Overview

Baba 35 Sail Plan Popularly known as the Baba 35, this traditionally styled full-keel double ender from the drawing board of Robert H. Perry started life officially dubbed the Flying Dutchman 35. It’s one of the prettiest of double-enders from Perry, blessed with beautifully proportioned lines that many fall in love with.

She lies in the middle of the three Baba boats, not only in size but also in flavor. The Baba 30, being the pudgy go-anywhere liveaboard, while the Baba 40, plays the part of the fast and luxurious voyager. All these boats are built by Ta Shing, the best boatyard to emerge from Taiwan during the 1970-80s era. They have earned the reputation for respectable seagoing manners, sound construction and some of the best quality interiors to be found on cruising yachts even to this day.

History

The Baba line of boats were the brainchild of their developer, Bob Berg, who was a partner in a West Coast dealership called Flying Dutchman at the time. Berg was early to recognize the potential of a little yard in Taiwan named Shing Sheng, who had made its first foray from fishing boats to yacht production with a half tonner for the Japanese market. The boat was a limited success, but thankfully this was far from the case when Shing Sheng started production on Berg’s Baba 30. The boats were built to exceptional quality and its design by Perry became a hit.

Aided by this success, by 1979 the little boatyard moved into high gear with new purpose built facilities and a new name, Ta Shing. It was during this period Berg approached Perry for a boat to compete with his earlier Tayana 37 design which was selling in large numbers. Curiously this new commission was officially called the Flying Dutchman 35 and not the Baba 35. In subsequent promotional material we do see the Baba 35 name come up and it’s this name that has caught on .

The boat was lofted in the original Shing Sheng factory. Tim Ellis who supervised production for Berg recalls, “there was one particular issue with the lines in that the flat portion of the stem did not meld seamlessly with the sharp portion of the stem beneath it. We reviewed the lines and the offsets and decided to put a chine at the intersection of the flat and the stem. It gives a unique appearance to the bow.” Apart from this and a trim problem requiring Perry to make a revision to correct for a major list the project ran smoothly.

In addition to the popular aft cockpit layout, a small number of pilothouse versions were built and it remains one of Perry’s favorite. Ellis notes much of what was gleaned from building the Baba 35 Pilothouse made its way into the Baba 40 Pilothouse.

In total it is believed 75 boats were built including 7 pilothouses. Production ceased in 1986. The hull numbers run from 002 through to 126, with a gap in hull numbers between 51-100 inclusive.

Layout and Configuration

In some respects the Baba 35 shares parallels with the Tayana 37, Perry’s most successful design in terms of production numbers. Her hull form is essentially an evolution in the same direction. With the Tayana 37, Perry infused performance into the traditionally slow domain of full keeled double-enders, a genre dating far back to the lifeboat designs of Colin Archer in the late-18th century. Perry’s formula was to take a canoe hull and attach a full keel as a separately defined surface without the traditional wineglass blend between keel and hull. With the Baba 35 the keel is still quite full, the forefoot cutaway being moderate, but with a leading edge that is more defined than on the Tayana.

The sheerline on the Baba is beautifully proportioned, which blends with a very shapely deck profile. The side decks are broad, the cabin house narrow, and there’s a wraparound cockpit coaming which Perry borrowed from his work on the Hans Christian 34.

Looking above, the rig is well canvassed, meaning the 35 will not disappoint in light air conditions, and of course a cutter rig with a bowsprit is obligatory for this style of boat. In his book Yacht Design According to Perry, Perry notes the original tall rig may have been too big for some cruising areas and he did get the chance to design a small rig for subsequent boats which may be better all-rounders.

Interior

Baba 35 Interior Layout Options Perhaps the most notable feature is the exceptional quality of interior. Master joiner work from Ta Shing combined with Berg’s own talents for interior layout made for a potent combo. Berg was known to take meticulous efforts to get space from every nook and cranny. On the Baba 35, interior space is more akin to many boats around 40 feet.

The interior layout had options in key areas. In the forepeak was either a v-berth or a double, while in the saloon there were either straight settees with a drop-leaf table or a L-shaped settee on one side wrapping around the table. Further aft to starboard the option was either a sea-going quarter berth or a generously sized hanging locker.

The U-shaped galley to port is very functional and the envy of boats much larger. All the critical areas of the boat are easily accessible making for excellent serviceability and maintenance.

Owners report of interior changes taking place around 1983. These changes included diagonally aligned galley sinks allowing for more cabinet space, all boats gained a teak enclosure around the mast, and the head was relocated from port to starboard. These changes came with minor finishing tweaks like less teak in the head and a move to a lighter polyurethane finish on interior wood over the original rubbed oil.

Under Sail

In typical cruising trim weighing in excess of 28,000 lbs in a full keel displacement hull, seagoing comfort is high on the list of positives. The hull is initially tender before stiffening up at around 20 degrees of heel; this soft initial heel tends to aid the gentle seakindly ride. She is well balanced in most conditions, and for a full keel boat, she does not hobbyhorse much unless the ends have been loaded.

Despite the heavy displacement, owners report their boats to be faster than most would expect. They are capable of out sailing lighter and larger boats on all points of sail, particularly in open sea conditions. Though the best point of sail is on a reach, the Baba 35 is capable of excellent close to the wind performance and notably gives away little leeway.

There is general agreement that the boat sails best with a yankee plus staysail combo, and light airs a cruising spinnaker is more useful than a large genoa. As sea conditions pick up the Baba 35 comes into its own; under storm conditions her displacement and relatively full keel allows for heaving-to in relatively high comfort.

Expect respectable 130 mile days in typical trade wind sailing.

Specifications

LOD: 34′ 11″
LWL: 29′ 8″
Beam: 11′ 2″
Draft: 5′ 6″
Displacement: 21,140 lbs.**
Ballast: 8,000 lbs.
Sail Area: 716 sq. ft.

Engine: Yanmar 33 hp
Fuel: 75 US Gal.
Water: 100 US. Gal.

Designer: Robert H. Perry
Builder: Ta Shing, Taiwan
First Introduced: 1979
Year Ended: 1986
Total Built: 75

Also Known As: Flying Dutchman 35, FD35, Ta Shing 35

** Owners report their boats weigh well in excess of 28,000 lbs. in cruising trim. Both Perry and Tim Ellis report the boats came in on weight ex-factory.

Buyers Notes

As with many boats older than 25 years, have your surveyor check items such as chainplates and areas of balsa coring for rot. The original teak decks are still going strong on most boats. Overall, the Baba 35s have aged well, better than most boats of this era due to their excellent build quality.

The mild steel fuel tanks have proven susceptible to corrosion mounted in the bilge and most owner have replaced these.

Like all boats from Ta Shing, resale value has remained high. It’s recommended prospective buyers contact the Baba Owners Group at for advice, they run a Yahoo discussion group that’s worth checking out.

Similar Boats

Panda 34

Links, References, and Further Reading

» Baba, Panda, Tashiba sailboat Yahoo Group, information and owner discussions
» Yacht Design According to Perry: My Boats and What Shaped Them, by Robert H. Perry (ch7)

Credits

Thanks goes to multiple people who aided the research of this article including historical notes from developer Bob Berg and Tim Ellis (who supervised production at Ta Shing), Allan Kaplan for providing information regarding the Baba 35 boat records and hull numbers, as well as Baba 35 owners Bud and Leslie Dougherty (S/V Play Actor) and Robert Shulman for relating their experiences. Also thanks goes to Robert H. Perry for granting permission for use of his line drawings.

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5 Responses to “Baba 35”

  1. Calvin Hastings says:

    We purchased our Flying Dutchman 35 AKA Baba 35 last October 2013, one year after I saw her enter our marina. The hull is #115, as of yet I have not heard of another that has a single side settee with drawers and stainless steel table tops. Awesome boat, I agree with the Yankee staysail combination however, with running back stays and hydraulic back stay tight I find we can sail close to the wind. This is the boat that I dreamed of all my life, perfect layout, comfortable ride, classic lines and best of all an awesome sailing vessel. I love the looks we get as we pass bigger yachts on a reach!

  2. I have a beautiful 1985 TaShing Baba 35 lying at St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. I researched boats extensively before deciding on this one, and I was not disappointed. Anyone who has ever sailed one can attest to their considerate design and robust construction.

    My two years on the boat are up and I must sell and return to a mundane life on land. Contact me if interested. Reasonable price, reasonable terms.

    David Holubetz
    [email protected]
    1-720-515-3434

  3. Morgan says:

    I am learning about this type of boat and have come to realize that his is the type of boat I want. If one is going to spend a great deal of time in a boat it might as well be beautiful as well as safe. My thanks to Bob Perry for his designs. One day I will own one. I don’t here much about the Nassau Tattoosh 42 built in the 80′s, do you know much about those?
    Morgan

  4. Bud Dougherty says:

    Play Actor, our Baba 35 was built in 1979. She’s hull number 18, and has a queen size berth froward, straight across with no insert, and the wet locker/nav station aft (no quarter berth). We don’t miss the quater berth. The settees with leecloths make fine seaberths, and we have occassionally had another couple aboard for as much as two weeks. Might as well recognize that any 35 footer is a two person boat. The gain in storage far outweighs the lack of a quarter berth for us. The interior finish is hand rubbed oil.

    My wife and I have owned her for 22 years, and have been cruising full time for 11 years. We’ve been in the eastern Caribbean since 2004.

    Under sail: With staysail and yankee both up, she points well. Interestingly, she doesn’t sail quite as close to the apparent wind as fin keeled boats like the Beneteaus, but she makes much less leeway, so our course made good close hauled in typical seas of 4 to 6 feet and 10 to 12 knots of wind is actually closer to the wind than the fin keel boats over a distance of several miles. They hold closer to the apparent wind, but we watch them go sideways across our wake. In fairness, they also get a drier ride under those conditions. We routinely outsail the 40 plus foot lighter displacement boats, except in dead flat water, and often keep pace with the 50 footers if there is a sea running. We discovered years ago on the Chesapeake that she sails better with the yankee and the staysail both up than she does with a 130 genoa and no staysail, on almost all points of sail, light air or not. The exception is when well off the wind in very light air, where we use a cruising chute. An additional benefit of the yankee is that it’s small enough so that we were able to ditch the roller furling and it’s associated headaches, and go back to the hank on yankee, which is no doubt part of why we point well. We have been happily using a 90% yankee most of the time in the trades — it’s easy to swap with hank on sails. Only in 10 knots and belwo do we want the original size yankee. Our best 24 hour run was 170 nm, on a beam reach. An all in average speed under typical Caribbean conditions falls between 5.5 and 6.5 knots.

    At our last haulout, the scales on the travel lift showed close to 30,000 pounds. Don’t know how accurate that is, but I can believe that we easily have 6,000 pounds of stuff aboard. We’ve raised the waterline 2 inches over the years.

    Yes, the ride is extraordinary, and not just under sail. I’m writing this in a rolly anchorage off Grenada, where we’ve been clocking the roll period of our neighbors in more modern boats. We are rolling through about the same angle they are, but at about half the speed. I have to believe that we are more comfortable.

    Our teak decks are original, and there’s at least a half inch of thickness left. The former owner kept them oiled, and by the time we bought her 22 years ago, the oil had destroyed the caulk. We stripped them and recaulked them way back then. Since then, I’ve sanded them lightly maybe twice, usually after replacing bungs. Every so often, I devote a morning to inspecting and replacing bungs, and we keep the deck washed in sea water. Icidentally, we liked the silver deck so much that we stripped the rest of the exterior teak 15 years ago and let it go natural. It’s not for everyone, but we like it, and it gets a fair number of compliments.

    • pat kelley says:

      bud….I own hull #5 flying Dutchman 35. not sure of mast height. if you have any info or know of someone who does please forward…..thank you, pat kelley

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