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Seller's Description

This wonderful pocket cruiser has been impeccably maintained by only four owners. From the drawing boards of Chuck Paine, the Victoria Frances 26 is almost identical to the Morris Frances 26 but with added interior volume due to a cabin that reaches further forward. The Frances is a proven design capable of cruising the coast or crossing oceans. She is very well balanced and easy to sail in anything from light winds to a heavy breeze with all halyards, sheets and reef lines led back to the cockpit. This Victoria was imported by Morris Yachts and sold in 1987 to her first owners. Upgraded with a new Yanmar engine in 2006, and new cutlass bearings, PYI shaft seal, shaft, and prop in 2013. I have recently added a new Rocna Anchor, Chain Rode, Dodger, 100 watts Solar and replaced most of the canvass and halyards/Sheets.

Equipment: I have sailed this boat in Maine for the last two years - mostly solo. I purchased a bigger boat to accommodate my growing boat crew, otherwise, I this was my lifetime boat. More pictures, knowledge and a 2018 survey available.



C. W. (Chuck) Paine
Morris Yachts
Custom Build
Victoria Marine (UK)
Northshore Yachts
Francis 26 Site
# Built
Also Known As
Victoria 26, Victoria 800


Length Overall
25 11 / 7.9 m
Waterline Length
21 3 / 6.5 m
8 11 / 2.7 m
3 1 / 1 m
6,800 lb / 3,084 kg
3,500 lb / 1,588 kg (Lead)

Rig and Sails

Reported Sail Area
337′² / 31.3 m²
Total Sail Area
Sail Area
Air Draft
Sail Area
Forestay Length

Auxilary Power

Volvo / various
Fuel Type
Fuel Capacity
15 gal / 57 l
Engine Hours


Water Capacity
15 gal / 57 l
Holding Tank Capacity
4 11 / 1.5 m


Hull Speed
6.4 kn
Classic: 6.18 kn

Hull Speed

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.


Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

A more accurate formula devised by Dave Gerr in The Propeller Handbook replaces the Speed/Length ratio constant of 1.34 with a calculation based on the Displacement/Length ratio.

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio.311
Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

6.36 knots
Classic formula: 6.18 knots
Sail Area/Displacement
<16: under powered

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.


SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64)2/3

  • SA: Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D: Displacement in pounds.
<16: under powered
16-20: good performance
>20: high performance
>40: stiffer, more powerful

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.


Ballast / Displacement * 100

<40: less stiff, less powerful
>40: stiffer, more powerful
275-350: heavy

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.


D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet
<100: ultralight
100-200: light
200-300: moderate
300-400: heavy
>400: very heavy
Comfort Ratio
20-30: coastal cruiser

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.


Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam1.33)

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet
<20: lightweight racing boat
20-30: coastal cruiser
30-40: moderate bluewater cruising boat
40-50: heavy bluewater boat
>50: extremely heavy bluewater boat
Capsize Screening
<2.0: better suited for ocean passages

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.


CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet
  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
<2: better suited for ocean passages
>2: better suited for coastal cruising


From BlueWaterBoats.org:

Inspired by the sweet curving lines from the east coast fishing boats of Scotland, the Frances 26 is an early Chuck Paine design for his own use. Optimised for fast and simple sailing, the resulting boat is a peculiar mix of daysailer and offshore cruiser. Since her introduction in 1974, over 200 have been built on both sides of the Atlantic and at least one has circumnavigated.

Paine started by scaling down the size of a traditional double-ender, and then applied lessons from modern design thinking to produce a minimalist sailboat that would be affordable for him to sail. Her design draws heavily from her Scottish heritage with a hint of Norwegian double-ender thrown in for good measure. Most striking are her elegant lines – there’s a fine entry, a lively sheer, full bilges and a long keel.

She’s proven to be a great cruiser which can accommodate up to four in a relatively open-plan layout. Belowdecks the interior is all wood but her flush deck means she is missing full standing headroom at only five feet of clearance. A version was built in the UK by Victoria Marine which offered six feet of standing headroom by trading the flush deck for a coachroof. The production hulls were solidly built from fiberglass with 9 1/2 oz cloth, additionally a number have been custom-built using cold-moulded wood and many of these have also added a coachroof. Both cutter and sloop rigs were offered and some have been converted to gaff.

With a high ballast to displacement ratio, in excess of 50%, owners comment she can hold onto her full sail area well after many others have reefed. You’ll find this boat easily driven with excellent directional stability and surprisingly fast. Of the various rigs the ones with larger headsails and smaller mainsails tend to be faster and more weatherly (at the expense of more trimming work).

Frances II

Plans for the Frances 26 are still available from Chuck Paine. More recently in 2011, as a “what if” exercise, Paine updated the design to be inline with more current design thinking.

“If I had it to do over again I’d change a few things, hence FRANCES II (Frances the second). The most significant improvement would be to replace the undulating profile shoal draft keel with a much more modern and effective one. With a slightly deeper keel and the “full flow aperture” I developed on the later of my offshore oriented custom designs, FRANCES II will stand up to a whole lot more sail and point much closer to the wind.”

Besides being slightly larger in all dimensions, the biggest change is a deeper, shorter and more effective keel. The rig has been updated to be taller with a masthead genoa. Additionally, the rudder has been fully balanced to reduce helm forces and a small cabin house added to give full standing headroom. With the new keel and rig the new Frances II promises to be a much better performer, being stiffer and more weatherly.


The design influence of the Frances 26 design came from a backpacking trip in the early 1970s when Chuck Paine, 30 years old at the time, was inspired by the sweet curves of the double-ended fishing boats on the east coast of Scotland.

Paine commented, “I wanted a boat that embodied everything I knew about the design of efficient cruising vessels of GRP construction. She had to be capable of yearly cruises to and among the Caribbean islands, small enough to fit my limited budget, but large enough to survive a gale at sea.”

Upon his return to the US, he laid up the first hull in 1974 out of fiberglass at his workshop in Maine. This first hull was destroyed by fire prior to completion, but fortunately Tom Morris from Morris Yachts had taken a mold and it was from this his yard built the subsequent hulls. Paine fitted out the fourth Morris-built hull for himself, which he took cruising down the East Coast of America.

By the late 1970s, the boat had also emerged in the UK. After first appearing in a review in Yachting World Magazine, Bernard Hayman, editor at the time, loved the design enough to encourage Victoria Marine (now Victoria Yachts) based in Southampton to win the rights for UK construction. In later years Victoria Marine made a few changes to the boat including a shallow well forward of the mast, a coachroof to enable full standing headroom and more accommodation. This version was initially called the Victoria 26, and as it evolved, later became the Victoria 800.

The UK boats were just as successful as the their US counterparts. Production continued through until the late 1990s until sadly, with a strange repeat of history, the moulds for both designs were destroyed by fire.

Paine also designed a couple of siblings based on the Frances 26 – a 24-footer called Carol and a 30-footer called Leigh. Leigh was later built by Victoria Yachts.

Links, References and Further Reading

» Frances26.org, owners forum, information and reviews
» The official Morris Yachts website.
» Chuck Paine’s official website including the Frances 26 plans.
» The Best Boats to Build or Buy by Ferenc Mate
» Small Boat Journal #40, Frances 26 – Sophisticated Tradition in a Proper Yacht by Steve Callahan, January 1985

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