Notable Columbia 43s

Photo courtesy the Blatterman Family.

Encore, Distant Dreamer

Encore was first in class and 11th in fleet when she sailed in the 1971 Transpac. Before that she had success racing in California. Then she was purchased by, Gil Budar, who raced her with great success in Hawaii.

"I still miss her," says Lee Budar-Danoff, Budar's daughter. "I grew up on Encore. I did the Clipper Cup Series on her when I was 12 in '78 (ran main!), raced with my dad, shared wahine races with my mom (I took upwind, she took downwind, and we shared the reaches).

Encore, photo by Phil Uhl made the July 1978 cover of Motor Boating & Sailing. A framed photo hangs in the dining room of Waikiki Yacht Club.

Columbia 43 hull number one Alcyone.


Alcyone is distinctive because she was built with a cut down Columbia 50 deck on her. She really looks different, in a custom, cool way. She has a few inches less freeboard, which really makes her sleek looking . Putting a Columbia 50 deck on the Columbia 43 isn't as weird as it sounds. Both boats have the same maximum beam (12 feet 3 inches) and the 50's waterline is only a foot more than the 43. Of course both boats were designed by Bill Tripp.

The story goes that the first hull was sold to the commodore of the Marina del Rey Yacht Club. He was friends with the president of Columbia Yachts so when he said he wanted the new 43 hull with a Columbia 50 deck, that's what he got. It is a wonderful and unique boat with many custom features beautifully executed. David and Betsy have owned her for 12 years. Alcyone couldn't have better stewards.

In Greek myth, Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind. A very cool name for a unique sailboat. Read more about her here and here.

Stumppy J

The Stumppy J finished the 2013 Transpac race on July 22, 2013 with an elapsed time of 14 days, 11 hours, 33 minutes and 35 seconds. She was sixth in Division 8, the same division as another, more-famous old timer, the 52-foot Sparkman & Stevens yawl Dorade. Built in 1930,won the Transpac in 1936 and took top honors in 2013 as well.

Ed Stumpp, the owner and skipper of the Stumppy J, planned from the time he bought the boat to enter it in the Transpac. He used Southern California races as a warm-up and did well. The Stumppy J made an impressive debut on the ocean racing PHRF Southern California scene with a third-place finish in the 2013 Border Run Race (Newport Beach to San Diego) and a come-from-behind first-place victory in the Catalina Island Series Race Number Four (Isthmus Cove to Long Beach), beating the winner of the Newport to Ensenada race by 35 seconds. Read more about the Transpac race here.

Blue Norther became a television star in her 40s.

Blue Norther a.k.a Amanda

The Columbia 43 Blue Norther can be seen most Saturdays on the waters of Santa Monica Bay not far from her slip at the 1700 finger in Marina Del Rey. You can also see her in the 2012-2013 second season of the ABC television show "Revenge" starring as the sailboat Amanda.

There are some really nice shots of her sailing and even some interior shots. In one climactic episode she even explodes and sinks (not for real, I hope).

One of the weird things about the television show was that a Hinckley 48 played the part of  the sailboat Amanda in the first season. For some reason the producers switched boats in the second season. A Columbia 43 isn't a bad replacement for a Hinckley 48 because they were both designed by Bill Tripp. Read more about it here and here.

Craig Shaw's Columbia 43, Adios, sailing on the Columbia River.

Adios: Maybe the fastest Columbia 43

Adios, a 1969 Columbia 43, sails out of Tomahawk Island in Portland, Ore. She has been part of the Shaw family for more than 30 years and is now the home of Craig Shaw. Craig raced with his father and then as the owner in several Pacific Cup races from San Francisco to Hawaii. Dozens of offshore and local racing awards cover one bulkhead in the boat. Adios is also a regular in the Baha Haha, a cruising rally that sails from San Diego to the Sea of Cortez every year at the end of October. Photos of Adios and Shaw have graced several covers of Latitude 38, the magazine that sponsors the rally.

Shaw, who works as a professional yacht rigger, recalls one sail bringing Adios back from 1988 Pacific Cup race. As he headed back home to Oregon, the boat was surfing at speeds up to 15.5 knots under a small headsail only.

From the letters section of Latitude 38 magazine October 2008:

I hope that you're still accepting reports of top monohull speeds, for in June of '89, while bringing my parents' Columbia 43 Adios, which I now own, back from the '88 Pacific Cup, we hit 15.5 knots. The anemometer was pegged at 50 knots at the time, and all we had up was a small headsail. I was driving and screaming, "F...., what are we doing out here!?" The wind was blowing the tops off the waves and the whole ocean was white frothy foam. The bow came out of the water and there was nothing but spray from the shrouds aft! We made great time in the direction of the mighty Columbia River.

Craig Shaw
Adios, Columbia 43

Destiny has a unique keel, a club-footed staysail and other modifications, along with a rich cruising history.


Destiny, a 1971 Columbia 43, was the liveaboard home for Gerry Waterson for more than a decade. He cruised her to Maine, Nova Scotia, England, the Jersey Isles, Canary Islands, Azores, Windward and Leeward Islands, Pueto Rico, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Florida and the Chesapeake Bay.

Gerry drew up a shorter keel with a streamlined bulb on the end to reduce the draft from 6 feet, 11 inches to 5 feet and Columbia built it for him. He also added a club-footed staysail, a large stainless steel bow roller and several other modifications during his years cruising the boat. Gerry is now engaged in restoring Destiny to her former glory. More information is here.

Distant Dreamer sails in Japanese waters.

Distant Dreamer

Mike Snyder owns Distant Dreamer in Yokohama, Japan, where he lives. He has worked hard on her getting her in top shape. As he nears retirement he is considering putting her up for sale.

The stern of Distant Dreamer is on the Hydrovane web site with a Hydrovane mounted on it. Snyder says the Hydrovane works superbly.


  1. I have owned a Columbia 43 since 1970 and have sailed to Maine, Nova Scotia, England, Jersey Isles, Canary Isles, Azores, Windward and Leeward Islands, Pueto Rico, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Florida to the Chesapeake Bay. Always loved the boat but she has fallen on hard times, such as a sinking, and general neglect. I have dreamed of resurrecting her but time, age and money have limited my attempts. I really enjoyed looking at this blog and think of what could of been. I'm 74 now and wonder if I realistically will ever bring her back to her former glory. Selling isn't a great option as I look at the investment in self tailing winches, mast fanny supports, anchor davit, sails propane stove and so on alone probably are worth more than what a refurbished 43 would cost if I sold the parts individually. Anyhow enjoyed reading what you are doing on your vessel.

  2. She sounds like a great boat with a wonderful legacy of going places. Sorry she's fallen on hard times. You're right about Columbia 43s being under valued. They are wonderful boats, but unrecognized as such. I hope a few owners can change that.

    Duke, please send some photos and more information. I'd love to list your boat among the notable Columbia 43s. Just by virtue of the miles under her keel and the places she's visited she more than qualifies. I would appreciate info about name(s), hull number and that sort of thing too.


  3. I will take some pictures and gather information on Destiny. She was documented so perhaps hull number may be on that. Also have a few yarns to tell about her travels. Do you have email address to send pics too? I don't seem to be able to do it on this blog.
    Once you see her you'll be happy about the work you have done on yours.


  4. Yes! Please! Send pics and yarns. I can hardly wait. Were you the original owner? Did Destiny do any racin? (Although I'm way more interested in cruising.) Also please comment on how the boat handles, what improvements you made or wish you made.
    My email (which was hacked last weekend, but I've since changed the password) is brandonfordus(at sign)

  5. I sent in some recent pictures of Destiny. Her active years were recorded on print film and slides. I will have to look into converting them to digital format. I resurrected the documentation papers and found that I purchased her in August of 1971. Her hull number was 111. She was at the Annapolis Boat Show and fell in love with her lines immediately as I could see she would be a great cruising boat.
    My wife and I wanted to cruise as live-aboards when we were young and not later on when age might keep us from doing so. It was a foolish decision from our parents perspective but a great one in hindsight.
    She came with a gasoline engine but we replaced it with a Westerbeke diesel. We also replaced the alcohol stove/oven with a stainless steel propane one. We also added mast steps to get to the top of the mast and was a great addition to someone sailing with limited crew.
    Just before getting ready to chuck our jobs i replaced the fuel and water tanks with bladder types and added some more in various other compartments of the vessel. We also put on a wind vane style self steering mechanism.
    Our last winter before we left I added a small firebox that burned pea coal and that provided more than enough heat on a freezing night.

    We lived and worked in the Philadelphia area while refitting Destiny into a shorthanded vessel, adding self tailing winches, a substantial anchor davit and windlass with an all chain rode, also fanny supports around the mast to facilitate sail changes. In addition we had a life raft support made for an easy toss into the ocean if need be. A boom crutch was added which was the front support for an awning that covered the entire cockpit. One last addition was a club jib which was great for sailing in high wind conditions since it was not way up at the bow and was a small sail that could even be furled into a smaller area.