Kingfisher boats

steviewhitts

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I am considering buying a boat over the Winter and a Kingfisher 26 built by Westfield Engineering has caught my eye. Does anyone have any experience of their sailing ability i.e. do they go to windward very well etc etc
Any views would be much appreciated.
Steviewhitts.
 

simonjinks

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I don't know much about the 26 but the Chay Blythe sailed a 30 to South Africa and back. They were built by the same folks and if i remember, looked the same. There is also a kingfisher ashore at Island Yacht Harbour with a broken bilge keel. I suppose it depends how you use the boat, there are no sandbanks in the South Atlantic.
 

AndrewB

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I owned a Kingfisher 26 for some years and was very pleased with it. They were one of the earliest production line GRP boats, hugely over-engineered by today's standards, and so exceptionally strong, something I put to the test with a couple of lee-shore groundings in strong winds from which we survived unscathed. The airfoil section keels are wide with a twin line of bolts on each, that gives them a particularly strong attachment to the hull. So they are less prone than most to the leaky keel joints that plague older bilge-keelers. The shrouds are also particularly strongly attached, but the through deck fitting needs resealing periodically. The original aluminium window frames are just screwed on and also prone to leaks.

Lead keels, the short mast, and modest sail area give a stable feel but performance is not their strong point. They will sail to windward quite satisfactorily, and punch through waves, but are not fast. I found mine was a close match for a Westerly Centaur.

Even so, a Kingfisher 26 'Blue Smoke' was the handicap winner of the 1972 OSTAR (Single-handed Transatlantic Race), which is essentially a windward race, and they had other long-distance racing successes in the 70's.

For a 26 footer, accomodation is limited by today's standards. The large engine box takes a bit chunk out of the cabin. I liked the rather clinical plastic inner lining to the cabin but that is a matter of taste.
 

billmacfarlane

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Yes they were built by the same company in Poole , Westland Engineering. They built the Kingfisher 20 , 20 + , 26 , and 30. All were designed by an aircraft designer , Rags Neerop. My first cruising boat was a Kingfisher 20 , built in 1965. She was a super little cruising boat , as someone already said , very "plasticky" inside but a very practical cruising boat. I still see my old one now and again in the Solent , 36 years old and still going strong. That should tell you something about how they were built.
 

AndrewB

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Kingfisher 20

Likewise, my first real cruising boat, no 171, "Othona". I owned her for a couple of years and sold around 1970 to a couple who shipped her to New Zealand. Didn't see her again until earlier this year, when surprise surprise, I spotted her out in the Solent. Yes, they last, must have had an interesting history.
 

Mudhook

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There's a lot of stuff about Kingfishers at www.kyoa.co.uk. I've looked at a couple of these boats and would agree with all of what has been written in response to the query. Some opinions would hold that the K26 is a better-sailing boat than the Centaur; many would suggest that it has much better sea-keeping qualities. But definitely not as much room.
 

steviewhitts

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Thanks to all who replied - it has all been most useful advice and info. I am certainly happy with the build quality and fittings and by the sound of it a 26 should have more than enough sailing ability for my limited experience.
Thanks again and happy sailing.

Steviewhitts.
 

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Just to add my two pennyworth on the K26. If you ever need to check the echo sounder tranducer or other hull bottom fitting, be prepared for at least 2" of solid Grp! Brilliant boats.
 

LeonF

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I considered buying a Kingfisher a couple of years ago and echo what the other responses say--however:
I spoke to a chap at the Kingfisher association who mentioned that the one problem was the keels. These were hollow and were the diesel tanks. They were mild steel unfortunately and corroded so most ownes have made alternative arrangements by now- some have filled them with pitch or oil. Perhaps worth checking the long term implications.

L.A.R.Ferguson
 

[448]

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Just one thing that has not been mentioned yet. These boats are liable to have dangerous arm wrenching weather helm, which can be mitigated by reefing early.
 
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