Contessa 26

This now-classic design marked the turning points in the careers of designer David Sadler and builder Jeremy Rogers. Launched in 1966 as, briefly, the Contessa 25, she sails beautifully and has made impressive ocean passages, including circumnavigations,but her narrow hull has a cramped and low saloon. She has berths for four or five crew -two in the forecabin, two in the saloon and a quarterberth – but she is better suited to a couple and ideal for singlehanding. During her 13-year, 360-strong production run, the vestigial galley moved from amidships to the companionway, along with the chart table. The heads was originally in the forecabin but later models had a small, enclosed compartment. She is stiff and can punch through anything, though she ships a fair amount of water. She is surprisingly sharp on a light wind reach. Build quality and trim detail varied over the years but was generally acceptable. Check the mast support area for compression damage and the foot of the moulded keel for damage allowing water ingress.

LOA 7.77m (25ft 6in), LWL 6.08m (20ft), beam 2.28m (7ft 6in), draught 1.21m (4ft), displacement 2,450kg (5,400lb). Price guide: £5,000 to £10,000. YM Test Report June 1992.