Carol Ann | Lyle Hess 26' 1984

Miami, FL

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Bernie Jakits & Kate Christensen

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Basic Info

Yacht Name: Carol Ann
Builder: Lyle Hess
Model: Custom 26
Year: 1984
Location: Miami, FL
Designer: Lyle Hess
Hull Material: Fiberglass

This is the one you’ve been waiting for! Truly, if you are reading this, we know you are yearning for a special Lyle Hess design. This is the deal of the century…lovingly built over many years. The hull was laid in 1984 in North Carolina and the first owner spent more that ten years building her. She was finally completed in 1995. Then she rested in a barn in Connecticut until a couple years ago. Now now new and upgraded as if money was no object, new engine, new hoses, new electronics, new wiring, so much new….. This is a special boat! New can even have all the original boat plans and the molds for the bronze castings! As you well know, the Lyle Hess Bristol Channel Cutter is certainly among our favorite blue water boats for many reasons. Over the years we have also known and sold quite a few Lyle Hess designs like the Lyle Hess 32 with and without engines! No we don’t have one of those for you today…

We have a special Lyle Hess 26’ much like Lin and Larry’s Serraffyn but a tad bigger. Carol Ann is 12,000 lbs! The Lyle Hess 26 is little known. It was built in North Carolina. I believe they built maybe nine hulls. The beautiful smaller cutter is pretty much a slightly smaller BCC! At 26’ on deck and 12,000 lbs she is only slightly smaller than the BCC at 28’ and 14,000 lbs. We’ve had a chance to know the boat and sail in company with a 26. Not this very boat, but a sister ship named Polaris Jack. Polaris Jack was sailed by a lifelong sailor as at home in the rigging as in any bed or on land. The Lyle Hess 26 is an amazing vessel and extremely capable and just a tad smaller than the BCC. She is twice the size of the Falmouth Cutter and she is a wonderful capable boat.

The Lyle Hess 26 that we are so proud to offer is a special boat. She is reported to be one of nine of the Lyle Hess 26 hulls built of fiberglass! The hull was laid up by hand by Russell Yachts of North Carolina. The hull was commissioned for Johnson Millwork Inc. of Connecticut as was the custom of the day. The first owner lovingly, for ten years, and painstakingly, driven by his love for boats, he completed the boat. This is just one of many incredible Lyle Hess cutters built by loving artisans and shipwrights who labored for many years to create their dream boat. If you are lucky enough to acquire one of these boats, you are rich! If you appreciate reading this, you will be in love with the completed vessel, Carol Ann.

The owner spent ten years and all his spare cash to build the boat. He built the interior the way all the BCCs were built all by hand bit by bit. He built the deck of marine plywood sandwiched in fiberglass. The owner built the boat himself. He even made the mast of Sitka Spruce.The bronze fittings were created by hand by an extraordinary craftsman. The wire rigging is even braided by hand. It was indeed a work of love over many years.

The woodwork and joinery are extraordinary and it is evident on first inspection that highly skilled craftsman produced this work as a labor of love for the craft and an obsession to the highest degree of perfection. Not only the workmanship, but the quality of the wood, the millwork, the bronze fittings, everything if of incredible quality, not found today at any cost. Undoubtedly this boat is the real thing. When you spend ten years and maintain a level of craftsmanship equal to any shipwright and when you start with a proven Lyle Hess design you totally end up with a beautiful and capable blue water cruiser.

If you love beautiful traditional cutters, if you know the BCC 28 or a Falmouth Cutter 22, you will immediately know that this Lyle Hess 26 is perfectly amazing. Not only is she just right in size for any human, man or woman, to sail easily, everything is complete right down to the in suite of sails, the Freehand wind steering system designed by Larry Pardey that works amazing with the Lyle Hess designs. Finally, the current and recent owner replaced the engine so there is s brand new Beta Marine 25 with about 100 hours on it.

The current owner found the boat in a shed in North Carolina and he just had to buy her. He shipped her to Florida and opened up his wallet as he was totally smitten. He just went and spent money to get her totally updated and ready to sail with new electronics and all. So before he started sailing her, he was smitten in another way and his crew became a bit larger. He bought another boat so he could share his dream and so you see that Carol Ann is waiting for you.

This Lyle Hess 26 is just a tad smaller than the BCC 28 and she is twice as big as a Falmouth Cutter. This is a perfect boat for any solo sailor. She is incredibly easy to sail single handed for anyone. With her Lyle Hess underbody, she will take care of you. She is heavy enough for a soft ride and she has to momentum to move through the chop. You will feel secure in all conditions. The Lyle Hess 26 will take care of you.


The Lyle Hess Channel Cutter is a work of art. The interior is simply the most pleasing and functional layout you will ever find on small traditional cutter. Remember, she is 26’ on deck with a plumb bow and squared of transom that allows all the space down below to be used! The head room is equal to or a tad more than a BCC if you are tall. This is a beautiful boat. The interior has lightness like Herreshoff with white bulkheads and to set off the varnished mahogany trim. The oil lamp really sets the ambiance just like you always dreams about. Everything was built to purpose by her loving first owner. She has a beautiful traditional dining table with settees port and starboard. There are storage lockers, bins, shelves and drawers in nautical fashion. The cabin sole is teak and holly of course. She is beautiful and everything is built to purpose.

The interior layout is comfortable and much like Lin and Larry’s Serifyn with the beautiful owner's cabin forward with a double berth to starboard and storage lockers to port. In traditional fashion, just aft the forward stateroom is the enclosed head featuring a Natures Head Composting toilet and good stowage. The main salon features two settees port and starboard separated by a custom-made mahogany dining table with a fold down leaf. In the aft area of the main salon there is a long quarter berth to port and a large chart table to starboard. There are assorted stowage areas built into the bulkhead and forward bilge and access to the engine which sits below the cockpit. The layout on this Lyle Hess 26 is brilliant making the ultimate use of all the space there is. It is all you need.

  • Beautiful traditional Herreshoff interior

  • Excellent joinery work throughout

  • Teak and holly sole

  • Bronze port lights

  • Beautiful main salon deck hatch

  • Excellent accommodations for one or two

  • Large V berth - New cushion foam (2017)

  • Three storage lockers in V berth

  • Storage under Entire V berth

  • Quarter berth - New cushion foam (2017)

  • Storage under quarter berth

  • Port and Starboard Seating

  • Large storage cabinet behind starboard seating

  • Weems and Plath gimbled Oil Light in Cabin
  • Small Storage Under Starboard Seating

  • Large Chart Table (Removable)

  • Large storage underneath chart table

  • Large storage area aft of chart table

  • Two storage cabinets in galley

  • Enclosed Head

  • Storage locker in enclosed head

  • Lots of small storage compartments throughout boat

Galley & Plumbing

The Lyle Hess design is brilliant. The boat just works. However, no one did a lot of cooking on Carol Ann. I doubt the stove has never been used!

  • Eno two-burner gambled propane stove
  • Well insulated ice box with pump out of melt
  • Stainless steel deep sink
  • Manual hand pump
  • Propane LPG System
  • Manual fresh water pump
  • Composting toilet

Electronics & Navigation

  • All New!

  • Garmin GPSMap 12” Chartplotter - (New – 2017)

  • Garmin VHS with AIS Receiver – linked to chartplotter - (New – 2017)

  • Garmin In Hull Transducer – not Installed (New – 2017)

  • Bulkhead compass - serviced

 Systems: Mechanical & Electrical Systems

Start with the new Beta Marine diesel and the entire drive train replaced including all the hoses, filters, shaft…all new. Just because.


  • New! Beta Marine 25 new in 2017 with 75 hours

  • 120 Amp alternator 2017

  • Waterproof engine control panel in cockpit 2017

  • Bronze engine controls

  • Hoses all replaced in 2017

  • Racor fuel filter 2017

  • 30 Gallon fuel tank (Cleaned 2017)

  • Bronze Groco water strainer

  • Cutlass bearing 2017

  • New stainless steel shaft 2017

  • Line cutter 2017

  • Bronze 3-blade prop

  • Tiller steering

  • Freehand windvane steering

Electrical Details

The electrical system was all inspected and mostly replaced! It’s pretty awesome with new batteries, new electrical panel and new wiring new LED lighting and new fans. She’s ready to go! Mostly all new!

  • New Blue Seas Marine Custom 360 Panel

  • New Blue Seas Marine VSM422 Digital Display

  • Tank Sounders – Not Installed (two Blue Seas Marine)

  • Wiring throughout the boat – all new in 2017

  • New Group 31 (100 Ah) – 12v start battery - Oddessy Extreme 2017

  • Three Group 31 (300 Ah) House bank- Oddessy Extreme 2017

  • Chart table light – LED red/white 2017

  • Galley Light – LED white 2017

  • Led cabin light in the V berth– red 2017

  • New nav lights, port and starboard deck level navigation lights 2017

  • Weems and Plath bulkhead mounted compass (serviced 2018)

  • Depth Sounder

  • Two Sirocco 2 cabin fans 2018

  • Four Blue Sea USB ports 2018

  • Additional wiring and snakes run through boat for any new electronic components

 Windvane self steering

  •  New 2017 Freehand windvane steering system, bronze and teak. Designed by Larry Pardey
  • Custom Teak and Bronze Tiller Lock

Rig and Sails Inventory

This custom Lyle Hess 26 is traditional and beautiful like a rare boat you might find in the Pacific Northwest or Maine. She is real in every way. The spar is Sitka Spruce with bronze fittings. The Sitka Spruce bow sprit is also newly varnished and beautiful. The boom is Douglas fir as is the boomkin.

  • Sitka spruce spar with bronze fittings, solid below deck, hollow above deck with an all foil interior for radar reflection

  • Sitka spruce bowsprit

  • Sitka spruce whisker pole

  • Douglas Fir boom and boomkin

  • Bronze gooseneck

  • Bronze belaying pins

  • Large bronze cleats - six

  • Bronze chocks - six

  • Bronze grab rails along entire cabin top

  • Bronze folding pad eyes, strong points with bronze backing plates for safety in the cockpit

  • Bronze folding pad eyes with bronze backing plates on cabin top

  • Bronze folding pad eyes with bronze backing plates on foredeck

  • Bronze stanchions
  • Bronze external chain plates

  • Bronze turnbuckles

  • Hand-spliced stainless steel standing rigging. Most new in 2017

  • Schaefer roller furling (Brand New 2017)

  • Spare internal parts for winches

  • Real beautiful teak blocks…½” teak blocks for all running rigging

  • Braided Dacron running rigging - as new

  • Spare running rigging

Sail Inventory

  • Furling Jib Clark headsail sail – Like New

  • Hanked on Clark staysail – with one reef point – Like New

  • Clark storm jib – never used

  • Clark Main Sail #1 – heavy Dacron – three reef points - Like New

  • Clark Main Sail #2 – heavy Dacron - three reef points - Like New

  • Port Townsend Sails - Lazy Jacks 2017

  • Sail Covers


  • Four bronze self-tailing Murray winches for jib and staysail sheets

  • Three bronze Murray winches on mast for main halyard / jib and staysail halyards

 Hull, Deck & Ground Tackle

A BCC hull is notoriously overbuilt in every way and this little sister is even more robust. The hull was built by Russell Yachts of Morehead City North Carolina. The hull is hand laminated fiberglass consisting of two layers of 1 1/2 oz. mat followed by alternating layers of 24 oz. roving and 1.5 oz. mat to give the hull a thickness of over ½ inch. Additional layers of matt and roving are used on transom, the bow, the deck flange, and chain plate area as well as the turn of the bilges. In these critical areas the thickness of the hull can be almost an inch. The hull was then fully insulated with 1/2" blue insulation board to prevent condensation inside the boat. Everything is top notch and this boat is likely stronger than even a BCC 28!

The well-designed deck layout with ocean crossings in mind is equal to the BCC. The side decks are wide so it is easy to move fore and aft. The deck is constructed with 1/2" marine plywood sandwiched between hand laminated fiberglass. The incredible thick teak deck is overlaid. It is 1/2" teak decking that is both glued and screwed down. The deck hardware is stunning with ten cast bronze stanchions (like our Indigo). There are six bronze chocks through the flange. The large bronze cleats are substantial. The bronze grab rails along the entire cabin top are super salty and traditional and functional. The folding bronze pad provides strong point attachments and safety lines on deck and in the cockpit. Her eight-inch high mahogany bulwarks and traditional taffrail are more than beautiful. The feeling you have on deck is of being solid and secure; on a Lyle Hess cutter you always feel safe moving about on deck. There are six opening bronze ports in the sides of the cabin house as well as two fixed bronze portlights. The beautiful opening deck hatch is teak with bronze like the BCC.

  • Lyle Hess 26 design finished by an incredible craftsman and artisan
  • Full keel with encapsulated lead ballast
  • New bottom paint 2018 – Micron CSC
  • Bowsprit and boomkin for overall length about 36’
  • External hung outboard rudder
  • Tiller steering
  • Windvane – Larry Pardey’s Freehand steering system!
  • Solid hand laid fiberglass sandwiched - marine plywood sandwiched with fiberglass overlaid with ½ teak decking glued and screwed
  • Deck hardware is through bolted with backing plates
  • Classic Lyle Hess eight inch bulwarks are painted (brilliant)
  • Taftrail painted also
  • Cabin house has bright Mahogany
  • Beautiful main salon hatch of mahogany finished bright
  • All exterior mahogany is finished in varnish (Le Tonkinois 2018) Gorgeous
  • Bronze opening ports with screens
  • Bristol cream gelcoat with dark green cove and boot stripes
  • Overbuilt external chain plates
  • Wide side decks
  • Eight inch bulwark with full length scupper for fast draining deck
  • Life lines
  • Bronze oversize cleats
  • Safe small offshore cockpit with traditional coamings
  • In the small seaworthy cockpit the two 3” drains for drain any water quickly.

Bronze ABI manual windlass

  • 250 Feet - 3/8” high test chain

  • Primary anchor is a 55lb Spade (Brand New – 2017)

  • Spare 35lb Danforth anchor

 Additional and Safety Specifications & Items

  • EPIRB: ACR Global Fix iPro (Brand New – 2017)

  • Life Sling 2 with custom Sunbrella cover: (Brand New – 2017)

  • One Adult and one PFD: (Brand New – 2017)

  • Two fire extinguishers (Brand New – 2017)

  • Flare Gun and Flares (Brand New – 2017)

  • Custom Jack lines on cabin top

  • Whistle

  • Three throwable cushions

  • Fenders

  • Dock Lines            
  • Screens - all opening ports have removable big screens.
  • Spare standing rigging hardware and wire

  • Spare shackles and blocks

  • Engine filters, belts and components

  • Sun shade with water collection

  • Two triangle sun shades


  •  Original Boat Build Plans
  • Original custom molds for ALL bronze fittings on boat


Length: 26'
Beam: 9' 4
Draft: 4' 7