Portsmouth, RI is home to a boat builder that has been building examples of the finest down east vessels for 45 years in the U.S., and 111 years if you include its Scandinavian heritage. Albin Marine, which is a descendant of the Swedish company Albin Motor, entered the U.S. market in 1966. The president since 1966, Fred Peters, purchased Albin Marine boats in 1981, while the Albin engine division was acquired by Volvo-Penta. In 2004 Peters brought to market a new configuration of yacht, built on the legendary Albin hull, featuring a separate aft cabin and a layout clearly designed by people who know boating … the Albin 30 Family Cruiser. Please note that the boat is no longer made, but there are plenty of brokerage yachts out there, and the vessel’s configuration is certainly worth considering.
The Albin 30 Family Cruiser’s familiarity with the sea – its sea kindliness – comes from the fact that its designer’s knew what not to touch when designing the boat … the hull. Except for minor tweaking and the addition of a protective skeg, the running surface is similar to that on the Albin 27 and other of Albin’s legendary craft. “Our diesel powered yachts are built without compromise and are known throughout the world as sea worthy vessels designed in the North Sea tradition to handle the roughest waters”, states Albin literature, and owners of the Albin 25, Albin 27, Albin 28 and the Albin 30 have lined up to attest to this fact.
Boarding the Albin 30 via the midships cockpit, you immediately appreciate the Swedish concept of space management. There are numerous compartments cleverly incorporated into the design, and a cavernous storage or fishing well is in the floor of the cockpit (with a macerator pump in case you go fishing) that can be raised electrically at the flip of a switch, thereby making access to the diesel engine (the Perkins 265hp engine delivers a top speed of 24 knots; Yanmar and Volvo diesel engines are also available) an easy achievement. There are quality stainless steel handrails (26” tall) fore and aft, and a walk around, non-skid deck that measures as much as 11’5” wide at midships. Forward, the bow flair makes for a dryer deck, more room in the V-berth section of the yacht and completes the 30’s decidedly down east look. Two comfortable, single seats (with removable backrests) are at the rear against the aft cabin,. They also serve as a step when boarding the boat from one side or another and as the extension of the aft cabin beds.
The Albin 30 is offered in a convertible or wheelhouse model, but the wheelhouse version is by far the more popular. There is no door between the cockpit and the steering cabin, but a tasteful, transparent curtain system, similar to the delta cab found on boats with exposed aft decks is available. The helm is roomy and comfortable, with the well-padded helm seat and navigator’s chairs (one mounted atop useful cabinetry and one on a stainless pedestal mount) surrounded by non-skid decks and gel coated seat risers and bulkheads. Ample helm console and top-mount space abounds for mounting your choice of electronics suites. The feeling is one of low-maintenance luxury. You may install bridge carpeting, and it looks nice (especially when color matched to the boat’s striping) but the folks we talked to who did admitted they seldom if ever used it. One Albin 30 owner opened a compartment door and showed me his carpet kit, rolled up in the factory shrink-wrap and never used (and taking up compartment space!), an expensive attempt at aesthetic embellishment he’d made before he’d had the boat long enough to know it wasn’t useful. The bridge is meant to an open bridge, and as such is set up to resist weather … including UV assault by the sun. Adding carpeting (or other items) gets in the way of this simple idea.
Move forward and down steps (OK, a small ladder is more accurate) to inside the forward house (there’s a door here, so this is one of two areas sheltered from sea and weather) and you experience a very different type of decor. The galley is situated inside the door and to port and features a sink, microwave, fridge, cabinets and a space for a self-contained gas-powered, single-burner stove with integrated butane canister. Above and forward is the AC and DC power panels, located here so they would be out of the weather. Directly above the galley center, a molded-in, purpose-built structure, are three opening ports which contribute to the light airy feel of this space.
Directly across from the galley, behind a handsome wooden door, is the enclosed head with sink and shower. Owners praise the functionality of the head in this boat, unlike other boats where the head has to be there so it is crammed in, but barely usable.
Forward, accented by more wood and upholstered in quality fabric, is the ‘inside gathering place’ or table. This is a large, well-made table top around which six people can squeeze in or 4 can gather comfortably. The table collapses to become the yacht’s primary sleeping venue, a spacious (6’6” X 5’) queen bed. Aft of the galley on the port side is the extra large (6’ X 3’2”) single berth or storage space. Overhead lighting in strategic locations is abundant, another two opening portals are above a large hanging locker (and in the head) and a large hatch provides air, sunroof exposure to the outside and an escape route if something were to block egress through the aft door. The seating is top notch and the upholstery job is another area where Albin did not compromise. A stereo (mounted above the door in the hanging locker) and two speakers provide music and the space atop the hanging locker may be used for a small TV. The floor in this cabin is beautifully joined wood, and sets off the quality of the interior space.
The second (completely separate) cabin is located aft, and is an Albin exclusive. Lift the hatch and open the door, step down, and you find a guest cabin with two 6’ 8” X 2’ 8” twin beds or a cavernous queen bed (7’ 11” X 5’) when the insert is employed. Not only does this accommodate a private-minded additional couple in style, but it makes a great primary cabin for the skipper and first mate traveling alone who don’t want to ‘make down’ the forward table. Two opening ports are on each wall, and the floor is the same rich wood that we saw in the main cabin. A selection of power outlets, overhead reading lights and a cable outlet come standard in this cabin, outfitting it nicely for the visiting couple, kids or the skipper and first mate. Really a nice addition in the family cruiser series, the aft cabin design was taken from earlier Albin designs and enlarged on the 30-footer.
The Albin cruises and handles with an ease that suggests you’re driving a much smaller boat. The diesel engine beneath the floorboards is amazingly quiet, which speaks highly of both the boat’s design and the quality of the materials used in her manufacture. The positioning of the wheel at the helm is ideal (not the case in all boats) and the ground tackle and mooring cleats seem to be in just the right places.
|Deadrise at Transom||19º|
|Air Draft w/ Radar Arch||9′|
|Air Draft w/o Radar Arch||8′ 4″|
|Air Draft w/ Radar Arch(Convertable)||8′ 3″|
|Air Draft w/o Radar Arch(Convertable)||7′ 3″|
|Hull Type||Progressive -V|
|Designer||Albin Marine Design Group|
The Albin 30 Family Cruiser isn’t a trailer boat (although I’ve seen one daringly go down the highway) but it is one of my all-time favorites in quality yachts. It is made right, and that shows in every part of the vessel. I’d be proud to own and operate one and, if I did, I’d be taking part in a boating history that is rich with stories of the seas and the quality Albin vessels that have sailed them.
Photos courtesy of mftr. website: www.albinmarine.com