I have a Tartan 27 of the same vintage, Hull
236 built in 1966.
Overall, it was one of finest little centerboard/keel cruiser/racers ever designed and built. It was Bill Shaw's project
(he who was behind many of the Pearson
designs which were not by a bigger name like Alberg) when he worked for Olin Stevens to take Steven's classic Finnisterre Bermuda race
winner and turn it into a Midget Ocean Racing
Club (MORC) family racer
. First he came out with the Shaw 24/Dolphin, which at 24 feet looked and sailed very well on the MORC circuit, but lacked adequate interior headroom
and a private head. With the Tartan 27, so named because it was to be built by Douglas and McCleod of Thistle and Highlander day sailer fame, the compromise of a great hull
form and good sail plan with a boxy cabin
yielded a good sailing and practical little cruiser that would be most at home racing
and cruising in estuaries (Cheasepeake, Cape Cod/MA south shore, Great Lakes) but also capably of longer distance sailing (as long as you didn't mid the centerboard
rattling around in the hull.)
Tartan 27s came in 3 runs. The first and most populus run 1960-'72 was built on Olin and Rod Steven's original design inside and out. The interior
work is probably the best in that more lockers were provided, there is a porthole in the forward cabin
, etc. With the second run the cockpit
was enlarged but the icebox
shrunk and a porthole removed. The 3rd run redid the cabin design totally, raising the decks and adding space below and probably nicer teak
, but made the whole boat look kind of weird.
They are wonderful family
boats that are perfect for sensible teenagers to voyage the world with or without parents.
There are several very informative web sites on the boat, and a committed family of owners happy to help solve problems.
On one web site, a prosective seller of a T27 posted his entire professional survey
of is boat. Most interesting: estimated sales value = $10,000; estimated replacement value = $100,000. Recently I have seen T27s "finding a new home" for less than $5,000. Since this boat has an upgraded Diesel
rather than the Atomic 4 gas engine
, the owners are looking for little more money
, but in this market and with some kind communication you could probably get it for less than the original asking price. Where is it for sale--markets vary?
T27s are easy to work on and fix, but they need more or less work depending on their past life. Originally they were built very well with thick fiberglass
, so even if the balsa decks have gone soft they are not going break any time soon (the gel coat was put on too thick,thus the crazing). But a boat yard repair job could easily run $5 - 10,000. Owners have found a 15 gal holding tank
that can fit under the port forward birth with minor carpentry work. Alternatively, a Portable MSD can easily fit in the head and be a simple solution for day sailing
and weekending (I recently got back from 4 days on Martha's Vineyard
with no problems.)
T27s are kind of like the Labrador retrievers of the sailing world: friendly, dependable, capable, very sea kindly, can be balanced beautifully going up wind
, reasonably quick (compared with Cape Dorys and Pearsons of the day) especially down wind
with the board most of the way up and surfing at 7+ knots (yee-ha!), very well built (compared to O'Days or J boats or...) with a design the can go ANYWHERE without objection, easy to keep in the back yard and work on and fix with simple tools, but also kind of frumpy, not a floating condominium rather more like a lavish pup tent, and getting a little old and creaky (rather like their owners!).
Good luck with your decision.
T27 Piper out of Cotuit Bay, Cape Cod