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Contessa Yachts – a potted history

When Jeremy Rogers and David Sadler created their first sketches of a modest, affordable, sailing boat, little did they suspect that almost half a century later, their creations would still be turning heads, let alone still being produced.

Contessa 32

Good looks, rugged strength, and excellent sailing qualities are some of the qualities that are synonymous with the Contessa Yacht stable. Few other craft have ever inspired such affection amongst past and present owners and crew.

Jeremy Rogers started in business in 1961, and within ten years had one of the most successful boat manufacturing companies in Britain.

Contessa yacht production included boats ranging in size from the traditional 26 to the Doug Peterson-designed Grand Prix 35s, 39s and 43s, many of which were exported to a worldwide market eager for his innovative and beautifully finished yachts.

The two most popular Contessa yachts were the sprightly Contessa 26 and the hugely successful Contessa 32. Today at the Lymington, Hampshire yard the much-loved Contessa 32 is still being built, adding to the 650 or so already sailing all over the world. Jeremy Rogers Limited is also the sole supplier of original Contessa accessories and spares.

Contessa Yachts By Jeremy Rogers from RMP Filmmakers on Vimeo.

Contessa 32 Yachts

The Contessa 32 is a well-proven and enduring design, considered to be the benchmark yacht at their time and now enjoying true classic yacht status. Although popular for one-design and club racing, they are easy to handle and fun to sail, with many being used for short-handed long-distance cruising

The Contessa 32 was designed by David Sadler in 1970 in response to demand for a larger version of his popular Contessa 26, which had been launched by the Jeremy Rogers boatyard 5 years earlier.

The first two hulls were moulded by Jeremy Rogers in the same year. The Contessa 32 was an immediate success at the London Boat Show in 1971, winning ‘Boat of the Show’ and securing numerous orders.

Demand rapidly outstripped production and, while new production facilities were built, the waiting list ran to 2 years. In the next decade, the Rogers’ yard built 500 Contessa 32s and when production stopped in 1983, over 700 had been built and sold around the world.

Between 1983 and 1990, an additional 87 were built under licence by J.J. Taylor of Canada after a hull and deck were shipped out and new moulds were made. These ‘Canadian Contessas’ had several production differences: the tiller was replaced with a wheel, the rig was 3 feet taller, more GRP mouldings replaced wood in the cabins and a “coremat” cored deck replaced the solid deck.

At least 2 other Contessa 32s were built by MacBar Marine in Poole in 1986 and about 15 more were built between 1988 and 1995 by Mike Slack. In 1996, after rebuilding his bankrupt business from scratch, Jeremy Rogers was able to buy back the moulds, restore them and resume production on a bespoke, hand-crafted basis.

The first of these ‘new Contessas’, Wild Call, was built in 1996. By 2010 another 20 had been built including the Rogers’ family boat, Calypso, which was exhibited at the Southampton Boat Show that year. A 2012 update to the specification saw the Contessa being offered in three models, the Pure, Expedition and Classic.

Drag Reducing Propellers for Contessa Yachts

Darglow have supplied drag reducing props for a number of models in the Contessa range. We keep an expanding database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.

Check our full list of Contessa we have supplied propellers to here.

Contessa Manufacturer & Class Association

Jeremy Rogers – Boat Builders and Composite Specialists – https://www.jeremyrogers.co.uk/

Contessa 32 Class Association – https://www.co32.org/

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