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Alberg 30: Frequently Asked Questions

 

The boat's construction:

What's the difference between older and newer boats?

There are constant little changes between different Alberg 30s, but they basically are divided into two groups:

Older boats

Older boats have a laminated wood mast beam and no liner. Their decks are masonite cored and drain directly overboard under the toerail. These boats have an upright icebox accessible from both the cabin and the cockpit.

Newer boats

The newer boats have an aluminum mast beam enclosed inside a molded fiberglass liner. Their decks are balsa cored and drain through hoses to the cockpit scupper drains. A molded fiberglass pan forms the cabin sole and the support for the furniture. The icebox is top-loading. I believe these boats started with hull #409.

Other variations

There are also a few transition boats (such as #371) that share characteristics of both. A few of the early boats, prior to hull 27, were a little underballasted and have had 460 pounds of internal ballast added in the bilge to make them competitive with the rest.

You should keep in mind that there have been innumerable variations over the years. It might be honestly said that no two Alberg 30's are exactly alike. Not only was the factory constantly making incremental changes, but they made individual modifications for customers ordering boats. I've heard that one former A30 owner tried for years to get his teak to match that of a dockmate, never realizing that his "teak" was actually mahogany. Most boats have been customized over the years by their owners, too. These modifications may be a little or a lot and the quality of the execution varies as well.

So, there you have it. A one-design boat in which each boat is unique!

How is the cabin laid out?

The interior of the A30 is fairly conventional. Starting forward, there's a v-berth. Aft of that is a head to port and a hanging locker to starboard. Then there are two settees in the main cabin with a removable table. All the way aft, there's the galley to starboard and icebox to port.

There's one door between the head and main cabin that's a bifold and folds into the head. There's another door that doubles as a door to the hanging locker and a door to the v-berth. Some boats may have a slightly different arrangement.

The table mounts on a zig-zag piece of aluminum pipe that fits into a holder under the edge of the starboard settee cushion. The shape of the pipe holds the table out in the middle of the main cabin or it can be rotated 180 degrees to mount the table completely over the starboard settee. When not in use, the table top can be mounted under the deck over the v-berth and the pipe wherever you want. Again, some boats may be different.

Tell me about the ballast

The ballast is a thirty-three hundred pound hunk of cast iron that is set inside the FRP hull, apparently bedded in vermiculite to eliminate the air gap. I'm told that, on the early boats at least, glass tabbing was installed around the top of the casting to hold it into the hull, and resin was poured on top. In the newer boats, the cabin liner obscures such construction details.

Carl Alberg designed the boat for lead ballast. Presumably Kurt Hansen of Whitby Boat Works changed to iron for cost reasons. Using a less-dense ballast material, of course, raises the center of gravity and may move it fore-and-aft, also. I'm speculating that this change may be the reason the boat tends to squat a bit in the stern. Certainly the boat is a bit more tender due to the iron ballast. The very early boats, prior to hull #27, had underweight ballast that failed to compensate for the change. The Association by-laws allow that "a maximum of 460 pounds inside permanent ballast may be added" to these boats. You'll likely find lead or iron pigs already installed on top the keel ballast of these boats.

One boat, hull #78, Caliban, was made with a cast lead ballast at the request of its buyer, Lew Dohn. In his words, "At the time of ordering my boat I wrote to Carl Alberg and asked him for advice. He answered that he would recommend it and I would have a better boat. It cost me $80 extra. The builder, Kurt Hansen, after installing mine, said that he would not do any more as the mould had to be shipped to a different foundry to be cast and it was too much of a hassle. The weight remained the same giving me a little more room under the cabin sole. The boat was # 78 with black hull, gold cove stripe, white boot top and green anti-fouling. I named her Caliban after the character in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' She won the Great Lakes Championship three years running. The last I heard of her was when she was shipped to San Francisco a number of years ago."

What are the boat's specifications?

LOA: 30' 3"
Beam: 8' 9"
Draft: 4' 3" (My wife claims it's more.)
LWL: 21' 8" (It lengthens considerably when heeled.)
Displacement: 9000 lbs.
Ballast: approximately 3300 lbs. (cast iron in FRP)
Working canvas: 410 sq. ft.
foretriangle: 189 sq. ft.
main: 221 sq. ft.

The boat's availability:

Is Whitby still making the boat?

No, the boat has been out of production for a number of years and Whitby Boatworks is out of business.

The last I knew, the Alberg 30 molds were owned by Bill Boyle of Columbia, SC who bought them at auction. Boyle has not produced any boats since buying the molds. To be honest, there hasn't been enough demand to allow reconditioning the molds and starting up production of the boat. As everyone knows, the sailboat business isn't what it once was when inflation made it seem that boats were actually appreciating and U.S. tax laws made chartering an easy write-off for professionals with moderately high incomes. Also, the market has swung further toward the extreme of light-weight boats with a large interior volume and modern "racy" looks. A further impediment is that the Alberg 30 is a sturdy, long-lived boat. The Alberg 30's built in the 60's are still going strong, even winning races, having outlived many newer, lighter boats built since then.

This isn't meant to be discouraging, however; just realistic. I've lost touch with Bill Boyle and no longer know the location or condition of the molds. If you want to go sailing in an Alberg 30, you might find it quicker to buy a good used boat and enjoy it.

Where can I find a good used Alberg 30 to buy?

Where can I learn more?

You can join the Alberg30 Mailing List and ask your questions there.


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