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Old 22-04-2013, 11:33   #1
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Columbia 26 Classic

Anyone owned or sailed one? How does it handle? I'm going to see one tomorrow, any model specific issues to watch out for?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 22-04-2013, 11:45   #2
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Re: Columbia 26 Classic

If you are talking the Mark II variety built after 1968, they have serious control problems. In gusts, rudder stalls and boat will round up out of control. Usually sailed mine without the main because loss of control was so prevalent. In areas where you don't get regular strong gusts, may be okay. Has zero directional stability, have to have someone on the helm all the time.

The Mark I boats are S&S boats, IIRC. S&S had a reputation for designing wholesome boats that sailed and handled well. Several have made the passage from the Mainland to Hawaii. which says good things about their off wind handling. No direct experience, however.
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Old 22-04-2013, 12:10   #3
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Thanks for the response Roverhi,

Not the mark 2, it's the classic (first one) I'm going to look at.
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Old 23-04-2013, 15:31   #4
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Saw her today, she's still afloat which is always a good start!

No noticeable soft spots in the deck, inside was in fairly good shape. Tiller moves smoothly, and felt some resistance from the water. Rudder must be present and accounted for.

Needs a cleaning. And paint. Lots. But overall seemed solid and in fair shape for a 50 year old boat.

Anyone know what marine surveys are going for along the Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana gulf coast? Ballpark, of course. Never had an occasion to pay for one, so as far as I know they could be $50 or $5000.

What would be the top three concerns (or more if space allows) when looking at a boat of this vintage (1964 or thereabouts)?
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Old 23-04-2013, 16:24   #5
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Re: Columbia 26 Classic

I wouldn't waste money on a survey assuming the boat is cheap. Just get a rubber hammer and pound around on the deck looking for soft spots. Check the chain plates inside for evidence of leaks. If present, plan on replacing them and possibly some core replacement. Check rigging carefully for frayed wires and cracked swages. If turnbuckles are bronze they should be okay. Assume it has an outboard that you could take to a repair shop for an evaluation. Look at sails for wear, weak stitching and shape. Check mast for gross corrosion around fittings. There will undoubtedly be some after all these years. Look in all the places that you never to want to look at again. Check bulkhead tabbing and any rot from water intrusion. Work all the systems to be sure they function. Raise the sails and see if the sheeting/control lines actually work to get a good setting sail. Once you've had a chance to go over the boat. Go home with your notes and estimate what repairs, upgrades will be necessary. Be honest, everything seems to cost twice as much as I originally figure in time and material. Make the seller an offer if you still like the boat. Use your estimates for work to continue the conversation on price.

Surveys cost around $400. That could buy one or even two good used sails.
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Old 23-04-2013, 16:32   #6
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this book is what I would advise:

Inspecting An Aging Sailboat

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0071445455
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Old 23-04-2013, 23:49   #7
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Thanks to all for excellent advice. Gonna find my mallet and take a look at that book. A mooring comes with it also, which is no small thing considering no more are allowed. Is grandfathered in.
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Old 25-04-2013, 00:17   #8
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Re: Columbia 26 Classic

Sailed a Columbia 26 all over Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands for five years. It was a dream to sail and was easily controlled and managed in all kinds of winds - much of the time it was very gusty. The owner and I were both very experienced sailboard and sailboat racers and sailed it very aggressively. We did several 200 mile cruises in the boat.

The boat did have high end new sails and lot's of trick hardware because the prior owner raced it seriously.

I thought it was a great boat for the $6,000 Denny paid in 2002.

A survey in San Diego is $40/foot LOA.
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Old 26-04-2013, 19:27   #9
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Thanks Tacoma,

That's good news. I've decided to do my own survey on this one, as the purchase price is low enough that I would spend as much on the survey. A ship in the harbor is safe, and all that.
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