The Contessa 28 Sailboat

The Contessa 28, a masthead sloop, was designed by Doug Peterson and built in the UK by Jeremy Rogers Ltd. 

A Contessa 28 sailboat underwayA Contessa 28 with a furling headsail and slab reefing on the main

Published Specification for the Contessa 28

Underwater Configuration:  Fin keel with spade rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fiberglass)

Length Overall: 27' 8" / 8.43m

Waterline Length: 22' 0" / 6.71m

Beam: 9' 5" / 2.87m

Draft: 4' 10" / 1.47m

Rig Type: Masthead sloop

Displacement: 6,970lb / 3,162kg

Designer: Doug Peterson

Builder: Jeremy Rogers Ltd

Year First Built: 1977

Published Design Ratios for the Contessa 28

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 14.9

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 40.2

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 292

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 22.9

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.9

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these all-revealing numbers...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Contessa 28  

A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 14.9 suggests that she'll need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 40.2 means that she'll stand up well to her canvas in a blow, helping her to power through the waves.

A Displacement/Length Ratio of 292, tells us she's clearly a heavy displacement cruising boat. You can load her down with all your cruising gear and equipment and it will hardly affect her waterline. Not an ideal choice for coastal sailing, but she'll come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 22.9 suggests that crew comfort in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a coastal cruiser with moderate stability, which is not encouraging news for anyone prone to seasickness. 

Her Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.9 tells us that she would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 



Sailboats in the Contessa range include:

  • Contessa 25
  • Contessa 26
  • Contessa 27
  • Contessa 28
  • Contessa 32
  • Contessa 33
  • Contessa 35
  • Contessa 38
  • Contessa 39
  • Contessa 43

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