Overview

Albin Vega 27 Line Drawing and Sailplan There’s more to the modest-seeming Albin Vega than meets the eye. This little fiberglass 27 footer from Scandinavia can strut her stuff as a serious offshore cruiser and has become a multi-continental favourite with an army of fans. Created in 1964 by Swedish designer Per Brohall, builders Larsson Marine were looking for a bigger version of Brohall’s successful Viggen 23. Designed to be inexpensive but also light, spacious, fast and seaworthy, the Albin Vega’s popularity is a result of Brohall’s success in meeting his brief.

Like many boats of the time the Vega’s design gives a nod to the skinny lines and long keel of the Scandinavian Folkboat and in comparison with modern designs the term spacious might be misleading but unlike modern boats there was no trade off in seaworthiness for interior space. The Albin Vega is no longer in production, but during her ten year production run over 3000 boats were built. She has earned the reputation as an inexpensive all weather cruiser and an ideal starter boat.

History

In 1964 Lars Larsson, of Larsson Trade AB (in 1971 to become Albin Marin AB), commissioned Swedish designer Per Brohall to build a 27 foot version of his previous successful design, the Viggen 23, reputedly in the hope of increasing sales of their Albin engines. Brohall was one of the pioneers of early fibreglass construction in Sweden and published a number of books on small wooden boat building. He paired up with Larsson to design several boats, including the Albin 25, 21 and 30, but the Albin Vega was probably the most popular and widely known. Larsson Trade AB managed to produce 3450 Vegas at their impressive shipyard in Kristinehamn, Sweden before production ceased in 1979 and the shipyard closed down. Many of the Vegas unsurprisingly were sold in Scandinavia but a good proportion were shipped out to the rest of Europe and places as far away as the USA, Greenland and Hawaii.

The Vega has earned her reputation as an offshore cruiser by completing numerous offshore voyages and circumnavigations, the most famous being the voyage of John Neal whose book Log of Mahina chronicled his voyage from Seattle to the South Pacific. More recently were voyages to Antartica and the Arctic made by controversial Norwegian Adventurer Jarle Andhoy and crew in his Albin Vega Berserk (and later Berserk II)  and filmed for Norwegian TV. According to Andhoy and crew’s account of their Arctic voyage, they set a world record in their Vega “as no other sailing vessel had ever sailed as far north in open water”.

Configuration and Layout

Albin Vega 27 Interior Layout The Vega is a modest displacement masthead sloop with a cutaway stern and inboard rudder. She’s a bit lacking in classic cruiser curves with an almost straight sheerline from bow to stern which gives her a slightly hunchbacked appearance from certain angles. Her keel is not the traditional full keel of an offshore cruiser but, modified to half the length of her waterline, it’s enough to keep her tracking well while creating less friction and giving better light air performance. Her rudder is firmly fixed to the rear of the keel and uncommonly, the propeller exits under the counter stern above the rudder. She has an unusual bow pulpit configuration which allows for step through disembarking and is typical for Swedish boats which often have to be moored bow forward off rugged coastlines.

Her interior layout is fairly standard for a boat this size with, from bow to stern, chain locker, v-berth, head, single berths either side of the saloon and a galley split either side of the companionway stairway. With her 8ft beam there is not a lot of space to work with below but she can carry two adults comfortably on long voyages plus perhaps two children on shorter trips. The four berths are a decent size (6′ and 6′ 6″) and the table in the saloon screws in and can be unscrewed and relocated to the cockpit. There is no designated chart table so improvisation is required here. Headroom is not over generous with 5′ 10″ in the main cabin. The cockpit is considered to be the right size for offshore work and has good drainage and tall coamings for protection. One owner points to its use as an enjoyable cockpit bath with the drains plugged.

Construction

Albin Vega 3D Layout Built in the early days of fibreglass construction, the Vega’s hull is solidly constructed fibreglass up to one inch thick in parts, however the cabin top and deck are cored fibreglass which, while not necessarily weak, is prone to flexing and could do with reinforcement to withstand lengthy offshore work. The joints are strong and waterproof  with good sized stainless steel bolts, spaced 5 inches apart, holding hull and deck together.

Under Sail

By all accounts the Vega under sail handles easily and is a well balanced creature with no weather helm. Despite her shallow draft she is reported to point well to windward and while tender initially up to around 10 to 15 degrees of heel she carries full sail easily up to 20 knots. She’s a fast boat downwind but offshore cruisers would do well to carry a large spinnaker or drifter for light airs.

Specifications

LOA: 27′ 1″
LWL: 23′ 0″
Beam: 8′ 0″
Draft: 3′ 10″
Ballast: 2017 lbs.
Displacement: 5070 lbs.
Sail Area: 341 sq.ft.

Headroom: 5′ 10″
Fuel: 9 US Gal.
Water: 18 US Gal.

Designer: Per Brohall
Builder: Larsson Marine
Year Introduced: 1964
Year Ended: 1979
Total Built: 3450

Buyer’s Notes

While the rudder is well supported by its attachment to the keel the rudder itself has some weaknesses. The rudder fittings should be carefully examined and the play in the rudder tested. The deck and cabintop are cored with PVC foam and may be subject to ‘oilcanning’ so reinforcement is advised for offshore work. With her deck-stepped mast the Albin Vega is susceptible to compression damage at the mast foot but this is often remedied by adding supports below. The large window’s in the hull are a weak point for offshore work and the stem fitting at the bow has been deemed inadequate. The Vega is also known to be difficult to control under power in reverse.

More than 3000 Albin Vegas were built and there are generally a number for sale on the used boat market, the majority of which can be found in Europe and the UK. A search of the current boat market shows prices around 9,000 to 12,00 Euros depending on condition. There are eight different national Albin Vega Associations, each with their own website as well as a worldwide umbrella organisation Vega One Design Association (VODA). Prospective owners have a wealth of contacts here and there is also an owner’s group on Yahoo (link below).

Similar Boats

Links, References and Further Reading

» Albin Vega 27 Boat Review by John Vigor
» Albin Vega Owner’s Site
» Albin Vega Yahoo Group
» Albin Vega Worldwide Database
» Nick and Jenny Coghlan’s circumnavigation in Tarka the Otter (1985-89)
» A Swedish circumnavigation by a young group of friends (2005-2007)

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8 Responses to “Albin Vega 27”

  1. Manning Harvey says:

    I just purchased my Vega S/V Viking, Hull 3361 in July 2013. She is nearly all original. And because of that she needs some updating. Although with just two days of fitting out she motor sailed over 500 miles from Annapolis MD. to Charleston, SC. in 11 days. If anyone knows of Viking and her history please email me.

  2. Paolo says:

    You could find other informations on this sailboat model and also some ads here: http://www.sailingtheweb.net/sailboats/Albin+Vega+27+%28Larsson+Vega%29/Albin/

    BYE

  3. Kristen says:

    There’s this guy, Matt Rutherford, who completed a circumnavigation of the Americas on his Vega in the spring of 2012.
    http://www.solotheamericas.org/

    They’re tough little boats.

  4. Steve says:

    Actually, the Vega did have wood inserts in the core in areas where hardware would be attached (grab rails, turning blocks, foredeck cleat) and some mixture of polyester resin and vermiculite was used beneath the toe rails, hatch frames and maststep. More details can be found in the original owner’s manual at the Vega website.

  5. I’m surprised to read about plywood coring in the deck and cabin top. I thought that the core material was divynlester foam. I installed some coachroof hardware this year and saw no evidence of wood in the layup in this part of the boat.

    • Rosiemac says:

      You are absolutely correct Karen. I contacted the Yahoo group for confirmation and I’ve amended the article accordingly. Thanks for your comments

  6. Steve Birch says:

    Pretty fair assessment of this fine yacht. I have owned and sailed Vegas for nearly 20 years and must admit going in reverse under power is a challenge BUT how often does a sailboat go backwards! Mast step repair is pretty straightforward and a kit is available from the Vega Association of Great Britain at a very reasonable price. A fine yacht and the skipper will give up long before the boat does.  Steve Birch Vega “Southern Comfort” V1703

  7. Bosun_bird says:

    For an illustrated account of the 1985-89 circumnavigation of the Albin Vega Tarka the Otter (Victoria, Canada) please see http://www.bosunbird.com/page14.php .

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