Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-04-2016 Thread Starter
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Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

Hey Everybody,
I recently posted about a Dolphin 24 purchase that fell through and have since fell upon a 1969 Islander Excalibur 26 that I'm going down the road of purchasing.
A little about the boat:
Full Set of Sails recently serviced and cleaned
2012 - Lehr Outboard Serviced Annually
2012 - West Marine Dinghy
2015 - New Through Holes and Bottom Paint
2015 - New Lines and Rigging
2015 - New Interior and Exterior Varnish
2015 - New Electrical (Batteries, Charging, DC/AC Panel)
2015 - Auto Tiller Power Installed in Cockpit

It seems that this boat has had a few different manufactures and that there's not a lot of information available as a result.
Just looking for general comments, feedback and thoughts. Things to look for etc.
I'm currently setting up a survey and sea trial for next weekend and if all goes well, I'll likely make the deal.
Attached are some photos.
Thanks in advance!




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post #2 of 17 Old 06-04-2016
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

Looks like it's been taken care of quite nicely. Same configuration as mine, and mine is also my first sailboat. As for what to look for, the usual suspects apply, and that's basically to say check the obvious places for leaks, like the chainplates, stanchions, deck hardware and around the front hatch. Assuming that's all good, then you should be fine. With new stuff already in place, upgraded winches and such, you're off to a good start.

I love my boat, even though it's not nearly as clean as your own. Mine was also very low budget to get into, which reflects it. I love the way it sails, it points upwind quite nicely, and is a joy to be on.

Only complaints I have for mine, are the relatively deep draft compared to other similar sized boats, but depending on the area might not be an issue at all. The other thing, the main reason that I'm ready to upgrade after three years, is the head room. I'm 6' tall and if you haven't set foot on it yet, you'll realize that sub-5' headroom for some people will get stuffy after a while. Obviously that also depends on the people, and the usage. I have no problem spending a few days at a time, and could do more if I really wanted to - in good weather. But if you're stuck inside at anchor on a rainy day, it's going to get stuffy in a hurry for most people. It's the single biggest wish I had, was more headroom. And that's very evident when using the head.

The V-berth could use a little more clearance above your head also, depending on who's spending time there. Smaller kids and people won't have as big a complaint, but anyone else is relegated to sliding in and out, and there's barely room to roll over if you've got wide shoulders. One of my potential plans this year (if I get around to it before selling the boat after this season), is to lower the V-berth. Even a few inches will feel like a giant upgrade in space up there. But as I sleep in the quarter or on the folded down table myself, it hasn't been a priority. For the anchoring duties for me, my primary is kept under the v-berth floor and fed out the hatch. That's also easier for me as I've replaced the head with a porta-potty which has eliminated the holding tank. I also don't use the water tank, even though it's still in place.

It really is a joy to sail though, and you've got enough upgrades to make it a great boat to learn on (I still have the old school winches and a hank-on headsail). If you're looking for a day sailer/cruiser, or something for a weekend, it'll be plenty good, and I've gotten a few "hey, what kind is that?!" comments in the short time I've owned her. She's got a sleek look to her, even for the age, and I've surprised a couple other boats in friendly races, even not counting the handicap. And that was with worn out sails - Upgraded sails like yours will be even better.

I'm sure your outboard will be more than plenty, though I'm not sure by the pictures if yours is mounted in the well, or off the transom. If it's in the well, be warned that you have pretty much zero control in reverse at slow speed, as the rudder is in front of the prop. So until you get some good movement of water, you'll have nothing. You pretty much need to get the boat moving, kick it in neutral so you aren't washing the rudder, and... well it's not easy until you're moving. If you have a bracket off the stern though, that eliminates that issue by virtue of having the ability to turn it as well.

Hopefully the trial goes well, but I think you're going to enjoy how she feels in the water. If you haven't read it yet, Todd Lipps has a good blog on the Ex26 that he owned (recently sold). Here's a great starting point of it. His blog was also what ultimately gave me the confidence to go ahead when I was looking at mine.

https://tlipps.wordpress.com/2011/07...iberglass-boat

1970 Islander Excalibur 26 - Retired

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post #3 of 17 Old 06-05-2016
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

That would be a great first boat. Very nice looking boat.

Please visit my blog. It's fun to read.


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post #4 of 17 Old 06-05-2016
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

Pretty! And looks to be well maintained!
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-05-2016
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

The Excalibur has always struck me as one of the most advanced designs of this era. Like the Dolphin, the Excalibur was designed as a MORC rating rule boat. As a result, the Excalibur has a very decent waterline length and exceptional good SA/D, and L/D especially for that era.

I have never sailed one, but heard good things from a former crew-mate who regretted selling his when he moved east, and was quite verbal about it. He was very enthusiastic about the boat's sailing ability, which would seemingly be supported by 'the numbers'.

The interior layout seems 'ambitious' for a boat of this length and beam, by which I mean that they are trying to get a lot of accommodations into boat of this size. I would be particularly suspicious that the vee-berth would seem quite cramped appearing to be approximately 6' long and coming nearly to a point.

If the pictures are current, this looks like a very nicely maintained boat and updated boat. She appears to have spinnaker gear, but oddly does not appear to have a lead block location for a working jib.

The fellow I sailed with had the outboard in an well was open at the transom so it allowed the outboard to kick up through the transom. He had problems with the outboard getting pooped in bigger chop (he sailed in San Francisco with his) and so glassed in the openings (If I remember right he had a glass filler piece that came with the boat that he glassed in. He then added a transom mount which allowed him to lift the outboard higher above the water when sailing.

I would agree with the others that this would make a very nice first boat.

Jeff
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-06-2016 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback everybody.
Hearing that it sails well and this boat isn't a total dud is getting me excited for the sea trial.
A couple points that were raised:
The outboard is in a outboard well (not mounted to the transom) which is great considering the LOA requirement of the harbor it'll eventually end up in.
I'm not that tall, 5'9", so hopefully I can live with the headroom issue as long as possible. It was definitely something I noticed when I got onboard but I'm trying to think of this as an entry boat to this whole world and not an end all be all. If all goes well, this will be a great stepping stone into something larger and more spacious down the line.
I have a tentative survey for Friday and am wondering if I should do the full haul out or leave it in the water. The recent bottom cleaning report from diver said the condition was excellent, which is what I'd assume you'd expect if the boat was painted within the last 6 months to a year. Are there any other major issues that might be discovered that wouldn't have been addressed with new paint? Opinions?
I'd like to save that haul out money if possible and put it towards a roller furling system, which is my next question. What would that take an what am I looking at spending for a new or used system?
Thanks in advance as always!
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-06-2016
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

Converting the hank on head sail to a furler shouldn't be TOO bad, so I would say even new, you should be able to put a furler on for well under 2k (ballparking outta my head now) with the sail modified in there also.

The hull of those years were solid glass, so chances are that there's nothing really hiding on the hull if the diver showed it fine. Encapsulated keel, so no bolts to worry about. If anything, some people have pulled the bilge up to look to see the stringers aren't getting rotted or weak inside, and if so, doesn't take much to strengthen them back up.

Depending on the length of the outboard shaft, you very easily can find the prop coming up nearly out of the water in certain wave states. I use a 20" Nissan 9.8 on mine now, and it works fine on Ontario even in some decent chop. The transom bracket was an idea I was going to go with, but for two reasons - one, there's a long reach back from the seat to where it would be mounted. And two, I have a solar panel mounted off my stern rail so it'd be harder for me. But other than reverse, I have no issues with the well. That said, if your outboard is light enough, and if you want to get a little more speed, then you can actually pull the outboard when underway (I actually did with the 9.8 and stored it in the cockpit hatch once just to test it - just too heavy to do that every single time, and I don't race competitively so...).

As was mentioned, there was a formed plug that would fit into the well to help keep the water flowing smoothly. People have glassed over that opening as mentioned and used it as a small locker for something, if they have the outboard on the back. I had thought about doing the same myself, or at least repairing the "modification" someone did to my transom, but I won't be keeping the boat long enough myself.

I can't tell on the pictures, but another thing I upgraded on mine, was adding an actual traveler setup instead of using the rail the mainsheet had from the mfr. There was no way to pull the boom to the centerline without making a mess of things, so I replaced it the first year I had the boat. No regret there at all. Also added a proper outhaul on the end of the boom, simple and effective, made a great difference there too.

Not sure if you're set up to reef easily, but that'd be something worth setting up too, something I've been meaning to do this year but with limited time, might not happen.

The way I saw it, it was a perfect learning boat, with manual everything, and then I can upgrade and learn as I go. And I haven't sunk it yet, so that has to count for something

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post #8 of 17 Old 06-08-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

Hey CharlzO!
Thats good news! I was ball parking a budget in my head somewhere around 1500. I think that'd it'd be super nice to be able to anchor and get underway quickly and open up the deck space that would otherwise be occupied by a headsail bag.

I'm definitely going to open the bilge up and make sure that's all dry and good. Hopefully there's no rot.

As far as the outboard, it's powered by a 5hp longshaft Lehr. The motor fits nicely into the outboard well and includes two 5 gallons fiberglass propane tanks. I read up on these motors and they seems to be pretty cool. Cheaper fuel source, clean, lightweight etc. Also I can mount it to the dingy and power them with 16oz camping stove propane cans! Awesome! The boat does include the original plug for the well which is cool too. I'd probably pop that in for any longer day sails once I stowed the outboard.
There is a traveler on this one as well. Not sure about the outhaul bust i'll check that out when I get back up there and will probably make that mod as well when I get more experience under my belt.
The main does have some reef points but not sure the integrity of them? Is that an issue over time?
I hear you on the manual set up. Electronics are great but prone to failure and can't be fixed easily or on the fly. I'm excited to go get this thing in my name and take it for its first sail this weekend!
Wish me luck!
Another photo of the rear:
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

Looks like a winner.

Makes me think of a mini Cal 40.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Islander Excalibur 26 | Potential First Boat

Not sure I like those 2 propane tanks just sitting in the end of the cockpit. Doubt that meets the requirement for a proper propane locker.
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