I was the lucky owner of a Kaiser 26. I know that most have never heard of it, but there were only 26 ever built and I had #24. I did see one other in Marathon, FL. The Kaiser was extremely sturdily built and very traditional lines.
This story goes back to '91 when I was looking for a boat to sail to Belize
. I spent months looking for something suitable and learned that there were a lot of boats out there that I didn't want to own. I traveled from the middle Keys to Tampa Bay and Melbourne. (I should say that at this stage of my life I had been a professional skipper
of yachts and small commercial
craft, sail and power for 18 years and spend another half dozen years repairing them. I'd also recently completed a trans-Atlantic on an 85' ketch
I'd been running for four years in France
. I knew what I was looking at with a critical eye.)
One day I went to a small marina on the Miami
River to look at a Hershoff 28. Nice boat, loved the classic lines. But she had some rot
in the cockpit
and a couple of other places. Not much, and nothing I couldn't fix myself. But I didn't want to spend the time and the money
would be better used in the sailing kitty.
There were three docks at the marina, and at the end of one was a lovely little red sailboat. She sported a nice teak
bow sprit and handsome stainless steel
railings. a CQR
was hauled up tight in the sprit and the chain attached to it lead to a manual windlass
. An oversized Danforth was lashed down on chocks set in between a set of jack stays that ran back to the cockpit
. A clistening stainless steel
tiller was topped off with some fancy knot
She had a trunk cabin
with six opening ports
that I could see and she sported a pretty wine-glass transom. A Navic self-steering vane sat on her pretty transom along with an outboard motor
bracket. Actually I counted that a plus since it would be less expensive without a diesel
She had a nice dodger
over the main hatch
area. The hatch
had doors instead of drop boards. A small solar
panel sat forward of the hatch.
I probably spent an hour looking over every inch of that honest to god "pocket cruiser" and was very envious of whoever owned her.
About a month later on a Friday morning I saw a blurry picture in Sailboat trader for a 26 footer, and though a little smaller than what I was looking for, I called the number.
I was told that where the boat was kept wasn't available on the weekends and the broker agreed to meet me first thing Monday morning.
When we got together the broker asked me if I knew where such and such marina was and it was the same one where I'd looked at the Hershoff. We got to the marina and walked down to that beautiful red sloop
. "There she is," the broker said. I couldn't believe it! The sailboat also came with a 10' brand new hard-bottom Avon
and an 8 hp Suzuki oil-injected engine
. Inside there were 2 VHF
sideband receiver, clock, barometer pencils, dividers and even a flute which I used to play when I was in high school
The main anchors had 125' of chain rode
. And there were two other smaller anchors in the lazarette. She had a mainsail
, 150 genny, a working jib
and a storm jib
Bottom line? Are you ready for this?????? $6,000.00 for everything!!
I added a two burner propane
stove to the sea swing stove, put netting in the life lines, did her bottom (full keel
drawing 4' and a rudder
you could have turned into a table and sat four comfortably).
I took off for nine months and went to Mexico
and back to Fort Lauderdale
. I lived on her (she had 6' headroom
and I'm only 5'9" tall so she was plenty big enough for me) for another 5 years. It broke my heart when I fell in love, moved on shore and sold her. Now I have neither broad nor boat. Woe is me!
But I retire in about 6 month and am on the hunt again. If I ran across another Kaiser 26 I'd buy it in a heartbeat. She balanced so well that when tweeked just right she'd sail for hours without the windvane
or toucing the helm