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post #2 of Old 07-03-2001
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Albin Ballad 30

Hello, Dodger...

We sailed a Ballad ''little sister'', a ''75 27'' Albin Vega out of Santa Barbara, CA - meaning ''offshore'' the minute you left the harbor entrance - for two years, and were then run down at sea aboard her by drunk abalone fishermen (a story in itself). Our sailing & ''destruction'' experiences built a huge degree of respect on our part for the way the Swedish company built their boats (as well as the designs themselves) before abandoning Sweden for Taiwan. We lusted over a Ballad for some time, as did other Vega owners we knew, and I suspect the basics of the boat you''ve found - assuming decent maintenance like keeping her wateright - are still well above the Catalina/Hunter standard we see today.

One point to offer some perspective on these designs: in the 70''s, Hallberg-Rassey was building its first generation of boats, which were then routinely sailed around the world. (Mind you, we''re talking about what today we refer to as "production boats" sold to a competitive price in the US marketplace). Meanwhile, Albin Vegas & Ballads were being routinely sailed across the Atlantic or raced in the North & Baltic Seas by both experienced & inexperienced crews without a hiccup. Back then, Hiscocks'' books were the only ''real'' cruising bible and people took such performance & endurance far more for granted than today, now that the bookkeepers have found the ''value'' of iron keels, molded liners, thin prop shafts and 304 stainless deck hardware.

I''m not sure you can expect any truly helpful info on the pricing of the Ballad you''ve found. Oh, opinions are always eagerly offered, and you can locate anecdotal info from a few souls who paid ''$X'' for their Albins, but that doesn''t fair much of a curve for the next boat. Instead, I''d suggest you use the 30'' used boat market as your baseline - what else do you believe was essentially soundly built in that size/displacement range, was intended for offshore racing & sailing, and at the level the boat has been maintained and hopefully improved? And what price, comparably equipped, are those competing boats going for? The Ballad will be more functionally arranged, better engineered, less roomy and probably wetter (due to a fine entry) than e.g. an Islander 30 from SoCal or a Morgan 30 from Florida. But with these older boats, it''s more a matter of the overall quality of the construction, what she was designed to do, and what level of fit-out & condition is she now in. Your ''critical issues'' list should include engine, rig and the structural soundness of the interior components & keel/rudder/deck, IMO. Also, double-check the mast step; Albins could have a problem there if taken to weather over many miles offshore.

Sorry to editorialize, but you can see I have a high regard for that yard of that era. One of the true disappointments - one way the sailing marketplace fails us today - is the lack of smaller but offshore-capable designs at affordable prices. If it was possible in the late 70''s to build a ''basic systems'' boat that could cross an ocean repeatedly, why not now given our alleged advancements in technology?

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