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This boat arrived at my shop last night for a bottom job and some restoration work. Boat name is Vixen-hull #28. New owner is going to race PHRF this summer and figure the boat out. 
 

Anything to know about the history of the boat or it’s sailing characteristics would be of interest since I know nothing about this one design other than it is drop dead gorgeous.

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Apparently the Columbia 5.5's didn't rate in correctly, hence the addition of a cabin top to create the Sabre.

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Columbia's mid 60s attempt at a one design 5.5 meter, based on an Olympic winning 5.5 design out of Sweden. They built about 40 of them. There is an active one design fleet of about 8-10 boats still racing in the Oakland/Alameda estuary. Not particularly fast, but fun in flat water against other 5.5s. having said that there is a guy who does Antigua Classics in his. Somewhat active Facebook page for the estuary fleet here, that has links to articles and history if you dig around. 

https://www.facebook.com/columbia-55-sailboats-123504940241

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3 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Apparently the Columbia 5.5's didn't rate in correctly, hence the addition of a cabin top to create the Sabre.

There is always a remedy to make a boat measure to class rules. I heard that it was out-designed 5.5 meter-wise and that dog simply wouldn't hunt. Not worth the money to build new tooling.

They tried to drum up support for an active one-design class but the boat wasn't good enough sailer to convince buyers to build the number of boats needed for a healthy class. An Etchells or IOD would be a better choice.

Classic case of a boat that looks better than it is.

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No opinion on the boat itself. I sailed one "back in the day, it was OK but nowhere near as responsive as a Shields.  Let alone a soling.

But for the love of all that's holy, couldn't they center the name on the transom?  #OCD

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On 5/23/2021 at 1:44 PM, sledracr said:

But for the love of all that's holy, couldn't they center the name on the transom?  #OCD

#CDO.  It's pretty much the same thing as #OCD but with the letters rearranged in alphabetical order.

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It's a character boat, and as with most of those, sailed by characters. We used to race against them on the Estuary, they rated pretty much the same as us and the J-24 & Merit 25 though usually in different fleets. 

Made for some really big swings when conditions changed and our Sacred Lady of Waterline Length manifested her benevolence, and the Djinn of Agile Tacking was banished for a race.

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22 hours ago, Gigantasy said:

I believe that yellow one is currently for sale, as well. 

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/boa/d/alameda-columbia-55-meter/7321995588.html

 

I know that boat. It is nice. the sails are good too.

They are lovely in the Oakland Estuary. 

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I have to admit that, even with the leaves, dirt and mostly missing bottom paint, it is a sexy looking boat. 
 

Tiny rudder...wide tacking angles, I suppose.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Let me just say, this boat can be a PHRF winner in a windy venue.. Having raced against an impeccably prepared Columbia Sabre - same boat with a cabin (ha ha) - on a Soverel 33, I can tell you that it goes upwind in a breeze like a banshee. Downwind, square the pole and aim straight for the mark. Trust me, heating it up and playing the angles is slow, slow, slow unless you're herding. The Soverel would always beat the Sabre to leeward mark, but the Sabre would kill it upwind in over 15 knots.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/4/2021 at 12:20 PM, Bull City said:

@Sail4beer Is the one in your yard the open boat or the Saber?

Bull, it’s #28, the open deck model. I’m fact, it’s the boat pictured here. Launched yesterday and ready for the first Wednesday night race.

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46 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

Bull, it’s #28, the open deck model. I’m fact, it’s the boat pictured here. Launched yesterday and ready for the first Wednesday night race.

 

Very handsome. Several years ago, when I was moving from the J22 to what turned out to be the H-Boat, I had a brief flirtation with a refurbished Saber that was in Rhode Island. The miles and miles of brightwork ultimately turned me away. I remember one of the Anarchists, who had owned one, said that "they point like a tourist."

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That was the case this evening! He sailed with the J-100’s upwind and lost ground downwind with no wisker pole, yet still finished 5th over the line behind the 2J’s, a Schock 35 and a Morgan 40, so he may have finished 2nd or 3rd.

 

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48 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

That was the case this evening! He sailed with the J-100’s upwind and lost ground downwind with no wisker pole, yet still finished 5th over the line behind the 2J’s, a Schock 35 and a Morgan 40, so he may have finished 2nd or 3rd.

 

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What rating did they give the boat?

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Classic lines a bit like the Shields, w/similar weight & length. Columbia in this era built stout boats, so probably does well in a big breeze and chop similar to a Dragon (which is a better performer all around is my guess)

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That's not what happened. They petitioned the international 5.5m class for inclusion (hull #1, which doesn't meet the spec - has a deeper draft and races in the estuary, wasn't to standard but the rest were) and they were declined on account of not being traditionally carvel planked vessels which was a requirement at the time.

They pivoted to trying to turn it into a one design class and when that didn't work they slapped a cabin on the top and tried to make it a cruiser to recoup the development costs. Lovely boat, moderately competitive in the progressive design fleet though certainly not the best of her vintage (I have certainly beat an international 5.5 meter in a Columbia though). Super fun and active fleet in the Oakland estuary.

Not at all responsive, that's for sure. Elegance over agility with this one. Not a slow or underperforming design though, I think the official 177 PHRF rating is probably wrong. Points like the dickens, but you steer it with the main more than the tiller when rounding marks.

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I’ll find out the rating and get back. He’s the guy who rates the boats around here and he was going to give it a lower rating to see where the boat finishes and adjust it if the boat was too slow. It was not slow compared to most of the fleet.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a dockside video of his first start with his wife as crew and it is a dead sexy boat under sail. I’ll try to make a YouTube page to upload all our Wednesday night race clips that I can video on water during the races including his. I am trying to win races at the same time, so…

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/17/2021 at 12:03 PM, Sail4beer said:

I’ll find out the rating and get back.

Any further word on this?

On 6/17/2021 at 12:03 PM, Sail4beer said:

He’s the guy who rates the boats around here and he was going to give it a lower rating to see where the boat finishes and adjust it if the boat was too slow.

I can never understand why people say PHRF is not a credible handicapping system. :P

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I raced with him last Sunday. Owner had me drive so he could figure out the jib settings. It blew 17-20 and we ate through the fleet with a dropped traveller, tight main with vang and good backstay pressure and won. No helm pressure at all. Always round that boat up to gain boat length and speed when the lift or header hits when at hull speed.
 

I should have worked the backstay more when the breeze lessened, but the boat is a monster when sailed hard!

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