My Classic Boat team is out on The Solent with Richard Pickance and crew on his 1978 classic Contessa 26, Thousand Knights III.
Filmed at the Cowes Classic Week, they’ve got on-board interviews and exclusive video of the race start.
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Copyright, Bob Aylott, myclassicboat.com music The Green Orbs.
About the Contessa 26
The Contessa 26 is a 7.77 meter (25.6 ft) fiberglass monohull sailboat, brought about when Jeremy Rogers, with a background in traditional wooden boatbuilding along with one of his Folkboat customers, David Sadler, created a modified version of the same boat in GRP. Rigged as a masthead sloop, with a deep keel and a hull-mounted rudder, the sailboat was launched in 1966 and early boats proved to be very successful racers, including long-distance events. Jeremy Rogers Limited went on to produce the Contessa 32.
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.