1978 Trojan 26
After a year without a boat (catching up on some of the things landlubbers do, among other reasons), and after much deliberation, I bought a new, used boat. After a marine survey, a mechanical inspection, and a water test, I took possession on 2001 June 04. Two days later, my father and I brought it from Ivy Lea back home to the Brockville Yacht Club, and had a wonderful, uneventful two-hour trip down that portion of the St. Lawrence River.
You can load some photographs in another window in the background while continuing to read here.
Soon after, we began taking day cruises and doing overnights with various friends and family members, and now, after five seasons with the boat (as of the Fall of 2005), all in all feel very satisfied.
It handles like a dream. Some people intially suggested that I would have my hands full in close quarters, with "only" a single straight-shaft inboard for maneuvering, but I've actually found it quite manageable. In the 10-15 knot wind-speed range, I have managed fine in close quarters, including single-handed operations. Having all of the lines and fenders organized before entering the marina helps a lot(!), as does "clearing the cranial cobwebs" and staying focussed on task. Having written Boat Docking (Close Quarters Maneuvering for Small Craft) hasn't hurt either! The boat requires a lot of backing and filling to go stern-to into a slip, and as expected pulls strongly to port in reverse, so I often just end up front-in unless it's dead calm.
After pondering the issue for the first year of ownership, we removed the most recent name, and on June 18, 2002, up went the new moniker: Ksenia. It's after my wife's late maternal grandmother, my previous boat, Stella B. , having been named after mine. "Ksenia" is a Russian name, apparently, and is easier to pronounce if you don't try too hard. I think the "e" vowel sound in it is somewhere in between the "e" in "pet" and the "ay" in "stay." I've spent such an inordinate and disporportionate amount of time and energy into thinking of boat names over the years, only to settle finally always on something very short and simple, that I've posted a list of names here. There are many others around the Net.
The boat tracks much straighter, in forward gear, than the three I/O's I have owned before, and this even at low speeds in a cross-wind. Not only does it track more closely to where it's pointed, but the bow doesn't "hunt" around at all, requiring therefore only small, gentle corrections at the helm. Very nice. In up to moderate weather, I am most impressed with the boat's handling. Going downstream in a brisk upstream breeze has been more manageable than I could have hoped. With short, steep 4-6 foot rollers coming at me, the boat was better up on plane than down in displacement mode. Very impressive. Also, with wakes from passing freighters and "mushing" cruisers (see my diatribe against mushing !) she handles herself with great poise and little drama - I rarely have to slow down for anything, and the hull almost never "slaps." The factors of which I'm aware that might account for this include:
- "unnecessarily" heavy construction in the earlier days of fibreglass;
- a hull designed for slow or "semi-" planing, with a flatter aft section than a faster boat, but retaining a fine "forefoot";
- external keel;
- inherent qualities of straight-shaft inboards.
I'm only hypothesizing about some of these things - anyone with a better understanding of this might want to enlighten me further. If I'm right, one might think that the flatter aft-section than a modern (modified) deep-V cruiser might actually harm rough-water performance, but I'm betting that it doesn't because this hull rides flatter through the water at "rough-water speeds" than a later-model boat (i.e. rough water means slower, semi-planing speeds, which normally makes your bow rise so you take the waves further aft along the hull), and is relatively heavy. Both of these attributes help it stay down in the water more. You wouldn't need much of a "V" aft if that section always stayed submerged (would you?).
Of course, simply going slower helps take waves gracefully, and this vessel seems to cruise on plane most happily at a leisurely sixteen knots. Also, this boat has an external keel, a rare feature on more recent planing-hull boats. (The keel isn't deep, and sits in perhaps the front three fifths of the boat.) Extra drag but better directional stability. Furthermore, the propulsive force from an IB engine, as opposed to an I/O, is more forward on the boat, and so steering is less like balancing a pencil vertically on your finger and more like holding it in the middle.
A word about the rudder: many Trojan owners have found the original rudders too small and have replaced them with something bigger. Still, I met one "senior" boater, a Trojan 25 owner, who had spent years going up and down through canals and locks, using the original rudder, and he had found it essential to respect the limitations of the boat, but said that they had never restricted him from going anywhere.
My boat came with an large additional piece of metal bolted on to the trailing edge of the rudder, and the PO said that it made close quarter maneuvering much easier. I, however, was deeply troubled by the boat's handling at speed (speed meaning 16 kt!), where it pulled so hard to port that if I released the steering wheel it would go all the way over (causing an excess of drama), and after a half hour on plane my shoulder was aching from holding on for dear life.
Before-and-after pictures are on the Ksenia Photos page.
I took all sorts of advice, casual and professional, about what to replace it with, but finally thought I would just take the extension off and see how the boat handled. It handled fine. I can now release the wheel, on plane, and she tracks straight ahead; that's a big improvement! True, she is not easy to manage at slow speeds in windy conditions and in tight dockages. There are some things she cannot do. She will always back to port unless you get a few knots of "way" on, and that can't happen in congested areas. I rarely dock "stern-to" which some would consider a significant limitation, but so be it; at least I dock. She does not turn tightly, and often requires "authoritative" use of throttle. Extra pre-planning, including thinking ahead to un-docking, is required before approaching a slip.
The problem with enlarging the rudder is balance; part of the blade area (in the 25% range ... [?]) has to be ahead of the stock, and just adding an extension onto the aft edge does not accomplish that. Boaters that have done it properly have replaced the original rudder with a larger but still balanced one; there is room between the rudder post and the propeller for a moderately larger rudder. And I think most of them are quite pleased with the results.
I'm just a bit of a purist, and slightly
stubborn determined, so for the foreseeable future I'm sticking with the original rudder.
1978 Trojan F-26 Express Model 261
- L.O.A.: 26'4" - 8.03 m
- beam: 10'1.5" - 3.09 m
- draft: 27" (I measured 28.5") - .68 m
- weight (dry): 5450 lb - 2455 kg
- fuel: gasoline, 75 U.S. gal - 283 L
- Chrysler 318 cu. in. V-8, 225 hp - (~ 5.18 L, ~ 169 N)
- Borg-Warner Velvet Drive 1:1 transmission
- Propeller: "13RH10" (looks original)
- planing trim tabs
- 2 batteries (starting and deep-cycle), with switch (isolator removed)
- 2 automatic electric bilge pumps, and one manual (installed, not portable)
- shorepower with Guest 10-amp 2-bank smart-charger (summer 2007)
- pressurized cold water: 20 U.S. gal - 76 L
- custom-made anchor roller with 15 kg(!) Bruce-style anchor
- full camper canvas
- teak swim platform with ladder
- ancient but functional depth gauge (photo elsewhere)
- VHF radio
- sleeping accommodations:
- sleeps two in V-berth, two on collapsible dinette (3/4 berth)
- lots of space in cockpit for mattresses and sleeping bags!
- enclosed head:
- shower with sump pump
- Bryden toilet
- holding "bladder" in the engine room
- AC/DC Norcold refrigerator
- large open cockpit with fold-away captain's and mate's chairs
Boating Opinion Articles
As well as writing about docking, I have posted a selection of boating articles and opinion-pieces on non-docking topics. I think they're all completely fascinating and engrossing! (Otherwise, I wouldn't have written and posted them!)
A Trojan boat resources site.
...as opposed to pleasure boating. Elbert Maloney, who for many years wrote and edited Chapman Piloting, prefers to refer to private boats as recreational vs. pleasure. He conceptualizes "pleasure" as something that the heirarchy will view as indulgent, non-productive, requiring an excess of regulation, and certainly taxable. "Recreation," on the other hand, appears more healthy, wholesome, community-minded, and deserving of encouragement and promotion.
The idea seems not to have caught on, but I do see his point!
(liquid lead-acid type ...)
- SurePower - click on Electronic Brochures, and then Introduction to Batteries and Charging Systems;
- Storage Batteries - this is the one from the U.S. government. You want volume 3-6, Maintenance and Principles, available in HTML or PDF format;
- Pacific Power - this site has some good data too. Click on Battery School, then Deep Cycle Batteries, then How Do I Test... (among others). I found it by going to Google and then typing "battery charging basics."
I learned (again) that a full charge is a specific gravity ("sg") of 1.265 (in a warm environment) and a voltage of 12.65.
The other things I think I have learned recently is that a deep cycle battery accepts so much charge that an inexpensive (i.e. slow) charger can take a long time to charge it fully. But once charged, it holds a lot of power. You can tell it's charged when its specific gravity stops rising even though it's still on the charger, and, less accurately, that it's voltage stops rising. You have to let the battery rest, after charging, before taking these readings. This can take four to twelve hours (but I don't think anybody waits that long), although there are ways to speed it up (see the Pacific Power web site).
Also, get a proper three (or four) stage charger. Your batteries will last significantly longer than with older or cheaper, constant-voltage chargers.
- My links page at Boat Docking.
- Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons
- Brockville Yacht Club
- BYC Photographs by myself
- Thousand Islands Association
- Rideau Canal
- St. Lawrence Islands National Park (under "National Parks")
-upgrade your browser