What Is An Albacore?

By Barney Harris 6701 & 8011

My long time 505 crew asked me just that - I thought for a minute and told him that "…it is a cross between an Interclub dinghy and a 505" - both boats with which he is intimately familiar. With rounded bilges and a plumb bow, the 240 lb Albacore hull resembles a 15-foot Thistle. A deep, air-foil section centerboard and rudder make the Albacore exceptionally manoeuvrable. The Albacore's rig uses swept spreaders supporting a tapered mast, a powerful vang, and adjustable jib halyard and other sail controls to depower in high winds - enabling both light and heavy crews to race head to head in all but the most extreme conditions. The powerful, rig and easily driven hull give excellent performance over a wide range of conditions. The Albacore is a boat that is both simple to get into at first, and one which will challenge your tuning and
tactical skills for the rest of your life.

The Albacore is a great first boat for those who are just learning to sail and a very competitive racer for more advanced sailors., it is often sailed by husband/wife and parent child combinations. Some of the all women teams are the most competitive in the class.

The Albacore is raced in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Florida, New Jersey, and several provinces in Eastern Canada, as well as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Cypress. In particular, the Albacore is well represented at events on the CBYRA one design regatta circuit.

A well-attended series of National and International championships serves to satisfy the competitive urges for hard-core racers. The Albacore is currently raced in seven countries, and a World or International Championships is held every two years. In 1999, the International Championships was hosted in the United States at the Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association in Delaware. This was a weeklong event from October 9 - 15, 1999 with 66 teams participating. This year, 2001 the Albacore Championships will be held in Torbay, Great Britain with over 70 teams anticipated to attend. See the United States Albacore Association web site which can be accessed through the HSC site for further information about upcoming regattas.

Getting Started in the Albacore Class

Over 30 new Albacores were built in North America alone during the past year for new owners in Canada and the United States. Ontario Yachts is the primary North American builder. They build a great boat with simply equipped standard models going for about US$5,600 and top competition models incorporating modern sandwich composite construction, fully fitted out with top quality fittings and ready to race for around US$8,350.

A second hand boat is a great way to get started on a tight budget. Competitive racing boats in good condition sell for around $4,500 and a good starter boat can be purchased for $1,500 or less. Many Albacores will have a competitive life of well over 15 years, and there several 20 to 40 year old boats that regularly place at the top of the fleet. Campaigning an Albacore is economical: new sail purchases are limited to one per year by Class rules, and are typically
done in groups to keep costs down. Much of the racing is at venues where camping is possible and the boat can be trailered behind a small car.

The real proof is in the sailing. While the Albacore is a fast and lively boat, it is relatively easy to get up to speed and the racing is very tactical. Albacore class members comprise an eclectic group from all ages and walks of life including students, professionals, senior executives, and retirees who range in age from 15 to 71. One Albacore is currently owned by a member of the US Senate. Truly, there is something in the Albacore for everyone who loves sailing.

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