They are well-built, durable boats...at the age now though where the degree of maintenance they have enjoyed may pretty well supersede the original build quality as a determinant of their structural integrity ...
From Canadian Yachting
From the History of Grampian Marine
The Grampian 26 was designed by Alex McGruer in 1967. McGruer is part of a boatbuilding dynasty that reaches back to 1911, when the family business was located on the Clyde Estuary on the west coast of Scotland. The Grampian hills of his native land gave the name to this line of boats, which also includes the McGruer-designed 30-footer. Grampian Marine in Oakville, Ontario built most of these vessels, though some were built at Summerstown, east of Cornwall, Ontario. The boat was in production from 1967 through 1977, and according to McGruer, just over 1,000 Grampian 26s were built during that decade. (Nearly 200 were ordered during the first year alone.) Taddle Creek Yachts, of Toronto, tried unsuccessfully to revive interest in the design in 1987, but it seems new boat buyers were looking for a more modern design and there were no orders.
McGruer's design mandate had been for a comfortable family sailer, with six-foot headroom in the interior, and the berths for four (five if you squeeze two into the pull-out settee). She was to be strong and seaworthy, and trailerable - hence the swing-keel version. (The swing-keel has a draft of 3ft with the keel up, 6ft 6in with the keel down; fixed keel draft is 4ft 3in.)
The Grampian 26 was heavily built and, happily for their owners, no chronic problems have surfaced in the nearly quarter century since the first boat was launched.
In the past 24 years, this Canadian boat has been spotted in waters around the world. During one notable voyage an owner sailed from Lake Ontario to England and the Mediterranean, then returned to Canada via the Caribbean. Several of these boats have made good the trip through the Intra-Coastal Waterway to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, returning to their ports with a contented crew.
I have never heard the Grampian 26 described as a "pretty boat" but she is comfortable for her size. Overall length is exactly 26 feet and the beam stretches to 8ft 4in. Many owners describe her as the ideal minimum-sized boat for a cruising couple.
...Grampian Marine Limited then began it’s own designs in response to substantial orders from other dealers in the US especially George Walton Yachts of Annapolis, Md.. These included the Classic 31 designed by a naval architect in Annapolis, Peter van Dyne, and the Sparkman and Stephens designed Classic 37. About thirty to forty of these boats were built before the sixties designs were dropped in favour of the newer fin keelboats.
Subsequently Grampian took on its own in-house designer Alex McGruer. Alex grew up within the bounds of McGruer & Co Ltd. - a family boat building business in Clydner on The Clyde established in 1911. He began his boat building apprenticeship there in 1943, training as draftsman, loftsman and finally yacht designer. Besides the admirals barge on the royal yacht Britannia, he was also involved in the design of the 8 metre racing yacht ‘Innismara’ which won the Lloyds Yacht of the Year award in the sixties. Alex McGruer II, M.S.N.A.M.E., was given the parameters to design boats with good sailing abilities and yet providing comfort. He began with the popular Grampian 26 followed by the G 30 and later the trailerable G 23.
Jim Bisiker has no records or a date of when the various boats were built or exact numbers made but does recall that the G 23 was not as successful as had been hoped – only about two to three hundred were built. The G 26 was more successful - about a thousand were made. The G 30 was also popular and about four hundred were built before the plant closed in the late ‘70’s. Also built was the G 34 - a modification of the Triangle 32.
Ewan Campbell joins
In 1972 Ewan Campbell, joined Grampian and was in charge of retail and dealer sales, customer relations, shipping, commissioning and service. He recalls the following more specific details:
Grampian Model Chronology
G 26 designed in 1969 about 980 built plus # 999 a special production order.
G 23 designed in 1972 - about 300 built.
G 28 designed in 1975 - 107 built – designed in house by Rolf van der Sleen with a view to competing in the half-ton racing class.
G 30 designed in 1969 about 350 built
G 30 Cutter rig designed in 1975 about 50 built
G 34 designed in 1973 about 50 built – based on the Triangle 32 and the design reworked in house by Axel Schmidt.
G 2-34 designed in 1974 about 50 built
G 46 designed in mid 60’s about 300 built – this began life as a 41 footer.
Discovery 7.9 completed in time for the 1975 Toronto Boat Show.
The Discovery 7.9 was based on the G 26 retaining the sweet hull lines but with a new, higher deck and coach roof – very few were built.
Ewan remained with Grampian until the end in the summer of 1977. Working for the receivers, he stayed on to complete some boats already under construction. At that time the G 28s were just taking off and tooling up was being started for the new McCurdy & Rhodes design Heritage 35 that had been built by a company in Rexdale, Ontario. About twenty had been built before Grampian bought the moulds and took on a couple of their key men before Grampian’s doors were closed.
Ewan feels that the future was looking good but refers to himself as ‘the last man out the door’! He recalls that Cape Dory bought the 28 and the 35 – the two newest designs.
Much of the Grampian production was destined for the US and a plant had been opened in North Carolina. The Woody Road, Oakville and the North Carolina plants both built the 26, 30 and the 34-foot designs. Only a couple of 46-foot boats were built in Oakville - the rest were built in N. Carolina....
...the main competition to Grampian was Pearson in the US and Whitby Boats in Canada. There was a time when George Cuthbertson of C & C approached Grampian to suggest a merger. C & C boats were of a racing design whereas Grampian was pursuing the cruising market. It seemed like a good partnership but nothing came of it.