Alberg 30

By Jack Hornor

Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
Alberg 30
Principal Dimensions & Specifications
Measurements should be considered approximate and the manufacturer's specifications may be relied upon. Bow & stern appendages are generally excluded.
Length Overall30’ 3"
Waterline Length21’ 8"
Maximum Beam8’ 9"
Maximum Draft4’ 3"
Displacement/Weight9,000 lbs
Fuel CapacityN/A
Water CapacityN/A
Sail Area 100%
Fore triangle
410 Sq ft.

In late 1961, designer Carl Alberg was commissioned by Kurt Hansen, owner of Whitby Boatworks Ltd. of Whitby, Ontario, Canada, to design a 30' sailboat for a group of Toronto area sailors who were interested in a boat in the 30' range for class racing and family cruising. The plans for what has become known as the Alberg 30 were completed on 1962. Before the days of computer aided design, it took weeks for a designer to produce a fair set of hull lines and the calculations to evaluate a design. For this reason, it was common for naval architects to pattern much of their work after proven prior design work. Carl Alberg was no exception and many of Albert's designs are similar in appearance. With her full keel, low free board, long overhangs, narrow beams, and low-aspect sail plan, the Alberg 30 design is vintage Carl Alberg. Although the design of the A-30 was based loosely on the "Odyssey", a boat Alberg had designed for a group of San Francisco area sailors in 1959 (15 were built), the likeness to other Alberg designs, from the Cape Dory Typhoon to the Pearson Triton, is unmistakable.

In 1964, a group of Annapolis area sailors banded together in order to purchase, as a group, several of the new Alberg 30 design. The first of the Annapolis group's vessels were delivered in 1965 and the Chesapeake Bay Alberg 30 One-Design Association, Inc. was born. The Alberg 30 was in continuous production from 1962 through 1984 by Whitby Boatworks. The 22 year production run of more than 750 boats is, to the best of my knowledge, unprecedented in the marine industry. Over three hundred of these boats were delivered to the Chesapeake Bay many of which still sail the Bay and its tributaries.

The construction of the Alberg 30 hull consists of a solid lay-up of fiberglass cloth and polyester resin. Iron ballast is encapsulated in the full length fiberglass keel and a fiberglass composite rudder is attached to the keel. Decks and cabin houses are constructed of fiberglass cloth and resin and a core was used in areas of the deck and top of the cabin house for added strength. Boats built prior to 1970 utilized masonite as a core material while those built after used balsa wood.

Fundamentally, the Alberg is a very solidly built fiberglass boat. Many have completed extensive offshore passages and at least one has a circumnavigation to her credit. Most problems commonly associated with Alberg 30s can generally be attributed to normal wear and aging of a vintage boat. These include leaking ports and fittings, balsa wood deck core that has become deteriorated by water saturation and worn rudder pintles, gudgeons and bushings.

There are several areas where questionable design and construction seems to have led to problems. Prior to the 1970 deck change, Whitby utilized a laminated wooden support beam beneath the deck step mast. This beam was subject to cracking and failure after hard use. Most boats of this vintage have been retrofitted with an aluminum plate to add support to the area. This repair is common and seems to have solved the problem. Another weak point of the Alberg 30 design seems to have been the attachment of the forward lower shroud chain plates to less than substantial support knees. One-quarter inch bolts used to attach the chain plates for the upper and lower shrouds should also be inspected thoroughly for signs of bending or elongation.

Originally the Alberg 30s were powered by the twenty-two horsepower Gray Marine gasoline engine. This was followed by the Universal Atomic 4 engine and, in the later years of production, A-30s were offered with diesel engine. First the single cylinder Bukh diesel, followed by two cylinder Volvo Penta marine engine. As may be expected, many A-30s have been re-powered over the years but there are still plenty with their original engines. The condition of older engines depends to a great deal on the care and maintenance they have had over the years.

Its rugged construction, classic styling, seaworthy design, and admirable sailing qualities aside, the number one attraction of the Alberg 30 remains an active, enthusiastic, helpful, and friendly owners association which has endured for more than thirty years. The Chesapeake Bay Alberg 30 One-Design Association, Inc., with about two hundred and fifty members produces a monthly newsletter, an annual handbook, conducts springtime educational and maintenance seminars, organizes an annual dinner and promotes numerous races, cruises and rendezvous annually.

Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

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