Albacore (dinghy)

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Albacore dinghy april 2011.JPG
Current specifications
Crew 2
LOA 4,570 mm (15 ft 0 in)
Beam 1,550 mm (5 ft 1 in)
Draft 1,270 mm (4 ft 2 in) (foils down) 200 mm (8 in) (foils up)
Hull weight 109 kg (240 lb)
Main & jib area 11.61 m2 (125 sq ft)
Mainsail area 8.36 m2 (90 sq ft)
Jib / Genoa area 3.25 m2 (35 sq ft)
D-PN 90.3
RYA PN 1062
Year 1954
An Albacore dinghy planing

The Albacore is a 4.57 m (15 ft) two-person planing dinghy, for lake and near-inshore day sailing. Hulls are made of either wood or fibreglass. The basic shape was developed in 1954 from an Uffa Fox design. Recent boats retain the same classic dimensions, and use modern materials and modern control systems.

A deep airfoil section centerboard and rudder make the Albacore highly manoeuvrable.[1] 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. This adjustability enables light crews and heavy crews to race head-to-head in all but the most extreme conditions. It does not have a trapeze or spinnaker, and hence avoids the difficult handling of sport boats. The powerful rig and easily driven hull give excellent performance over a wide range of wind and wave conditions.

The 2011 International Champion described the Albacore as a boat that is simple to get into at first, but one that will challenge the tuning and tactical skills of a sailor for the rest of their life.[1]


About 8,200 Albacores have been built.[2] The class is actively raced in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Albacores are also used for adult and youth sail training,[3][4] and for leisure sailing.

The Albacore was ranked 16th most popular one-design sailboat in North America in 2010 by Sailing Anarchy,[5] and 38th most popular in the UK from 2001 to 2011 by Yachts and Yachting.[6]

There is a particularly large concentration of Albacores in Toronto, Canada where the Friday night club series sees an average of 45 boats and peaks of over 50 boats on the start line every Friday during the summer sailing season.[7]

Older Albacores are commonly found in vacation areas such as Ontario Cottage country.


The Albacore can compete with other boats in a mixed fleet by means of the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap scheme. Its Portsmouth number is 1062[8] and its D-PN is 90.3.[9]

The Class has a biannual International (World) Championship with the venue alternating between the three key countries where the class is sailed. The earliest such event was in 1971, and was won by Jack Langmaid in a Fairey Marine Albacore.[10] The 2005 International Championship was held in Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK. The 2007 championship was held at the West River Sailing Club in Galesville, Maryland, US. The 2009 championship was held in Largs, Scotland, UK. The 2011 International Championship was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and was won by US Sailors Barney Harris and David Byron. The 2013 International Championship was held in Abersoch, Wales, UK and again was won by Barney Harris and David Byron. The 2015 championships was held in Sarasota Florida, US and won by George Carter and Almir Tavares.[11]


Two manufacturers of Albacores produced boats in 2011 to 2013: Ovington Boats in the UK and Hapco Marine in the USA. The boats were primarily delivered to UK, Canadian and US destinations.

Notable earlier manufacturers include Ontario Yachts, Skene, Woof, Kingsfield Marine, Fairey Marine, Grampian Marine, JD Young, Rondar and Whitby Boat Works.[2]

Family use[edit]

The hull weight of an Albacore is 109 kg (240 lbs). Therefore, the Albacore can be road-trailered, with 1 or 2 Albacores behind a typical family car. With appropriate road-trailer design, the boat can be loaded and unloaded using only 2 people.

The Albacore is frequently used as a first boat for those who are just learning to sail, and as a very competitive racer for more advanced sailors.

Regatta results show that this class of boat is often sailed by husband/wife and parent/child combinations,[12] and that some of the all-women teams are the most competitive in the class.

Rigging and Materials[edit]

All Albacores ever made are considered identical for the purpose of racing, and can race together without a handicap. However, many details and materials be improved or modified at the choice of the individual owner or manufacturer, provided that the basic dimensions and materials meet the class specification.[13]

The rigging of early Albacores was very simple, including such basic features as a flat centerboard and fixed jib fairleads. This rigging allowed only limited adjustability of sails.

Modern Albacore designs have evolved sophisticated control systems for their running rigging and standing rigging. This greatly increases their versatility compared to earlier boats, and they can be sailed in 2 knots to 25 knots of wind.

A typical modern design for an Albacore includes:[14][15]

  • Epoxy foam sandwich fibreglass hull (Modern wood hulls are also manufactured, but are less common)
  • Tapered aluminum mast
  • Lightweight aluminum boom
  • Automatic fly-away jib stick
  • Moulded or wood/fiberglass composite centerboard with symmetric airfoil cross-section
  • Kick-up rudder with symmetric airfoil cross-section
  • Suction self-bailers (which empty a boat after capsize in 4 minutes)
  • Adjustable continuous 16:1 vang and 12:1 jib halyard, rigged to side control panel
  • 4:1 main-sail outhaul, 2:1 main-sail Cunningham, jib Cunningham
  • Adjustable hiking straps for crew and helm
  • Extended jib tracks for high- & low-aspect jibs
  • Split-tail mainsheet
  • Deck mounted 6:1 mast pre-bend adjuster and 2:1 rope mast ram

External links[edit]