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  #1  
Old 01-09-2009
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Experience with an Albacore?

Hello All,

I am shiny new on this forum, so first off - hello, great community, and thanks in advance.

I have done a fair bit of boardsailing, and puttered around on a sunfish a couple of times, but have no real experience sailing a boat.

I would like to buy a dinghy to play around with on our inland lake, have some fun, build some skills etc. I will mostly be single handed, but would like to take my nephews or wife out once in a while.

In our local market there are a lot of Albacores available and it has been suggested that this would be ideal for me. Does anyone have experience with this boat?

There seem also to be CL 14s and Hunter 140s available. Will all these boats serve essentially the same purpose?

Much appreciate any insight,

Alex

(p.s. I did search the forums - there appears to be little reference to the Albacore - more popular in Ontario I assume than in the rest of NA.)
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Old 01-09-2009
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I've sailed Albacores a fair bit. While they are reasonably priced, have a good class association, and are widely used for racing in small clubs, I'm reluctant to endorse them strongly for your purposes.

My chief gripe is that the hull design lacks static form stability. In other words, they are tremendously unstable at rest. This makes getting in and out of them alongside a dock or from the beach pretty tricky. You must quickly get your CG as low as possible and keep your weight along the centerline. You might be fine with this, but it is very unforgiving for novices. I would not consider this a good choice for introducing friends and family, especially kids, to sailing.

Once they get moving with wind in the sails, they're alright. But they're still very trim sensitive.

I would look for a design that has more form stability and is therefor more forgiving. Just my thoughts...

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Old 01-10-2009
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John -

Thank you for your thoughts. From my early, basic research I had the same concern. I think I might be fine with the instability (I have put in a good amount of time trying to get very small sailboards to cooperate) but I will not get my mother in law to buy in. Getting wider buy in is important because I hope to move on to bigger boats and more elaborate adventures.

Do you have any specific recommendations for dinghies with more stability?

Many thanks,

Alex
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Old 01-10-2009
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Hi Alex,

Could you give us some idea of what your price range is?

Also, will you store the boat at the lake where you will sail it, or will you need to cartop/roofrack or trailer it back and forth? If you will have to transport it, what kind of launching arrangement is available?

Do you plan to simply daysail in protected waters, or are you hoping to go exploring and camp cruising farther afield on the inland lake in this boat?

One boat I like to recommend for new sailors is the Flying Scot, a very stable 19' daysailer. Another boat I like is the Wayfarer, as well as the O'Day DS (Daysailer), but there are a lot of variables (see questions above) so these may not be a good fit for your circumstances.

If you can give us some more specifics, I'll bet other members will offer up quite a few good recommendations.
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Old 01-12-2009
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Hello John -

Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it.

Price is less of a concern than suitability for purpose, though the boat may experience some rough treatment so I don't want anything too precious.

I will have a place to store the boat at the lake, though I will have to trailer it there. Launching facilities are decent at the local marina.

The lake is quite small. So it will be mostly daysailing. I might on occasion drive to another, slightly larger lake, and perhaps even a day or two on Lake Ontario.

I have taken a look at the boats you have suggested. The Wayfarer seems like it might be a good fit, and I know there is a local association. I have actually seen one or two for sale locally! (The Flying Scot appeals to my romantic notions of sailing, but might be a bit big for my circumstances.)

If you have any other ideas, I would love to have them.

Best,

Alex
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Old 01-28-2009
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Just a few quips. I'm by no means an expert, and it's been a few years since I've been in an Albacore, and this is purely anecdotal. I sailed Albacores day in day out, 14 hours a day, for a summer through our Sea Cadet program out of Comox, BC. They were used as our trainers for the CYA White Sail levels, and possibly for the Bronze level as well...

I loved the boats! I never found them to be particularly tipsy - though granted this was when I was a teen, and neither I nor the crew were over 150 lbs. Though I saw plenty of capsizes, I didn't see anyone go over when trying to get off the docks, or even from a beach launch. Perhaps just compared to a Taser, nothing seems tender to me anymore Nothing like getting wet a few times (in a safe situation of course) to learn the limits of your boat!

We also used them for island hopping - stuffed camping gear under the front deck, and would be off for the weekend.

These boats took a beating. I think there were 15 or so of them, sailed by teenagers with no respect for the boats. They were probably 20 years old when I sailed them. The number of times I saw a boat T-bone another one, plow over the race marks, or hit the dock with sails still up... I did manage to crack the hull while trying to dry roll her one day. Yet they stood up through it all, and I learnt some very valuable fibreglassing skills from that summer.

Being a rather small woman, I'm not wild about single handing dinghies, but despite that, I could still right an Albacore on my own in moderate winds. If I recall, they're balanced so that the crew doesn't need to be the bigger person, which means taking newbs to sailing out relatively easy.

... just my .02$!
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Old 03-27-2009
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Question

Serah - you are the first female sailor that I have come across who is familiar with an Albacore. I am looking to buy one & live in the mid-west USA. I am relieved to hear that you don't think that they are unstable. I have done some research on them & this is the first time I had heard that complaint. Where would there be the largest concentration of Albacores potentially for sale? There seem to be a lot in Canada. Is there a particular manufacturer which is better than another? I have heard of Skene, Grampian, Whitby etc & looked on the Albacore USA website where are pictures. Where should I look online for boats for sale? Are there web sites selling boats in addition to Craig's List & Kijiji? Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2009
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Again, I never found them to be unstable, however I was young, limber and fearless so keep that in mind In terms of buying one, I have no idea. All the boats I sailed were owned by Sea Cadet corps up here, and unless you want a project boat, would recommend not buying one of theirs as they have been beaten for many many years. I don't know which manufacturer, or even where to go about finding one. We have the sites usedvancouver.com and usedvictoria.com which is where we actually found our most recent boat - I don't know what's available in your area.

Before you buy anything, I suggest getting out and playing in it - see how it feels. Are you comfortable in it is far more important than whether others find them tippy. You can read as many reviews as you'd like, but it simply doesn't compare to getting out on the water for a trial sail. IMHO, when buying a sailing dinghy, buy close to home, and be willing to look at many different types. Get on the water in as many as you can - see what works for you!
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Old 03-29-2009
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Alabacore would be an excellent choice.

Here is a link to their Canadian website - Canadian Albacore Association Home Page

There you will find out the history (designed by Uffa Fox back in 1954) along with a listing of the countries where there are Albacore fleets. Over 8000 Albacores have been built, and it remains one of the best sailing dinghies ever designed.
Not at all unstable, it makes an excellent beginners boat, as well as the best boat for a highly trained sailor to get a "rush" while planing during a race. Many sailing school instructors begin their training sessions by walking around an Albacore on the gunwales to demonstrate just how stable the boat is.
As a former Canadian Albacore Association Commodore for 3 years (back in the '90's) I can assure you that you would always be thankful you chose to start in an Albacore. I owned Albacore #2723, and then #7944. From there I moved up to a C&C Shark 24, and now to a Grampian G-26. I have been very successful racing the Shark and the G-26. I give a good portion of the credit for winning my trophies and championships to the fact that learned to sail properly on an Albacore.

Last edited by jimq26; 03-29-2009 at 10:42 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-30-2009
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I agree jimq26. The Albacore is a great boat. Like a Laser, they are easy to sail for a beginner but have enough trim and control capability that they are fun for the experts. And they are quick to boot. Back when I raced Lasers at the cottage, our fleet was split with equal numbers of Lasers and Albacores with the odd off-brand thrown in - Bombardier Invitation, Sunfish, Wayfarer, CL-16. A well sailed Albacore will ALWAYS beat a well sailed Laser.
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