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post #4 of Old 07-05-2001
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Albin Ballad 30


If you''d like to exchange further info on this boat, probably not one most Sailnet readers care about, please feel free to contact me at, which I''ll have access to for another week or so before returning to Trinidad.

The ''thermal delamination'' comment was interesting since I do not believe Albin used balsa core in any of its boats; I think you''ll find the deck is a grp/closed cell foam/grp laminate, much like all the Hallberg-Rasseys of that era. I mention this because digging out rotted core or removing it by cutting out the lower grp laminate would not be necessary, in this case. Instead, it sounds to me more like a drying & pumping (with epoxy) operation. So somehow, try to determine core content (e.g. by pulling a fastener during the survey).

A couple of other comments:
1. You are looking at an old(er) boat that essentially needs to be resurrected big-time in order to make such offshore passages. It sounds like you know this already, but a new/fuller suit of sails, a vane (& maybe cockpit autopilot), new rigging, rebuilt or replaced diesel (think about getting parts for that old Volvo vs. having a new Yanmar...), increased water capacity and/or a watermaker, upgraded electrics & electronics, and no doubt other things are all ''musts'' on a trans-Pacific voyage IMO. And that all adds up, even if the basic design is appropriate and the corpus (hull/deck/rudder) are well-designed and in good shape. Also consider that she will be a wet boat, designed to punch thru steep seas & tidal chop for racing purposes (see...we need to add fresh canvas to the list!), and that her carrying capacity is limited by her design. I''m not trying to rain on any parades here, but want to provide a fair context in which to discuss the boat.
2. Offsetting all the above is the fact that many of these upgrades - even on ''non-condo'' cruising boats - will be required for any vessel with such plans. That''s why - from an economic perspective, at least - your best bet IMO is to find a recently cruised, seaworthy boat that will cost twice what you end up paying for the base Ballad (assuming a price reduction) but which will cost you very little thereafter. Moreover, many of the ''puzzles'' presented to a new owner setting up a small boat for long-distance cruising will have previously been well-solved on a properly fitted out boat. Again for balance, I should also add that new gear on your old boat, which you install, brings owner knowledge, the comfort that things were done right, and equipments'' full lifespan along with it - things you don''t necessarily get even on someone else''s nifty cruiser.
3. Have you read John Neal''s _Log of the Mahina_? I think you''d find it valuable reading, for two reasons: the main appendix gives a thorough description of how he prep''d his Vega to sail from Seattle to the South Pacific and back (and afterall, the Vega isn''t that much different) AND it''s a tale that would resonate with your stated plans. I''ll bet you can still find a copy at (or maybe, or something similar). It''s dated, but then so is this Ballad you''re looking at.
4. Don''t overlook Latitude 38''s classifieds every month. It''s available on-line at or free by picking up a copy at West Marine, if you have one nearby. Many seasoned cruising boats are advertised there, and what better place to a Pacific passage but in the San Francisco-San Diego area!

Good luck on the pondering!

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