I'm a big believer of the old adage of "If it ain't broke don't fix it" and that very much goes for the Columbia 26 MK2...
That said, there are some issues that I think are needful to deal with if you're going to make the C26 your VolksCruiser of choice and they are mainly about improving livability and storage which actually turn out to be the same thing. The hardest part of living and cruising on a small boat is really just finding a civilized means of stowing the stuff you need. Which, sadly is a lot harder than you may think.
First of all the C26 comes with water tankage not anywhere close to needful proportions... a scant 12-gallons and it would be the first thing I'd put on the list to sort out. Hey, water's needful stuff.
Secondly, I'd look to improving the stowage in general. The C26 is better than most boats storage wise of its ilk but there is a lot of wasted or potential space that could make the difference between cruising in a civilized manner or not. Personally I'm not a big fan of the "not" alternative.
While thinking about stowage the third thing we really need to sort out is a better galley situation. While it is a very efficient use of space as it stands, it is not a happy making situation for someone who wants to cook real meals on a regular basis. There's plenty of room for improvement as long as we're going to be maximizing stowage.
The head is also something we might want to look at...
Surprisingly that's pretty much the important stuff. Bill Tripp knew what he was doing when he designed the boat and pretty much everything works the way you'd want it to. We'll talk in more depth on just how we might go about increasing the water storage, maximizing needful gear stowage, and improving the galley situation but for now we will let that percolate till later. The next thing we'll look at is the rig, sailing systems, and auxiliary propulsion.