Bluewater Sailboat – Valiant 40


The Valiant 40 has possibly received both the most praise and the most criticism of any boat constructed in the last 25 years. The J/24, Laser, and Australia II were among the boats that had the biggest positive impact on sailing over the previous 25 years, according to a 1995 study by Sail Magazine, which also included the Bluewater Sailboat Valiant 40.

The phrase “performance cruiser” may have seemed a bit of an oxymoron when the Valiant 40 was first introduced. In fact, the Valiant 40 might be attributed with giving this class of boats, which has grown in popularity over time, the moniker “performance.” Additionally, Bob Perry’s career as one of the most well-known yacht designers of the past 25 years can be attributed to the design.

The Valiant 40 was a significant breakthrough yacht for cruising sailors in general as well as its designer, Bob Perry. The design’s genius is that it combines what seems to be a beamy, double-ended conventional cutter above the water with a much more contemporary underbody that has a fin keel and a separate rudder positioned on a skeg. The Valiant 40 was first presented in 1974, and for at least ten years it was the only production-built coastal sailing boat.

Valiant 40
Valiant 40
  • LOA: 39’11”
  • LWL: 34’0″
  • Beam: 12’4″
  • Draft
  • -Standard keel: 6’0″
  • -Shoal keel: 5’3″
  • Ballast: 7,700 lbs.
  • Displacement: 22,500 lbs.
  • Sail area (100% foretriangle): 772 sq.ft.
  • Fuel: 95 gal.
  • Water: 120 gal.
  • D/L ratio: 255
  • SA/D ratio: 15.46
  • Comfort ratio: 34.29
  • Capsize screening: 1.74
  • Nominal hull speed: 8.6 knots


When Bob Perry created the Valiant 40 in 1975 at Uniflite Yachts in Washington state, it was initially regarded as having a somewhat daring design for its day.
Since the early 1990s, Bob Perry’s long-fin “Cruising keel” and skeg-hung rudder, which have earned the build the reputation “No Frills & all Function” and are still well-known now as they were when manufacturing first started, have defined a stable and quick blue sea cruiser.
159 Valiant 40s were first produced by Uniflite Yachts up until 1984, when Rich Worstell, a North Texas-based Valiant owner and dealer, purchased the moulds. He started making V40s in Washington before eventually relocating the business to Texas.

He started making V40s in Washington before eventually relocating the business to Texas. Hull 267 was the first “Texas” Valiant 40. This particular hull is number 271 and was constructed later than other versions. Up until 1992, the Valiant 40 was being manufactured in small quantities on a semi-custom basis.

The owners attest that the V40 handles large seas and wind conditions equally as it is at ease sailing in mild breezes after sailing on this and their boats sister ship across the Gulf of Mexico in a variety of weather situations.


The Valiant 40 was initially criticised for being too flimsily built for offshore work. This viewpoint appears absurd today. The hull is made of solid laminated mat and woven roving that is layered up an inch thick at the keel and 3/8-inch thick at the cap rail. Twelve foam-cored transverse flooring, all of the bulkheads, and every piece of furniture are glassed to the hull to stiffen the construction. High-density foam is sandwiched between the balsa core and the deck’s hardware.

The boat’s deck junction is through-bolted and bedded with a potent adhesive sealant. It is located on an inner flange at the top of a tall bulwark.

The rudder skeg is a steel component that is filled with foam, through-bolted to the hull, and then covered with glass rather of being a part of the hull moulding. A strong keel stub is through-bolted to the external lead ballast. Chainplates, which were initially undersized and required updating, as well as the aluminium gasoline and water tanks, which in some cases corroded and required replacement, were weak points on certain early boats.

Blistering was the part of the Valiant 40’s construction that generated the greatest debate. A few Valiants (hulls 120 to 249) experienced blister issues between 1976 and 1981 that varied from mildly annoying to fairly serious. Blisters that were up to 10 inches in diameter in some instances impacted hulls, decks, and cabinhouses above and below the waterline. Even though repairs were frequently costly and comprehensive, they weren’t always successful. After the culprit was eventually identified as a unique fire-retardant resin used in the laminate, a barrage of lawsuits compelled the company to relocate from Washington to Texas.

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Above Deck

The inner forestay and intermediates are wire, however the Valiant originally had continuous Navtec rod rigging. The typical Valiant rig has fixed intermediate shrouds that lead slightly beyond the aft lower shrouds in place of running backstays to offset the load of the inner forestay. The intermediates provide very little fore and aft support to the mast and may chafe the mainsail unnecessarily downwind. Backstays while running would address this issue.

Although a Navtec hydraulic backstay adjuster is optional, if you choose roller-furling for the headstay, you might want one. Spar Tech Inc. in Seattle specialised welds the tapered mast before painting it with Imron. Excellent sail handling equipment includes Schaefer genoa and staysail tracks. Lewmar’s winches are of an appropriate size.

The mast or the top of the cabin trunk in front of the cockpit are both suitable locations for the halyard winches. Unfortunately, the cockpit dodger is right in the path of the staysail winches, preventing you from fully rotating the winch handle. Edson wheel steering is radial driven. The cockpit locker provides simple access to the drive wheel. There is no comfortable location to sit when using the emergency tiller because the arm is offset 90 degrees, making it unnecessary to remove the wheel to install the tiller.

The large cockpit lockers necessitate gasketing and latches that can exert pressure on the seal, thus the hatches should be equipped with these features.

Unexpectedly, a cockpit dodger has no sculpted breakwater. Due to this, it is extremely difficult to achieve a watertight seal all the way around the bottom of the dodger.

Except for the main hatch, which is a custom-made piece of fibreglass and Lexan, hatches are Lewmar. Below, two dorades and a mushroom vent add to the ventilation. Although they are useful in the tropics to combat the heat, they have a bias against making needless holes in the deck.

Below Deck

Ability to modify interior layouts to suit owner demands is one of the main benefits of a semi-custom boat without a moulded hull liner. There are now two standard configurations for the Valiant 40, however Worstell was open to modifications as long as they didn’t compromise the boat’s integrity or seaworthiness.

The front V-berths have an attachment that turns them into a double in the original standard belowdecks configuration. The bow has a separated chain locker, and an anchor chain storage locker under the front cabin can be reached via a PVC conduit. Insulation utilized throughout the boat above the waterline is closed-cell foam that is ½ inch thick. In addition, there are two cedar-lined hanging lockers to the starboard of the forward berths. There are two cedar-lined hanging lockers, as well as additional storage, to the starboard side of the forward cabins. The bathroom has plenty of locker space for towels and other items.

There are settees port and starboard in the main cabin, and there is an option of shelves or a pilot bunk above the settees. You might even decide on a unique television shelf. A pull-out option on the port berth allows for the creation of a compact double (6′ 8″ x 3′ 2″). The drop-leaf dinette table is made of white Formica and measures 3’5″ x 4’3″ when expanded. A functional U-shaped galley is located to port, aft of the salon. Standard equipment includes a four-burner Regal propane stove with oven and broiler, however a Force 10 can be installed as an alternative. Two 11-lb tanks of propane are kept in a vent lazarette locker. For cutlery, there are four cedar-lined lock-in-style drawers, and there is a tonne of storage space above the stove and sink. dishes, and seasonings.

Across from the icebox are two decent double sinks that are 9 inches deep. Only the lid and inside of the box’s foam insulation are thicker than 2 inches. In the tropics, this won’t be as successful at keeping things cool as it would be in northern latitudes. Near the galley on the starboard side is a sizable nav station with fore and aft facing positions. The chart table has ample room for any chart when folded in half and provides space for literature, electronics, navigational aids, and a sextant. Additionally, there is additional space under the navigation seat and chart storage underneath the nav table. Three vented storage compartments can be found directly to starboard of the companionway ladder. One is a canvas wet locker with a zipper for ventilation. A twin cabin with plenty of storage under the bunks and in the lockers is located to the port of the companionway.

Valiant created a different layout that a cruising couple without kids may find preferable. A quarterberth is to the starboard and a head is to the port as you descend the companionway steps. The internal design of the main cabin is identical to the original design. However, a good-sized double bunk with storage and hanging lockers is located aft of the saloon on the port side. The forepeak then serves as a luxurious sail storage area.

Offshore, this configuration is preferred. First of all, the head is conveniently located in the cockpit and farther back, where the motion is gentler. Second, the off-watch can remain within reach of the person on deck or within earshot of the nav station or galley while sleeping comfortably in the quarterberth. You can rest in the harbour on the double berth up front. There is 6′ 2″ headroom throughout. The yacht has superb lighting throughout, particularly in the nav station and engine room. There are two interior options for the Valiant as standard: oiled teak or white Formica with teak accents. To those used to wood interiors, a white Formica interior with teak trim may seem stark, yet it is a practical mix that creates light and a sense of space.


In flat seas, the 43-horsepower Volvo 2003 Turbo at a typical cruising RPM of 2400 offers you a speed of 6 knots over the ocean. The Valiant 40 hull is simple to drive. Under power, the boat handles especially well in constrained spaces or when docking stern-to. Standard equipment is a fixed propeller with two blades. You can get a two- or three-bladed feathering Max-Prop to boost both your power and sail performance. Fuel is kept in two aluminium saddle tanks with a combined capacity of 110 gallons if you choose the genset option. One 90-gallon aluminum fuel tank is used to transport fuel in the absence of a generator. It’s unnecessary to assume how much diesel you have left because of the convenient fuel gauge that is located at the navigation station.

The Valiant sails as well as any fast ocean cruiser of her size thanks to an excellent entrance, a long waterline, a relatively efficient underbody, and a moderate wetted surface. The Valiant is least effective in a sharp chop to weather because of her big flared bow. However, as soon as you bear off, the boat becomes quite powerful, especially on a reach or broad reach in heavy air. The big flared bow now has all sailing length. She performs admirably even downwind. She’s not quite as quick as a more contemporary, lighter racer/cruiser, but she’s also no slowpoke.

The Valiant has a pretty well-stepped aft mast and is cutter-rigged. This results in a controllable, tiny mainsail (306 sq. ft.). and a foretriangle that is significantly larger than that of a standard 40-foot sloop-rigged boat. However, the boat is remarkably stable and simple to manoeuvre. You can sail it as a cutter or sloop (there is a quick release option on the inner forestay), but if you’re shorthanded, the double headsail rig will probably suit you better.

The Valiant features a fin keel and skeg rudder, a deviation from the convention at the time which considered complete keels necessary for serious offshore cruising. The keel has undergone two modifications since its creation in 1973, with the latest adjustment aimed at improving building efficiency and offering more keel options. The most recent design deepens the bilge and decreases the boat’s vertical center of gravity, resulting in enhanced overall performance. With the advancement of foil technology, the design has been further improved upon with the help of a specialist in keels. The current foil shape used on the boat is the same as the one used on Mongoose in the Transpac.

The newest keel alters the leading edge angle and packs more weight into a shorter chord length. The more recent deep-keeled Valiants are faster and can carry more sail thanks to their greater stability. The draught models for the shoal are a compromise. Although they don’t point as high as the 6-foot keel, they nevertheless let the cruising sailor to sail in shallower waters. If shallow draught is not essential to you, stick with the standard keel.

Quick Notes

A genuine high-performance blue-water cruiser, the Valiant 40. It is a nicely-made boat as well. Rich Worstell was one of the few Bluewater sailboat builders who was as committed to his work as he was. In essence, he built the Valiant with pride and wanted its owners to feel the same way.

There are a few aspects of the Valiant that we don’t like. The majority of them are unrelated to seaworthiness. They are just ornamental. For instance, some people find the cabin trunk to be excessively boxy, and prefer to see the boat built with circular ports rather than rectangular ones. Although the joinerwork is good, it isn’t superior than that on other boats in this price range. Basically, the Alden 44 and more expensive semi-custom boats are more flamboyant than the Valiant. But the Valiant is a trustworthy bluewater cruiser. It is sturdy and seaworthy.

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