Sailboats of fascination and great tradition
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Sailboats of Fascination and Great Tradition
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F&B yachting sailing
• Rental for events, videos and films
Sailboats of fascination and great tradition
F&B yachting sailing
• Charter
• Rental for events, videos and films
Sailboats of Fascination and Great Tradition
• Charter
• Rental for events, videos and films
• Team Buidings Activity
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A Great Queen of the Sea

Really  designed as a race boat by noted naval architect Bill Tripp, the  Columbia 50 first hit the race scene in 1966, finishing first overall in  the Newport-Ensenada Race that year against a field of over 500 other  boats. Not long thereafter, in the hotly competitive 1967 Transpac Race  to Hawaii, a Columbia 50 won its class of 24 and finished 2nd overall.  Numerous other successes followed.
The boat was "America's largest production fiberglass sailing yacht" when first built and, with such long overhangs, was clearly designed by Tripp with the Cruising Club of America (CCA) rating rule in mind.

The design incorporated a spade rudder the displacement was "moderate" for the day, and advertisements touted a high ballast to displacement ratio with low wetted surface all meant to make the boat go fast under the rule. After just a few short years, however, the rule changed. The new International Offshore Rule (IOR) gradually made "old" CCA boats like the Columbia 50 a thing of the past, at least at the top levels of the sport.

Like similar all-around displacement-designs coming off the boards of Sparkman and Stephens at the time (that no doubt influenced Tripp since he worked there before opening his own office), the Columbia 50 was clearly designed to be at sea for long periods of time, to be handled easily and move well in any direction relative to the wind, and to be able to manage whatever weather came up (in a time before modern weather forecasting). The boat's weight and hull form provides a relatively comfortable ride in any direction, most importantly including upwind in a blow.  That can count for a lot, especially in a cruising boat with a shorthanded crew that really doesn't want to get too beaten up.

Those long, CCA-inspired overhangs have their pros and cons. Combined with a beautifully sweeping sheer, the boat seems to turn a lot of heads, at the dock and underway. Looking good never gets old.
And all of that reserve buoyancy in the bow means that the waves have to get seriously big - and freakishly steep - before you ever have to think about even a hint of green water on deck.  Seldom do you have to give a second thought to leaving the cockpit to get a job done up there.

Beyond the overhangs, another difference you see in comparison to modern boats, and that also harkens back to the boat's at-sea, race-boat heritage, is that the bunks are in the middle of the boat where the motion is the least. In the standard arrangement four people can sleep below in comfort, each in their own perfectly-designed-for-sea bunk, no matter what is going on outside. Even the bunks in the vee-berth are well aft and usable even upwind while underway, although while racing the vee berth was typically used for sails. (With a big foredeck hatch, it still works well for that purpose.) In any event, the cost of putting good sea berths in the middle of the boat is that you don't have the privacy at anchor that a cabin in each end of the boat provides--something most modern boats would never forgo.

For cruising purposes having an old race boat can make good sense, but only if it's a suitable design. As a CCA boat, some would argue that the Columbia 50 is really the last of the old race boats that was ideal for conversion to a cruising boat, since the IOR that followed promoted huge jibs, tiny mains, pinched ends and, in general, less than optimal handling characteristics off the wind.

What the Columbia 50 offers that's unusual is that it is the only true CCA boat commonly available in its size range that was built in fiberglass with a spade rudder: a unique combination of attributes. The fiberglass is heavy, which means the boats have held up well, and the spade rudder provides handling and suitability for vane steering that is unmatched.
Cruising boats of the era, and for years thereafter, tend to be relatively poor performers under sail by comparison so, at least for some, they might deserve a little less consideration. Ultimately the Columbia 50, with the addition of some modern sail-handling equipment, ends up being an excellent boat option for modern shorthanded cruising.

Barche Columbia 50
Columbia 50
Disegno Columbia 50
Disegno Columbia 50
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F&B Yachting Sailing SRLs
PI IT 02530460993
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