Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m a dreamer and a little outside the norm, when I start talking about what I plan to accomplish. The internet being a seductive place for dreamers, this dream began to tug at my soul
and cultivate a vision in the back of my mind that grew and grew until I could no longer ignore it. Our cruising dream evolved in this fashion. Our “About” pages share more about this dream if you are interested in checking them out.
I trolled the Internet, looking at a few profiles and weighing many options and specs before a certain kind of boat began to catch my eye. The profiles of older boats, boats that had been there, riding amongst the harshness and brilliance of the wind and waves of the deep blue, and had captured the passion of their salty, sea-going captains – those were the boats that caught my eye. Boats with deep keels, long swooping lines, a bow that points proudly into the wind and counter sterns hanging far out over the waterline were the gorgeous ones that caught my attention. Maybe it’s my affection for the lines of the traditional canoe; the lovely gentle ark of the wooden gunnels that initiate high in the bow and move beyond the paddler to exit so gracefully astern – no cutting off of the lines here.
This connection with the water is further emphasized as the warm coloured, black cherry paddle enters and the sultry dipping, pulling and moving of water in swirls when I propel myself along. Yes, that has likely influenced my preference for sailboat shape. This vision was shared by both of us, although with Shirley’s pragmatic nature, she would have sacrificed beauty for function. As it turned out, she didn’t need to.
Carl Alberg’s classic design, manufactured from 1961 to 1987, came up over and over in my searches and struck a chord with us for many, many reasons. Yves Gelinas accomplished his famous solo circumnavigation in an Alberg 30. That caught our attention. I stumbled upon some writings by Yves where he talked about his love of the Alberg 30 and that it was the only boat for him. In his own words, it was all he needed out on the ocean to feel secure. The wonder and magic he described carried forward in my imagination. Yves has shared why he chose an Alberg 30 and that he would do so again (check out his site http://www.capehorn.com/sections/Pages/30ansAng.htm ) . Karen Larson has also written a lovely description of this inspiring man and his adventure at http://www.capehorn.com/sections/pages/all_about_yves.htm.
The Alberg fit the aesthetics we were looking for. It also met the criteria of a couple who are green to the cruising life, to the idiosyncrasies of boat design, and are living on a limited budget. First of all, drawing 4 feet 3 inches, it is not just an ocean cruiser but is suited to our northern Ontario lakes. Its construction is solid. It is described as a “forgiving” boat to sail, something appealing to many sailors, and especially reassuring to us novices. Its narrow beam makes it sea-kindly, able to slice through heavy seas, we read. If we ever do make it to the ocean – when we do make it to the ocean – that will be appreciated. Its narrow beam, though, also makes for a small living space, some would say cramped, but we would say cozy. After all, size is relative and with neither one of us exceeding 5 foot 5 inches, space isn’t something we occupy much of. In the wise words of Gelinas “no matter what size your boat is – it’s too small”. It may not be too small for us, but would be for guests, although, depending on the circumstances and the guests, one could argue that to be either a pro or a con. As with many older boats, it seemed reasonably priced. The Alberg has quite a following. We had not seen such enthusiasm for other boats we had come across. I only came across one negative critique of the Alberg design on a cruising forum, and that unfortunate poster was ruthlessly cut down by a legion of faithful Albergers. And did I mention it was beautiful?
The rational realist in Shirley had yet to accept possibility of cruising anytime soon – she saw way too many hurdles to get over. She yearned to get back on the water, though. Aquiring a graceful lake-size boat that was also ocean-worthy (if we ever did go cruising) was perfect. If Yves could accomplish his solo circumnavigation in one, certainly we could manage coastal cruising as a duo. Could it be? Was is possible to have such a versatile and solid boat, easy on the wallet and still capture our imagination with her beautiful lines? We were both sold. The Alberg 30 was the boat for us.
If you are interested in further information about Carl Alberg’s charming boat, we’ve written a bit more in our “About our boat” page, and we’ve included links there to the writings of people with way more expertise than we have.
In our next post, which we’ll get out in a day or two, Shirley will share our window shopping experiences as we “kick the keels” of a few Albergs, in the 2nd part of our Acquiring Ariose trilogy.