Cheetah 26 History

Cheetah 26, Built in Marysville, WA 1974 - 1977

Cheetah 26 Sailboat Specifications

Hull Type:
Displacement hull
Fin keel
Spade rudder

Rigging Type:
Masthead Sloop

LOA:
27.50 ft / 8.07 m

LWL:
22.50 ft / 6.60 m

Beam:
9.00 ft / 2.74 m

Draft (max):
4.35 ft / 1.32 m

Displacement:
5,200 lb / 2358 kg

Construction:
Fiberglass

First Built:
1974

Builder:
Island Partners (Sun Yachts)

Assembler:
Reinell Boat Co., Marysville WA

Designer:
Edwin Monk Jr.

Auxiliary Power (orig. equip.)
Stern outboard well

Sailboat Calculations - Rig and Sail Particulars

I:
32.3 ft / 9.84 m

J:
11.90 ft / 3.62 m

P:
27.30 ft / 8.32 m

E:
10.50 ft / 3.20 m

History

Island Partners (later Sun Yachts) asked Edwin Monk Jr. to design a low price point sailboat to be built by a contracted supplier. Monk developed a basic masthead sloop design using an iron keel. An outboard well was provided to keep with the economy aspect of the design. Island Partners arranged with Reinell Boat Company to manufacture the sailboat at their Marysville WA production facility under a built to print arrangement. Approximately 85 Cheetah 26s were completed between 1974 and 1977.

Most Cheetahs were sold in the Pacific Northwest through an independent dealer network. In the last year of production, the identical specification was sold by Reinell dealers as a “ Reinell 27” outside of Northwest markets to clear stock and support Reinell dealers who had just introduced to Reinell’s own first Reinell named sailboat effort. Only a handful of Reinell badged Cheetahs were sold.

Island Partners (of which Reinell was now closer associated) decided that a higher price point sailboat would be more profitable than the Cheetah.

Bob Perry was contracted to revise the Cheetah hull to produce the follow on version, tentatively called the Bagherra (“Hindi for big cat”). The outboard well of the Cheetah design was eliminated, the stern given a classic wineglass shape. A new, stronger rig with bridge deck mounted traveler was engineered. A new higher deck and top house was designed with an offset companion way. Inboard power was made available using either a Yanmar SB8 or OMC Zephyr two-stroke sail drive. A spacious, teak rich interior with head room for 6’ footers completed the conversion. The Bagherra name was dropped, and the boat became a Sun 27 (curiously not choosing to round up to “Sun 28” for marketing reason - with a length of 27.5 it could have gone either way). Island Partners changed their name to Sun Yachts. Production began at the Reinell, Marysville Washington plant in mid 1977. The Reinell name was kept away from the project due to the reaction of serious sailors to Reinell’s Dave Livingston-styled trailerable sailboat efforts.

Production of the modified Cheetah ended with the collapse of Reinell in 1979 with an estimated 155+ Sun 27s built. The molds were sold to Specialty Yachts of North Vancouver, B.C. Canada who had a previous relationship with Island Partners and had been a Sun 27/Sun 833 dealer. Specialty commissioned Spencer Boat Company of Richmond, B.C. to build the Sun 27 design per print from the original Cheetah/Sun molds, now renamed and sold locally as a SunStar 28.

Overall it is thought that 85+ Cheetah/Reinell 27s, 155+ Sun 27s and variants and 65+ Spencer built SunStar 28’s were built for a total production estimated at 300+ for all types.

A Cheetah 26 in Bellingham, WA in good nick.

Reinell 27 rebadged Cheetah 26 basis for Sun 27 sailboat

A Reinell 27 (re-badged Cheetah 26) sailing on the great lakes.

A tired Cheetah 26 showing the stern outboard well arrangement and cast iron keel.