Kingfisher 26 Reviews

(1) From a report in 1968
Designed in 1967 the K26 is the latest addition to the Kingfisher range and full advantage has been taken of experience gained in designing and building the K20 and K30. Particular attention has been paid to the accommodation which includes four full-length berths, headroom of 6ft. throughout in the main cabin, a separate toilet, well planned galley and large chart table. In addition, the 6ft. long cockpit seats provide extra sleeping capacity, if required. The cabins are lined throughout up to the deck level. Ample storage space is available, including a very large dry hanging locker, an oilskin locker and a shelf all round the fore cabin. There are also many lockers in the main cabin and under bunks. An inboard mounting is provided for the outboard engine with fuel supply from the bilge keels, or alternatively diesel or petrol inboard engines can be installed.

(2) Below is an article from the press on the Kingfisher 26 test.
"... altogether, we felt that for a bilge keel boat the performance was impressive and justifies the builder's claim as to performance. Her ability to carry sail and to remain well balanced when pressed was above average for a shoal draft yacht and the knowledge that she will do so under conditions when a reef would be advisable will be welcomed by a short handed cruising owner ... with regards to the term 'exceptional privacy', we feel that its use to describe the improvement provided by the sliding doors over the more normal arrangement to be more than justified ... there appeared to be a complete lack of irritating minor faults which are the result of a careless design ... As cockpit layout can play so important a part in ease of handling and therefore performance, especially when racing, comment of Kingfisher's layout is of interest in relation to sailing qualities. The rudder stock rises through the cockpit sole well forward of the sheet hand aft: an arrangement which is unusual in a small yacht. We found this worked admirably in practice as it was easy to change tacks rapidly without interference between helmsman and crew, even if the latter wished to change position from one side to the other during the manoeuvre. A pair of man size, handed sheet winches are mounted on the wide cockpit coaming and the mainsheet is led to a short piece of track on the bridge deck. Altogether an excellent and practical layout which will certainly pay off in racing round the buoys and offer a bonus to the helmsman in bad weather by enabling him to gain considerable protection from the raised cabin coach roof.

(3) 'Blue Smoke' by Lieutenant Guy Hornett, RN

Find a boat -
On return from Polaris patrol in HMS Renoun at the beginning of June, I had four days leave during which I was determined to find a place in the Two Handed Round Britain Race.
I acquired an invitation to the pre-race party being given by the DAILY EXPRESS and THE OBSERVER in the Little Ship Club and spent the evening trying to sell myself to all 26 of the skippers as a promising reserve incase their crew fell sick. On returning to Faslane I was just in the act of outting my address and telephone number in writing to each skipper, when Mike Parry telephoned me from Poole to see if I was still available. An enthusiastic affirmative from me got the job of Navigator of 'Blue Smoke', a Kingfisher 26.

Meeting the boat -
'Blue Smoke' is the demonstration boat used by her builders, Westfield Engineering (Marine). She is absolutely standard, a fibreglass twin keeler with four berths, separate loo, full standing headroom, gimballed cooker and proper chart table. In short, a family cruiser with the emphasis on tough construction and a minimum of gimmicks. She even has curtains and carpets. She was the demonstration boat at the boatshow forthe last two years and probably will be again this year.
I had some misgivings as I had never been aboard a twin-keeler before, nor crossed the channel in a boat only 26 feet long. My nautical friends shook their head knowingly, while explaining that we would never go to windward, if we even went anywhere at all.
I went to Poole to meet 'Blue Smoke', and we spent the weekend putting on Graphkiller antifouling and rubbing it down with wet and dry, then with little more than hot breath. When I say 'we' I mean 'I' did this unintelligent work while Mike got on with the skilled job of fitting the self-steering gear. We had a Hasler Vane Gear whoich looked to me too delicate for the job, but it was pointed out to me that this particular unit had got Chay Blyth 9,000 miles on his way round the world so perhaps it would do us for 2,000. 'Dytiscus', Chay Blyth's boat, a Kingfisher 30, was in fact in the same shed that we were working in.

The Race -
Plymouth - Crosshaven - Castlebay - Lerwick -Lowestoft - Plymouth

Sails -

Time underway 483 hours No main at all 33 hours
Full main set 353 hours Genoa 349 hours
Main with 4-6 rolls 78 hours Working jib 58 hours
Main 10 rolls 19 hours Spinnaker 76 hours
Genoa and working jib together 21 hours
Storm jib Never set. Used only as a temporary main hatch cover
Total number of sail changes  64

Conclusion -
This race was the greatest possible fun and a tremendous experience. The reception at each port was totally different and there was always a warm welcome for us and to my surprise, we saw a lot of the other competitors (either because of defects or gales, some of the big boats were back down the fleet with us), which meant there was the nucleus of a good drinking team always present.
I am personally counting the days to 1974 for the next one, which I hope will receive more advance publicity in 1972 and 1973 and should therefore attract two or three times as many entrants as this years 25, including perhaps a few more from broad. All I have to negotiate between now and then is the necessary leave and a boat.

'Blue Smoke' just before the start, a whaler's oar overflows from her tiny deck His worship the Mayor of Poole welcomes 'Blue Smoke' and her crew. Left to right: R.A.G. Nierop, designer of 'Blue Smoke', Lieutenant Guy Hornett, RN, Mike Parry, Mrs Parry and His Worship
Blue Smoke 1.jpg (12956 bytes) Blue Smoke 2.jpg (21426 bytes)

Guy Hornett obviously liked 'Blue Smoke' as he sailed her to win the 1972 OSTAR Monohull on handicap. 'Blue Smoke' finished 22nd overall (36 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes) out of 55 starters. There were 43 finishers (3 outside the 60 day limit) and 12 retirements.

Sadly Guy Hornett was tragically killed in a yachting incident in Canada in 2001. Taking part in a weekend boat race from Port Huron to Rogers City ended in tragedy when the 40 foot catamaran 'Great White' capsized in a sudden change in weather conditions. Shelley Hind 41 and Guy Hornett 59 of Oshawa, Ontario were competing in the annual race that was expected to last 24-48 hours when the fleet was hit by 40 - 50 knot winds producing 18 foot high waves. Only one boat finished the race without seeking safe harbour. Both Shelley and Guy sadly lost their lives competing in this event.