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  #1  
Old 06-02-2001
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bifmac is on a distinguished road
Contessa 26 for a new sailor?

I''m close to buying my first sailboat. I''m
looking for something in the 22-26'' range for
weekend cruising, between $6,000-8,000 US, to be sailed on Lake Ontario. I''ll be single handing 75% of the time, and want something manageable and relatively stable in different weather conditions (I have some experience on 28-33'' sloops, but I''m very rusty). I want this boat to help teach me the principles I''ll need to move up to something more ambitious in another 5 years.
The Contessa 26 caught my eye recently -- it looks like it would satisfy all my criteria. Does anyone have experience with this boat, or know of any serious flaws I should be aware of? Have also been looking at Tanzer 7.5s, and Shark 24s.
Much obliged,
Fraser
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Old 06-02-2001
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jack_patricia is on a distinguished road
Contessa 26 for a new sailor?

Fraser, you probably already know that both Tania Abi (sp?) and Brian Caldwell did solo circumnavigations on Contessa 26 boats, so she is certainly built to take those Lake storms. You don''t mention crew so I''ll mention that she gets less effective at higher angles of heel (note the rudder location/angle/size), but generally she enjoys a good reputation as a sailor (something many boats actually don''t).

Other boats in your size/price range are the Albin (Swedish-built) Vega 27'' and Ballad 29/30. These were carefully built and therefore relatively light, but wonderful boats to sail. A young man sailed a Vega to the So. Pacific from Washington State and then wrote a book about it (Log of the Mahina by John Neal). Ballads & Vegas have done many ocean crossings despite their sizes. The Ballad is probably above your price range by several $K but I have seen recent ads for the Vega in the $8K range (asking price).

Jack

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Old 06-04-2001
JeffH
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Contessa 26 for a new sailor?

The Contessa 26''s are nice little Folkboat derived sloops. Like most of the Folkboat derivatives they have a strong cult following. As a former Folkboat owner, there is a lot to be said for these boats in terms of seaworthiness and classic lines.

The down side is that they are painfully slow when compared to more modern designs, don''t sail worth a darn in light winds, and are quite cramped down below.

In my life I have owned five 25 footers, from a 1939 Stadel Cutter to a 1981 Kirby 25. Boats have changed a lot over the years. More modern designs really are more fun to sail in most conditions, are easier to sail well, and are more responsive providing a better learning experience. When you have learned to sail them, more modern designs can handle rough weather quite well, albeit perhaps not with the ease of a Contessa.

Good luck
Jeff
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Old 06-04-2001
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bifmac is on a distinguished road
Contessa 26 for a new sailor?

Thanks Jack and Jeff
The feedback here and on Usenet has validated my choice. I''m not looking for a racer, so I''m ok with a slower ride on a Contessa. Sounds like it will be a good boat to learn on, if my long-term goal is to move up to something larger for offshore cruising.

Thanks again guys.

Fraser
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Old 06-04-2001
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rmelvin1 is on a distinguished road
Contessa 26 for a new sailor?

Check out the contessa website. contessa26.net. i don''t own one or know anything about them but they are great looking boats.
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