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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Boat Buyers & Sellers Forum
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  #31  
Old 12-19-2009
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More questions for Faster

Well I've looked at a few Cal 20's now, just to get a feel of the market as I don't really want to purchase till next year, but I wasn't too impressed with what I seen.

They where fairly cheap and reasonable to purchase, but they all seem to look like they need some serious attention.( I must be learning something, because I didn't pay for a surveyor to tell me this )


I don't really want to blow away my budget, and maybe more, fixing up a 20 foot boat , just to get it the way I want it, make it safe to sail on and then have to sell it to upgrade and probably loose a whole bunch of money.

I know I'm starting to procrastinate a little, and eventually I will have to start somewhere, but it's still in my mind that I should try to get the right boat the first time and keep it.

I think my budget is too low and I will have to increase it, to expand my range of boats to choose from, so I've decided to up it from $6k to $10k maybe $12k if it came to a real push, but I'd like to keep it at $10k.

I think it will be more economical for me to take some professional lessons , and then maybe just rent a small sailboat to practice on, or crew on a local fleets racing day, till I find the right boat.

I've also finally figured out that I should be looking more at full keel small cruisers, as safety is one of my major concerns

The sailboat that's seems to be growing on me is the Contessa 26/JJ Taylor.
( I have read most of famous single-handed circumnavigation the boat has done, but this is not the main reason why I'm interested in the boat ) Seems close to my new budget ( the early model years anyway ) but the prices do varies considerably, fits my needs, small cruiser , safe , and easy to single handle. Has a old school look to it, but also looks sleek and modern in the water. Still without full standing headroom but luxury compared to the interior of the Cal 20 or 22 and I think the interior will be more then OK for a single person on a few weeks cruise. Might be harder to find then a Cal 20 but I don't think impossible.

You seem to get a lot of accessories and extra gear with a boat like this. ( more bang for the buck as it where ) and a good number of them I see advertised ( not all of cause) seem to be very well maintained .

There is usually a long list of things to watch out for when purchasing a specific secondhand sailboat, after doing lots of research the Contessa's list does not seem too serious, except for the older unreliable inboard engines,Vire, Petter and Farymann but most of the Cotessa 26's I've seen have the the newer Yamar diesel, or inboard removed and outboard put on.
I'm a bit concerned though, about the about the maintenance cost of such a boat, especially the inboard engine.


The moorage quote I got from Deep Bay was for a 24 foot so 26 wouldn't be too much more. Doing most of my sailing in the winter months, Oct till May, I think the Contessa would be better suited for the condition's with the full keel, meaning I would be sailing more often and sailing safer, am I right in this assumption ?

Faster whats your thoughts ? Is it too much of a boat to handle for a beginner ? Do you think the maintenance will be on par with say something like the Cal 25, Columbia 26 ? or will it be a lot more to maintain ?
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  #32  
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Other than the purchase price and a slight increase in moorage costs, a Contessa 26 is not going to cost you significantly more over the course of the year. Especially if you get a good one to start with.

These boats have a good rep, are very pretty on the water and if you're in love with the look then by all means go down that path. Rather narrow, but certainly roomy and comfy enough for a singlehander or a loveydovey couple. The cockpit's a reasonable size too.

IIRC the Contessas are masthead rigs with the very similar Mareholme 'Folkboats" are fractionals. Another difference is in the companionway hatches, the Contessa has a 'submarine' type passage while the Mareholme has a standard sliding hatch.

The shape and arrangement of the boats aft would make an outboard an awkward thing to deal with, I'd be prone to find a diesel version, however these boats will not be fun to manouver in close quarters and an outboard may be of help here since youy can turn the prop to assist 'steering'.

All that said, these types of boats can be a bit frustrating in the light air we get in BC in summertime, esp up in the popular cruising areas like Desolation Sound. Also, unless you plan to regularly venture to outside waters, the safety aspect would not be a major factor.

For similar money you can easily get a decent Ranger 29, Catalina 27, Crown 28, Cal 27, Sun27(838) etc that would seem like you're living in a ballroom comparatively, and offer more spritely performance in light airs. Right now in Squamsh our former Viking 28 is for sale.. needs a little TLC but when the price comes down that would be a great boat for you esp if you're OK with not-quite standing headroom. We owned her for 10 years before jumping to a 40 footer. PM me for more details on that one if you like.

You may get the impression that I'm not a big fan of full keel boats for our area... I appreciate the look, I think the Westsail 32 is a classic looking boat but would never buy one, esp for our waters.

Anyway if you're bent on the Contessa and similar boats, you could do much worse, but.....
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  #33  
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I have to agree with Fasters comments re contessa style/full keel boats vs fin keel boats. We get a lot of light air days here in the "salish" sea or puget sound up thru desolation sound etc. That summer high rolls in and very little wind, ie less than 15 knots, full keelers need it seems like 20 something to get going! A fin keel will do fin around here in the occasional gale that we get, be it in a larger body like juandefuca or georgia straight or the main part of Puget sound too.

I knew someone with a Westsnail 32 growing up, took a 40 something knot wind to get that beast moving! Not something you see around here that often.

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  #34  
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Keith

Another good candidate for a starter around here is the Thunderbird 26 - preferably a glass version rather than plywood, though I've seen at least one nice one with a wood hull and molded glass deck. Good support, reasonable room and very decent performance.

Here's a PNW yachtworld search for 25-29 feet under 10K to give you some ideas.. on this list the C&C 25 and the Niagara 26 jump out. The Niagara is a 'grown up, more modern Shark' - same designer, fractional rig, smallish interior(but roomier than Contessa) but a lovely boat.

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Last edited by Faster; 12-19-2009 at 12:06 PM.
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Our first boat was a Columbia 26 and we sailed her for many years on the west coast. We trailered her to San Felipe ( the top of the Baja) and sailed her in the Sea of Cortez for 6 months. A comfortable somewhat stable boat for its size. If you are daysailing 22 feet is fine, but if you want to explore the coast and gunk hole you will appreciate the comfort and space of a 26 foot boat.
When you come to the Island take a few days to visit the marinas; Maple Bay
Chemainus, Ladysmith there are plenty of smaller sailboats that sit unused and may take an offer.
Good luck
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  #36  
Old 12-20-2009
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More questions for Faster

Faster thanks again for your honesty and I do appreciate your help and all the other people that have posted on this topic.

I was thinking the Contessa would be a more difficult to maneuver, docking, etc, I guess due it it's outboard rudder and the size of the hull, it looks huge out of the water. Maybe that's why a seen a few with outboards on.

I must admit I didn't even think about the light air and full keel of the Contessa. Good point. I'm going to think on that one,but remember summer time I will not be sailing a lot due to my summer job.

Now the way I been looking at things is, if Oct to May is the only time I can get to sail, and I will presume the water is going to be unpredictable with maybe lots of small craft warning all over the place in the Comox, Deep Bay and the whole general area,if a purchase a boat that is unable to take a bit of a pounding and doesn't feel safe in choppy conditions I'm going to be sat at the marina waiting forever, for calmer conditions and get very little sailing done.Maybe I'm going overkill, but for me knowing the boat is a compact little cruiser that is blue-water capable, gives me some reassurance I'm sailing on a relatively safe boat that can handle some choppy gusty weather with ease. I would of thought this would be ideal weather for the Contessa to raise its sails. What's your thoughts ?

( the offshore capability of the boat is also a option for me too, apart from gunk holeing in Desolation, even if was just a few miles offshore , just to see how green I could look )

The other question I had for you was the inboard diesel single-cylinder engine, I read somewhere the Contessa fuel tank holds 12 galls of fuel, at 5 knots under calm conditions the range is supposedly 240 miles. Is this fairly economical ?

Keith

Last edited by Keith9c1; 12-20-2009 at 08:50 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith9c1 View Post
The other question I had for you was the inboard diesel single-cylinder engine, I read somewhere the Contessa fuel tank holds 12 galls of fuel, at 5 knots under calm conditions the range is supposedly 240 miles. Is this fairly economical ?

Keith
I'd forgotten you were to be a winter sailor...

That's 20 nm per gallon, or 1/4 gph at 5 knots... pretty good and sounds about right - our 4 cyl 40HP burns 2 litres/hr.
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Lightbulb

Having owned a Niagara 26 for a decade, I would echo the suggestion to get one. There is one for sale in Portland, matter of fact. Another NW classic fast cruiser is the Ray Richards-designed Haida. Speaking of small keel boats with good pedigree, find a Ranger 24. Designed for coastal passage making and easy to sail.
Oops, almost forgot -- do not overlook the Yamaha 25 or 26, either.
Best,
LB
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olson34

thanks

for your input. I looked at all those boats, but the Contessa is top of the list for me.

Thanks again.
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