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'Meow' CONTESSA 26 for sale

Tantram Contessa 39
above: Meow -Contessa 26
left: Meow CO26

For Sale Contessa 26 Meow (CO1).

Meow is the ultimate fully restored, no expense spared, race specification Contessa 26. Built in 1973 by Jeremy Rogers in Lymington as a Mk2 self-draining cockpit model - she was called Sundowner and has an unsurpassed race pedigree. She was owned by Double Olympic Medallist Nick Rogers who won the coveted Gold Roman Bowl in the iconic Round the Island Race just prior to her full restoration.

Under her current ownership she has won the Contessa 26 National's an unapparelled three times. Her National's successes include beating the legendary triple Gold Bowl winner Jeremy Rogers and twice beating High Potential the recent Gold Bowl winner. She has also won the IRC Double-Handed Nationals, Double-Handed Round the Island Race, Single-Handed Round the Island Race and Round the Island Team Race. She has come third in the Gold Bowl with the current owner and been in contention in several races before being becalmed. A detailed feature article was written by Yachting World Magazine on her restoration and early success and can be viewed by googling - Yachting World Meow.

Since her full rebuild she has had an ongoing program of testing and development that has finally been completed after several race seasons seeing improvements in her performance upwind and downwind. She is the most striking, lightest, stiffest and best-balanced Contessa 26 in existence. She has yet to fulfil her full potential, but indications are clear from just a few key races this season that she is now sailing faster and higher than ever before.  She is faster than any other Contessa 26 and is also more competitive than Madelaine the multiple Gold Bowl winning Folkboat.

Her hull was fully restored by Jeremy Rogers Ltd boat yard over a 6-month period including the replacement of all deck fittings, windows and forehatch. Her deck and hull were renovated, faired and sprayed to a high specification. Her hull was then subsequently race prepared by BA Marine and then for 3 months by David Heritage Racing Yachts who prepared Sir Ben Ainslie’s Olympic boat. She has been finished with durapox and has had major structural stiffening works carried out.  All rig points are tied into the boat using stainless steel brackets and additional composite elbows and a new high spec mast bulkhead fitted. She has light weight Antal two speed primary winches and Harken secondaries. She has had her Rogers composite rudder modified by Hugh Welbourne a world leading foil specialist and had a unique profile and third pintal built into the transom to stiffen the rudder and give greater steering control to prevent broaching. She also has an ultra-stiff carbon fibre tiller made by David Heritage and the rudder and tiller alone cost £5,000.  The total spent on the hull, deck and rudder including the purchase of the original boat is approximately £75,000.

She has a new BUKH 7 hp diesel engine installed which is the lightest and the lowest centre of gravity ever fitted to this class and is uniquely mounted in the saloon on an extended prop shaft to get the weight out of the stern. All engine ancillaries are new, and the stern gland is the latest maintenance-free water-cooled bellows system. She has a non-drag race prop with a central locking mechanism on the shaft and does 6.5 knots. The engine and ancillary’s installation cost £15,000.

Her rig is the lightest, lowest drag and smallest cross section fitted to any boat in her Class. The rig was supplied by Z-Spars and fitted by Ocean Rigging of Lymington but has had many bespoke features added along with extra strengthening – she has raced in over 25 kts without problem. She has two kite halyards and a twin pole set up from Selden.  She has bespoke bronze bearing sheathes fitted together with dyform extra strength standing rigging. Her running rigging is all high spec non-stretch FSE Robline. She has Harken mast winches and cleats and she has a unique low drag continuous line furler from Sailspar which can be operated on all sides of the boat. She has a unique bespoke alloy mid boom mainsheet gantry system with all control lines led back to the cockpit. All fittings are Harken including high purchase kicker, genny halyard, mainsheet and backstay systems. Her rig cost £10,000.

Her sails have been developed over many years and with several prototype designs and of main, genny and spinnaker and code zero tested. Prior to the final optimum size and design being sourced at least £7,000 was spent on several sails. She is the only Contessa 26 with a full set of North 3Di Sails and has two North Spinnakers and is the only boat in her Class with a Facnor furling North upwind Code Zero. Her sails were designed by North’s top sail designer Dave Lenz and have been tested, modified and refurbished and are still as new and with many years of competitive use left in them. She has very large downwind kites in heavy and floater weight materials. All the materials used are state of the art and very light weight and cost £14,000.

Her Navigation and Race Instruments are all Raymarine Tactic Wireless units with four display heads, mast brackets, a carbon wand with anemometer, separate twin depth and speed transducers switched from the wind indicator, so they are accurate on both tacks. Engine start and hull transducers are powered by a low weight Lithium Ion battery costing £500. Total cost was £10,000.

She has been stored inside in winter and dry sailed since her restoration and is fitted with an over the guard rails and down to the waterline £3,000 cover and she sits on a £6,500 bespoke SBS road trailer with a £500 David Heritage lockable grp trailer box giving a total of £10,000.

Ancillaries such as five bespoke rope bags, bespoke rectangular fenders, three sets of non-stretch spinnaker sheets – symmetric with Tylaska T5’s/code zero with Tylaska T5’s/floater light wind with dog bones, two Seldon carbon fibre spinnaker poles, towable genoa cars and tracks, barber haulers, safety gear, anchor, winch handles etc totalling £5,000.

She is weighed and endorsed under the IRC Rating System and is fully optimised to sail to her current rating of 0.772. The total spent on official weighing, measuring and trial certificates is £1,000.

She has the sail number CO1 allocated to her by the Class Association which is befitting her status as the ultimate Contessa 26.

Meow is in mint condition and would cost at least £150,000 to replicate assuming someone could copy every aspect of her spec which is not possible. It would take at least 12 months to complete a similar restoration as well as several seasons to tune and test. She is in Cowes and is open to offers that reflect the costs incurred and many hundreds of hours of testing, design and development work undertaken. Please email for further information or to make an offer.

Price: Offers

For more details contact:
Chris Charlesworth:

Lying: Cowes

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