History of the Liberty-Sailyachts
To tell the history of the
Liberty-yachts, it is a hard thing to do. We would like to do this with the
words of the man, who had the idea to build these beautiful boats - Peter Hoyt.
He had an idea of a boat in his mind and he had the force to realize it and so he gave satisfaction to the decision of every owner, who bought a Liberty-sailyacht.
Every Liberty-owner we asked about his yacht said, that his choice was the right one because of the yacht's seaworthiness and comfortable layout.
Special thanks to Jo Hoyt - she gave us the permission to use these words, written in a letter to all Liberty-owners:
We became enamored with Taiwan boats in the late 60's & negotiated directly
with C.T. Chen of TaChiao Yachts for one of his CT-41's. At that time, they cost
$22,000 delivered to the U.S.!! A
Scottish builder, starting a yard in Taiwan, heard of our interest in the CT-41
& contacted us while we were still living a normal life in Pasadena, CA.
He ended up selling us one of his Freedom 45's, a take-off of the Bill
Garden "Porpoise". Subsequently,
the Scotsman invited us to join him in Taiwan as his General Manager &
Office Manager for Freedom Yachts. To make a long story short, we ended up
losing most of our money in a short period of time! After the demise of Freedom
Yachts, a lot of things happened. The Scotsman tried to "hide" his
personal 60' Garden ketch during the Freedom bankruptcy in a cemetery outside of
Taipei, so it was aptly known throughout Taiwan as the "cemetery boat".
We obtained ownership rights of that boat, built it, shipped it to Seattle,
lived aboard it & then sold it. We then returned to Taiwan & purchased a
Formosa 47 built by C.Y. Chen at Formosa Yachts. Again we shipped that boat to
Seattle, lived aboard it & sold it. We loved the interior of that boat as
did everyone who came aboard. Again we returned to Taiwan to develop a line of
boats called the Passport 40. Needless to say, there were a lot of things going
on concurrently..... but back to the Liberty story.
our initial early days in Taiwan at Freedom Yachts, we became acquainted with
Jack Kelly of San Diego, who was importing a line of 41' yachts built by Formosa
Yacht, which he called the Yankee Clipper. Jack sold a ton of these boats, a few
of which had minimal warranty problems. When Jack decided to develop and produce
his new design called the Peterson 44, he discovered that Formosa Yachts had
been "farming out" a lot of the Yankee Clipper boats to another boat
yard by the name of Shin Fa. It turned out to be the Shin Fa boats that were
relatively warranty free. Thus, he decided to have them build the Peterson 44.
So Shin Fa built Jack's molds at their cost. Shin Fa was always a small
family-oriented company, managed by the prodigal sons and their wives with the
matriarchal "Woo-Chow's Auntie" mother controlling every move.
Ultimately, Jack was again selling a ton of the Peterson 44's, and there was no
way that little Shin Fa could keep up with his production demands. There was a
legal contest and the original Peterson 44 molds were ordered by a judge to be
destroyed. Jack moved the design to a new factory and built new molds. In the
interim, Peter and Jo had shipped their Formosa 47 to Seattle while they were
waiting the completion of the first of the line of the Passport sailboats. As
mentioned, people fell in love with our47.... which was literally a piece of
junk (a warranty nightmare) but it looked pretty and, as mentioned, the layout
then decided to go back to Taiwan and try to incorporate our greatly modified
version of the Formosa 47 interior into a new boat to be built at a different
and a much higher quality boat yard. During that search, we approached Shin Fa
to see if they would be willing to build this boat for us. Unbeknownst to us,
they had built a new mold, an extended version of the Peterson 44 since they
still had the original lines and offsets, for a group of Germans who were
importing them as charter boats. It was this "German charter boat"
mold that Shin Fa wanted to utilize for our Liberty boat. We designed a new
deckmold and let them "have a go at it"! To this day, Peter still
can't believe that they compressed the 47' interior in a much narrower-beamed
458 - but they did it and they did it well. At the same time, we opened an
office in Seattle to sell the first of the Passport 40's and, a short time later,
the first of the Liberty 458's. During this time, Peter was flying back and
forth to Taiwan to supervise the changes being made to the Liberty 458's and the
building of the first Passport 40's while Jo was handling the retail sales in
our Lake Union office in Seattle.
this time, we had little or no money but wanted to develop a Liberty dealer
network for what we believed to be a great boat. So we'd buy a boat from Shin
Fa, ship it to a boat show in a specific area and try to develop both a dealer
and a customer base in that area. This was a hard process because we just didn't
have enough money to buy the demo boats, ship them all over the country and do
the very expensive national advertising that was necessary. But the boat was so
well received and we had enough 458 orders to keep us busy.
on the East Coast with the 458, the comments we kept hearing was the lack of
space for generators, air conditioners, water makers, etc., items that were not
really all that requested for on West Coast boats. We had utilized every inch of
space we could on the 458 and so we went to Stan Huntingford to design an
extended version of the 458 - the Liberty 49, which had about 40% more volume
than the 458. We started that boat, again with Shin Fa as the builder and again
on a shoestring for a budget - and the boatbuilding process started to repeat
itself: back and forth to Taiwan, during which time Jo stayed in Seattle to
manage the business there - selling the Passports, the Libertys, and the Union
32 and 36 as well as a diastrous short-lived powerboat venture plus a
Scandinavian racing sailboat! Eventually the emergence of Taiwan boatyard
unionization, the "dumping" of Taiwan in favour of Mainland China by
our U.S. government and the associated substantial decrease of the American
dollar, as well as the imposition of a "luxury" tax of yachts over
$100,000, forced us to say to ourselves: "why are we sitting in this high
rent office with our feet on the desk, waiting for customers to walk in for
something other than cocktails? Let's bag it!" So we took our bag of "bouillon"
to Friday Harbor, WA, buried it and now can't remember where we buried it!
that's the end of Liberty Yachts. It was a great experience and we're proud of
what we accomplished. We ended up building 31 of the 458's and 13 of the 49's
plus 5 or 6 of our Gatsby 39's. And we ended up with a lot of friends and a lot
of great experiences. ...."
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