(9 replies, posted in Cruising)

And4ew, I had my JJ Taylor Contessa 26 "weighed" on haul-out last year... the crane operator claimed it was 5,000 lbs...  That is with all the stuff, minus the mast+shrouds+stays.

Honestly, there are Contessa's sailing around the world with 1 or 2 people on them and all their food, water, gear for a circumnavigation.  Unless you are taking it to THAT extreme, then I wouldn't worry.

More importantly is *where* the weight is stored.  Keep the weight out of the bow.  I find the Contessa tender, compared to modern boats, and therefore port/starboard balancing is a good idea as well.  i.e.  Don't put all your tools on starboard and all your pillows on port.



(1 replies, posted in Technical)

* correction.  After looking up the part number, it's actually 1 9/16"

Hi Deb,
It's been a long time since we met up in Tobermory but we're still hanging in there too.

I don't think I'll be allowed to buy another sail at the moment, but I am curious about how effective you found it.  Do you fly it within the fore-triangle or outside the forestay like a symmetrical spinnaker?  I would think that flying it inside would be cumbersome or blanketed by the main, and outside.. well... that's just a spinnaker, no?

Maybe an image is worth a thousand words.  I'm curious to see what it looks like flying.

Jordan (Vixen)

Interesting... this definitely looks like an older design than mine (1983 #312).  The additional hatch looks to be an aftermarket mod.  It looks like the engine was replaced, stanchions were replaced, and a traveller added.  The cockpit access hatches are an interesting idea... not very sightly but they look functional.

It also looks like he's moved the sternline chocks to an incorrect / inconvenient location... they should probably be moved to the port and starboard sides instead of the stern.  That's something easily done though.

A big difference in the interior is that it looks like they extended the engine compartment *into* the cabin.  The stock engine compartment is flush under the companion way.  The steps are removable with nothing below, yet in your image, I can see that they've extended the engine box into the cabin, and put steps over it.


(10 replies, posted in General Questions/Comments)

This probably depends on your jib as well.

We have an 7' inflatable, and, well, it's a pain in the arse.  We almost never tow it because it costs us 1+ knots of speed.  We deflate on every trip, fold it, put it in its PVC carry case and then it has a spot on the cabin floor where it is terribly in the way.

We probably could lash it to the fore deck, but the visibility obstruction is annoying and it would foul our larger genoa's as we tack.  I prefer to have a clean fore deck on the boat mostly for the ability to tack cleanly.  I can't imagine how much worse it would be if you had an inflated one up there... yikes.

If you do, like we did, and deflate it every time you haul anchor, then also be prepared for the circus shenanigans of inflating a 7' dinghy in a 6' cockpit.  If you do it poorly, it's entertainment for the onlookers, if you do it well you'll get some amazed nods and thumbs up... practice first or have some fun.

Terrific article Oliver.


(17 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

Where are you located?  I would strongly suggest you get your sailmaker to come measure.
I purchased a North Sail main a few years ago and they came out, took the proper measurements and made the sail to fit properly.  I strongly suggest you have that done than try to get an ill fitting sail.

If your luff is 29.5', I would strongly suggest this would not fit on your boat... our masts are spec'd at 31', with a spec luff of 28'... 29.5' would mean you could never raise your sail.



(6 replies, posted in Technical)

Hi Cadmus,

I would have to get to the boat to measure the cockpit... the benches are quite long, I would guess at least 6' 6"+ long.  Maybe even 7 feet.  But they are also narrow.  I'm a thin guy and have slept many an afternoon on them, but probably wouldn't spend a night out there.  Having said that, it would be easy enough to make a central plank to turn the whole thing into a big sleeping space.

The UK cockpits are smaller...

I think that if you have repeated breaking waves into the cockpit, you likely have some big issues on your hands.  The drains are fairly large, but not much is going to satisfy big breaking waves  over the stern.  I don't know what it's like to sail in Alaska but we haven't shipped more than spray into our cockpit while sailing.  I've been out in 50+knots (unintentionally) where the short steep waves on Lake Erie were about 12-15' and we didn't take any water.  But they also weren't breaking.

Finally... When you sail "trailerable"... uhm... the Contessa is technically trailerable, but not easily.  I would think you'd need a crane to get it on/off the trailer and not just a boat launch.  If you're only doing this once per season launch/haulout then you're fine, but just don't consider it like a MacGregor or something.


(2 replies, posted in Technical)

Hi And4ew...

I wasn't aware they produced any Contessas without an engine, so that might explain your difficulty.  Most (all?) other Contessas have a removable cockpit floor for engine access.  I believe there were 1 or 2 designs for this hatch, but in both cases they allow easy access to the cockpit drain hoses.

In our cases, the port through-hull is connected to the starboard drain and vice versa.  They are bronze through-hulls and I know that mine have been replaced at some point in its life.  If yours hasn't, then I would definitely look into replacing them.  Rubber is rubber, and it will dry out and crack eventually.  Also, it would be a dire situation if you could not reach the through-hulls in an emergency.

Could you post a picture of your cockpit sole?  And perhaps how you reach those through hulls?


(1 replies, posted in Technical)

Hi All,

I'm still running the original Farymann engine, and it's working great but I use it very very little in a season - maybe 2 hours or less of run time.  Every fall, I check the impeller and invariably the impeller has a cracked fin.  I always replace it with the same type & model that was in the water pump when I first bought the boat:
Johnson 808 B-1  (about 1 5/8" in diameter)

I'm tired of replacing the impeller all the time.  Am I using the wrong size, or is it through not enough use that is causing the failure of the impeller?

If someone else is preparing their bought for launch, would you please take a look at your impeller and let me know what size/make/model you are using?


Thanks John.  Every extra bit of information is helpful as I'm starting from scratch.

I'll have to see the prices but I'll lean towards a local loft for my first sail anyway...  If it's only a couple hundred dollars different then it's justifiable to stay local.  Any hassle with a foreign sail will cost me more than that to get it resolved.  But hey, if we're talking 50% more expensive, then I definitely need to look off-shore.

Good luck and fair winds Brian.

Hi John,
It has been two years since this post and I'm glad I asked the question two years ago.  I am now purchasing a new mainsail this fall/winter.

Do you mind if I ask how your sail is holding up now after time?



(4 replies, posted in Technical)

That's an awesome idea.  I'll see if I can make it work.


(4 replies, posted in Technical)

Thanks Oliver.

I doubt my wife will allow it to be mounted externally in the head.  It will likely need to go in one of the lockers.  I suppose I could mount it in the v-berth lockers...  but that would be some interesting cabling back to the batteries.


(4 replies, posted in Technical)

Hi All,

I'm considering buying a battery charger.  However, my last reserve is that I don't know where I can mount it safely.  The only option I can see, at this point, is to mount it in the starboard berth locker.  But I think that may interfere with items that I need to store there... tools, long-handled items etc.

My question to you is, "If you have a battery charger onboard, then where do you have it mounted?"

This winter wasn't too hard on the boat but the brittle plastic shore power socket succumbed to old age crumbled apart.  So, instead of living without shore power, I thought I could simply replace the plug... however, why replace an old fire hazard with a new one?

I stopped by HMP to pick up a shore power socket and spent $125 on a new, stainless plug (later to discover binnacle.ca has them fro $89).  I had a good chat with the guy there and he tells me that in order to pass an insurance survey, I'll need a full panel.  That's double 30A breakers plus a 15A breaker for each circuit.  My options were ...
- 3 circuit panel ($190@HMP, $165@binnacle).  This limits you to a single 15A circuit and you need to buy your own 15A breaker to be installed (included in those prices)
- 8 circuit panel ($250@HMP, $200@binnacle).  This is a fairly large panel and there's no way I'll ever use 6 x 15A circuits on the Contessa.
- 5 circuit panel including voltage meter  ("Too expensive"@HMP, on sale for $220@Binnacle).  I chose this option as it allows for 3x15A circuits and has the safety feature of having the voltage meter as well as all breakers included.

I also discovered that the AC wiring in my boat was household stranded copper;  I guess that's better than solid copper.  I decided to replace that wiring with proper tinned, stranded marine wire.

The good news is that the stainless, Marinco, shore power plug is an exact bolt-pattern match and size.  I was able to simply unbolt the old one, clean up the gunk and fit the new socket in place.  I should have taken a picture... our cabin tops are THICK!

The shore power socket, on our boat, is right behind the head and the ABYC standards tell us that the run to the panel must be less than 10' or inline breakers are needed.  I decided, for logistical reasons, not to run the AC wire aft and to build the AC Panel into the removable wall behind the head.  On our boat, it seemed to be the only place the panel would fit and remain dry.  I would still like to split the wall into two pieces to allow access to the head pumping without disturbing the AC wiring.  I would also like to insulate the back of the AC panel as these panels arrive without any protection on the rear.

I replaced the 30A shore power input with 10AWG wire, which is the recommended size for 30A.  And I replaced the existing 15A circuit wire with 14AWG wire.  All of which is tinned, stranded, marine grade copper.  The current circuit only has a single GFI socket on it, which is a good thing but I will be adding a second socket to the v-birth as we found sometimes it's nice to not run cables up front.  I crimped all connections with a good quality ratchet crimper and didn't use any solder.  I think this is the best and safest method on a boat... please don't use non-ratcheted crimp tools.

The wiring went well and I learned a lot about proper wiring, sizes, connections and AC safety... if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask them in this thread.

I really should have taken pictures or video...  I suppose it's not too late.

I just sold a Mariner 5HP 2-stroke this winter...  Good engine... for my dinghy!   It's strong enough for your sailboat??  Wow.

I was in a pickle of the departure-time-crunch variety and had it serviced by Mark Bird (who I  know via National Y.C.).  He does good work but is not cheap.  You must also keep on top of things if you have a deadline.


(11 replies, posted in Technical)

I've never heard of someone trailer sailing a CO26... so... that's interesting.  I don't think I would do that.

Perhaps a compromise option for you would be to dry-sail it?

Lastly, marina fees are really very high.  Perhaps you might want to consider a yacht club?  They tend to be cheaper than straight-out marina's in the long run.


(8 replies, posted in Technical)

I'm thinking bertinol is on the right track here.  There are other areas on the Contessa that you should consider long before you worry about the keel.  The number one problem that I saw was not water penetration through the solid fibreglass hull but the cored deck.  All boats I found during my search had wet decks.  Many had never had their rigging replaced.  Several had serious wiring problems.  At least two needed serious engine work (worth as much as the boat is worth).

Buy one, they are good boats, but don't worry too much about the keel.


(3 replies, posted in Technical)

I have never measured to be sure, but I would suspect it would make sense for it to be the light displacement.

I believe our answer was that we were calling the association "Lake Ontario Contessa Association" specifically so that Contessa 32 owners would also feel welcome.

There was some talk about extending the club to also include folk boats.  If I'm not mistaken, we all agreed that they would be welcome but we would stick to focusing on Contessa's in the Lake Ontario region.  Everyone is welcome, Contessa's from any geography, 26's, 32's and folkboats.  For the sake of keeping events organized, it will be locally focused in Lake Ontario.

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-p … esign.html

Hi All!

Ok, so we were supposed to have a Lake Ontario Contessa Association meeting this Saturday and through busy schedules and the holiday season, we didn't get to the planning.  So!  A last minute invite to join some LOCA members for dinner on Saturday after the boat show.

The restaurant is located on the Queensway, just west of the Humber River.

When?  January 12, 2013 @ 7:30pm  (Yes, tomorrow)
Where?  Mama Martino's.  624B The Queensway, Toronto, Ontario

Mama Martino's doesn't take reservations so all you need to do is e-mail or call me prior to 7:00pm and I will hold a seat for you at the table.  They have a reasonably priced menu, all of their foods are made from scratch, wine and beer are reasonably priced.  Children are welcomed both at the restaurant and our LOCA meeting.

From the east...  Take the Gardner to "South Kingsway" exit, then immediately exit onto Queensway west.
From the west...  Take the Gardner to Islington north exit, then turn right onto Queensway east.
** For anyone at the boat show, Oliver is leaving at 7:15pm.  He's a nice guy so you may be able to hitch a ride if you smile just right.

Please e-mail or call me to RSVP.

Jordan Harkness

Hi All,

Oliver and I were chatting and decided to get together for dinner on Thursday, December 13 @ 7:00pm and we would both be happy to have you fellow sailors join us.  Come one, come all.

We'll simply have some beers and good conversation over dinner in the cozy NYC restaurant at 7:00pm on December 13.  If you can make it, then great we look forward to seeing you.  If you can't make it that early, stop by after for a beer.  If you can't make it, please keep an eye out for a note on our next official LOCA meeting in January.

We'll save seats for everyone that RSVP's and for those of us that aren't members of NYC, just push the button and let them know you're there to meet us (Oliver or LOCA)

Hope to see you all then,

Jordan H