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Contessa 35


Contessa 35 for sale




35' 6"


11' 5"


6' 4"

Keel type

Lead fin


Watermota diesel



The Contessa 35 was a 1970s cruiser-racer - for a while the fastest production boat eligible to compete in the One Ton Cup. Designed by Doug Peterson, she is a early IOR rule design before strange hull shapes emerged to "cheat the handicap rules". She has a simple but effective cruising interior. This yacht is only in her second ownership from new, and unlike many other Contessa 35s, does not appear to have a hard life. She has her original engine, but this was totally rebuilt in the present ownership.

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Jeremy Rogers established his boatyard in Lymington in 1961, and rapidly became one of the largest boatbuilders in the UK, originally building the classic Contessa 26 Folkboat derivative, and the 'modern classic' Contessa 32 fin and skeg design. Although both these cruising yachts were immensely seaworthy, and did (and still do) very well in handicap racing, they were not a match for full-on racers, and Rogers then started to build a series of faster cruiser-racers, all Doug Peterson designs.

For a period in the 1970s Doug Peterson designs dominated offshore racing events, with a string of winning high-profile IOR boats, including the One Ton Cup winners "Ganbare" in 1973 and "Gumboots" in 1974. "Gumboots" was one of the first of the Contessa 35s. At that time a “one tonner” was a yacht with a specific handicap rating number, thus providing designers the target to create the fastest boat, and the annual One Ton Cup the top offshore racing series. The "One Ton" designation is a historical anomaly dating back to 1899 when the cup was first raced for in large dinghies - IOR one-tonners were racing yachts of 35 ft plus.

Contessa 35s were intended as cruiser-racers, and around 80 were built, though some were fitted out and used more for racing than cruising. Nevertheless even those bought for cruising were set up for racing potential - as is obvious by the 12 winches and twin spinnaker poles on deck on this yacht, that has been used mostly for cruising by her only two owners. In her first ownership from her 1975 build and launch in 1976 she was kept in France, and afloat for only two months each summer. Her present owners has kept her in Cornwall and she has been ashore every winter since purchase in 2006.

Even now a Contessa 35 is a very fast boat for her size, particularly to windward. However unlike most more modern racers, she gets her speed from a big rig on a hull with a high (over 50%) ballast ratio instead of relying on the weight of many crew members sitting on the rail. This makes her an easy to handle and surprisingly docile cruising boat. When a modern production cruiser - Beneteau, Jeanneau or Bavaria etc - is overpowered and rounding up as she heels the Contessa 35 will just heel a bit more and carry on going the way you want. You can always slow down a fast boat, but you cannot speed up a slow one.....



Engine details

Watermota Sea Panther 1,600cc 4-cylinder freshwater cooled diesel, rebuilt 2010 and low hours since.

Fuel tank capacity

50 litres


2-bladed Brunton Varifold on shaft drive


2 batteries

Battery charging /electrics

Engine alternator

Sails and deck equipment

Rig details

Sloop rig, alloy spars, rod kicker and hydraulic backstay tensioner, with S/S standing rigging of varying ages ( forestay and backstay 2019, lower shrouds 2020, with cap shrouds and intermediates from 2008 ).


Parker & Kay, slab reefing with stackpack type cover and lazyjacks


Parker & Kay roller genoa, new UV strip 2019

Genoa furling



North Sails starcut with twin poles, also second spinnaker.

Other sails

Light No 1 genoa, Heavy No 1 and staysail

Primary winches

2 x Lewmar 55 three speed

Secondary winches

2 x Lewmar 43 two speed

Other winches

3 x Lewmar 40, 3 x Lewmar 15,1 x Lewmar 25 and 1 x Lewmar 16

Bower anchor

15 Kg Rocna with approx 40 metres 8mm chain

Kedge anchors

15 Kg CQR

Anchor windlass

Lofrans Royal manual windlass




Raymarine Evolution Tiller Autopilot with P70s controller and ACU100 computer, and tiller drive - new 2019 (also spare tiller drive)

Steering compass

Plastimo Contest bulkhead compass

Warps & fenders

4 warps and 6 fenders


Cockpit sprayhood and dodgers

Navigation Equipment and instruments


Garmin GPSMap 230 monochrome LCD plotter with Silva repeater in cockpit

Depth sounder


VHF radio

Demek RS8000

Safety/emergency equipment


Horseshoe with floating light and danbuoy


Inshore pack, in date to end 2020

Radar reflector

Mast mounted

Bilge pumps

Manual pump


Jackstays, 4 x fire extinguishers


Cabin layout

Forecabin, heads and saloon

Cabin heating

Taylors 079 bulkhead mounted with flue, installed 2012/13



Water tank capacity

200 litres


Origo 6000 alcohol stove, two burner and oven, gimballed


Coolbox only


Lavac Zenith, pump replaced 2017/18

Holding tank

‘Tek Tanks’ polyprop holding tank installed with Y-valve

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Yachtsnet Ltd. yacht brokerage and boat sales, registered office: 8 Stratton Terrace, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 2SY. Company No: 4110188
Tel +44 (0)1326-212234.