Thursday, April 26, 2012

Solo Around the Americas in an Albin Vega 27

If you read much sailing news you might already be aware of Matt Rutherford's recent completion of an incredible non-stop circumnavigation of the North and South American continents in a 27-foot "classic plastic" production boat.  No matter what boat he sailed, Rutherford's voyage was a record-breaking first because he is the first person to have completed a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the Americas, traversing both the Northwest Passage and rounding Cape Horn all in one go.  That's 27,077 miles in 309 days, 18 hours and 38 minutes.   You can read all the details on the official voyage site: Solo Around the America's.  Here's a look at the route though, in case it's hard to picture just how long this non-stop voyage really was:

Even before this record-setting voyage, the Albin Vega, drawn by Swedish designer Per Brohall, has attained legendary status for it's sea-keeping abilities proven by many ocean voyages.  John Vigor included it in his book, Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere, which I reviewed here back in 2008.  Vigor gave it a "safety at sea factor" of 6, rated against the 19 other boats included in the book.  The Albin Vega 27 is smaller and lighter in displacement compared to many of the other proven bluewater boats of the same length, such as the Bristol 27, Cape Dory 27 and similar designs.  With a beam of 8 feet even and a draft of 3 feet, 10 inches, it displaces 5,070 lbs on a waterline of 23 feet.  

Here's a good illustration of the deck and interior layout:

I almost bought an Albin Vega 27 myself on two different occasions when I was shopping for boats.  Though they are no longer in production, there are deals to be had in the used market, and sometimes you can pick one up for under 5K, as my dock neighbor did back when I had my Grampian 26 at Point Cadet in Biloxi.  His example needed a lot of work, but I've seen well-equipped Albin Vegas in the 10-15K range.  Not bad for a boat  that we now know can round the Americas non-stop and come back looking little worse for the wear.  Here's a short clip of Rutherford's homecoming in Annapolis:  

"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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