Pocket World Girdler: Contessa 26
A posse of young adventurers made the Contessa 26 a legend. "Classic Plastic" from our April 2012 issue.
The single-spreader sloop rig could easily be converted into a cutter with running backstays and an inner forestay for offshore performance and safety. On some boats, the halyards and reefing lines have been led aft to the cockpit for easy handling. For those who prefer to work forward at sea, the wide side decks and ample handholds permit safe passage to the foredeck.
Down below, the boat has a V-berth forward and a small head and hanging locker aft of that. A small galley and navigation table are positioned aft of the main bulkhead, and two sea berths complete the accommodations. There’s no standing headroom below, which can get old after a few days locked up in the cabin at sea, and the poor air circulation could benefit from added vents, but the boat has everything a singlehander really needs for long-distance voyaging.
Jeremy Rogers built about 350 Contessa 26s in the United Kingdom, and another 400 were built by J.J. Taylor in Canada. At listed prices from $10,000 to $15,000, used boats are an affordable option for sailors who want to safely head offshore on a budget.
LOA 25’ 6” (7.77m.)
LWL 21’ 0” (6.40m.)
Beam 7’ 6” (2.29m.)
Draft 4’ 0” (1.22m.)
Sail Area (100%) 304 sq. ft. (28.2 sq. m.)
Ballast 2,300 lb. (1,043 kg.)
Displacement 5,400 lb. (2,449 kg.)
Water 10 gal. (37 l.)
Fuel 11 gal. (45 l.)
Designer David Sadler/Jeremy Rodgers
Ryan Langley is a 19-year-old adventurer, sailor, writer, and musician from Port Angeles, Washington.