1) What should I expect to pay for a good used 4.9?
Depends on the age and how well it has been maintained.
Typically dealers over here use the following rule of thumb :
deduct 15% of new price as soon as it has been sold c.q. when it is one year old
deduct 10% of new price for each following year of age till you reach the basic price of 10%-15% that is will retain as long as it is in reasonable sailing condition.
Start adding some costs when the boat has been refurbished with new items like new sails etc.
2) How is it getting parts?
By far most parts are generally available from 3rd parties (Harken, Layline, Sailmakers, etc)
Specific are beams, mast, daggerboards, rudders and stocks. However mast, daggerboards and rudders+stocks can be ordered from VWM as the Blade F16 uses/had used the same components.
That leaves only the beams as AHPC specific, but these tend to last for a long time anyway.
3) What are common areas of wear for me to check?
They usual general checks, there are no specific issues with the Taipan 4.9 design that I'm aware off.
4) Are there any common problems with this boat?
No problems, just three drawback that you can learn to live with rather well.
-1- The boat sits well into the water till about 150 kg, beyond that it starts to sit deep into the water. However you can indeed go up to 200 kg and still sail the boat in a recreational manner, it'll just feel more sluggish and be harder to make it go fast. For racing stay under 150 kg if you want to be competitive. The newer F16's take weight significantly better and even hardly notice it.
-2- The standard jib sheeting system on the T4.9 (led back to middle of tramp) really reduces the free space on the trampoline. Changing to a selftacking jib or blocks mounted on the main beam makes a very large difference to the feel of how roomy the boat is. Especially adviced when sailing 2-up with two adults.
-3- The boat is an excellent performer in light weather and in 1-up configuration it has an advantage over the newer F16's with a fatter keelline. However, the payback comes in really rough conditions. Here the fine bows can be pushed under relatively easily. Far more often then not the bows come back up without the boat stopping and you'll continue, but sometimes they don't. Especially when transitioning from upwind in a blow to beam reach in a blow you'll have to coach the boat through its turn or you'll take a shower. Flying the spinnaker really helps the boat on downwind legs in this respect and that is why the addition of the spi is such an useful feature on the T4.9
5) How hard is it to right the 4.9
Basically speaking it is the most easy to right boat right after the A-cats. I can do it on my own and have always done it on my own. I'm, 85-90 kg. By comparison, I had lots of trouble with a boat like the FX-one and only succeeded there unaided once. Data seems to suggest that a Taipan or F16 cna be righting even in the most challenging of conditions when you are 70-75 kg and have a flawless righting technique. However, typically sailors in this range and below tend to use a small righting bag to give them just that bit of extra kg.
6) What have your experiences been with the 4.9?
Build and owned one for 4 years now and have sailed one for about 6 years. I think it is an excellent boat, especially when finding an attractively priced secondhander. The new F16's are better in several aspects but I would not mind using my Taipan for many more years.
7) Would you recommend it for a recreational sailor?
As long as you are willing to take care of it, its not a rotomoulded boat or a TheMightyHobie18 tank. The only drawback for a recreational sailor can be the performance oriented nature of the boat. It is a fast and agile boat and it will react very noticeably to trim changes and helming. In a blow the boat will speed along and feel rich in sailpower, you have to be willing to learn how to harness that otherwise look for a much more downtrimmed boat like the Prindle 16's etc.
Basically, it is a racer at its core.
8) How does the boat compare to a Inter 17
I didn't like the first versions of the nacra 17's. I do like the new EU version of theirs, however I'm pretty much convinced the US version is different from that version, most noteable in the way of sail area and ready to sail weight. Taipans on the other hand are Taipans and have been stable for nearly 20 years now and well proven.
In the way of speed the difference between the Taipan and Inter-17R (version) is very small and basically it will come down to who is sailing the boat. The Taipan will be easier to right then the Nacra F17 (US and EU version) who are fitted with the F18 aluminium mast.
Personally I like lightweight boats, ever since I changed over I praised my decision to go with one that is 35-60 kg lighter then the next design that the competition overs. On the beach, soft sand, trailer and when putting the boat over on land, I really notice the difference.
I'm convinced the nacra 17's are more forgiving in a blow when it comes down to diving with respect to the Taipan 4.9. This is difference is much smaller with the newer F16's, especially with the Viper and Aussie Blade.
9) How many people could I take out on the boat?
My record is 2 adults and 2 kids (but I got a widened Taipan and have a selftacking jib setup)
and on a different occasion I sailed with 210 kg on board (myself and two other adults).
But this is very much recreational sailing although I lost only about 15 % of speed I could still keep up with the P16's and H16's.
I hope this helps,