Well, I’ve been bit by the Robert Perry designed sailboat bug yet again. This time it is a Baba 30 which has captured my imagination. Of course, it is a double-ender as well. I don’t know why, but those pointy sterns just make me think “safety at sea”, even though from my limited research, indications are that they are no less, nor no more safe at sea than a sailboat with a transom. So, I think “pretty” will have to be the main reason for choosing a double-ender, and with all that teak, simply beautiful!
As luck would have it, there just happens to be a Baba 30 in a slip within easy viewing distance of our own sailboat at the marina on Lake Pepin. So we get to walk by it on our way to and from ours, sorry about the drool marks, sir. It is a very striking sailboat to say the least. Perhaps one day I will get a chance to sail on her. Oh what fun!
Our first ever sail, was aboard a different canoe-stern, I’m about 95% sure it was a Baba 40. It’s a shame when the mind starts to go. Anyway, there was no wind that day, in fact I remember looking behind the boat at the water to see if we were moving or not. That did not detract from how much we enjoyed that sail though as you can see in the photo, I do look like I am enjoying myself don’t you think? That was it, we were hooked. Two weeks later we had purchased a Catalina 14.2, you know, just to see if we would like this sailing thing. Obviously we did. So by now it has been three years and we have owned three sailboats. I’d say we’re hooked.
I suppose I should get back to the task at hand, namely enumerating all the great reasons a Baba 30 should grace our growing list of previously owned vessels. The minimalist in me thinks I should just post a photo of a Baba 30 and no more would be necessary to convince all that there is no better sailboat one could want. Judging from the posts on the Baba 30 owners web site, many sailors would agree. Notwithstanding, here goes my humble take on Robert Perry’s Baba 30.
I will start with a couple of photos I found on the website, www.boatloco.com. The first one is of the cockpit. Look at that teak. It is pure artwork, it reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs on his prairie homes. The next photo is of the butterfly hatches, nuf said. Gorgeous. Next, the pièce de résistance, the boat itself. Wow! OK, I know what you’re thinking, enough fluff, get to the goods.
Lenght: 34’ 6” (including bowsprit)
LOA: 29’ 6” (excluding bowsprit)
LWL: 24’ 6”
Beam: 10’ 3”
Displacement: 12,500 lbs.
Ballast: 5,000 lbs.
Draft: 4’ 9”
Sail Area: 504 sq. ft.
Given these numbers I find that she should have a max hull speed of 6.63 knots, surfing down the front of a wave notwithstanding. Not a bad speed to cruise to the Caribbean I’d say. Next up, the displacement to length ratio is 379.46, which puts it in the heavy displacement cruiser category, which is right where I want to be when facing a foul current with an opposing wind. Last but not least, the Baba 30 has a ballast to overall weight ratio of 40 percent, which is also where I think a cruiser should be. Our present Precision 23 has a ballast to weight ratio of 34.7 percent, so the extra percentage points seems like a good idea to me.
Below deck, the Baba 30 has conventional configuration, with the u-shaped galley on the port side and a navigation station on starboard. There is what appears to be ample storage areas throughout with outstanding joinery work. Moving forward there is a settee on both sides, the port side a little longer than the other and a table which on early boats does not hang from the bulkhead, as it is permanently set, but the two sides do drop for more room. One of the interior design features I really like is the partial bulkhead between the galley and the saloon, it has an elliptical cutout shape to it. To me this adds a lot to the look. This 30 footer also as ten bronze opening portlights for good ventilation, not to mention a very large butterfly hatch over the saloon which adds a whole lot of light it seems. There is also another conventionally opening hatch over the v-berth. For even further ventilation, there are two cowl vents as well.
The head area looks to be on the smallish side, but this is only a 30 footer after all. It is located on the starboard side with a marine head and sink and not unimportantly, an opening portlight.
Construction of the hull is built to Lloyd’s of London A-1 specs, another comforting bit of information. The hull is solid fiberglass and the deck was cored with either balsa or plywood. The decks on early models were of teak, later fiberglass non-skid was used. I sure like the look and non-skid properties of teak, the Baba 40 we first sailed on had teak decks. Very nice, but could be an issue if they were not kept up. The ballast is of cast iron encapsulated in the full fiberglass keel. The rudder is fully protected at the end of the full length keel.
John Kretschmer reports in Sailing Magazine that the chainplates on Baba 30’s are something that need close inspection as they are prone to crevice corrosion with documented failures. Chainplates need to be regularly inspected on all sailboats in my opinion, for whatever thats worth. I like to keep the mast in a nice vertical attitude. Dragging the mast along side my sailboat doesn’t appeal to me much. He also reports that the water tanks should probably be replaced if they haven’t already as they were not made with the best grade stainless steel sometimes.
A number of different engines were used throughout the years, Volvo, Westerbeke and Yanmar. I’ve read good reports on the Yanmars and they seem to have a good reputation, so that would be my choice. I know Volvo’s have a reputation for being expensive to repair, but then again they are a Swedish design so that counts for a lot too. Of course I do live in an area of Minnesota where people have pictures of the Swedish Royal Family posted on their storefronts. I’ve been told they don’t even do that in Sweden, but I digress.
In conclusion, think my wife would look spectacular helming this vessel across an ocean or two. They seem to be a very sturdy sailboat with a strong following of Baba owners. They are beautiful sailboats with loads of teak. The cockpit is small and uncomfortable, but hey, you can always get some cushions. They are a Robert Perry design and they have a canoe-stern, what more could you want?