Designed by Uffa Fox in 1954, the Albacore dinghy 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.
A deep, airfoil section centerboard and rudder make the Albacore exceptionally maneuverable. 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 dinghy has very popular class associations in many countries and there are reasons for this. First of all the class is a “restricted”, which means that the hull shape and sail plan are not allowed change from year to year. This has two benefits, ensuring that this year’s boat is not obsolete next season, and at the same time allowing lots of freedom for owners to plan and fit control systems to suit themselves.
The class has moved with the times in other ways, adopting most of the new materials for hull, rig and sail construction, but only once proven and at a sensible cost. This is to avoid the extremes of cheque-book sailing and thus maintaining the value and competitiveness of existing boats.
In fact, in almost all Albacore fleets there are examples of 20 year old boats, lovingly maintained, costing only a few hundreds of pounds second hand and winning races every weekend, much to the irritation of the higher sail numbers! Michael McNamara’s world champion boat was around 20 years old.
Fascinating to see that these are still being raced in UK. I well remember regular racing at Poole Harbour back in 1968, including breaking off ice before launching, perhaps why I left for Australia. They are indeed great fun boats.
I am 84 years old and was for quite a time a member of the Bay of Colwyn Sailing Club and sailed an Albacore,racing and cruising.I had a metal centreboard and a wooden one which were used depending on what I was doing.
I can rember being out in a line squall and it was the best sail I ever had.