strength, stability, performance, safety, and comfort. In an effort to evaluate the company's claims, I began with a close look at what was going on in the mold room. What I saw was a flashback to the way good sailboats once were built. Serrated rollers, carefully catalyzed bucket-mixed resin, and lots of attention to detail are at the heart of the process. Valiant's recipe for solid-FRP hull building would be called primitive by race-boat builders, but for serious ocean passagemakers who are most interested in long-term structural integrity, the rugged keep-it-simple philosophy makes lots of sense.
   How does Valiant get away with such low-tech building methods? The answer is simple: good craftsmanship. The hulls develop stiffness through extra laminate thickness and the bonding of all interior parts to the hull. In the case of a grounding or a collision with flotsam, this thicker hull skin means improved tough-

ness and point-load resistance. The extra weight associated with the extra material is near the boat's center of gravity; hence, it doesn't detract much from the performance of this moderate-displacement cutter. Similarly built boats from three decades ago are still going strong, and longevity is certainly a valuable by-product of strength.
   You can see Valiant's back-to-basics hull-building approach in the materials it uses. There's only one type of isophthalic polyester resin in the shop, and the laminate schedule is composed of different numbers of layers of 1 1/2-ounce mat and 24-ounce woven roving, the proven workhorses of FRP fabrics. There's five to six layers of reinforcement at the sheer, 11 layers at the waterline, and 20 at the base of the keel stub.
   The crew knows that how you laminate is just as important as how much and what type of material you use. The guys applying

layer after layer demonstrate an attention to detail that's a cut above what we've come to see as standard industry practice. The Valiant 50 hull is certainly Texas tough.
A Stable Platform
holder. The Valiant 50 is no lightweight race boat masquerading as a cruiser, but neither is it a houseboat unable to tick off serious passage miles. In truth, I was surprised to see how well the modest-

   With substantial waterline and beam, the Valiant 50 has good form stability. It's stiff. It's modest 31-percent ballast ratio and 6-foot-3-inch draft afford adequate righting moment and a positive righting angle to 125 degrees.
   However, compared with the Valiant 42's 134-degree range of positive stability, the V-50 does reflect its lower ballast/displacement ratio. Granted, larger vessels resist capsize more effectively than smaller vessels, so some decrease in the range of positive stability can be tolerated. The V-50's long keel foot keeps the CG of lead ballast reasonably low, and the solidly built cabin house would contribute to getting the vessel right side up if a wave-induced capsize ever occurred.

Will She Sail?
   Performance is like beauty: It shifts with the eye of the be-
sized double-spreader-rigged cutter could move the boat in winds under 10 knots.
   It's a close-winded cruiser with enough uphill manners to make the inevitable beat doable. Best of all, it has a sail plan that two people can handle, assuming the crew is fit and willing.
   What makes this boat's sailing manners so appealing is the refinement that has gone on over the years. Feedback from round-the-world racer Mark Schrader and others who have spent sea time aboard Valiants have helped fine-tune the placement of sheet leads, travelers, and winches. The big Lewmar 66 primaries, like the mainsheet-traveler controls and the stay-