Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 233 Times in 184 Posts
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I have always liked these boats. These were the quinessential 1960's era MORC racer/cruisers. They were nicely built in the Netherlands and featured very nice fiberglass and wood work. They sailed very well for that era across a wide range of conditions, but obviously the better designed newer designs will sail better at the lighter and heavier end of the wind range. The centerboard (not really a swing keel as it was comparatively light) allowed reasonably good performance upwind and still allowed shallow draft.
These boats came in a number of versions including a weekender with a spartan trunk type cabin and a 'cruising version' with the Tripp swoop type doghouse and trunk cabin. Accompdations were simple but workable. They came with either an inboard engine or an outboard well. Outboard wells were a pretty poor set-up and one that I am glad has faded out of modern boats. Sailmaster 26's well was not as bad as some but I would try to find one with an inboard engine, or which has been outfitted with an outboard bracket instead.
They originally came with wooden spars which would be close to shot by now. That said, some of the later ones had aluminum spars and many have already been updated with aluminum as well.
This has always been a boat that I looked at with a certain sense of nostalgia from my youth. I have sometimes thought that if I ever get too old to sail bigger, higher performance boats, the Sailmaster 26 (or boats like her) would make a great boat to sail out my final days on the Chesapeake Bay poking into the quiet corners that I missed sailing deeper draft modern boats.