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Old 06-08-2009, 01:02   #1
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Contessa 26 or Cape Dory 28 - Need Advice

Hello,

I am new to this forum and rather new to sailing. For the past year I've been looking for a small, sturdy boat in my price range and have settled on either a Contessa 26 or a Cape Dory 28. Assuming these were the only two boats in the world, which would you choose and why?

Thanks in advance. I'm very grateful for any advice or opinions!
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:15   #2
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I do not know the Cape Dory, but the Contessa 26 is a VERY seaworthy boat. It has a very good capability to windward, But it achieves these by being fairly narrow - thus accomodation is small, and by being very wet.

A lot of fun though!

We had an Aussie on here about 6 months ago who sailed his contessa from UK over to the States, and was trucking it over to the west coast.
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:27   #3
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Are you referring to Nick Jaffe? His blog and Tania Aebi's "Maiden Voyage" are what first got me interested in Contessas!
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:58   #4
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yes Nick Jaffe.

Actually the Contessa 26 is effectively a modernisation of the Folkboat - which is now available in GRP . The design spawned a lot of very similar boats, but the Contessa was the best of them. Most have been raced at some time in their lives . IIRC they have a deck stepped mast, and some boats have had to have additional stiffening under the mast step.

Contessas have also been made in Canada.

The best was the Contessa 32.

Due to their reputation and the racing, their price is quite high for their age.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:22   #5
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The Cape Dory 28 is also a very seaworthy boat but it's a bit of a clunker. I don't know if it was the one we sailed on or what, but I feel like I spent so much energy fighting weather helm that I didn't really get to enjoy it. Granted the folks whose boat it was didn't rig it with a vang, traveler or out haul. The accommodations on a CD are also sort of spartan, they really aren't the most homey boats. I have no experience with a Contessa aside from eyeballing them on yachtworld
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Old 06-08-2009, 15:20   #6
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Aloha,
I've sailed the Folkboats (like the Contessa) for several years. They have many advantages and are very seakindly but accomodations are very spartan. I think I had more room below in my Catalina 22.
The Cape Dory 28 in my opinion has quite a bit more room below, is also seakindly and well built. I've not sailed one but have peeked below.
In my opinion what you should do is take a pad and pencil, a digital camera and go aboard both. Take notes and photos. If you can take a sail them definitely go out with someone.
Kind regards,
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Old 06-08-2009, 17:15   #7
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My Contessa may have been the easiest boat on the eyes I ever had! On the other hand it was a very wet, tender ride and as noted really has about the room of a Cat 22. A CD 28 should get you into the real cruising boat category... I think you are really comparing two very different boats....
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Old 07-08-2009, 18:53   #8
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Thanks for the advice everyone. Those Contessas are beautiful boats. The 32s are way out of my price range however, but give me something to aim for later in life. Right now I have about $17k squirreled away for boat + transport + slip rental.

SkiprJohn, good advice. However, the closest Contessa I've found is in Ontario, and the CD 28 I have my eye on is on the east coast, so I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to look at them both.

What in particular classifies a boat as a folkboat? Is it mostly the long keel? Would the CD 28 qualify as a folkboat?

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2009, 19:04   #9
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Folkboat is a boat manufacturer from Denmark.
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Old 07-08-2009, 19:21   #10
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A little bit longer answer is that an International Folkboat is a design from Denmark as Southern Comfort mentioned and is copied by several manufacturers. The following link might help.

Folkboats Around the World

It will also lead to other links that will give you way more information than you'll ever need. The Contessa line is a very similar design and the longer than 26 models are a stretch version of the Folkboat.

The Cape Dory is not a Folkboat design. You can do a web search for Cape Dory and you then can study the design.

Hope this all helps. Sorry, I didn't know you were so far from water. If you travel to any area such as Chicago you'll find both boats in the area. You may have to search and they may not be for sale but I know you'll find them.

Good luck.

Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 07-08-2009, 19:25   #11
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Yeah, those Contessa 32's are expensive but beautiful and people tend to maintain beautiful boats well.

The Contessa 32 might be my ultimate single handed cruiser/liveaboard.

(and a lot of them have tillers.... yay!)
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Old 07-08-2009, 19:27   #12
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Cape Dory 28 is a very well built cruising boat. Not a speedster but very sea kindly.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:08   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. Those Contessas are beautiful boats. The 32s are way out of my price range however, but give me something to aim for later in life. Right now I have about $17k squirreled away for boat + transport + slip rental.

SkiprJohn, good advice. However, the closest Contessa I've found is in Ontario, and the CD 28 I have my eye on is on the east coast, so I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to look at them both.

What in particular classifies a boat as a folkboat? Is it mostly the long keel? Would the CD 28 qualify as a folkboat?

Thanks!
There is a Cape Dory 25D for sale here in RI for under 10K. That's a boat you might consider.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:15   #14
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cape dory is an alberg design built in new england area with a conservative stout sail plan and full keel. the 28 had a self tending jib and a tiller. the 25 was a cool design with forward head.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:47   #15
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If you want to know the real, complicated and somewhat controversial, origin of the Scandinavian Folkboat" read this.
In the sixties Tord Sunden updated the design and introduced the "International Folkboat" or the "IF-boat". This updated Folkboat was produced in many different countries. This in turn was later updated, (read increased topsides) and became the Marieholm 26.
The original Folkboat is nowadays also produced in a fiberglass version, in a way that allows it to race in the same class as the original wooden folkboat.

Thomas
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