Chrysler 26
Last updated: January 7, 2018
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Avocet
A 1979 Chrysler 26 Sailboat
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SHIP'S LOG FOR THE YEAR 2004

31S_7W_38T

This year marks the 25th anniversary for this particular Chrysler 26 sailboat. The large majority of used sailboats are between 15 and 30 years old. Generally speaking a fiberglass boats which surveys well is a perfectly good vessel that should provide many years of service with routine maintenance and the replacement of worn out components. Here are two links that deal with older boats: A Retrospective of the Sailboat Market in Central Canada and the Nature of Today's Used Market, and Inspecting and Surveying a Used Sailboat.

This was the third coldest summer on record! From March 1st, 2001 to mid-January, 2005 this site continues to average over 200 hits a month.

Work done:

  1. major changes to the web page layout
  2. continue to re-bed fittings adding 3/16" aluminum backing plates as required
  3. replace broken shift and throttle cable

An ongoing problem experienced by the second owner with the shift cable was resolved. The shift cable was jury-rigged because the design of the control is such that when the motor is tilted up the brass threaded part breaks after two or three times. The Evinrude dealer suggested a cable one foot longer and both the shift cable and throttle were replaced. The extra foot of cable seemed to solve the problem.

Glenn Penner (Dawn Treader) was at "The Forks" in Winnipeg and visited the "Explore Manitoba" tourist info center. There was a picture of sailboats at Hecla Harbour . . . it was Skean-dhu (Avocet's former name) and Jalang (Dawn Treader's former name). The previous owner of Avocet, Al McMillan, purchased an 8.5 Tanzer sailboat in late August of 2003 and has renamed his new boat Skean-dhu.

Rik Sneeuwjagt (Child's Play) who created the Chrysler Sailing Association website on Geocities lost his Chrylser 26 as a result of Hurricane Isable in the fall of 2003. The hull damage was fairly extensive where the boat had been torn away from the dock and impaled on a series of pylons. The outboard was completely ripped off the boat. The Chrysler Sailing Association Web Site website also went down temporarily with the ship. Jeff Arnfield (Windward) has stepped up to host the content.

The following story was gleaned from a March, 2004 email sent to the Sailnet Chrysler-list by Joe who shares in the ownership of Star Chaser a 1978 C-26. In the email, Joe was answering a question about what might be a good headsail set up for a C-26. The write up is a bit lenghty but provides interesting reading on one sailors perspective on sailing and sails.

First off, I come to this with some years of perspective that give me a sense of conviction that many might disagree with -- which is okay, because being wrong isn't a major problem for me -- I will still tend to stick with what I believe, though when I learn new things I appreciate them. In the most simple terms, there are "performance sailors", "cruising sailors" and "dock sailors". The performance sailors want the best of what is "just right" to make the boat perform at its peak at all times and then seek to better their skills to the level where they can get the best out of the boat when it is performing at its best. These are basically your "racing" personality types. I am not one of them. To my perspective they have more money than sense, tend to be competitive aggressive type "A"s, and have probably moved up to some newer model higher performing boat than a Chrysler 26 anyway. So, let's skip them.

Then are the Zen "cruising types" who view the boat as an extension of a life style of being captain of their own ship and masters of their own lives -- to them, a sailboat is a "womb with a view" and they are "out there" because that is where "there" is. Being on the boat, living in and working with the wind and weather, and doing so in moderate comfort is the goal -- not finishing first, or even finishing at all. This is who I am, and this is the perspective I will speak from in a minute on sail selection.

Finally there are the "dock sailors" who day sail, take the family out, putter around on the boat and generally enjoy themselves in a "balanced" perspective where the boat is an interesting a part -- but only a part -- of their lives ... and when they tie it up Saturday evening and go home, that is pretty much the end of it until the next time they are out some weeks later. Living a balanced life might be an interesting thing to do -- I may do it sometime.

But the point here is that these three different types of personalities are different types of sailors and each will have substantially different requirements for their headsails. There may be gradations between them, but these are the three points of the triangle.

I speak from only one perspective -- that of the dedicated (often single handed or short handed) cruising soul. The basis of my views come from a Cape Dory 33 I owned for 17 years (on which I lived and cruised full time in Europe and the Mediterranean a long time) and I remain a Rear Commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association to this day. For the last 4 1/2 years I have shared ownership in this C-26 which has proved to be a wonderful boat to own and put through her paces all year round. I have never sailed a better mannered or more forgiving boat in my life than this little Halsey Herreshoff yacht. In my experience, and in my perspective, cruising sailors tend to have a rather basic minimum number of sails, but sails that perform flexibly over a broad range of sailing conditions and are expected to give decent service and performance.

So, for me, . . . and anyone else who is interested, I am of the mind that a .75 oz. nylon cruising chute with a sock is essential for light air sailing and that light air is more common than heavy. I use the cruising chute extensively. Sometimes by itself, sometimes with a main -- and sometimes poled out with a full genoa out the other side. A cruising chute is to a cruising sailor like a hammer is to a carpenter.

Next, roller reefing (like an Autohelm autopilot) is also good to have and has become important over time (though I did the foredeck ape work and steer constantly for many years). I tend to change head sails twice a year -- once in the spring and once in the fall. For years I used Pro-Furl and liked it very much. On this boat we have a full-sized CSI with internal ball-bearings (not the plastic bearing surface) and are equally pleased.

Ideally, a good sail combination would include a good quality triple stitched average (not light) weight main for summer . . . and a more "mature" main for winter sailing when the stronger breezes will more than make up for any inefficiencies in the condition of the sail. The "winter" main would also be of average weight and tend to have three full reefs in it -- with the third reef bringing the head of the sail down to the spreader on a single spreader rig. The "summer" main might have but two reefs, unless one is going to be offshore a good deal, then three become necessary all the time.

The other head sail besides the cruising chute for summer would tend to be a somewhat flat cut largish light air genoa (with pads, if convenient) -- say about a 155 at about 6 oz. that would be used most of the time, and the chute would be used when the doldrums are present -- again, light airs in the summer are more common than not, and if the head sail can be reefed down to working jib size, that is probably quite adequate and sufficient.

The head sail for spring, fall, and winter would tend to be a well built slightly flat 110 working jib that could be rolled down to essentially storm sail size and still perform adequately.

This last weekend I was out it a fairly stiff breeze with a deep double reef in the main and about 6 feet rolled out on the jib -- life was pretty good -- working calmly and well to windward on a cold day, I had a kettle on for hot tea -- the autopilot was doing all the work, and I stuck my head out from time to time to check that all was well. One important thing to remember here is that a 20 mph wind at 35 degrees is an entirely different sailing experience than a 20 mph breeze at 85 degrees temperature -- wind speed is only aspect, the packing of the molecules is another and very important element.

Now, truth would require my confirming that we also have a very nice storm sail ready and waiting to be put to use. However, changing roller furling headsails on a small boat in a heavy sea is a right awkward piece of work. I suppose it could be done -- in thousands of miles at sea I have, so far, not had to do it, though I did have a storm sail mounted on a cutter rig and used that fairly frequently.

Anyway, single handed cruising for a small boat like a C-26, my ideal head sail set-up would be (with roller furling and autopilot):

  1. cruising chute with sock
  2. 150/160 genoa for summer
  3. 110 working jib for cooler weather
  4. plus, main with three sets of reef points

Total, 4 sails, including main.

I understand this will not be the best set up for all conceivable conditions -- but it is a quality, flexible, workable, reasonably priced arrangement ... it serves well on Star Chaser as it did on Friendly Bear. I go out when I want to, the boat performs well enough, and I get back in good shape.

Permission to use the above material was provided with the following proviso:

. . . sure, help yourself to my views on sailing and sail selection . . . with one qualification . . . attribute, or not, to me what you wish -- but if you use the term "womb with a view" it must be attributed to Mike Clements, a fellow Seven Seas Cruising Association commodore who I kept bumping into for years in one port or another . . .

. . . in about 1995, while we were in Cypress I was having a long heart to heart with him one night and asked, "Mike, just what does your boat mean to you?" . . . in fairly typical style of being pithy and original, he answered back, "For me, it is a womb with a view" . . . a bit of a take-off on the classic movie "A room with a view" but with much more meaning . . . and, like any number of mind-stopping comments of his, good for an evening of further exploration and one that has stuck through the years . . .

. . . to this day, "A womb with a view" is still THE summary philosophical observation on live-aboard cruising in your own boat . . . joe