Overview

Alberg 30 Line Sketch “A legend in it’s own time”, that’s the description John Vigor made about the Alberg 30 in his book Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. And indeed the Alberg 30 has garnered a huge following with an active community of owners in North America. It’s an unmistakably traditional boat with long overhangs, a narrow beam, and a full cutaway keel-attached rudder, a design harkening back to the early 60s that’s forgiving to sail and seaworthy enough to cross oceans. This 30-footer has many circumnavigations to its credit, perhaps the most notable being that of Yves Gelinas, who made an award winning film of his circumnavigation in Jean du Sud.

History

The Alberg 30 story began, when in 1961, a bunch of Scandinavian style folkboat owners from Toronto’s National Yacht Club got together and approached Whitby Boat Works to design and build them a boat that was bigger. For the design, Whitby Boat Works in turn approached Carl Alberg (1900 – 1986), at that time one of America’s leading yacht designers.

The brief that was given to Alberg was for a boat built from fiberglass that would sleep four. The configuration had to have a full keel, a practical cockpit, and an interior that had full standing headroom interior and a decent galley. The boat that resulted was the Alberg 30 which was introduced in the following year of 1962.

While the boats were being built a group of sailors from Washington DC inspected the Alberg 30 at Whitby Boat Works and left with firm orders for 15. Another group from Annapolis left with orders for 12, the production run continued into what has become a one of the longest runs on record tallying over 750 boats through a 22 year period. Today Alberg 30s can be found scattered over all parts of the world, but mainly concentrating around North America and particularly in Chesapeake Bay where a vibrant owners association has approximately 250 members.

Boat Configuration

The Alberg 30 is classic design from the 1960s period when many boats were transitioning from wood to fiberglass construction. Narrow beam, low freeboard, large overhangs, and a full keel with a cutaway on the forefoot and a rudder directly attached were the order of the day. When looking at the history of how the boat came to be, it’s not surprising the design is heavily influenced by the Scandinavian folkboat style, Carl Alberg himself being a Swedish born American.

Alberg 30 Layout By modern standards the boat’s narrow beam and low freeboard means the insides will seem extremely small and cramped however this traditional approach to seaworthiness pays dividends in rough seas with a hull that is ultimately stable and seakindly.

Berths accommodating a crew of four are divided into two areas, two in the v-berth, and two in the main saloon area. In between is the head.

The galley is situated in the well vented space at the back of the saloon below the companionway where the cook can be a part of the social happenings outside in the cockpit when under anchor.

Construction

The boats are solidly built. It was a time when fiberglass was the new wonder material and pioneering a new material meant construction was pretty conservative. That translated into lots of glass fiber and lots of resin. The fiberglass was hand laid and polyester resin was used. Early decks were cored with Masonite, which gave way in favor of balsa after 1970.

The mast is deck-stepped and supported originally by a laminated wooden beam on early boats, which over the years have proven to be a weak point. Boats produced from 1970 changed over to an aluminum beam encased with fiberglass. It’s not uncommon to find early boats to have been retrofitted with aluminum supporting beam.

Though the original design by Alberg called for lead ballast, the boats were instead produced with iron ballast encapsulated inside the keel cavity. This resulted in early boats being quite tender and more ballast was added to subsequent production to correct for this.

Under Sail

The Alberg 30 has been described as a forgiving boat to sail. In its day it would have been considered a relatively quick boat, being designed to be raced under the Cruising Club of America racing rules, but don’t expect modern day performance. The boat will not point particularly high to windward, the best point of sail is reported to be a beam reach to close reach. Expect some amount of hobby-horsing.

As conditions get rougher, the Alberg 30’s seaworthiness starts to shine, with its narrow beam the boat tends to slice through the waves where modern designs which favor beaminess and high freeboard will get thrown around. In more extreme conditions, the classically seaworthy design is well suited for heaving-to or laying ahull without complications.

Specifications

LOA: 30′ 3″
LWL: 21′ 8″
Beam: 8′ 9″
Draft: 4′ 3″
Displacement: 9,000 lbs
Sail Area: 410 sqft

Designer: Carl Alberg
Year Introduced: 1962
Year Ended: 1987
Builder: Whitby Boat Works

Buyers Notes

Advice can be sought from the active community of owner associations. Particular areas for inspection are listed below:

  • Check the support under the deck-stepped mast for signs of delamination. Pre-1970 models were of laminated wood, check for signs of cracking.
  • Its been reported the forward lower shroud chainplates are not well supported and should be inspected closely for signs of movement or stress.
  • Check the deck for delamination as well as signs of rot in the coring (creaking sounds).
  • On older boats, the heel fitting on the rudder may be worn.
  • The rudders on the earliest boats were reported not to be strong enough with the internal reinforcing parting from the fiberglass.

As of 2010, the asking price of Alberg 30s generally range from $15k-$30k USD depending on their condition as much as their year of build. There are the odd examples that are asking much higher prices having undergone very extensive rebuilds and presenting themselves in “as new” condition.

Similar Boats

Allied Seawind 30
Tripp 30

Links

» Sailing Magazine, Apr 2002, Used Boat Notebook
» BoatUS, Alberg 30 review by Jack Horner
» The Alberg 30 Association, Information, reviews, photos and more
» Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere by John Vigor, (Ch1, p1-6) an in depth look at the Alberg 30. ISBN:978-0939837328

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17 Responses to “Alberg 30”

  1. Salvator LoTurco says:

    I started sailing this year in December of 2013 and I got hooked. The first documentary I ever watched was “The Jean Du Sud” By Yves Gelinas, the French Canadian sailor who sailed his Alberg 30 solo around the world in 1974 I believe and was one of the first to make a feature film documentary. After seeing that video it was my dream boat.

    This summer in may I had the opportunity to purchase one in Pass Christian, Mississippi for 5300. It was in rough shape needless to say but we did a 40 dollar repair to one of the rotter out bulkheads to support the chainplate and then I sailed the boat back solo 500 miles.

    For a beginner I was a bit out of my element at times but I had done extensive research and despite a cabin fire, lost drive shaft(3x), broken steering cable, dead alternator, and some other things, I made it safely home after 22 days. 5 of which was spent crossing the gulf in pretty open water, but obviously nothing like the oceans I hope to one day cross.

    I have the boat almost fully restored now with new bulkheads and a new floor, etc, and I just painted her interior yesterday. I have to say I almost cried and right now alone I am getting chills just thinking of the magnificent sailboat I have.

    Alberg 30s are unbelieveable and I can say from personal experience it is very forgiving. My last night out of neccessity I sailed through a storm with 41 knot gusts to get to shore and even though she was limping a bit, the way she cut through the waves and rode out was amazing. I will never forget it.

    Look for an article in This Old Boat next year with my boat and the quick repair my friend John and I made to allow me to sail it back:)

    Salvator

  2. Lee says:

    Interesting how some traditional designs become more legendary than others. The Alberg has far less ballast, a lower ballast to displacement ratio, much shorter waterline length tending to more hobbyhorsing, and an inferior ability to recover from capsize in degrees than a so-called coastal cruiser such as the Pearson 30, for example. Long stern overhangs are pretty but are vulnerable to heavy following seas. All the modern high performance offshore boats are fin keelers, yet preconceived notions remain. To each his own I suppose.

    • Joshua Slo says:

      The Alberg is legendary because its seaworthy and a beautiful design. During its time it was advanced. i dont think its fair to compare it to modern fin boats regarding speed etc but I would still prefer one while in heavy conditions. It remains a favorite because of its timeless beauty. Similar to a piece of art.

  3. Chal Beaver says:

    Paul Vibert sailed from Louisbourg,n.s. to-day after arriving from Antigua 2 days ago (see ctv.ca news). He is heading for his home on miscou island, N.B.

  4. Mickey Rouse says:

    Though unknown in most sailing circles, Terrell Adkisson, Port Arthur, Texas, circumnavigated “Altair”, A-30 hull 581 in 1975-1978. I helped him prepare his boat before departure, and knew Terrell until his death in 2006. His photos from his voyage were a club staple in Southeast Texas circles for many years, and letters from his voyage were published extensively in the local newspapers.

    • Glenn Brooks says:

      Hi Mickey,

      I am an Alberg 30 owner in the pacific Northwest, and am trying to find more information about Terrill Adkinson and his circumnavigation in Altair. I am trying to compile a short history of all A30 circumnavigators for the Alberg 30 web site and 2014 association handbook. To date I know of four: Yves Gelanis, Kirk Little, Paul Vibert, and Terrill Adkinson.

      It would be wonderful if Terrill’s story could be included in these resource materials.

      is it possible to contact me directly to talk about what you know of Terrill’s voyage and the current whereabouts of Alytair?

      Thanks much.
      Glenn Brooks

  5. Glenn Brooks says:

    Kirk was correct, however there are actually now two Alberg 30 circumnavigator’s. Yves Galinas completed a one stop circumnavigation in 1983′ aboard a Jean-du-Sud, and Kirk Little just completed his round the world voyage in Salsa! a third A30 voyager, Paul Vibert is under way now, having just left Maritius enroute for the Carribbean thence back home to Ontario. Paul was just rolled and dismayed a day or so out of port and put in to Reunion to affect repairs.

    • Kevin says:

      Where is Paul now? I haven’t heard from him for several months. I’m the previous owner of Rough Bounds A30 1963 #25

      • Glenn Brooks says:

        Last I heard (January,2013) Paul had built a replacement mast as a jury rigg and was on his way back to Cape Town to acquire a new permanent mast, then was going to continue on his voyage. I suspect he is now somewhere in the South Atlantic, hopefully riding the trades up past the Canaries enroute to the Caribbean! Carnival just finished in Tenerife, so perhaps he stopped off to sample the festivitiies!

        • kevin says:

          Glenn, have you heard from Paul?

          • Glenn Brooks says:

            Hi Kevin, I understand Paul has returned to his home port of Thunder Bay, Ontario and is back in his slip, planning to write a book about his voyage. If you google his name, you will find a few references and updates to his circumnavigation.

  6. David Fisher says:

    Kirk there’s a lovely little red one that’s almost done. Can’t vouch for the skipper though; I understand he gets up to all sorts of antics when he’s in port.

  7. Kirk Little says:

    “The 30-footer has many circumnavigations to its credit”  I’m very curious about this statement as I am not aware of any Alberg 30s circumnavigating other than Yves Gelinas, in Jean du Sud.

  8. Souljour2000 says:

    I have a 1966 Columbia 29 MK II designed by Sparkman and Stephens whi used same construction techniques but to my knowledge does not have a history of compression post problems with it’s laminated post or some of the other problems talked about concerning the Alberg 30. The specs of the C-29 are even more bluewater-savvy with poured lead in all versions…and having a 2 to 1 ballast-weight ratio. I know the later 70’s Columbias had problems and it may have stained the repuatation of their earlier boats like the c-29 MK II which I think will someday be held same regard as the Albergs and Meridians and Tritons…

    • John says:

      The Columbia might develop an equal reputation someday, but it has had a pretty good opportunity over the past 45 years…

  9. Mauricio Urrutia R says:

    Hola, soy un nuevo propietario de un Alberg 30 del año ’65. Vivo Puerto Montt, Chile, : 41°29’23.23″S – 72°58’57.15O y quiero incorporarme al club.
    Hello, I am a new owner of an Alberg 30 of the year ‘ 65. I live in Chile, Port Montt: 41°29 ‘ 23.23″ S – 72°58 ‘ 57.15O and I want to join to the club.

  10. Eric Taylor says:

    The Columbia 29 MK II is very similar in design to the Alberg 30 I would be very curious to see how to two compare.

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