Getting Started Sailing An Albacore

By Peter Duncan

Born practical and high tech in the 1950's, the Albacore has kept up with the times becoming a "modern classic" that offers exciting one design racing in a comfortable family oriented boat. Lightweight and easy to trail and rig, the Albacore is ready to go where you want to sail. While most Albacore owners keep their boats at their favorite marina, the Albacore can easily be kept at home and trailed around the local regatta circuit, taken on the family vacation to the beach or towed to major events such as the Midwinters in Florida or National events in the US or Canada.

Check out the list of fleets where Albacores are raced in North America. For the more adventuresome, the bi-annual International Championship gives you an excuse to ship you boat to England (in the group container) for about the cost to fly skipper and crew across the pond. Few other classes offer such a wide range of events from informal learn-to-sail evening races to full-blown world class competition on a truly affordable budget.

Offering more than comforts and adjustments than other more recently designed fifteen footers while avoiding the complexity of many modern "high tech" skiff boats, the Albacore offers the exciting high performance of a light dinghy that will plane in 10-12 knots without spinnaker or trapeze. This allows a wide range of teams, including novices, families (husband/wife and parent/child) and old salts to step in and enjoy the fun of sailing from the very first day on.

Of course for those who love competition and a big breeze there is nothing like rocketing down a reach with a dozen of your favorite competitors in hot pursuit. But the best part of joining a class is the people you meet. The Albacore class is made up of hundreds of sailors from all ages and walks of life. Over the decades the Albacore has been the starting point for many great sailors and the training ground for several Olympians.

But the most outstanding characteristic of Albacore sailors is their willingness to help the new person get into the class at any level and help them progress as far as their desire will take them. The class offers a full range of training programs that are second to none.

Albacore sailors will show you everything from how to rig and launch your boat to the deepest tuning "secrets" of the class champions. It is the norm for the top sailors to share a few beers and all of their knowledge after a race with anyone who wants to list and learn from the best. In the end it is the Albacore people and the friends you make that keep you coming back year after year.

Becoming a member is easy and costs $35 per year. For less than you'd pay for a night on the town, you get coaching and clinics to teach you to sail. You get a well written and informative newsletter and a web site packed with information about everything that is going on with Albacores around the world. You get tips on how to sail faster, invitations to participate in World class events and hundreds of new friends who enjoy the same thing you do.

Many people start out by crewing in an Albacore. Contact the Fleet officers or crew coordinators to get a test ride. When you are ready for your own boat, check out the buy/sell page to find a boat that suits your skill and budget. You will find new boats and used boats from top racers to trusted day sailors. One of the great things about buying an Albacore is the way the boats hold their value year after year. Some forty year old boats are still competitive and many well maintained 10-20 year old boats are right at the front of the fleet and worth nearly what they were originally purchased for. The articles on Buying Your First Albacore and the Guide to Albacore Builders will help you find a boat that is right for you. If that is not enough, post a question on the Albacore Forum and get the wisdom of many Albacore sailors.

The best way to find out if the Albacore is for you is to hop in and take one for spin. Contact the local fleet or national officers to find out when we will be holding an open house or where there is an Albacore near you to see and sail. If you have any other questions, be sure contact one of the class officers who will be glad to help you learn about the Albacore and decided if it is the one-design for you!

The Albacore is a great boat to learn in, and one that will challenge you for life.

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