Registered: October 2002
Review Date: Fri December 10, 2004
||Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: None indicated
| Rating: 0
I purchased s/v Windward in the summer of 2002 in a more advanced state of disrepair (both neglect and botched upgrades) than I initially realized, and worked for months solid to get her back in order.
Small enough to easily singlehand, large enough for our family of three to comfortably weekend. She's big below decks for a 26 footer, and is layed out to provide some private sleeping areas.
Good standing headroom under companionway hatch, and reasonable throughout rest of boat. Nice, big hatch and companionway provide good ventilation, although if you're in rough stuff they leave you a bit exposed.
Swing keel trunk does take up space in cabin, but gives you something to grab or brace against when below in heavy weather. I like it.
Cockpit's a bit tight if you have passengers rather than crew, but fine for two or three. In heavy air the passengers are almost always in the way when coming about, but I try not to make them feel that way. Windward has wheel steering, which does eat some space but spares the shins and kneecaps of other cockpit dwellers.
Basic hull is solid glass, no core, and she's quite solid. Deck appears to be 3/4" plywood core, nice and solid even after 25 years with the exception of some crunchy sounds in the cockpit, probably due to leaks around the steering pedestal and some trim mounting screws.
I've sailed her about 25 times since October (it's January now), including 8 overnights.
Initially tender, she steadies out once she heels a bit. No inclinometer, but I'd guess 15° - 20° is where she likes to be.
The deep, TVA mountain lake I sail in is like a wind tunnel with a sense of humor. I've had her out in 20-25 kt steady, gusting over 40, and she's quite reassuring. Pretty easy to get the rail, and occasionally the portlights, down in air like that. She develops serious weather helm in a nasty blow, so be ready to spill the main. AirForce sails is making me a new main with double reef to help compensate.
The freeboard keeps her dry, but in a strong blow it creates a lot of windage. She seems best pleased to sail close-hauled, although I've broken 7 knots running with a reefed main and genny furled to about 80%.
Under power she moves well. I've been using a 2 hp Evinrude, and can make 3.5 knots GPS with the board up (about 3.2 board down). A used 9.9 is in the near future, since in adverse conditions the 2 hp just ain't cutting it.
-> the rudder, which tends to pivot up a bit at really bad times, and which hits the prop when pivoted up for shallow water.
-> All the C26s I've seen sport serious cracks in the built-in motor mount. I've rebuilt mine, and hopefully it will last. The propellor hits the rudder when it's pivoted up, so an extension to the mount would be useful. The motor doesn't sit very deeply in the water, and thus in rough water the prop gasps for air pretty regularly.
-> Starboard chainplate is attached to settee back with two wood screws, and when it pulls up it will cause the deck to bow and craze. I'm still fixing this one.
-> Original deck hardware is not bedded properly, and is backed only with small washers. I'll be redoing that as well.
-> portlights leak after a bit; I've seen quite a few with silicone sealer around the stbd aft
-> Not a lot of useable storage. The settee lockers are open to the bilge, so you don't want to keep your crackers or jockey shorts in there. Cooler under the stairs is pretty handy, but the one up front is a bit inconvenient for cooking.
-> Galley could use more work space.
-> Tough to find a place for a pair of Goup 27 deep cycles. Mine are living in the settee lockers, well-affixed to the bulkhead.
-> Aft berth is not popular, due to limited head room. I'm using mine to sleep sideways, although the starboard side can provide a reasonable single berth. Will be converting much of the port quarter to storage.
-> Tiny cockpit locker.
-> No deck locker for ground tackle on pre-1979 boats, but this translates to a much roomier v-berth, so I don't think that's a big minus.
-> No traveler, which would be helpful going to windward or to depower the main in a big blow, but this is an easy retrofit.
-> Companionway extends below the cockpit seats, so if your cockpit gets truly flooded you'll take on quite a load below unless you have a couple of boards in and made fast.
-> The enclosed head is best used with the door open, unless you're a contortionist or a privacy freak. The toughest part is getting various articles of clothing arranged before and after the event.
-> Standard Barlow 15 single speed jib winches are pretty minimal. In anything over 15 knots my wife can't deal with the 150% genny using them. Some two speeders would be welcome.
All in all, I love the boat, and am looking forward to warmer weather and more predictable winds so that every trip out isn't a potential survival experience. You can visit Windward at http://windward.lizards.net The site's under construction, but I've got a scad of digital photos of all the renovation work in various stages of completion.
Update 15 Dec 2003 -- Windward Redux
Following an extensive period on the hard, Windward's back in action. The seven month long maintenance festivities included thorough drying, blister repair using West Systems products, 8 barrier coats, bottom paint, rebedding all through hulls and replacing hoses, rudder replacement (using a slick unit from IDASailor), swing keel trunk repair, reinforcement of cockpit and lazarette sole, reinforcement of chainplates, rebedding all deck hardware, painting the hull and cockpit, sanding and varnishing all brightwork, replacing the wheel with a tiller and installation of a 9.9 HP, electric start, remote control Chrysler Sailor 250 outboard.
Also learned that one must be very careful where the pads go when she's on stands. I ended up blocking the keel shoe and using 9 stands to spread the stress and avoid dimpling the hull. For really rough use, I think some stringers and/or bulkheads would be well-advised modifications.
Only sailed her a couple of times since she's been relaunched, but the new rudder greatly reduces weather helm, providing a much better balance. With the tiller I have much better feel for what the boat wants to do, which makes it easier for me to play the main to keep her on her feet.
Ditching the wheel also opened up the stern berth, since I no longer need the large quadrant, pulleys or cables.
And the new red paint is just plain beautiful.
After a solo sail of 27 nautical miles last Saturday, with winds gusting to around 25 knots and temps in the 30s to low 40s, I once again remember why I love my Chrysler! No other boat less than 27 feet at our dock offers the overall comfort -- headroom, elbow room and private space below decks -- ease of handling and all around fun. Comfy for the family for a weekend, easy to solo even in a real blow.