The Frances 26 Sailboat

The Frances 26, a long-keeled, canoe-sterned sloop was designed by Chuck Paine and built in the USA by Morris Yachts. 

The Francis 26 sailboat under full sailThis Frances 26 is rigged for long offshore passages - note the windvane self-steering gear on the stern.

Essentially the same sailboat as the Victoria 26, but built in the USA by Morris Yachts and renamed the Frances 26.

Published Specification for the Frances 26

Underwater Configuration:  Long keel, canoe stern

Hull Material:  GRP (fibreglass)

Length Overall: 26' 0" / 7.92m

Waterline Length: 21' 3" / 6.48m

Beam: 8' 0" / 2.44m

Draft: 3' 10" / 1.17m

Rig Type: Fractionally rigged sloop

Displacement: 6,800lb / 3,084kg

Designer: Chuck Paine

Builder: Morris Yachts (US)

Year First Built: 1975

Number Built: 200+

Owners Association: Frances 26 Owners

Published Design Ratios for the Frances 26

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 15.1

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 51.5

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 316

4. Comfort Ratio: 29.0

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

read more about these all-revealing numbers...

Summary Analysis of Published Design Ratios for the Frances 26

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 15.1 suggests that she'll need a stiff breeze to get her going. In any other conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing will be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 51.5 means that she'll stand up well to her canvas in a blow, enabling her to power through the waves.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 316, 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 will come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 29.0 suggests that crew comfort in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a coastal cruiser, which is not encouraging news for anyone prone to seasickness. 

5. Her Capsize Screening Formula of 1.7 tells us that she would be a better choice of sailboat for ocean passage-making than one with a CS rating of more than 2.0. 

Any Questions?

What other versions of the Frances 26 were built?

There were two main versions of the Frances 26: the original flush-decked version built by Morris Yachts in the USA, and the coachroof version built by Victoria Marine in the UK. The latter offered more headroom and a slightly different interior layout. Some Frances 26s were also custom-built using cold-moulded wood or fiberglass, and some had different rigs, such as gaff or sloop.

What is the accommodation like in the Frances 26?

The Frances 26 can accommodate up to four adults and one child in a relatively open-plan layout. Belowdecks, the interior is all wood, with a V-berth forward, a linear galley to port, a quarter berth to starboard, and a heads compartment aft. The saloon has two settees that can convert to berths, and a folding table. There is also ample storage space throughout the boat.

What, if any, alternative accommodation layout versions are available for the Frances 26?

The coachroof version of the Frances 26, built by Victoria Marine, had a slightly different interior layout than the flush-decked version. The main difference was that the head compartment was moved forward, next to the V-berth, and the galley was moved aft, next to the companionway. This created more headroom and a more spacious saloon.

What sail plan and rigging options are available for the Frances 26?

The Frances 26 was originally designed as a cutter, with a mainsail, a staysail, and a yankee. However, some owners have converted their boats to sloops, with a single headsail, or gaffs, with a gaff-rigged mainsail. The sail area is about 31.3m², and the mast height is about 10.7m.

What is the Frances 26 like to sail?

The Frances 26 is a fast and simple sailboat that can handle a wide range of conditions. She is easily driven, has excellent directional stability, and is surprisingly weatherly. She can hold onto her full sail area well after many others have reefed, and she can tack through less than 90 degrees. She is also comfortable and seaworthy, with good motion and balance. Owners comment that she is fun to sail and easy to single-hand.

What is the average cost of a secondhand Frances 26?

The price of a secondhand Frances 26 depends on the condition, age, equipment, and location of the boat. However, based on some recent listings, the average cost of a secondhand Frances 26 ranges from £15,000 to £25,000 in the UK.

Are the boatbuilders Morris Yachts and Victoria Marine still in business?

Morris Yachts, the original builder of the Frances 26 in the USA, is still in business as of 2021. However, they no longer produce the Frances 26 model. Victoria Marine, the builder of the coachroof version of the Frances 26 in the UK, ceased trading in 1998.

What other sailboats have been by this designer?

Chuck Paine, the designer of the Frances 26, has created many other sailboats over his career. Some of his most notable designs include:

  • The Annie 29, a larger version of the Frances 26 with more headroom and amenities;
  • The Bermuda 40, a classic cruising yacht with graceful lines and performance;
  • The Apogee 50/51/58 series, offshore bluewater cruisers with modern features and comfort;
  • The Able Apogee series (34/36/42/44), smaller versions of the Apogee series with similar qualities;
  • The Morris series (28/36/40/42/45/46/48), high-quality custom yachts built by Morris Yachts.

The above answers were drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.

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