PEARL is an amazingly well kept version of the venerable Contessa 26. This sure footed little pocket cruiser was manifested in 1966 when Jeremy Rogers, with a background in traditional wooden boatbuilding along with one of his Folkboat customers, David Sadler designed the Contessa for long distance racing. With a deep keel and a hull-mounted rudder, these Contessas proved to be very successful racers.
The design characteristics of the Contessa 26 comes from the Nordic Folkboat which was conceived by the Royal Gothenburg Sailing Club in 1939 as a new one design class for the masses which would provide more accommodation for the cruising family than the traditional Dragon Class. This idea effectively spawned a competition organised by the Swedish Sailing Association in 1940 that attracted 58 entries. Choosing one winner proved difficult so the final design was effectively decided by committee and Tord Sundén was commissioned to draw a boat based upon designs from Sweden’s Jac Iversen and Denmark’s Kned Olsen. Sometimes named the VW of the seas, the Folkboat concept was the same as Porsche’s Volkswagen: to make a car/boat that was appealing across a wide section of society. In 1942 the Folkboat was as much a creation of the century of the common man as the bicycle. It’s one of the most popular designs of all time and Loibner says there are more than 4,000 still around. With her graceful lines, acutely raked transom and easily handled rig, she proved almost as fast as a Dragon, and considerably more seaworthy.Wikipedia
“The Contessa 26 … is clearly robust and overbuilt, and it has to rate as one of the very best ocean-going production boats in its size category. For example, it has no sliding hatch over the main companionway, a feature which makes the cabin roof much stronger and better able to withstand a pounding in an offshore storm. Evidence of this boat’s abilities as a bluewater cruiser can be found in the fact that it was chosen by both Tania Aebi and Brian Caldwell in their separate attempts to set the record as the youngest person to complete a single-handed circumnavigation. Because of the nature and origins of this design, the Contessa 26 has a narrow beam and limited elbow room down below.”
PEARL is in extraordinarily great condition for any boat of this vintage. Clearly doted on and constantly improved by her current owners, she underwent a complete refit in 2015 by Casey Yacht Enterprises of Freeport, Maine. She received a new Yanmar 12hp diesel in 2017, and a long list of upgrades. Listed by Bayside Boat Sales in Freeport, she is priced at $35K USD.