John is the "Another Opinion - Cruising World Magazine" contact for the Columbia 28 because, he says, "Quite frankly, I'm very fond of the boat." Here's what he has to say:
Since August 1986 when I purchased hull #269 (a Columbia 28 MK II), my wife and I have logged several thousand (give or take a few hundred) miles on Lake Lanier, a 42,000 acre reserviour near Atlanta. We raced for 15 years in a Flying Scot before Lagniappe (#269) and still race now but not as competitively. We enjoy day sailing, cruising, sailing at night and all other aspects of sailing and living in our second home.
Lagniappe has a 9.9 hp outboard in the "well" which I have enclosed with a wood and canvas hatch cover. This keeps the motor out of sight and deadens engine noise, yet provides ventilation and a neat appearance in the cockpit. She has a bimini mounted on the sail tracks, which allow it to move fore and aft (a nice feature). I have an old Taylor folding ladder with mounting brackets on the stern, on the starboard side, and on the starboard bow. The bow mount allows me to nose ashore, then use the ladder to step to dry land or at worse, shallow water.
I have pulled Lagniappe four times to overhaul the bottom. I have painted the hull and topsides, replaced one seacock, and raised the water line slightly. When I reupholstered the cushions, I split the port quarter berth cushion to allow easy access to the battery, etc. I installed a vented door in the starboard quarter berth locker for easy access as well. The large dinette table was replaced with a smaller table with a rounded end to allow easier access and seating. Weep holes were drilled in all lockers to allow drainage to the bilge. I replaced the alcohol stove with a simple propane one and made a top that serves as counter space and a serving tray. I added a foot pump in the galley (my wife still gives me extra points for that jewel).
I installed an anchor line hole fitting (hawse pipe) to allow the forepeak locker to house the anchor rode and chain. Some people use a five-gallon bucket in that locker if the rode is nasty - that keeps the trash from draining into the bilge. We have a cabin stereo with speakers in the main cabin, the v-berth and in my custom cover over the front of the stern/engine locker. Buffett, Marley and my favorite blues artists always sound better on the boat underway or at anchor in a quiet cove.
I understand that Columbia 28's have cruised to Bermuda, the Bahamas, most Caribbean ports and Hawaii. They have crossed the Great Lakes, got lost in the Thousand Islands and been host to millions of romantic moments. Even one was reported to have been knocked down in the infamous Fastnet Storm, took on two feet of seawater but sailed home safely.
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