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Old 02-05-2003
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Columbia 26''''

Hi all,

Sorry for the noobie question, but I searched, and couldnt seem to find an answer on google. I''m going to be looking at a ''63 Columbia 26 this weekend, and was wondering what I should watch out for. I belive they''re balsa cored decks? if so, has this been an issue for anyone? also, the mast is deck stepped or keep stepped? once agian, I appologize for my ignorance.

Finaly, if I do get it, I will be using it to do coastal cruising up and down California and soon, hopefully, Central America. If I could get feedback about the build quality and suitability of the 26 for these activities, I would greatly apreciate it.

I''ll be sailing with one friend, and we''re ok with a lack of most creature comforts, but not with a boat thats gonna fall apart if we get stuck out in the soup when we should be in dock.


-- James
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Old 02-06-2003
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Columbia 26''''

Columbia built a number of 26 foot designs over the years and the varied some in build quality and suitability for what you are proposing. None of the 26''s were really designed as offshore boats and the first Columbia 26 that I recall would be a 35 year old boat at this point and so would need a lot of work to make a suitable boat for the kind of distance voyaging with minimal ports of refuge that you are proposing. For the most part, the small Columbias were intended as coastal cruisers and so really were not of a design or quality that would be ideal for what you want to do. That said if you found a clean one and upgraded the sails, systems and rigging and checked the hull deck joint carefully, you might adapt one to your goals.

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Old 02-06-2003
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Columbia 26''''


On the balsa core deck question, don''t worry about the Columbia on this point as the vast majority, if not all, production fiberglass boats have cored decks, starting with the first Pearson Triton. Deck coring is just another one of the dozen or so issues that can make a boat a financial nightmare...

If you are not well experienced but are intent on the type of crusing you describe I advise that you take the time to find a small boat that has been used in the manner that you want to use it - one whose owner has repaired/upgraded/equipped to distance cruise safely. To try to bring along a typical fix-me-upper while learning and doing, is likely to be more expensive in the end, plus your life is on the line. You should pay what it takes to start right, or plan to take some number of years building the expereience and boat you might need to cruise safely.
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Old 02-06-2003
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Columbia 26''''

Jeff: A friend of ours is still out cruising on old #8, its been around the world and Cape Horn. Seamanship and Prudance plus a fair share of Luck are the guides to successful cruising.
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