Custom Columbia 33

Manufactured by:

Columbia Sailing Yachts

Division of Glass Marine Industries, Inc.

849 West 18th Street, Costa Mesa, California - 714 646-0221

Wesley & Jackson Sts., Portsmouth, Virginia

Evidently this was a very low production factory special. Here is what I was told by Paul Tobias of Racine, WI.

I was digging around on the 'net to see if I could find information on a boat named "Vamoose" that I sailed on about 20 years ago, and I ended up on the Columbia site.

I was the relief helmsman on the 1984 HOOK Race, a 200-mile jaunt up Lake Michigan, in which we had the pleasure of taking the overall honors.

The boat was (and I think still is, wherever she is) a Custom Columbia 33, but absolutely nothing like the C-33 cruising boat. According to the owner, she was designed by Tripp & Eddy, and only three or four were built in about 1974. One of them sank in SF Bay. (My main Columbia source - a former employee - says there was a fellow named Eddy who worked for Columbia and was a big racer, so the Tripp - Eddy heritage sounds right. -Eric )

The owner had told me that the boat was actually an extended 30' Columbia with an intimidating aluminum bowsprit and a couple of feet added at the stern, with an outboard rudder. The rig was quite tall, and the beam was about 9'. Scary downwind in a breeze!

We won a lot of races with this boat, from about 1980 to 1984. I think she's still on Lake Michigan.

Here is a photo of the boat, taken during the 1981 Chicago-Mac race - I'm the guy in red on the helm. Incidentally, we lost the mast before we finished, after an upper spreader failed following a long night of howling 40-50 knot winds.

Here is a photo enlargement of the bow. The "sprit" was fixed, anodized aluminum, about 3/4" thick, protruding about 10-12" forward at the deck level, and tapering inward down, and ending at the boot stripe. It was braced laterally with horizontal triangles extending back to the bow lights. No one ever came near our bow!

Another one surfaces, this time on Lake Mead. New Horizon. Ken in Las Vegas says, "My Columbia 33 was made in Costa Mesa. I know it was Columbia's attempt to build an ultralight. All original sails are North dated 1974."

Note that this boat has the anodized aluminum bow sprit, but not the transom hung rudder.

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