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Author Topic: Hughes Northstar 26  (Read 8640 times)
dburry
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Boat Type: hughes northstar 26

« on: November 26, 2010, 06:51:49 pm »

I have owned a Hughes Northstar 26 for the past year and  my wife and I have sailed the boat extensively this past summer in the coastal waters of Conception Bay, Newfoundland.  I'm interested in any information or interesting tidbits about this boat.  I've searched many internet sites revealing little discussion about the design.  Being a Sparkman and Stephens design, I'm sure there must be some positive things about the  performance of this boat. I plan on keeping the boat for a good while and have done some extensive upgrades to her and will continue this until the boat is pristine.

Looking forward to anything anyone would like to add.
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sonosail
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 02:44:02 pm »

I have owned a Hughes Northstar 26 for the past year and  my wife and I have sailed the boat extensively this past summer in the coastal waters of Conception Bay, Newfoundland.  I'm interested in any information or interesting tidbits about this boat.  I've searched many internet sites revealing little discussion about the design.  Being a Sparkman and Stephens design, I'm sure there must be some positive things about the  performance of this boat. I plan on keeping the boat for a good while and have done some extensive upgrades to her and will continue this until the boat is pristine.

Looking forward to anything anyone would like to add.
Great Picture.  I haven't heard this boat referred to as the Northstar 26. Usually Northstar 600 or Hughes 26. Just out of curiosity, do you know what the manufacturers plate says?

Randy Browning
sailboatdata.com
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dburry
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Boat Type: hughes northstar 26

« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2010, 11:17:56 am »

The manufacturer's plate says Northstar yachts, top center and the place of manufacturing is Huron Park.  I have the boat fully covered for the winter and it was difficult to see any other text.  The boat was built in 1976 and her hull number is 73 which is stamped on the bottom right corner of the plate.  As well, the decal on both sides of the cabin is "Northstar" 

This boat was built with a factory installed liner and was fully finished inside when she left the factory.  Currently,  there is a 1GM10 Yanmar diesel installed, replacing what I believe to be a gas engine of some type.  This was not a saildrive arrangement, rather, it had a shaft exiting through the hull. So, I guess most accurately she may be referred to as the Hughes 26 or Northstar 26 or 600 like you've indicated.
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sonosail
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2010, 09:05:00 am »

I didn't mean to split hairs about the name. I think  they were originally sold either as the Northstar 600 or the Hughes 26. Seems like a great boat. derived from the earlier 1/4 ton version.  I don't know how many they made, but I think it was a popular model.  Apparently all the original company documentation was destroyed in a fire.   I don't know of any owners groups unfortunately. Maybe one on Yahoo, which I don't check that often. 
There was a guy who checked in here who was apparently in touch with Howard Hughes. I asked him to pass on some questions about some other, less well known models, but I never heard back. He has a Hughes 29.  His site is heredanceonavolcano.ca/hughes.htm

rb
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dburry
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Boat Type: hughes northstar 26

« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2010, 03:57:53 pm »

Before buying my boat I checked with a guy around here who owned a Hughes 26 for 10 plus years.  He gave the boat a very favourable recommendation and he sailed in some pretty rough conditions along Newfoundland's east coast while he owned the boat.  His opinion about the Hughes 26 positively influenced my decision to buy the one I have.  I'm only aware of three Hughes 26's in this area including my own.  My intent is to sail along the coastline and anchor every night.  I think this boat will do fine for this type of sailing.
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Philcarlson
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Boat Type: Northstar 600

« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2014, 12:48:16 pm »

I purchased (stole) a Northstar 26 this winter here in Florida. The boat had been laid up for a decade or so and pretty well cared for. The Atomic 4 had been replaced with a yanmar 2gm20(f).

We got her in the water and scrubbed the mildew off, I think she came up a couple of inches in the water as a result. The cabin layout is great. More to repair than replace.

Sailed her down to Tampa from Steinhatchee - took 4 days and got caught in some NASTY weather. Intellectually I knew the boat was solid, but now I know first hand that she'll can keep me safe in 12 foot seas. 

Would love to chat with other owners. 
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dburry
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Boat Type: hughes northstar 26

« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 02:30:59 am »

Well, I'm still sailing mine I initially started this thread and the boat is serving me well.  As a coastal cruiser, she can handle all the weather I intend to sail in and she handles heavy weather very well.  Being a Sparkman and Stephens design, she has a lot going for her.  From my research about the boat's design, she's an early IOR quarter ton design and is a development of the earlier Northstar 500 built by Hughes. If you want to find out more about the sea keeping abilities of the 500, google "early IOR quarter ton and heavy weather " and you well get a thread on sailnet by a guy who lived and sailed on one for several years.
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rcamp
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 08:24:44 am »

North Star 26 owners,
I took delivery of a new North Star 26 from the factory in August 1976. Huron Park was on the site of a WW II airfield NW of London, Ontario. The head of the company at that time was Ted Lane who had a record of successes as a competitive sailor.
North Star Yachts  was a successor to the original Hughes operation. It went through a succession of ownership changes involving Hughes, Great Lakes Steel, a consortium of local investors and ended, if I recall correctly, as Aura yachts building some Columbia models as well as some S&S designs.
The NS 500 was a 1/4 tonner but was soon outdated by lighter designs. It had a fairly flat deck and usual power was an Atomic 4.
The 600 was much the same boat with greater freeboard and a raised cabin. The NS 26 kept the same hull but with reduced draft and a shorter rig. The later models of the 26 had an enclosed head compartment rather than the head under the V berth.
The standard power for the NS 26 was an Atomic 2, a less common Universal product with adequate power and wonderful fuel economy.
My experience with the 26 sailing on Lake Huron was generally enjoyable and positive. The only problem was repeated transmission failure. In three seasons I had five different units in the boat. The original was a direct drive as were the next three. Probably not a good choice. The last was a reduction drive unit which required modification of the engine bed and a new prop. After significant frustration with transmission problems, 2-footitis set in an I traded up to a larger boat.
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sonosail
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 09:08:10 am »

North Star 26 owners,
I took delivery of a new North Star 26 from the factory in August 1976. Huron Park was on the site of a WW II airfield NW of London, Ontario. The head of the company at that time was Ted Lane who had a record of successes as a competitive sailor.
North Star Yachts  was a successor to the original Hughes operation. It went through a succession of ownership changes involving Hughes, Great Lakes Steel, a consortium of local investors and ended, if I recall correctly, as Aura yachts building some Columbia models as well as some S&S designs.
The NS 500 was a 1/4 tonner but was soon outdated by lighter designs. It had a fairly flat deck and usual power was an Atomic 4.
The 600 was much the same boat with greater freeboard and a raised cabin. The NS 26 kept the same hull but with reduced draft and a shorter rig. The later models of the 26 had an enclosed head compartment rather than the head under the V berth.
The standard power for the NS 26 was an Atomic 2, a less common Universal product with adequate power and wonderful fuel economy.
My experience with the 26 sailing on Lake Huron was generally enjoyable and positive. The only problem was repeated transmission failure. In three seasons I had five different units in the boat. The original was a direct drive as were the next three. Probably not a good choice. The last was a reduction drive unit which required modification of the engine bed and a new prop. After significant frustration with transmission problems, 2-footitis set in an I traded up to a larger boat.
Great information.  Thanks for sharing it.
I may have some questions if you find the time.
rb
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rcamp
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2014, 10:21:30 am »

I would be glad to take a shot at questions if I can. A comment to dburry: Congratulations on the appearance of your boat. It looks great.
The freeboard of the 26 made it quite dry for a boat of its size. The only thing about the hull that made me nervous was the considerable tumble home, a S&S trademark. It was OK at anchor or a mooring but made the topsides quite vulnerable at a dock. The hull itself was built like a tank. It was not a fancy lay-up process but came out of a chopper gun. The shape required that it be built in two halves which were taken out of the molds, fastened together and more layers added. The result was strong but heavy and my 26 helped me win the "most enthusiastic sailor" award at one of the lake Huron regattas.
The deck was not too bad, but had a couple of gaps between the gelcoat and the glass underneath. A few other quirks were a bit annoying: no anchor locker, no cockpit locker and the fuel fill on the cockpit floor. These were no doubt shortcuts that helped keep the price down. It sailed well but not fast and sometimes cruising that was important when the transmission packed it in. It was certainly a more comfortable boat than others its size at that time.
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dburry
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Boat Type: hughes northstar 26

« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2014, 05:10:43 pm »

It’s very interesting how there’s such low response to this boat.  I started this thread in 2010 and the above comments are the only ones since my initial posting.  Surely, someone else besides us few owners have something interesting to share about this boat. 
I have seen on numerous sails ads how the Hughes 26 is a good heavy weather vessel but no one says how they know that.  I sail in a pretty rugged area with some pretty rotten conditions at times and I need to know whether this boat can handle it.  Thankfully, I’ve been able to prove that she can. 
Comparing her to other 26 footers in her class, I would guess she handles the rough stuff as well as, or better than those other designs. This is based on my personal research only as I've sailed on few other boats.
My boat has finally seen all the the improvements and upgrades any boat her age deserves.  The only thing remaining for me to do now is refinishing the deck with possibly a paint job as well as some other cosmetic improvements down below.  I’m pleased to say that the boat looks very good and shows a strong sense of owner’s pride. 
To rcamp,  I solved the anchor locker problem on my boat by installing an anchor roller fabricated by Stainless Outfitters.  Thankfully, it looks very good and makes anchoring safe and convenient.
My Northstar 600 was purchased in early 2000's from Aurelia, Ontario as was previously named "Last Escape".  She's now named "Twillick"  a local name in Newfoundland  of a shorebird properly named Greater Yellowlegs. I'm now the third and longest owner since she made her trek to Newfoundland.
Rcamp, thanks for your historical tidbit on the Hughes layup...I had no idea.  Were the others designs laid up the same way, or just the smaller 26?
If anyone else has some interesting stories they’d like to share, bring them on.  Us others Hughes 26 owners would love to hear about them. 
« Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 05:28:16 pm by dburry » Logged
rcamp
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 08:49:18 am »

One other bit that comes to mind is the lack of a compression post under the mast in the NS 26. When I was visiting the factory prior to ordering the boat, Ted Lane pointed out the absence of a support post under the mast step. He felt that the location of the bulkhead under the step provided sufficient support, but his comments made it seem as though it was something about which I might be concerned. I don't know of anyone who had any problem with this, but with an older boat it might be worth keeping an eye on.
The closest I came to any serious hazard with the boat came from the engine compartment. After participating in a race, I started the engine. A crew member reported smelling gasoline fumes. Being young and overconfident, I dismissed the idea, but the crew member was insistent. I reluctantly went below to check it out and found the rubber fuel line cut half through and spewing raw gasoline beside the running engine. Quickly cutting the ignition and then thoroughly washing down the bilge allowed us to make a temporary repair and return to harbour. The fuel line had been rubbing on the rough edge of the engine cover and had been cut by the rough fibreglass.
It is difficult for me to comment on the heavy weather sailing qualities. The seas on the Great Lakes are generally steep and close together compared to those on the ocean. I had no problems in those conditions. I did not have occasion to test it in our most severe weather, the line squalls that sometime generate winds 70 knots plus for a relatively short period of time.
It has been a long time since I owned that boat. I still have a C&C product that I have had for many years and should have sold by now. If I remember any other bits that might be of interest I will post them.
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rcamp
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 08:09:44 am »

BTW, a Google of Ted Lane and North Star brings up a site for Ted Lane Marine Enterprises in Bridgewater, NS. He is providing services as a qualified marine surveyor. It also brings up a newspaper clipping relating to the financial problems of the company.
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rcamp
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2014, 08:49:08 pm »

A correction to one of my earlier posts: the owner of the North Star operation at one point was US Steel, not Great Lakes Steel.
An account comes to mind from some years ago. At least two of the production people stayed in the boat business following the demise of North Star. One of them told me of installing a new motor in a 26. The installation required cutting a hole in the bottom of the hull. The experience reminded him just how solidly they were built. I recall him saying the area he cut was close to two inches thick.
Another unusual feature was the installation of the Atomic 2. Roughly half an Atomic 4, it was mounted on rubber pads as though it were a diesel and, with the direct drive had a LH rotation prop. Although only 2 cylinders, it was extremely smooth and quiet. It also had a starting wheel on the front and could be rope started like an old outboard if necessary.
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sonosail
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2014, 08:03:11 am »

Yes, I was wondering about that.  I had heard that it was US Steel.
From part of my blurb about Hughes Boatsworks,
"......The name of the company was changed to Northstar Yachts Ltd.
The Northstar line of sailboats were built to plans commissioned by Hughes Boat Works, most drawn by Sparkman and Stevens.
From 1971 to 1974 the company built the NORTHSTAR 22 - 22 ft, NORTHSTAR 500 - 25 ft (Sparkman & Stevens design #2135 ), NORTHSTAR 1000 - 30 ft (S&S design #2098-C6), NORTHSTAR 1500 - 35 ft (S&S design #2166), NORTHSTAR 38, and NORTHSTAR 80/20 (S&S design #2134). The 24 ft NS727 and the 30 ft N900 (both designed by Bruce Farr) were introduced in 1973.
In 1977 Howard Hughes purchased Northstar Yachts and changed the name to Hughes Boatworks Inc (the first Hughes Boatworks name ended with "Ltd.". The NORTHSTAR 600 was modified and named the H26. A new model called the H27 was introduced. The NORTHSTAR 1000 was stretched (by extending the stern) and fattened and renamed the H31. The NORTHSTAR 1500 was renamed the H35, the NORTHSTAR 38 was fitted with a new interior design and called the HUGHES 38-2, and the NORTHSTAR 80/20 was renamed the H40.
A variant of the HORTHSTAR 35 was built by Coronado Yachts and called the CORONADO 36...."

Your commentary is so interesting that I'm going to add an additional builder record for Norstar  Yachts.
I would like to include this information if you don't mind.

Randy Browning
sailboatdata.com
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