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This is my Abbott 36, Razzmatazz.

She’s an exciting boat to sail, nice to look at, and surprisingly comfortable to spend time on. I bought her in November of 2013, and while I don’t regret buying her, I can tell you I don’t recommend buying a boat in November in Nova Scotia – waiting the winter out with a boat you’ve never been out sailing on is a drag!

She was built in 1987, and first owned by Dr. Danny Macintosh, my partner’s father (that’s a good story, but I’ll get to it later). My understanding is that Bill Abbott of Abbott Boats designed the 36 in response to a desire by some of the sailors of their very popular Abbott 33 for a similar boat, but with standing headroom, as the 33 was a great boat to sail and race, but not so comfy for spending more time aboard. She is, like the 33, a narrow, deep, fast boat: at 10′ wide she’s much narrower than most modern 30 footers. For a relatively lightweight boat (D/L: 183) she is surprisingly comfortable as she shoulders aside waves more easily than a wide boat could. She’s also very deep, with a 7′ fin keel, which means that while she heels easily initially, she stiffens up quickly.

When I was a kid my parents bought an Abbott 22 as their first boat, when I was 7, and then we spent weeks aboard, sailing around the Saint John River system in New Brunswick, Canada. My Dad is a violinist, and his gig at that point was as one of the University of New Brunswick musicians in residence, so he a pretty easy schedule in summer, when the university was slow – a few summer camps to teach at, and a lot of time to spend sailing. This is the genesis of my sailing bug, and it was on an Abbott.

I lived in Toronto for a time in the mid-90’s, and developed a habit of renting a sailboat for the Canada Day long weekend. One of those years, after signing up for the rental, I spotted an Abbott 22 on the dock and struck up a conversation with the owner, who pointed out that I shouldn’t bother renting when it was so inexpensive to just buy one. Well, I don’t know who that guy was, but it took me all of about two weeks to close a deal on Pegasus, my own first boat, an Abbott 22.

Abbott makes great boats – that 22 was somehow bigger in both the cockpit and the cabin than she had any right to be, and sailed faster than pretty much everything else even close to its size. I had a lot of fun owning her in Toronto and then in Halifax, and years later when I saw Razzmatazz sail by (by that time I had sold Pegasus, bought Swallow, sold Swallow and bought Weatherbird), I knew what she was and thought that would make me a great boat one day. Later still, lo and behold she came on the market, and I was smitten. I bought her and have never regretted it. The first year of owning her I took some gear off as it wasn’t in use – including the propane tanks, as the system wasn’t safe. The tanks had “Macintosh” written on them in permanent marker, and I wondered if that could be Heather Macintosh’s family… Google to the rescue, and sure enough it was – they were the first owners, I was the fourth. I bumped into Heather’s sister, Kate, at Chester Race Week that summer and pointed out that I had their old boat and we should get out on her for a sail. That took another couple of years to transpire, but in the summer of 2016, Kate sailed on Razz a few times, and when Heather was in town in August, suggested that she might come out as well. She did, and it took us until Christmas to become a couple, and the rest is history, as they say.

Since owning her I’ve replaced or added equipment as follows:

  • 2021
    • Saloon table
    • Solar vent in head
    • .5 oz spinnaker
    • 2x group 31 marine batteries
    • Victron MPPT 75/15 solar charge controller
  • 2020
    • Dodger
    • Winter cover
    • Anchor roller, hawsepipe
    • Rocna 15 anchor
    • 3 burner Force 10 stove with oven
    • New propane system – sniffer/solenoid shut off
    • Replace both manual bilge pumps
    • New mainsheet – Antal 4-to-1 with 12-to-1 fine tune
    • 3x Blue Performance line/winch handle bags in cockpit
  • 2019
    • EPIRB
    • Some cabin lights updated to LED
    • LED steaming/foredeck light
    • Jacklines
    • 2x 20 gallon Plastic flexible water tanks (1 installed)
    • Fortress FX-16 anchor (now used as spare)
    • Replace fore hatch plexiglas
    • Jib car replacement with Garhauer – much easier to adjust under load
  • 2018
    • New rudder with carbon fibre rudder post
  • 2017
    • 50% of running rigging replaced
    • Instrumentation – Raymarine i70:
      • 3 display units
      • Wind speed/direction, depth, speed, water temp
    • VHF: iCOM M506 with AIS, RAM mike in cockpit
    • vYacht router makes instrumentation data available over wifi
    • Victron BMV-700 battery monitor
    • Rebuild fuel tank
    • Replace stuffing box hose and packing
    • Replace head with new Jabsco
  • 2016
    • Racing main and 100% jib
    • 50% of running rigging replaced
    • Retorque and rebed keel bolt nuts
    • All new standing rigging including dyneema backstays
  • 2015
    • Roller furler: Harken MKIV
    • Roller furling genoa (foam luff and white UV cover)
    • Lewmar 46ST self-tailing primaries
    • Raymarine EV-100 Tiller Pilot (autopilot)
  • 2014
    • Raymarine e7d chartplotter
    • Raymarine radar
    • 40W solar panel
    • Replace head plumbing
    • Replace mast wiring
    • LED anchor light

Published in Boats My Boats