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Yachtsnet's archive of boat details and pictures

The following information and photographs are displayed as a service to anyone researching yacht types. HOWEVER THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND TEXT ARE COVERED BY COPYRIGHT, AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF YACHTSNET LTD. Details and photographs are normally based on one specific yacht, but could be a compilation. No reliance should be placed on other yachts of the same class being identical.  Where common variations exist, we have endeavoured to indicate this in these archive details. 

Contessa 26

Brief details


originally Jeremy Rogers, Lymington, also various other builders (see text below)

Designed by David Sadler and Jeremy Rogers in 1965/66 as a GRP Folkboat type, the first Contessa 26 was launched in 1966. The first few boats proved to be very successful racers, including in long-distance events. They are still sought after as very attractive and seaworthy small cruisers.


25' 6"

Sail area

244 sq ft (100% foretriangle) or 304 sq ft main and genoa


20' 0"




7' 6"


forecabin and saloon


4' 0"




5,400 lbs


originally Vire petrol, most now re-engined


2,690 lbs


7 - 12

Keel type

Long keel with encapsulated iron ballast

The Contessa 26's were originally built by Jeremy Rogers in Lymington from 1966 to 1976, though a few more were built using the same moulds, first by Chris Carrington and then by Maclan Marine. About 350 were built in England in total.


Another set of moulds were shipped to Canada, where they were built under licence by J. J. Taylor until 1990. They produced another 400 or so boats, originally being sold as Contessa 26's, but after 1984 being called J J Taylor 26's - some of these later boats had a slightly modified deck moulding with an enlarged 'hump' by the hatchway to give greater headroom, and a slightly revised interior layout, although the hull always remained the same.

Photo of Contessa 26 "Eilean Mor" courtesy of Ben Wilson


Yachts seen here are no longer for sale - the data is online as a free information service for buyers researching boat types. THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COVERED BY COPYRIGHT, AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF YACHTSNET LTD.

Go to our brokerage section for boats currently for sale

Photographs Yachtsnet

showing two different examples, one fairly standard, and the other with more interior joinery than is usual.

The Contessa 26 has always had a high reputation for seaworthiness - several of these boats competed in the OSTAR single-handed transatlantic race and the Round Britain and Ireland Race. At least three circumnavigations have been made by Contessa 26's - one boat doing so twice.

Closer to home Contessa 26s still regularly win races on handicap, and make tough little cruisers for those who can live without standing headroom.

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