(29 replies, posted in Boat handling / Performance)

Never  experienced weatherhelm like me old boat even in a F6; yes it will heel until you get the gunnel in the water but that's when it's most fun :-)


(9 replies, posted in General Questions/Comments)

I'm sad to say that I have a fairly large collection of sailing books with a particular emphasis on small boat voyages, single-handers and Transatlantic which I've built up from purchasing off ebay, boat jumbles and Christmas presents over the last couple of years

A good tip if your looking for a hard to find book or find the ebay or Amazon prices too high is I often use www.abebooks.com,  which is excellent and a reference source from books all over the world.


The boat went back into the water on Friday so I was'nt able to get a picture of the shoe for you, but I found a photo from last year which I've cropped, it's quite high resolution so you could download and zoom in.


My rudder is fibreglass and at the base it has a 1" brass pin which fits into the female shoe. For some reason the base of the rudder has stainless steel plating which is bolted through the rudder and this is the pattern you can see at the base. Hope this helps, I think I read somewhere that only the JR boats had the shoe ?

P.S. Great to get the boat back in the water ! The rigger just needs to make some adjustments and size the storm forstay and I hope to get out in 3 weeks :-)

Finally got the Navik all installed on my Ploughboy Dreamer


and I'll post more pictures on my website to give a better idea of all the fittings....

BUT  in installing it all together, with help from the manual there appears to be one peice missing ! (I purchased the item 12 months ago secondhand and while we put it up in the sellers garage the missing part would not have been apparant in his garage out of the wind !)

The unit below  which has the windvane and counter weight on and which which sits on the vertical SS pipe seen in the picture above should sit on a SS pipe which fits inside the vertical tube ?


If you have one of these my question to help fabricate the missing peice is:

How long is the inner SS tube ? the full length of the Vertical tube ?

Is the tube a loose fit of fairly light ? assume not too light as it it does not need to rotate

And finally do you please, please, please have the dimensions ?

Thanks in advance and I guess this will only make sense if you have a Navik !



(11 replies, posted in Repairs/Modifications/Upgrades)

I have some 10m Fibrelight Rope mast ladders and climbing harness (get em cheap secondhand off ebay).

http://www.sailgb.com/p/fibrelight_rope … ountry=GBR

Having done a bit of research I discounted the:

i) mast steps (expensive and windage, and potentially difficult with the main up),
ii)Mast Ascenders & Descenders (thought looks good but prefer the KISS approach - keep it simple),
iii)Bosun's Chair with 4:1 Masthead pulley (potentially a good solution but I prefer to be standing up for repairs particularly when fiddling at the top of the mast)
iv)Mast ladders of the simple loop type (looked difficult to get your foot in to me and therefore could be slow to climb up and descend)

So decided on the Fibrelight as they are (1) small and light, about the size of a loaf of bread (2) have a secondary use as a MOB recovery by attaching a fender float on the end (3) the have the potential of being the  last life-line when singlehanded -i.e. permanently attached at one end in the bag in the cockpit, in rough weather attach other end by strop to safety harness (so it's still in the bag) - IF you go over, ladder unfurls out the bag with you attached on the end....your last chance is the 10m ladder to haul yourself onboard... this would be VERY difficult in full foul weather gear but assuming you still have your safety harness your can pull yourself by clipping step over step...

Anyway back to mast ladders, my method was

1) Haul up ladders with main, tie off to bottom of mast to maintain tension
2) Put harness on with line with carbineer on the end (climb a few steps, clip on; move a few more steps and unclip/reclip)
3) When crewed I was also clipped to the spare halyard (this gives protection when unclipping in step 2)

Tried it twice last summer on the trip to Ireland, lessons learnt....

A) Don't underestimate the swell effect !! first time I said we would do it while on a swinging mooring in a small bay as I was keen to get the Spinaker halyard set-up; it seemed quite flat at the time but by the time I got to the top I was being bashed around into the mast and standing rigging. It was ten times easier when the boat was tied to the pontoon !
B) If I had to do it at sea, it would have been much more sensible to do it with the main up, this would have stopped be swinging around the mast into the rigging and the boat would be rolling less if the boat is well balanced
C) It was most tiring when holding myself onto the ladder when unclipping and clipping on my safety line; so I decided the best approach was just to go for speed - hold the your saftey line in one hand ready to clip on and just go straight up and only clip on when you need a rest. Three times as fast to get up and  lot less tiring but easy to say when you have the comfort of a safety line held by your mate. I think I would still go with this approach single-handed, the quicker you get up, the less tired your going to be.
D) the width of the Fibrelight step is fine and can easily be climbed with trainers or sailing boot

Remember to take your camera up for some memorable pictures :-)

For additional help, the following link takes you to the helpfile for posting to the www.ybw.com forum but the principles are exactly the same.

It's particularly for helpful for illustrating how you can edit and resize your photographs and where to store them on the internet (for free !) so they can be linked to in your postings.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/topcatsail … Tutor.html

Hope this helps.


Many, Many thanks for posting this. It's a great checklist for preparing my own for a Transatlatic in 2010. I take heart that we have done many similiar jobs including cutting 1" off the base of the mast (due to corrosion, last rivets and general decay on mine) plus upgrading all the rigging (the rigger is currently putting on 7mm forestay and 6mm backstays and upgrading all the deck and masthead fittings to fit)

Keep it coming please !


Shannon, sounds like the boat found you ! :-)

Did you keep that Navik you bought for the old boat ? I'll send you some oictures of my installation this winter.

All the best and look forward to the updates.



(1 replies, posted in Non-Contessa Chatter)

Happy New Year everybody !

I had a knee operation just before Christmas which has laid me up and stopped me doing any work on the boat :-(

......so to keep myself amused at home one of my little projects was to create a Wikipedia entry for the Contessa 26 (Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia collaboratively written by the internet population)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contessa_2 … escription

If anybody fancies adding to the entry or creating a linked JJ Taylor entry then feel free !



(11 replies, posted in General Questions/Comments)

stefan_d wrote:

Ivan Ross - if you're looking for a 3 bladed prop I've got a 3 blade, 11" DIA X 13" Pitch that came off my boat. It's kicking around somewhere.  I've got a 2 blader than I'm putting on.  It's for a 1" shaft, but whomever installed the engine on my boat made or bought a plastic spacer to fit the prop to the 7/8 shaft.

Stefan, sent you an email with a query on your prop !!



(8 replies, posted in General Questions/Comments)

Do you have any details on David Sutcliffe's voyage in the '76 OSTAR ? how long did it take him and which route did he take ? Was there any specific modifications he made for the trip worth passing on !

Thanks in advance

Fortunately one of the previous owners beefed up the standing rigging attachment points ....... with external chainplates which are also heavily strengthened on the inside (I was told he was adapting the boat for a circumnavigation but sold up the project) and the backstay chainplates are U bolts, fastened through the deck and secured to the transom and topside through welded on stainless bar. Again, these are much upgraded from the original fitting and benefit from an additional lip arranged to abut the hull/deck joint.

Do I really need to match the 7mm forestay with the same thickness on the back ? ; I don't think the weight is an issue I was thinking more about have the right amount of flex in the mast and rigging and not too much stiffness.

Hey glad you liked the video on youtube; which one was it the Contess26 sailing video

or 'What sailing means to me ' ?

Make me famous by giving me a rating :-)


Hi, I've had my mast taken down this winter for inspection and some updating (blocks and small bit taken off the base where corroded) and I'm looking to replace all the standing rigging as it's 13 years old. The rotostay roller furling which looks orginal I'm thinking of replacing at the same time as I don't think it will be up to the JC in 2010.

I have the option on a nearly new Furlex 200S roller furler, twin groove with a 7mm forestay (it does not take smaller) at an excellent price; do you think going from 6mm to 7mm on the forestay is too much or would affect the sailing performance considerably ?

Thanks in advance



(3 replies, posted in Non-Contessa Chatter)

Well I've had my boat 12 months, and only sailed it 3 times singlehanded three times so I guess it's a fantasy for me as well at the moment......but you have to have objectives and dreams in life ! I'm off for a cruise around the Irish sea on the 30/09 which will be the first reasonable shakedown of the boat, bit late in the season over here but should be fun.

BTW, I was given Val Howells book 'Up that Particular Creek' for my birthday but not had time to read it yet.

All the best and I will follow the progress on your boat with added interest.



(3 replies, posted in Non-Contessa Chatter)

Hi, don't tell my mum ! but it's official that I put my name down for the JC2010 .....http://www.jesterinfo.org/jc2010entrylist.html

There is a US entry from Bob Porter; if you read this Bob I would love to hear from you and compare plans and routes (considering southern/Azores passage) .....I've got the Navik to install (this winter), think original mast & rigging may need replacing after taking down and checking this winter; LED nav lights, solar panel, etc. etc. .....just as well it's four years away.

I won't bore you all now but hopefully the forum can be advice as the work progresses ! :=)



(0 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

I'm taking a week off at the end of September to go sailing with two friends and we want to see how far we can go from Anglesey returning to Liverpool, maybe off to Dublin and IoM; probably will blow a gale but thought I would rig up the Spinnaker to provide a few more options ! I'm used to using spinnakers on dinghy's and used it once on my old boat but never had it set up the Contessa so hopefully you can help!

Top Halyard  - There is spare forward block at the top of the mast, which I can use for the top clew.....what length and width halyard do I need (will only go to base of mast, no lines are led back)

Uphaul - No problem there is a block already on the mast just below the streaming light and there is already a halyard

Downhaul - Will need a new halyard for this, there is a block attached about two feet behind the front forestay. I can probably guess the length but any suggestions helpful

Guys - Port And Starboard; I know these need to the back of the boat through blocks and then to the small spinnaker winches; but any suggestions on length and width again ?

Lastly spinnaker - this came with the boat and I laid it out in the garden - it's massive !

If I get this all workingand get it flying then I'll take some more pictures and post a tech note.

Thanks in advance for any help.



(15 replies, posted in Repairs/Modifications/Upgrades)

What type of replacement pump are you thinking of getting  or would recommend ?

I want to replace my manual pump (might be a Whale)  which is located in the rear port locker and can only be operated with the cockpit open. Not looking for Cape Horn proof but mid Atlantic  and capable of being operated from the cockpit without opening any lockers !



(15 replies, posted in Repairs/Modifications/Upgrades)

Hi, I don't know if it helps but there is a henderson bilge pump size 2 self priming for sale on the UK ebay site for £5 UK Pounds

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? … :BCA:UK:41



(3 replies, posted in For Sale)

Hmm, another legless dutchman :-)

Would love to have them myself as the tide does tend to go out a long way around here but not sure how I could get them over to North West England. Are they wood or aluminium and I'm courious what type of fitting do you have on the hull ?



(15 replies, posted in Repairs/Modifications/Upgrades)

Hi, this happened to me as well.

The local marine shop was quoting me a fortune for a new replacement kit and I wasn't sure it was the right one. Thinking I might be able to buy a replacement peice of rubber from the local DIY superstore I decided to pop in on my way home......driving there I'm racking my brains as where I might find a suitable product....flexible, strong rubber, 3-4 mm thick, water resistent and able to be cut to shape and cheap....changing gear as I came into the carpark I had a Eureka moment.....my rubber car mats; cost 2 dollars for two, makes enough for sevral diaphragms and in/out flaps.

Works a treat and show no signs of failing despit quite a lot of pumping before I got my cockpit floor sorted out.



(22 replies, posted in Repairs/Modifications/Upgrades)

In this month's UK edition of Practical Boating magazine, David Rainsbury has an article illustrating how he fitted a Navik windvane to his Contessa 26 which is very helpful; the main lesson for me was seeing how he made a wood frame to attach to the rear pulpit which he uses to connect the 'U' tube of the Navik to.

Don't really want to infringe his copyright by posting, as that's how he makes his leaving  but you might be able to order a back copy at www.ybw.com.



(30 replies, posted in For Sale)

Sorry to hear about your predicament. I can only imagine how you feel as working on own boat is one of the things which has kept me going during difficult times.

When I went out singlehanded last week for the first time,nervous as hell !  you gave me some of the inspiration...... as I remember you said in one of your posts that you need to get out and practice even if it was for 15 mins.

My thoughts are with you.

All the best


(10 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

Just replaced my wire main halyard with 23m of 10mm prestreched braid on braid, which is a good length although I don't need it to go right back to the cockpit.

This was the last length on the spool but the guy wasn't  amused when I asked for a discount as it was a spool end :-)



(8 replies, posted in Technical)

Depending upon your engine panel and Yanmar setup you may also have a thermostat on the engine .....and the buzzer may also come on after the engine has been running a while due to overheating (blocked sea water cooling etc.).



(7 replies, posted in Technical)

I have absolutely no idea how to help you !......other than I suggest you post your question to the ybw Practical Boat Owner (PBO) forum which is where I post all my dumb technical questions I'm too embarrassed to ask my Contessa friends :-)

The YBW forum members are really helpful if you give them enough information, they can be found at: