OK, you're going to get a long dissertation on this boat from me.
I've owned my C26M2 for a little over a year now, and I've owned and sailed on a number of other boats, so I can compare.
The C26M2 is a heavy boat for it's length. We're talking 5900 lb displacement
, with 2500 of those lbs just in the keel
. This makes for a very stable and seaworthy
boat. Combine that with the high freeboard, and you've got a boat that stays dry in nasty conditions and doesn't heel too much. So as a safe, comfortable cruiser capable of whatever you throw at it in terms of wind
and waves, it's excellent.
As neer as I can tell, the hull
are pretty bulletproof. I've smacked some obstacles pretty hard at speed, without so much as a blemish. The mast
and standing rigging
appear to be quite stout in comparison to other similar boats. These boats were made with two rigging options: standard and racing
. The racing
has two sets of shrouds leading to the base of the spreaders instead of one, and also adds a spinnaker
car track on the mast
and some other goodies. Mine's the standard, but if the one your looking at has the racing rigging that's a big bonus.
Sail area is slightly on the small side compared to other boats of the same size that are more geared to performance. Fairly small main with large masthead jib
So ... you're saying "heavy, high freeboard, small sail area, this thing must sail like a PIG right?". Here's the wierd thing ... NO! Ol' Bill Tripp did something right when he designed this hull
. I race
mine regularly, and it seems to hold it's own nicely against the Thunderbirds, J24's, SJ28's etc. It seems to have a slippery hull or something, because once it get's it's momentum up, I'm passing those other boats on a reach and downwind (she SCREAMS downwind either with a spinnaker
or wing & wing with a poled out genny). But, it doesn't point real well, and on tacks it loses all momentum and takes a while to accelerate again. But once you learn the tricks of how to take advantage of it's strengths, she's a great performer. I also do a lot of cruising with other boats, and it's great to be able to keep up with the rest of the fleet, even the big boys. Many other boats this size get left behind on such outings.
There are some negatives on this boat. I don't like the free hung spade rudder
hanging way back there. It seems delicate. When I bought mine, it had a severe weather helm
problem, which I found out was a bent rudder
shaft. I fixed that and now it sails
perfectly balanced, but I can see how a grounding or hitting something from the rear could easily bend that rudder. I'd prefer a skeg or keel
hung rudder. But ... I gotta say that old tub does turn on a dime!
These were mass produced, cheaply built boats, and that's reflected in the fit and finish. You won't find nice woodwork or signs of craftsmanship. But if you don't mind plain, the cabin
is reasonably roomy and comfortable for a 26 footer.
There are a LOT of C26's out there, partly because so many were built, and partly because they were built like tanks
so a high proportion are still floating. This means they can be had real cheap
, sometimes even free if you don't mind putting serious elbow
grease into an abandoned marina derelict. $4500 may be a reasonable price
if the one you're looking at is in real good shape, although if you're willing to wait and look around you might be able to do better. In my opinion, these boats are one of the most undervalued bargains out there.
I'm sure I could go on and on, but PM me if you have any more questions about my experience with my C26M2. Good luck!