Grampian26250Nov2It was one of the nicest sails I have had in my home waters. The sun was shining and the wind was easterly at Trade Wind strength, force 3 to 4. We motored out the opening in the breakwall near Toronto's Western Gap and set the mainsail and the roller-furling genoa in the lee of Ontario Place. Then we close-reached for an hour into Lake Ontario at a steady six knots.

Our vessel was not some gold-plated, high-tech machine, but the humble Grampian 26, hull #688, a fixed-keel version called Lineva II built in 1974 and now owned by John and Linda McFetrick, members of Alexandra Yacht Club in Toronto.

The Grampian 26 was designed by Alex McGruer in 1967. McGruer is part of a boatbuilding dynasty that reaches back to 1911, when the family business was located on the Clyde Estuary on the west coast of Scotland. The Grampian hills of his native land gave the name to this line of boats, which also includes the McGruer-designed 30-footer. Grampian Marine in Oakville, Ontario built most of these vessels, though some were built at Summerstown, east of Cornwall, Ontario. The boat was in production from 1967 through 1977, and according to McGruer, just over 1,000 Grampian 26s were built during that decade. (Nearly 200 were ordered during the first year alone.) Taddle Creek Yachts, of Toronto, tried unsuccessfully to revive interest in the design in 1987, but it seems new boat buyers were looking for a more modern design and there were no orders.

McGruer's design mandate had been for a comfortable family sailer, with six-foot headroom in the interior, and the berths for four (five if you squeeze two into the pull-out settee). She was to be strong and seaworthy, and trailerable - hence the swing-keel version. (The swing-keel has a draft of 3ft with the keel up, 6ft 6in with the keel down; fixed keel draft is 4ft 3in.)

The Grampian 26 was heavily built and, happily for their owners, no chronic problems have surfaced in the nearly quarter century since the first boat was launched.

In the past 24 years, this Canadian boat has been spotted in waters around the world. During one notable voyage an owner sailed from Lake Ontario to England and the Mediterranean, then returned to Canada via the Caribbean. Several of these boats have made good the trip through the Intra-Coastal Waterway to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, returning to their ports with a contented crew.

I have never heard the Grampian 26 described as a "pretty boat" but she is comfortable for her size. Overall length is exactly 26 feet and the beam stretches to 8ft 4in. Many owners describe her as the ideal minimum-sized boat for a cruising couple. People less than six feet tall will find sufficient headroom to walk upright from the companionway through the head area to the V-berth. The deep lockers under the berths have lots of stowaway space. To help make this deep space more useful, John McFetrick has installed wire baskets on slides under the bunks, in addition to lining the locker floors with carpet to muffle sound and reduce condensation.

There were a number of different versions of the original boat. The majority of the boats were built with mixed keels, but a centreboard model was also available. Most boats were outboard-powered - a removable panel in the transom allowed the outboard to be clamped in position, eliminating the need for an outboard engine bracket - however some were outfitted with inboard engines and no transom cutout. Early inboard-powered Grampian 26s had Palmer Gasoline engines; later inboard models were equipped with 8hp Yanmar diesels. There was also a raised deck version, called Discovery, which was designed to update the look and make it less "boxy" , but few were built before the Oakville plant closed.

Over the years subtle changes were made on the boats. An aluminum toe rail replaced the wood rail on early models. Early versions also had a slightly steeper slope to the forward end of the coachroof and lacked the ridge above the ports,which was a cosmetic variation on later models. There were several variations in the ports; some boats had opening ports, some had larger or smaller ports. Most boats had lifeline stanchions bolted on the narrow decks, but the McFetricks' 1974 model has stanchions bolted to the anodized toe rail, freeing up more of the narrow deck space.

Fitting out of the interior was not to a luxurious standard, but was typical of this time. Corners are square, bunk fronts are straight and the layout seems unimaginative by modern standards, though it is workmanlike and well proportioned.

The galley counter is of reasonable size, with a sink on the counter top and a two-burner cook stove in a recessed compartment. The ice icebox is located in a cockpit locker, and there is no access to the icebox from the cabin, an arrangement which the McFetricks find to be a nuisance.

The Grampian 26 has a long comfortable cockpit with a tiller sprouting from the cockpit floor. There is enough room behind the tiller for the outboard engine to be easily operated in the transom cutout. The operator need not hang precariously over the stern.

As we sailed along in the moderate wind the helm required only a light touch to mainstream our course, and provided a slight weather helm. Directional control was positive , though the boat required constant attention from the helmsperson. The full main and #2 genoa felt right for our sailing conditions, and Lineva II balanced nicely. As we sailed back towards the club, however, the wind increased. We continued to carry full sail, but in gusts up to 20 knots the weather helm nearly took over, and the boat fought to round up into the wind. We probably should have reefed the mainsail but we were still in control, nearly home and having fun!

McFetrick has converted to jiffy-reefing from the original roller-reefing mainsail system so he can sail with a permanent boom vang. Many owners have also converted the original end-of-boom mainsail sheeting, where the sheet leads to blocks on either quarter, to a track-and-car arrangement across the cockpit for better sail shape control. The original cockpit headsail sheet winches are small, and only just adequate, to trim the genoa sheet in the breeze.

Members of the Alexandra Yacht Club in Toronto, where 11 Grampian boats are based, attempted to start a Grampian owners association in 1990 and staged the Grampian Regatta, the first of what they hoped would be an annual event. Sadly, though many local boats participated, and a few owners from New York shore of Lake Ontario sailed across the lake for the rendez-vous, there was not sufficient interest to continue to organize events.

Grampian 26s were once considered good club racers, and the boat has surprisingly good sailing performance. She tacks quickly and points well, belying the somewhat ungainly and outdated appearance of her high cabin trunk and her high spoon bow. For a couple wishing to do some cruising on a boat with standing headroom and a minimum length (remember, marina charges are by the foot!), the Grampian 26 could fit the bill.

To see if this boat is available, go to http://www.boatcan.com for listings!

Destinations

  • Prev
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...


The Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

Read more about the Blind Channel Resort...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
After an autumn in Canada, we arrived back in northern Florida at Adamant 1 on January 3rd and with ...
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...

Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

Read more about the Swift Trawler 47......

 

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

Read More about the Oceanis 46.1......

DIY & How to

  • Prev
I’ve had two emails over the past few weeks with a count-down to launch (47 days per the last ...
Electrical ground is a term used to describe the reference point in an electrical circuit from ...
Last time we looked at making proper electrical connections – the tools, supplies and methods ...
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...

Sea to Sky SailingSea to Sky Sailing has just been approved as the only Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognized training centre on the west coast of North America just in time to deliver an epic 2019 season!

“This transition from our previous International Yacht Training (IYT) certification to RYA is a huge benefit to our students as it provides them certification that is known globally as the gold standard for yacht training.  The RYA requires training centres to undergo annual inspections of their vessels, business practices and training delivery in order to maintain a strong standard and guarantee a high quality experience for students. 

Read More about Sea to Sky Sailing......

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...
Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
A revolutionary “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating ...
After developing the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foiling sailing yacht, Groupe Beneteau ...
You most likely operate your vessel with batteries that are rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries ...
This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...