While it may have a similar hull shape, be aware that boat designs don't always scale well. What works well for a 20' boat may not work well for a 26' boat, because a 26' boat is not 30% larger than the 20' boat but more like but 120% larger or over twice the size of the 20' boat.
Boats grow in length, width and depth, so grow by the cube of the difference rather than in a linear manner. This is also why a 26' boat is not just 30% more expensive than a 20' boat.
I'd also point out that what makes a good racing boat does not always translate into a good or comfortable cruising design. Also, the interior of a coastal cruiser, like a Catalina or Beneteau is often a far more open and spacious layout than you'd find on a bluewater passagemaker, which has more interior volume dedicated to stowage, tankage and often has a narrower beam for the same LOA. Having good seaberths, that are comfortable on a long passage even in heavy weather, is key to a bluewater cruiser.
The Southern Cross 28/31 and the Contessa 26/32 are PROVEN BLUEWATER CAPABLE designs. The SC28 and SC31 have solo circumnavigations to their credit, as does the Contessa 26—as Donna Lange, Patricia Henry and Tania Aebi have done respectively. I don't know of any circumnavigations done in a Contessa 32 off the top of my head, but it has been used for many bluewater passages.
A good book to read would be John Vigor's Twenty Small Sailboats To Take You Anywhere. I'd also recommend you look at James Baldwin's Boat List
, which has many small, very capable boats on it.
Additionally, not all designers are good at designing boats of all sizes. Some are very good with small boats, but their larger designs basically will suck...and some are good with large designs but have no clue when it comes to designing smaller boats. I'm not saying that this is the case with the designer of the Vagabond, but it is a point to consider.
This is what I am trying to figure out and I am finding out it isn't easy. How well the boat would perform offshore from a motion/seaworthiness perspective compared to other older designs like the Contessa/Cape Dory etc......
I am starting to learn that even with all the technology, engineering, research etc.... how a sailboat will perform is still very subjective unlike say something like cars. At least it appears that way to me.
I know the same 5 panel hull shape is used on their VG20 design ( Vagabond Plus 20 - Study Plans
) , and it performs very well. Routinely winning and placing at the top in coastal cruiser club racing events. Owners also have very positive reports from those that have sailed it across the gulf stream and other coastal cruising destinations as well as those that have been in some heavier weather with it. Of course coastal cruising has different needs than offshore.
They use the same 5 panel hull on the VG23 model
( Vagabond 23 - Study Plans
) which is an updated design of the serpentaire
( Untitled Document
) stitch and glue model that they use to sell.
Jacques has the offshore experience and has been a long time designer for some pretty big names in the industry so that has to count for something. Most people that I talk to don't have anything positive to say about the VG26 design from an offshore cruising perspective but not many can explain why so who knows if what they are saying is accurate.
My lack of experience is definitely not helping then add in the fact that even though several are being built, none are sailing yet because it is a new design so there are no owner reports.