Tartan 27

Though there are limitations to the Tartan 27, in many ways she is typical of the best of used boats.

The Tartan 27 went into production in 1961 with fiberglass boatbuilding in its toddler stage; production ceased in 1980, after 19 years interrupted only by a fire in 1972 that resulted in no 27s being built that year. The greatest number of 27s built in one year is 85; the year was 1964. In all, 712 Tartan 27s were built, including a dozen boats under license in California. Remarkably few significant changes were made to the boat until near the end of the long production run, after hull #650.
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Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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