Review of the Columbia 8.7 Sailboat

Review of the Columbia 8.7 Sailboat

My brother bought a 1976 Columbia 8.7 sailboat and is in the process of refitting the ship from top to bottom.  The ship’s user manual is about average for information and help understanding the ship and the electrical schematics are pretty good however the plumbing schematics are a waste of paper.  Because of the unusual production history, being built by a variety of companies, this issue the ship comes in many variants in construction techniques.

The Columbia 8.7 was built by Columbia from 1976 to 1987.  Columbia labeled the it as a “widebody supercruiser,” and designed it for weekend style cruising.  They packed more boat per foot of length with a wide beam of 10 feet.   They are a few inches beamier than most other cruisers of the 70s and 80s, and quite a bit wider than slightly older style cruising boats of the same period. By way of comparison, the Cape Dory 28 has a beam of 8′ 11″; the Ranger 28, 9′ 7″; the Newport 28, 9′ 7″; and the Cal 2-29, 9′ 3″.

This little ship hands amazing well.  Most all the reviews I read on this boat said it was a dog in lite wind but not the Defiant.  Like in any boat in extremely light winds you do not achieve much movement because of her small sail area of only 416 square feet, but the little boat is light and when the wind picks up she begins to run.  She handles well in 30 knot wind and will surf 6 ft waves with ease.

The space inside a Columbia is surprising big.  With a 6 foot head clearance the ship has two long benches in the salon that double as berths and a fold down table.  The galley is equipped with a two burner alcohol stove, sink and icebox.  The private head is equipped with a flushing toilet, sink and a 10 gallon gray water tank.  The v-berth is small but comfortable and c sleep two people if they like each other a lot.  The captain’s table and quarter berth are adequate for the small ship.

Because this little ship is trying to utilize every square inch of space the boom sits low and extends to the aft of the ship making a bimini for the ship impossible.  Not a big deal as this ship was designed for the more rustic adventurer.  Wear a hat and long sleeve shirts and use sun blocker.

Review of the Columbia 8.7 Sailboat

Columbia 8.7 Sailboat Specifications

  • Hull Type: Fin with rudder on skeg
  • Rig Type: Masthead Sloop
  • Length Over All: 28 ft
  • Length at Waterline: 23 ft
  • Beam: 10 ft
  • Total Sail Area: 416 sq ft
  • Draft: 4.6 ft
  • Displacement: 8500 lbs.


Columbia 8.7


Captain Dave


Captain Stephen



  • Well Balanced Ship
  • Lots of Interior Space
  • Overall a Good Looking Ship
  • Electric Start Engine with Backup Hand Crank
  • Boom Traveler is Forward of Companionway


  • No Bimini Posable
  • Some Construction Issues
%d bloggers like this: