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
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.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the ...
Long popular with New England and St. John area boaters, Passamaquoddy Bay is too often overlooked ...
We did breakfast yesterday in the Greek port of Piraeus, just outside Athens:strong coffee, crisp ...
After much speculation Prince Harry finally popped the question to American actress and longtime ...

 Killarney

KillarneyStory and Photos by: Jennifer Harker

We’re aboard Attigouatan, a Pursuit 2260 that normally lives life as a friend’s cottage boat, running back and forth from dock to dock. This will be her longest run in four years, travelling the approximately 120 kilometres (80 miles) northwest from Parry Sound to Killarney, threading our way through the northern reaches of the stunning 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay’s eastern shoreline.

Her name evokes an early indigenous name for Lake Huron – Spirit Lake. 

Read more about Killarney....

  

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This photo from a CPS member shows how talented boaters are. Brenda Cochrane from Kelowna BC, a ...
The first part of this blog will show that not every day is blue sky and sunshine in the Bahamas!
This beauty came our way from Reel Deal Yachts in Bahia Mar, Florida. Why not charter for the ...
This new legislation from Washington State Department of Fisheries applies to boats launched in ...
Don’t miss this brilliant photo double header
In honour of Launch Day, our POTW this time comes from Wendy Loat in Port Credit. This shot, taken ...
Our favorite, Man-O-War Cay, is home to the Albury Boat Building empire. They have been building ...
On the Easter Weekend, the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club from Vancouver Island, had its first ...
We were finally able to get a SIM card and data plan on our phone Monday morning. We could now ...
It’s Friday afternoon at the Newport Yacht Club in Stoney Creek, and that can only mean one thing - ...

 

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440By Zuzana Prochazka

There are few things more satisfying than watching someone thumb their nose at tradition and introduce something revolutionary that kicks convention to the curb. French designer, Philippe Briand, has done just that for Jenneau’s new line of Sun Odyssey family cruisers. By starting with a clean sheet, Briand re-thought how we move about on deck and below, and the results on the Jeanneau 440 are game changing.

Jeanneau unveiled the first hull of their 440 in Annapolis with dramatic flair. On command, the plastic that sheathed half the boat...

Read more about the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440....

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
CYOB readers often ask questions about their boats and system. For this issue, I’ve answered a ...
Modern marine engines run at very high temperatures and rely on a few methods to keep their ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
In the early spring, just after launch, with the hustle and bustle of engine checks, antifouling, ...
All engines, including marine engines (inboards, outboards and stern drives) have many moving parts ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
I once heard an argument at a yacht club. Two old salts, patiently itching to let go lines and ...
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 ...
Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
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.
The 2018 Northwest Boat Travel Guide just arrived. This time of the year is the perfect time for ...
We are all looking to gain a little more time these days, and technology is often the route we ...
While they are no longer a part of the CPS Flare Program, Fogh Boat Supplies and Fogh Marine, both ...
We have all had the experience of heading down below on a nice boat only to encounter an unpleasant ...