Sailing and living in a small boat

Photo: Peter Grant

Henrik Nor-Hansen, born 1967, is from Stavanger in the south of Norway. He grew up with coastal cruising and dinghy racing, dreaming of travelling the world on his own boat. He’s an author and has published a novel and five collections of poems, all in Norwegian. 


Nina Kristin Nilsen, born 1971, is from Tromsø in the north of Norway. She grew up with small fishing smacks, never thinking of sailing. After some years as a mapping surveyor in Oslo and Svalbard, she went to Stavanger, studied chemistry, met Henrik, found work as an environmental engineer and moved aboard a sailboat.

Bika, a shining red Contessa 26 sloop, has been our home since May 2004. She’s a long keeled GRP pocket cruiser, with 4.5 square meters of living quarters. Half her weight is in the keel, making her stable and safe, and though she may not be the fastest racer, her blue water cruising merits are the very best. This picture is taken in Bahia Cinto/Five Bays, Northern Colombia


Click HERE to view more Bika photos.


Bika has previously sailed Norwegian waters under the names RED MOON and MATILDE. She was built by Jeremy Rogers in Lymington, England in 1976, and sent to Norway straight away.


There is a British version of Contessa 26 (Jeremy Rogers) and a Canadian one (J. J. Taylor). The boat is popular among single handed sailors.

Peter Hancock has written a trilogy from his sailing adventures in a Contessa 26; Sailing into Sunshine, Sailing Out of Silence, Sailing Home. Tania Aebi’s book Maiden Voyage is a good read of her solo voyage around the world in a Contessa 26, Aebi was a rather inexperienced teenager when she did her trip in the mid 80's. Brian Caldwell used a Co26 when he sailed around the world alone in 1995, at the age of 18, but he never wrote a book about it. Sebastian Smith wrote the excellent book Southerns Winds about sailing a Contessa 26 in the Mediterranean.


Sailing Today, UK, March 2007, Contessa 26 article

Web sites about Contessa and

Design: Jeremy Rogers/David Sadler, England, 1966 

Producer: Jeremy Rogers, Lymington, England 1976 (serial number 279)

Hull number: SOU-1092 76 279

LOA: 7,77 m (25'6'')

LWL: 6,08 m

Beam: 2,28 m

Draft: 1,21 m

Displacement: 2450 kg

Ballast: 1220 kg

Sail area: 20,81 m2

Engine: Tossed out the inboard Faryman K34 in April 04, replaced it with a outboard Mercury 4 HP.