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Contessa 26 50th Anniversary Rally in Lymington

by Contessa 26 Class 8 Aug 2016 18:46 BST 29-31 July 2016

The 50th anniversary of the much-loved Contessa 26 class was celebrated at a rally in Lymington over the last week-end of July.

Owners brought their Contessas from as far afield as Amble in Northumberland (Me-Mo) and Medemblik in Holland (Kleine Johanna), both doing almost 500 sea miles in the preceding weeks. There was a strong contingent from the West Country with Jasper and Sunion both being sailed single handed to Lymington and Nina Kristin flew in from Canada to represent her Contessa 'Bika'. Overall the Contessa 26 Association entertained 130 sailors representing 51 boats from the class.

First launched on 28th April 1966 and built by Jeremy Rogers, some 300 or more were built at his Lymington boatyard and a similar number were built under licence in Canada. The Contessa 26 became the first in a long line of Contessas built by Jeremy Rogers over the years. Jeremy and his family were there at the rally with his own recently restored 1966 vintage Contessa 26, 'Grayling' and he commented "I was delighted to see so many boats and crews there - I would never have believed way back in 1966 that we'd be celebrating 50 years like this today!

The Rally was blessed by good weather and the boats made an impressive and colourful sight all along the Dan Bran Pontoon in Lymington, moored two or three abreast and many dressed overall in flags celebrating the anniversary.

A BBQ on Friday was followed by a cruise in company to Hurst on Saturday and a dinner at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in the evening where retiring Class Secretary David Houlton was presented with a beautiful half model of his boat 'Elinor', made by Jeremy Rogers. After a relaxed race around the cans to Yarmouth on Sunday the boats went their separate ways.

The weekend was a tremendous shared success with many opportunities for owners past and present to swop stories and ideas about their much loved vessels.

The next event is the National Championships which take place at Lymington over the weekend of 3-4 September where it is hoped there will be another record attendance. Details are on the Contessa 26 website, and those interested should contact Mike Harrison, email

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