A Trawler Full Of Norwegian Surprises.
By Doug Dawson
At first glance, the Windy 26 SN looks like any conventional hardtop express cruiser, with a cabin trunk forward and the helm positioned at the very front of the cockpit. On closer inspection, the boat proves to be a classic double-ended Norwegian trawler design. The cockpit is engineered for maximum space and comfort, and the topsides of the hand-laid fiberglass hull are simulated lap-strake with a traditional black sheer-line along the length of the top “plank.”
The Windy 26 SN is one of a line of 22- to 30-footers built in Norway by Windy Boats, which was founded in 1967 and currently employs 67 people. It carries a Danish certification plate which the manufacturer states is equivalent to Lloyd’s of London’s 100 A1 specifications. Its Canadian distributor is St. Lawrence Marina Sales of Brockville, Ontario, which also acts as a dealer. At the time of our test in April, Warner Auto Marine of Grand Bend, Ontario, was the only other dealer.
Since then IRS, based in Port Credit, Ontario, has joined the dealer network. I ran the Windy through its paces on Lake Huron in a moderate groundswell. Its stability surprised me; most trawlers have round chines and tend to roll whether at dock or at sea. The Windy was pleasingly stable both at dock and at all speeds from idle to full throttle. Its stability is due to a full length skeg (which most trawlers have), a flat run aft and two stabilizing bilge keels molded into the aft ends of both chines. A big rudder makes this single engine boat easy to handle while docking or performing tight maneuvers.
I found it quite easy to steer in reverse both to port and to starboard, something that is not usually the case with a normal inboard design. The 65-hp Volvo diesel, of course, is louder than a gasoline engine, but hardly objectionable. The Windy performs like a true trawler. It cruises at about 10 mph; its 32.9-gallon fuel capacity allows a range of approximately 200 miles.
With a full tank of fuel and no gear aboard; the test boat came very close to planning at its top speed of about 15 mph. Let’s look the boat over in detail, starting with the exterior forward and working aft. The anchor locker is deeper than those in most American boats. At the bottom of the locker is a ring to secure the end of the anchor line.
Anticipating a buyer’s needs, the manufacturer has pre-wired the forward deck for an electric anchor winch. Two decades ago, boat builders gave up on opening cabin windows forward because of leaks, but the Norwegians have resurrected this method of cabin ventilation. The difference is that these windows bolt down tight like a large porthole, so the chances of leakage are far more remote than with the older design.
As you work your way aft down the side deck, you encounter two sets of handrails. The first runs the full length of the cabin roof and continues under the hardtop windows; the second runs the full length of the hardtop roof. Tall or short, you’ll find plenty of handholds. The surfaces of both the foredeck and the cabin roof thoughtfully feature a nonskid finish. As you round the aft end of the hardtop, there is an opening in the teak taff-rail and a conveniently located fiberglass step that is an extension of the cockpit seat to help you from the deck to the cockpit floor.
The transom, instead of being flat like that of an express cruiser or trawler, is rounded like that of a double ended sailboat. The round transom deflects the wave energy from a following sea or, in simple layman’s terms, stops the sea from hitting you square from behind. A heavy-duty, folding aluminum swim ladder and an outboard motor bracket on the extra wide wrap around platform offer almost limitless water recreation possibilities.
Tucked into the narrow aft deck is an anchor locker similar to the one on the forward deck, with a lid, drain and a fastening eye. In these days of fiberglass, stainless steel and aluminum, Windy Boats has gone to the trouble of supplying a solid teak flagstaff. For those long summer evenings, either docked in the harbor or swinging on a hook in some northern bay, the cockpit has seats built along both sides and across the transom, with seat and back cushions.
A drop-leaf table fastens to the cockpit floor for sunrise breakfasts or late evening cocktails. The traditional cockpit sole is covered in white Nautolex with black stripes; aluminum angle trim is found on the hatches. The standard camper canopy protects the cockpit seating area from damp evenings and mosquitoes. On the test boat the cockpit drained into the bilges. With the latest models to be imported, the cockpit is completely self-draining.
The fiberglass hardtop has solid side windows to avoid battles with side curtains in order to protect the helm against spray. A large sliding tinted Plexiglas hatch in the hardtop over the helm station provides the captain with sunshine. The helm is located on the starboard side of the cockpit. To continue the trawler theme of the Windy, the steering wheel is a six-spoke wooden wheel with a stainless steel outside ring.
The switches feature what are best described as international symbols, similar to those you would find in a car, with pictures of windshields with blades for the wiper and something that looks like a hair dryer for the bilge blower. The shift and throttle is a single-lever Morse control a good idea for a single-engine boat because you can use your left hand for the wheel and your right for the combination shift and throttle. Visibility from the double-width helm seat is good in all directions.
Even the wiper motors are mounted at the bottom of the windshield so you are not ducking and diving to see around top-mounted motors. The helm seat, adjustable fore and aft, has storage compartments below. One of the most ingenious ideas to grace a boat lately is Windy’s doublelayer Plexiglas companionway hatch. When the hatch is slid to starboard, just to port of the helmsman, a chart can be secured between the two layers of Plexiglas, thus providing a flat surface for easier reading and keeping it from blowing around in the breeze. This is an idea that I’m sure will be duplicated on other boats, both power and sail, in the future.
Like other Norwegian and Swedish boats, the Windy’s galley is located in the cockpit, not down below. It runs along the port side of the cockpit and is equipped with a sink, pressurized water, a two-burner kerosene stove and a 12- volt electric refrigerator. The test boat was not equipped with shore power, but it is available as an option, and an experienced boater will appreciate the convenience of a dual-voltage refrigerator and 110-volt outlets. The galley is made more flexible by a double-hinged lid that covers the top of the stove and the sink, thus making it possible to fix sandwiches or create an on-deck wet bar.
A 12-volt light is placed over the galley for late-night snacking. As you enter the cabin, the private head is to port. It is equipped with a standard porcelain marine toilet and holding tank. A fiberglass counter and sink are corner-mpunted. The head is complete with an assortment of holders for towels, face cloths and toilet paper. My only criticism of this area is that it is a wee bit small for a person my sizesix- feet, four-inches tall.
To starboard of the companionway is a combination hanging locker and storage area that serves as the entrance to the quarterberth. The large quarterberth extends aft under the helm and helm seat. The hanging locker has a drape for privacy and is large enough to be used as a private changing area. The quarterberth area is bright and airy, not claustrophobic. On the aft wall of the hanging locker is a hatch that allows access to the electronics of the helm station.
The entire forward area of the cabin is a U-shaped dinette that converts to a huge double bed. The teak table has a high-low mechanism and leaves that pull out each side to widen the table to dining size. Lowered, the table forms a stable base for the double bed. Visibility is outstanding because the cabin windows are large and clear. Even a child sitting in the cabin can see out the forward and side windows. Naturally, the windows are equipped with drapes for privacy. The cabin interior is lined with a light beige padded vinyl that further brightens the cabin. Teak paneling and trim are used for all bulkheads, doors and cabinets.
The engine compartment, including the underside of the hatches, is covered with sound-deadening material. The Windy is the only powerboat of its size I’ve seen that even has a metal drip pan under the motor. The dual 12-volt battery system is protected by two Volvo master switches-one for the motor and one for the accessories-that are used like keys to activate the system.
Like a traditional trawler, the Windy features an emergency tiller that can be used while sitting in the aft end of the cockpit. If, one afternoon, you wanted to laze in the sun on an open body of water, it would be quite easy to open the hatch, screw in the emergency tiller, and sit back and steer the boat with your foot, sailboat-style. In the same area is the manual gusher-style bilge pump, whose pickup tube is located at the bottom of the keel.
The couple or family looking for a boat in this size range with the proven operational economy of diesel should give serious consideration to the Windy 26 SN. It’s a great little trawler.
Originally Published in Canadian Yachting’s July 1984 Issue.
Engine……………Volvo MD 30, 65HP Diesel
Test Boat Price (1984)……$59,978
Photo Captions: The cockpit galley is made flexible by a double-hinged lid that covers the top.
The cabin is dominated by a U-shaped dinette with an adjustable teak table that forms a solid base for a double bed.
Doug Dawson owns Doug Dawson Yacht Sales. He is an experienced member of the marine industry and past president of the Ontario Marine Operators Association.