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loban 08-04-2001 05:49 AM

A good safe boat ?
I would like opinions on the boat best suited to my particular needs. I will be sailing inland lakes, mostly in the Canadian prairie region ranging from the small to the fairly large( Lake Manitoba). Trailerability is important although I do own a 3/4 ton truck and can pull a fair load. I have very little experience and living in a remote location do not have the opportunity for lessons. I did have a small sail boat that gave me a bit of a feel for the art. A good safe boat is really important as most of these lakes have very few if any other boaters. Does a catalina 22 or 25 fit the bill?

JohnDrake 08-05-2001 06:44 AM

A good safe boat ?
In a word, yes.

There was a good article on "trailer sailing" in Sail (I think), you might try looking it up at: (I think). It discussed the various types of boats and rigs. Interesting.

I would suggest getting the larger boat for your needs, the 25 over the 22. You will be happier and keep her longer. I think the C 25 has two options: water ballast or lead ballast. I personally would not get a water ballasted boat. There are fixed, swing keels and trunk keels. I would think a fixed or trunk keel would be less problematic, but whatever the C 25 comes in, you cannot go wrong. Have any boat surveyed by a thorough and reputable surveyor.

If you a somewhat new to sailing, take lessons that include A LOT of safety and rules of the road training. People still lose their lives in shallow water, sometime yards from shore. Get "backups for backups". Also, where you will be sailing, keep in mind that an unprotected person will last about 2 min in 40F water. Always think through what you are doing.

I am sure other people will be more helpful. Just my $0.02. Best of luck.

rbh1515 08-05-2001 01:56 PM

A good safe boat ?
How about a Colgate 26. It is very safe. Essentially unsinkable(has positive flotation. It is trailerable and weighs only 2600# (trailer is about 1000#). I bought one new this year and it is a nice boat. Huge cockpit (~13 feet long) and small cabin. Great for daysailing. Check out there web site:

JohnDrake 08-06-2001 05:48 AM

A good safe boat ?
I actually had the chance to see a Colgate 26 up close this weekend in Annapolis. I know lots of people like it for racing and learning to sail. The boat I saw was on the hard after what must have been a serious crash on the rocks. It was broken, practically in two. A total loss. I could see that the glass was very thin, maybe 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick (and not very cohesive) and the hull to deck joint was held together with what appeared to be 1/4 bolts with no bonding or bedding compound (but then I did not really probe much).

The Colgate 26 is a very light boat and to be sure, its likely that any small light boat is built to much the same standards. I would say that probably older 25-26ft boats like Catalina''s and Columbia''s are built closer to the standards of Pearson''s and Bristol''s than the Colgate 26.

No doubt many Colgate 26 owners will chime in here. I am sure its a great sailboat, however, I would not recommend it to someone interested in cruising in Canada (besides, I think they would want a boat with a true cabin in her). And after seeing this one, I personally would not chose it other than for some light racing.

Just my personal opinion, not an expert by any means. Not bashing the boat or Colgate owners. Just saying it is a light racing and learning boat, no doubt fun to sail, but not built for cruising and not built to take a beating.

The boat is at Jabin''s for any locals who want to see first hand.


JeffH 08-07-2001 06:11 AM

A good safe boat ?
For the record, the boat in question was actually hit amidships by a slighlty larger powerboat thought to be moving at more than 30 knots at the time. The colision sank the Colgate and swamped the powerboat.

Colgates are actually quite robust by modern standards. They are designed to take the abuse of being thrashed by sailing school students. The "1/4 to 1/3 inch thick" fiberglass topsides are actually quite robust for a boat of this size. For example the topsides of the venerably heavy Pearson Triton were only 3/8" thick (installed a vent in one back in the 1960''s)which is not that much more than the third of an inch topsides on the Colgate (.333 vs .375).

Boats like the Catalina 27 actually have thinner topsides than the boat in question. While early Columbias often had slightly thicker topsides than the boat in question, the use of chopped glass cores and the then common lamination techniques practiced by Columbia would suggest that the Colgate is probably equally robust.

Also for the record I neither own a Colgate 26 nor am I a big fan of the design but for other reasons.


scolgate 08-07-2001 08:08 AM

A good safe boat ?
The owner of the Colgate 26 in question called us after the boat was hit by a 40'' Tiara yacht going full tilt to thank us for "truth in advertising" in that the boat is "virtually unsinkable". After the yacht backed off, the C26 rose to the surface and was towed back to Jabins. Most other boats would have sunk. As for the stucture, the layup is heavier than most modern boats. I specified this with Jim Taylor the naval architect we worked with. The hull to deck joint is not only bonded, but bolted with stainless bolts every 6". There are other boats on the market that are only bonded. It is unfair to look at a boat that has suffered such a catastrophic event for layup quality. Whenever fiberglass is shattered like that, it splinters and looks thinner and the resin crystalizes, so it looks like it doesn''t have enough resin. This is a tough boat that has taken 365 days of learn to sail abuse for four years now in our school - even in the heavy winds of Tortola -with practically no major damage.

When I received initial reports about the boat in Jabin''s yard, Annapolis, people thought it had been dropped off a forklift. If people thought that dropping it could cause that damage, when it was actually a large powerboat at full speed, it attests to the strength of this boat compared to others they have experienced.

JohnDrake 08-07-2001 08:40 AM

A good safe boat ?
What a nightmare for the people aboard. Was this the collision in the South River, a few weeks ago? Seems that most boaters on the Bay have the idea that there is only one rule of the road: the larger boat has the right of way.

At any rate. Jeff, when I mentioned the thickness of the glass (by eye, not measuring device with me), it was the hullsides not the topsides. Is there a greater difference between this boat and older boats in hull thickness?

Steve, I heard somewhere that boats under 26ft, built after a certain date, have to have positive flotation. Is that for just for powerboats?

Thanks for the info on the boat.


rbh1515 08-09-2001 11:30 AM

A good safe boat ?
What an amazing story about the Colgate 26 hit at high speed by a 40 motor boat and it still did not sink. I''m glad I bought one, and from the discussion on this group it sounds like it is a well made boat!
I noticed that JeffH stated that he does not like the boat. It is not a boat for everyone, but these are the reasons I like it:
1) I predominantly daysail. This boat is fantastic for daysailing. It has a cockpit of about 13 feet long. It has a small cabin with 4 good size bearths, but it is cramped below. Since we daysail we don''t use the cabin much (it does have a porta pottie). When I want to cruise, I charter a boat. Its a lot cheaper to do it this way, I think. Most people I know daysail most of the time and only occasionly cruise. I think a lot of people put too much emphasis on a cabin, when 95% of the time is spent in the cockpit sailing. Most sailboats out there have very small cockpits.
2) Its trailerable. I live up north, where the boat has to come out of the water in the winter. This will make winter storage easier and cheaper.
3) The only wood on the boat is the tiller handle and a small cover for the bilge in the cabin sole. This is a low maintenance boat--I can spend more time sailing!
4)Has a lot of good saftey features: solid rail for cockpit, open transom (easier to get back in if you should fall overboard), positive flotation! Not many boat that I know of this size have positive flotation.
5) Boat is great looking and fast. I hate sailing an ugly boat. There is weather helm.
6) In this size boat I like having an outboard instead of an inboard.
If you are cruising alot this would not be a good boat for you. Otherwise it is a "good safe boat."

rbh1515 08-09-2001 11:32 AM

A good safe boat ?
On my previous post I meant to say there is very MINIMAL weatherhelm. Sorry.

JeffH 08-09-2001 07:59 PM

A good safe boat ?
I did not say that I don''t like the boat the the Colgate 26. I just am not a big fan of the Colgate 26 either. They are a very clever design for a sailing school boat being a nice balance between simple solid detailing and enough performance to be a good school boat. The naval architecture makes sense for that purpose.

Outside of a set of design goals as a school boat, the boat is too simplified for my taste. When you design a boat to be used in a school situation objective performance and the ability to finesse sail trim and rig tune are really almost counter productive, but for a daysailor (at least for my use) these design detunings hurt the appeal of the boat in my book.

One minor point here. I was on the seen of that collision within 20 minutes or so of the colision. We were sailing back from the Rhode River. We got there just as they rescue boats were trying to take the surviving floating boat in tow. At that point bearly the stem was above the water and through the binoculars it sure looked like a power boat bow. (We gave the salvage a wide berth as there were a lot of boat in a comaparatively small area and with three rescue boats on hand there was nothing to do but keep clear. The bow seemed to be buoyed up by air trapped in the forepeak. When the started to tow the boat back to Annapolis it actually sunk. The rescue boats were still tied on and it appeared that the tow boats pulled in opposite directions to bring the boat back to the surface where it looked like an inflatable salvage bag was inserted. The boat was then towed up on the at Lake Ogleton.

The local paper reported that the sailboat had sunk and the power boat swamped and was towed. (They also had a headline that said "sailboat hits power boat") A few days later it was reported that divers raised the sailboat so there is some discrepancies here somewhere.


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