Halcyon made her grand entrance into this world in 1976 in Bellingham, Washington. She is a Valiant 40, hull number 136 (which means she was the 36th hull off the line), the first boat designed by the prodigy boat designer, Bob Perry, who still lives in our home neighborhood of Ballard Washington.
Throughout the two years we spent searching for the perfect boat for us, we found ourselves naturally drawn to Perry’s designs; in fact, all three of the boats we put offers on and surveyed are Perry’s boats. We love his cruising designs because they balance comfort with performance. They are sturdy, well thought out boats that can still get up and go comparatively well. They feel like home inside with layouts that are both functional and beautiful.
The Valiant 40 looks like a classic design today, but when Perry launched it in 1973, she was very progressive. The first “performance cruiser”, the Valiant 40 has a modified fin keel, instead of the full keel traditionally found on ocean going boats. This gives her more speed and maneuverability and less weight, but she’s still sturdy and stable. In 1976, fiberglass was a new material on the market and builders didn’t quite understand how strong it could be. Today’s fiberglass boats feel paper thin next to Halcyon’s thick skin.
In 1997, the Valiant 40 design was included in the American Sailboat Hall of Fame (there are only 26 boat designs on this list to date) and was named Cruising Sailboat of the Decade. Now that’s a good design. You can head over to Blue water boats for more history on the Valiant 40.
For the first 11 years, Valiants were built at Uniflite, a successful boat building operation in Bellingham. During that time, the builders starting using a new type of resin in the build up of the hull that was fire-retardant. Unfortunately, this new resin did not react well and within a few years, those early Valiants started showing blisters on their hulls. There was a class action lawsuit that resulted in Uniflite going bankrupt. Many of the blister boats were “repaired” during this time, getting their hulls stripped down, dried out and re-fiberglassed. We don’t know much about the person that owned Halcyon during this time.
John and Kay bought her in 1981 and spent 30 years on her – raising their family, exploring the world, and living life. Halcyon crossed the Atlantic several times, explored Europe and lived in Maryland before moving (overland) to Seattle. We entered the scene when John and Kay made the wrenching decision to sell Halcyon and buy a powerboat to more comfortably cruise the waters of the inside passage.
So far in the 5 years we have owned her, we have kept her in the PNW – sailing extensively in the Puget Sound, around Bella Bella, up the inside passage and as far as Ketchikan. In August, we celebrated Halcyon’s 40th birthday by cutting the lines and setting her free to sail the world.