As a result if you ask around at any active taipan club there will be at least 1 or 2 people there with a sail to sell / give you that will be in reasonable condition.  In fact once the sails are a few years old the battens are generally viewed as more valuable than the sails.


A few interesting things that are happening in the class:

1. We are working with AHPC to return construction of the boats to Australia.  There will probably be a small increase in cost but a new taipan will still be quite a bit less than a competitive second hand A and it will still be competitive in ten years time.

2. Our forum at www.taipan.asn.au can now be viewed by guests so why not pop over there to see what is happening.

3. For those of you in the northern states our next nationals are going to be in Port Stephens.

4. For those in Victoria new "fleets" are popping up and the class is trying very hard to support them.  For example many of us are heading to Safety Beach on the 2nd of February to support the new fleet there.

5. South Australia has also been seeing a steady growth of late. 

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