Columbia 26 Mk2
Innovations, Improvements, & Features

Note: This page is not just about my boat. It's about your boat also. If you have pictures of great innovations, & improvements on your Columbia 26 Mk2, send them to me with descriptions so I can perhaps use them on this page. Email me at

Otis B. Driftwood - owned by Blair L. Arden

This view of the starboard deck shows a number of innovations and improvements. (#1) This line adjusts our genoa lead car on the inboard track. The line has a 3-1 pull on the car. The car rides on ball bearings which allow it to be easily adjusted under load. The car has a wide ball bearing sheave elevated 3" - 4" above the deck. This does 2 things. It allows the sheet to run into the winch at the right level, and it allows a possible kink or knot to move past the sheave on a tack. Ahead of the Harken track is another track for our #3 & #4 jibs. Our jib sheet is a continuous 7/16" Spectra cored line with a clew shackle spliced into the middle. This allows the jibs to go past the shrouds without hanging up on the knots. While the jib sheet could be 3/8", going to the next size up makes it easier on the crew’s hands. The Spectra core keeps the jib trim from changing, even in a puff. (#2) This is our staysail sheet. It is always rigged. We fly a staysail from 60º to 150º apparent wind angle. (#3) This is our preventer. It runs forward through a stanchion base and when we use it, to an attachment point on the boom. Its primary use is to stabilize the boom in light air or rolling conditions. (#4) This line is our twing adjustment line. The twing is a block on the spinnaker sheet to adjust its lead angle. When the sheet is acting as a guy, or on a run, the block is down on the track. As we turn from a run to a close reach the twing rises till it has no effect or pull at about 60º apparent wind angle. The twing is the block on the yellow sheet up by the stanchion. It is a Holt Allen block that opens to remove it from the sheet if necessary. The spinnaker sheet is Yale Light which has a Spectra/Polypro core. This greatly reduces the stretch when the pole is almost on the forestay. In situations when we are jib reaching, we also clip the spinnaker sheet to the jib clew as an outboard jib sheet. The twing then adjusts the lead angle. (Other notes) The whitish line running just inside the rail is the foreguy running up to the foredeck. You will also notice we still use the original Merriman winches.

Otis B. Driftwood

This is a view of the stern. (#1) This is a hydraulic cylinder to adjust backstay tension. We started with a small Enerpac cylinder. A stainless piston was tooled to the specs of the original steel piston and used instead. The pump was modified to allow the pump to be under the cockpit seat, but the handle to be in the cockpit. The pump and cylinder are connected by a 6' hose with a pressure gauge calibrated to measure true backstay tension. At its max, we have 2250 lbs. on the backstay. (#2) This is our recently updated mainsheet system. The added block and cleat on the metal straps give us an 8 -1 fine tune. (#3) Before I put this shock cord here it was not unusual for the mainsheet, or the traveler control line, to fall against the stern behind the tiller. With the shock cord, the lines stay on top of the tiller so I can grab them fast, and adjust them while keeping my eyes forward. (#4) Bart Simpson, of course.

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This page last modified October 27, 1998