Albacore

By George Roth

Dinghy sailing is a passion for many and enjoying keen racing in Albacores is part of that passion.

An Albacore is a 15 ft. vision of the boat's designer, Uffa Fox, who planned the design in 1948 in England as a simple planing dinghy for the active sailing community - perfect for family, friends, racing, pleasure, and instruction. The Albacore today, 42 years later in Canada, still fulfills those ideals. Hulls are built of various materials such as mahogany, cold rolled over a mould, or foam core fiberglass reinforced. Spars are aluminum to a height of almost 26 ft. with foils made of laminated Sitka spruce, wrapped with a fiberglass coating.

A licensed builder, Ontario Yachts of Burlington, Ontario, constructs all new Canadian boats. The building specifications require that the hull is measured to the International Class rules, maintained as part of the copyrighted design. The class rules have been designed to establish the measurements and specifications that describe the Albacore design. The rules can only be changed by joint agreement among the member associations of the International Albacore Association.

The Albacore, by definition, has been a one-design class since its inception. The objective of the class is to maintain a standard that is simple and withstands idle design tinkering which does not add value to the performance of the boat. Clearly, by keeping fairly rigid standards, boats built 55 years ago can compete effectively with hulls coming out of the moulds today. Most importantly, the Albacore owner does not have to incur the unnecessary expense of constant upgrades in the hull. Thus, competition occurs among boats of equal caliber on the water. The bottom line: it's the performance of crew against crew that really counts.

The Canadian Albacore Association (CAA) is the national association of Canadian owners of Albacore dinghies. The association was formed in 1961 and celebrated its 40th year of operation in 2001. Rumor has it that the late Bill Gooderham created the demand for this boat back in the early '60s simply by planing back and forth on the Muskoka lakes. Wide-eyed cottagers apparently lined up with cheque­ books in hand at the end of their docks to place an order for the Albacore (then imported from England) following his display. A planing Albacore still has the same effect on prospective boat owners 42 years after its arrival in Canada but with one added benefit. The class now has a history supported by a well-established class association.

Albacore racingThe CAA is one of five international fleets of Albacore owner associations. The other officially formed fleets are in the United States, England, Scotland and Ireland. Additionally, we often hear from less formally structured groups in Cyprus, France and Wales.

The association has come a long way on the strength of its volunteer executives and members since 1961. Today, the major fleets are concentrated in the Ontario cities of Toronto and Ottawa, where regattas and club events occur weekly during the active sailing season. There are large groups of Albacores sailing in the Ontario southwest and the regional areas of Muskoka and Haliburton lakes, many as pleasure sailors. Smaller fleets sail in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and areas of the Maritimes on small lakes or man-made reservoirs.

Supporting the competitive side, international events are held on a bi-annual basis, rotating between Europe and North America. In 2003, Canada hosts this event in Kingston, Ontario from July 20-26 and will attract sailors from England and the US to make a fleet of nearly 60 boats. In the Toronto area, there are scheduled regattas and club races beginning in May running through September. Some are quite easy to enjoy as a spectator, such as the keen club races on Lake Ontario between the community clubs on Friday evenings. This event alone attracts from 45 to 70 boats in a race, many are beginner sailors being introduced to the passion of Albacore sailing. Some seasoned sailors/observers have said that this represents the largest on-going club race series in a one-design dinghy class worldwide. That's quite an honour for a 55-year-old design.

So, what is it like to handle these round bottomed, flared to a tapered flat shaped hulls that allow this passion of "planing" action? From the eyes of a seasoned competitor, some word pictures as a race progresses...we call it an adventure!

To make "Albs" go well in a breeze, several things need to come together simultaneously. A well-tuned boat is a given. Making it give the jubilation you want results from having two people in the boat who understand it. In a breeze, when a crew understands the tactics of boat handling, performance comes easy. You can both relax and enjoy the moment, regardless of the weather. What you do is to live on the edge, pushing the boat to the extreme, especially on the beam -reaching legs of a course-reaping the flight down the wild side of dinghy sailing that's the dream in all of us.

Albacore designNow the race. The weather mark is not quite a 1/8 of an inch high on the horizon, if you can see it off to the north, as is the gybe mark to the west, all set for us to pass to port. The gun goes and we're off -often, one boat is over the line early. The rest of us hike out as we head windward, across whitecaps in the bay. We reach the first mark -now taller than 1/8 of an inch. The sole boat that went right is trying to get around first. Another is there...still another is following behind. We all

round the mark and head down on a broad reach, and whenever possible, up on a plane. The gybe mark approaches followed by a screaming beam reach. The higher we go, the faster we go, as much for the passion as for the screaming for that "fix." Someone else gets to the leeward mark first. We're on his heel. Back to weather...tack..flatten...hike...head up ...drive the boat...tack. We're crossing him. Now comes another on the starboard lay line. We're around and off again on the broad plane. One more gybe...back to weather...heading for the finish. We got him...wow...another first!

The "fix" will carry on as we all roll the mind images on reruns in those moments of daydreams. May there be more days of this celebrated Albacore sailing passion.

To find out more, visit www.albacore.ca.

 

George Roth is an avid Albacore sailor and currently holds the position of Chief Measurer on the Canadian Albacore Association.

 

Originally Published in Canadian Yachting's June/July 2003 issue.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Ontario Yachts

Overall Length: 4.6 meters

Beam: 1.6 meters

Minimum Hull Weight: 109 Kgs (240 lbs)

Full Rigged Weight:136 kgs. (299 lbs) 

SailArea - Mainsail: 8.3 m2

SailArea - Jib: 3.2m2

Draft Centreboard Up: 0.2 m2

Draft Centreboard Down: 1.4 m2

 

Related Articles

Destinations

  • Prev
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.

An Abacos Adventure

Great Guana CayBy Mark Stevens; Photos by Sharon Matthew-Stevens

It’s a perfect Sunday morning jaunt.

We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set for a close reach out of a harbour guarded by a necklace of tiny emerald islands decorated by palms that dance in fifteen knots of wind.

Our boat, “Tropical Escape II” (perfect name for both the boat and our adventure), is a 44-foot Robertson and Caine catamaran, chartered from Sunsail’s Marsh Harbour base on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island.

Read More about An Abacos Adventure...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
“In Grenada, we had about 80 cruiser kids visit our boat...by dinghy of course! Sometimes you ...
Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...
As the sole arbiter of the Photo of the Week I, your editor, get to make the choice. This week, ...
Michele Stevens pointed us to this interesting project which recently came to fruition in Cape ...
Our Photos of the week this time come from BC where our friend Rob Stokes sent us a very nice ...
Our little treasure: Montague (Monte) taken at Pirate's Cove in the Gulf Islands. Monte is a ...
It has been a long, hot summer here on Georgian Bay and we miss Adamant 1 terribly. We did manage ...
On Thursday last week, at age 88, Bruce Kirby has been invested into the Order of Canada for his ...
The Olympic Qualification Regatta is now being held in Aarhus Denmark with unlimited entries. That ...
The demographics of sailing are changing, and more women are getting involved and are often rooted ...

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read more about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...

Ask Andrew - Winterization

Winterising your boatBy Andrew McDonald

‘Winterization’ is a broad term used to prepare an engine for extended storage – specifically through the winter season (when temperatures drop below the freezing point).

There are two main purposes for proper winterization: First, to protect the engine from freezing damage; second, to prepare the engine to be re-started easily after a lay-up.

Read More about Winterizing your boat....

 

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.