The Hudson Force 50 is a full keeled pilothouse cutter ketch, from the drawing board of William Garden, a US and Canadian trained naval architect. Introduced in 1973, they were built in Taiwan at the rate of twelve to fifteen per year until 1984 when the boatyard burned down.
They are nearly identical to the Formosa 51, the molds for the Force 50 come from the same plug that formed the Formosa 51. It is said William Garden did kind of a “private label” deal with Formosa, and some believe the Force 50 is has more of a seaworthy classic flavor with subtle improvements. The Force 50 is known to have less room below decks primarily due to her lower freeboard.
This is a go anywhere sailboat with a touch of the traditional complete with a long bowsprit and on some boats, wooden spars. Teak abounds above and below decks.
As testament to the boats seaworthiness, owner Tom Allen recalls a single handed passage between Los Angeles to Monterey, “I lost my main sail rounding Point Lobos in 55 to 60 knots of winds. I was popping out of 25 foot seas with half the boat coming out of the swell and then slamming onto the bottom of the wave. It sounded like someone taking a sledgehammer and hitting the front half of the boat. When I arrived in Monterey I kissed the ground realizing that this is a very sturdy 30 year old boat that I would definitely trust my life in.”
Three staterooms, master is aft with head, two double guest cabins forward with shared head and step in shower. Pilothouse with inside helm station, and lower saloon with desk. L-shaped settee to starboard going forward to starboard is a double guest cabin and to port is the head and shower. Forward is an upper and lower to starboard, workbench and cupboards to port.
The condition of these boats vary widely, some have been well cared for while others have been neglected to “desperately needing a refit” status. Prices for these boats can seem cheap but be aware fixes on boats of this size can be considerable, three to five times more than an equivalent 30 foot boat is a good rule of thumb.
Have your surveyor check the boat thoroughly in the usual places, the hull on haulout, the numerous through-hull fittings, bulkheads, chainplates and rigging, engine, drivetrain, electrical systems, and particularly the metal fuel tanks. Water intrusion in the deck and pilothouse area is sometimes a problem. Also check over the base of the mast and booms on boats with wooden spars.
» Owner’s online forum can be found at www.force50.org
Thanks goes to Tom Allen for co-writing, providing research and owner feedback to this article.