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Ocean Explorer
Valiant 39
$169,000 USD
39ft in

When you step aboard a Valiant, you immediately know you are aboard an ocean going sailing yacht. Everything you see speaks to quality construction and heavy duty equipment. From the super heavy duty anchor roller, the Lewmar Ocean series hatches, Hood stainless ports and the small and protected cockpit. Ocean Explorer is true to her name. This boat has been designed and built for comfort and safety at sea. She has a beautiful canoe stern for following seas and a skeg hung rudder for strength and protection.

Ocean Explorer has served her current (2nd) owners well and with her new Beta diesel is ready for her next adventures. She was hauled recently and is available for immediate delivery for cruising this summer. If you’ve been thinking about a well proven design that can cruise far and wide, come over to Bainbridge Island and take a look at Ocean Explorer.

Name of vessel Ocean Explorer
Model Valiant 39
Year 1997
Builder Valiant
Designer Robert H Perry
Price $169,000 USD
Location Seattle, WA
Length (feet) 39
Beam (feet) 11'6"
Draft (feet) 5'10"
Displacement (pounds) 18,500
Ballast (pounds) 7000
Engine model Beta 38
Engine horsepower 38
Engine hours 200
Fuel tank capacity (gallons) 47
Water tank capacity (gallons) 128
Holding tank capacity (gallons) 30

The cockpit of Ocean Explorer is very well protected by her hard dodger. The rail surrounding the cockpit is 1 inch stainless rather than the more common wire. The companionway hatch is inset to allow a large area at the bridgedeck where you can straddle the interior and the cockpit. The autopilot control is on the port side of the entryway and this is the ideal place to be on watch during any weather. There are handholds for moving in and out of the interior.

When you come below the first thing you notice is the real wood interior. We’ve become accustomed to veneers and exotic woods, but this wood is rich and feels like a boat should. The ports and hatches provide plenty of light, and this interior feels warm and inviting. The floorboards are 1 inch think Teak and Holly and have mechanisms to be secured.

The entrance to the quarter berth is to starboard. There is a solid door and it’s obvious this would be a terrific sea berth. There is a place to sit while dressing and a hanging locker.

To port is the head with a sit down shower. The head faces forward and is usable on either tack. That may seem like a simple thing, but it shows the attention to building a passage-making boat rather than just a vacation home.

Forward to port also facing forward is the navigation station. Her communications equipment and radar are here. There is room to put a chart or a laptop and a comfortable place to work. To starboard is a very generous galley. It is U shaped with the gimballed three burner propane stove outboard. The sinks are on the center-line and it will be safe here to work while underway.

Forward on each side are settees with cabinets outboard. Both of the settees make excellent sea berths and have lee cloths. The table is very solid and has leaves that fold up to provide seating for visitors or a larger crew.

Forward of the main bulkhead is the V berth with cabinets port and starboard. There is a wonderful compass on the overhead so you can see from the berth if you are still on course. The hull is lined with cedar to create a warm and cozy cabin.

Comfort and Convenience
Espar forced air diesel heater with multiple outletsDickinson Mediterranean 3 burner propane stove w/oven (2) tanksAdler/Barbour Super ColdMachine w/water cooled optionPropane and CO detectors

GoPower 300 watt inverter

Weems & Plath clock and barometer

Raritan PHII head

Head hoses replaced 2019

Stainless tubing boarding ladder


Sail Area
North Sails main, yankee, staysail (2015)North Sails gennaker (1997)Monitor WindvaneRemoveable inner forestay

IJPE : 734.00 sq ft
I : 49.00 ft
J : 16.67 ft
P : 45.00 ft
E : 14.50 ft
Working Sail Area : 735.00 sq ft

Electronics and Navigation
Brookes & Gatehouse Zeus2 9 inch Chartplotter with wifi (2016)B & G depth, speed, instrument (2016)B & G wind instrument (2016)Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS transceiver (2016)

Furuno 1721 Radar

Alpha 3000 Autopilot (hardware upgrade 2017)


Mechanical Systems
Beta Marine 38 hp diesel (2018) @200 hrsMax-Prop  17 inch three blade feathering prop (reconditioned 2018)PYI dripless shaft seal (2018)Prop shaft replaced with new engine install

Racor 500 fuel filter


Electrical Systems
(4) Lifeline Group 31 AGM batteries (2016)(1) Lifeline AGM starting battery (2016)Balmar 120 amp alternator w/MC-614 regulator (2016)(1) Renogy 160 watt solar panel on custom arch (2) Kyocera 60watt panels on dodger

(2) Victron Energy 75/15 solar controllers with display

Victron BMV-700 Battery Monitor

Pronautic 1260P 60 amp charger (2016)

Blue Seas ACR & Voltmeter

Communications Equipment
Icom IC-M422 VHF w/DSC with remote microphoneIcom 706 Mrk II Ham w/AH-4 antenna tunerSCS PTC-II pactor modemInsulated backstay antenna for HF radio

Icom handheld VHF

Insulated backstay

Anchoring Gear
Lighthouse 1501 windlass275 feet 5/16 inch HT chainSpade S100 44 lb anchorFortress FX-23 with 250 feet chain rope rode

There is a roller and cleat aft for a stern anchor


Build Quality
Ocean Explorers hull is built from one solid piece of hand laid glass using alternating layers of mat and roving bonded with isophtalic resin. Structural members use PVC foam coring rather than the more common plywood. This to ensure almost unlimited structural integrity even into the bilge areas which are 2 inches of solid fiberglass. The 7000 lb keel is then bonded externally using 11 3/4 inch stainless bolts. The rudder is protected and secured by a massive skeg. The deck uses balsa coring for weight savings except in areas of stress where structural foam is substituted. The hull and deck joint is secured by through bolting on 4.5 inch centers through an in-turned flange.
Cruising World Magazine

Cruising World Review (August 5, 2002)

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to hear someone hail a Valiant as seaworthy. Designer Robert Perry’s canoe-stern staple has become a blue-water icon of sorts for long-distance sailors, from a generation of singlehanded around-the-world racers to oceangoing cruising families with a yen for far horizons.

The 39 is essentially an updated edition of the popular Valiant 37, with a hefty tubular stainless bowsprit that increases the size of the foretriangle and opens the door for a real working staysail in the boat’s cutter configuration. By modern standards she is a straightforward vessel characterized by a subtle sheer, considerable tumblehome, deep-V sections beneath the waterline forward, a fin keel and a skeg-hung rudder. In other words she’s a reliable, conservative platform for doing decidedly unconservative things — like sailing across an ocean.

Construction details read like a primer on how to build a boat so it won’t fall apart. The hull is laid up in one piece of solid glass, hand laminated with alternate layers of mat and woven roving. Isophthalic resin is used throughout, from the gel coat right on into the laminate. Floor timbers are built up of heavy layers of mat and woven roving over PVC high-density closed-cell foam; these reinforce the underbody and extend into the sump, a sturdy element rendered with up to two inches of solid glass. The keel consists of 7,000 pounds of external lead bedded to the bottom of the sump with 3M 5200, and secured by no fewer than 11 3/4-inch stainless J bolts topped with 1/4-inch stainless backing plates and stainless nuts. The deck utilizes Baltek balsa core for stiffness and weight reduction, with structural foam in areas of major stress; it is affixed to the hull on an inturned flange with 5200 and stainless bolts on 4 1/2-inch centers. Whoa.

The rig is a keel-stepped, high-aspect masthead affair with two sets of spreaders, fore-and-aft lowers, and an inner forestay brought to the stem aft of the bowsprit for cutter work. Standing rigging port and starboard terminates at chain plates secured with stainless bolts and backing plates to hefty structural knees bonded into the hull. The 39’s SA/Disp ratio of 16.8 does not point at wicked light-air performance, but by augmenting the sail plan with the appropriate canvas you can offset that apparent disadvantage; in truth and in fairness, the versatility of the rig in moderate-to-heavy oceangoing conditions is of far more enduring significance.

In the realm of accommodations and amenity, this is a genuine passage maker, with emphasis on what’s functional, comfortable and safe at sea, not on how many showers you can fit into 37 feet of hull. To wit, there is one head, located on the port side aft, cleverly adjacent to but separate from a single shower stall. Smallish sleeping doubles are located in the starboard quarter and forepeak. A serious nav station with a chart table, electrical panel and electronics is tucked in to port, opposed on the starboard side by a very secure U-shaped galley. The saloon includes longitudinal settees, both of which with lee cloths make terrific sea berths, and a folding dinette admidship. For insulation and sound dampening, 1/2-inch foam is applied to the inside of the hull from the waterline up. Storage is addressed in lockers, cubbies, shelves and settee bins; long-range provisioning can spill into the vessel’s substantial bilge if necessary.

Mechanically, the boat is set up for uncomplicated maintenance, rugged use and long stints away from the dock. A freshwater-cooled Westerbeke 35B is located in an engine compartment behind the companionway steps; for a 37-foot hull, itÕs a veritable engine room. The Racor fuel filter, raw-water intake, engine oil dipstick, V-drive unit, starter and whatnot are all easy to get at when the needs arise. The electrical scenario includes a dual-bank 12-volt DC system and a 110-volt AC shore power hookup with a 30-amp charger and plenty of cabin outlets. The distribution panel is assembled by Valiant and provides a DC breaker with 28 individual toggles, an AC breaker with 12, the requisite voltage and amperage meters, and a reverse-polarity indicator. In terms of tankage, fuel lives in two removable marine alloy units aft of the engine, fresh water in stainless tanks beneath the settees.

Boat Of The Year sail testing put the Valiant through its paces in 10 to 12 knots of breeze amid a light chop. Perry’s very competent design tracks nicely in these conditions. The helm is responsive and the boat reacts positively to trim. Speed and acceleration are not strong suits, but maneuverability, settling into a groove and finding a satisfying angle upwind are. Above all, this boat is comfortable to sail, a comment uttered unanimously in judges’ deliberations after our sea trial.

Given the blue-water scenario for which all Valiants are conceived and built, this may be the highest compliment you could pay a boat such as the 39. The idea that you can go to sea in a vessel actually designed to take care of you is powerful. Few would doubt how well adapted both philosophically and practically this little voyager is to the big leagues offshore.

By Quentin Warren


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