What’s the Albin 27 hull made of?
Contrary to misinformation on the internet, the Albin 27 has a solid fiberglass hull approximately 3/8” thick. The deck is constructed with balsa coring. (Later model Albin 28s, Albin 28TEs, and Albin 30s had balsa cored hulls from the late 1990s’s to approximately 2000, at which time Albin USA switched to Airex foam coring.) In addition, the area around the engine compartment has additional balsa/plywood glassed onto the inside of the hull for supporting through hulls. There are additional areas of balsa plywood added to the inside of the hull in the aft area of the boat, approximately in the area where the keel turns to the underside of the aft hull. A lot of people like to claim the Albin 27 hull is cored. But they're wrong. I suppose the presence of some reinforcing coring material could lead some to claim the Albin 27 hull is cored, but in reality its not that simple. Here's why...
NOTE: The above quote comes from a January 1985 magazine article printed in Power and Motor Yacht Magazine. While this article refers to the bottom of the boat being "cored", its not exactly accurate. See the explanation below. What is interesting is that the magazine reports that the hull is constructed of "1815 Fabmat", which is a trade name of a fiberglass product comprised of woven fiberglass fabric and chemically bonded fiberglass mat. This material is basically 18 oz woven roving, attached to 1.5oz of fiberglass mat. Today this product is often called "Stichmat" because the cloth and mat are bonded by stitching rather than by chemical binder, but the fiberglas mat portion is often not as thick. "Coremat" refers to a microsphere filled, random laid, chopped fiber polyester fabric used for laminate building and stiffness in molds.
First hand observations tell us the keel is fiberglass. The hull at the bow, under the v-berth is fiberglass. All along the hull bow to stern I can report the hull is approximately 3/8” fiberglass from the waterline up to the rub rail. How do we know this? Myself and other owners have drilled numerous holes in the hull at these locations and only found solid fiberglass. In fact several owners have installed bow-thrusters and when they cut the giant 5-6" diameter channel tube for their bow-thruster, they found no coring on the hull. Here the hull is solid. I have replaced 7 thruhulls all along each side at various heights above the waterline. Solid fiberglass. In addition I installed 6ft rubber rub-strakes each thru-bolted into the side of the boat. Solid fiberglass. Under the galley, the head, the panliner, the aft bilge, if you disassemble the boat, you can actually see the bare fiberglass construction. In addition at the highest point on the side of the boat, where the engine room vents are, if you remove them, you can see there’s no core in the hull lamination. Because the hull is about 3/8”. On one side vent opening I actually repaired where I had separation between the fiberglass layer substrate. No coring.
Is it Core or is it Stiffner?
However there is some balsa/plywood applied as a stiffner to the boat in the area of the engine room and aft, at the turn of the bilge. If you study the layup there the hull is 3/8” thick fiberglass with a balsa/plywood laid on top of the hull, inside the boat, then glassed in further. That’s similar to the material laid into the fiberglass in the flat aft areas of the boat by the turn of the bilge under the aft cabin lockers. These balsa/plywood pieces are inboard, on top of the hull and thicken the hull considerably. Makes sense the boat needed to be stiffened for a 600+ pound engine and the manufacturer's attempts at getting the boat to plane and do 10+ knots. What is this stiffner material and how do we know its not coring? In these photos you can see the fiberglass hull form and where the stffners were put on top of the fiberglass hull.
Many owners have replaced engine room thru-hulls or depth sounders and report that they found "coring" leading them to believe the hull is cored. But in fact the hull is 3/8" and there are additional layers of fiberglass and balsa/plywood laid on the interior of the boat to create a hull thickness of approximately 2". I too have replaced a depth sounder in the engine room (starboard side). That hull is approx 2” thick. In addition, I’ve replaced and remounted the transom swim platform. The transom is approximately 3/4 -1” thick. 1/4” fiberglass 1/2” wood core, then 1/4” fiberglass. But the wood is added interior, and corners are solid fiberglass.See photos below.
Further, in my research and interviews, I specifically asked Joe Puccia (designer and naval architect) about the initial construction of the first series of boats and all subsequent runs. I also interviewed widow of Fred Peters (former owner of Albin Marine USA) who served as office manager, Both confirmed that the Albin 27 was not cored. It's solid fiberglass. Balsa coring was used in the deck and pilothouse. It was used to reinforce the transom. And added on the hull interior to stiffen the engine room and the flat stern sections. To read an interview with Joe Puccia, the Albin 27 designer and naval architect, see below.
How many Albin 27’s were made?
Based off of original historical documentation from Albin Marine USA, interviews with Joe Puccia (naval architect and designer of the Albin 27), and interviews with family members of Fred Peters (former owner of Albin Marine USA) it is estimated that there approximately 500-800 of these boats made from approximately 1983 to 1992. The first dozen boats were made by Joe Puccia under contract to Fred Peters. The remaining boats were made by Albin Marine USA at their various yards in Cos Cob, CT; Wallingford. CT; and Bristol, RI.
Why are there variations in the engines installed in the Albin 27?
In general, Albin 27’s were powered in two versions: 1) fitted with a smaller diesel engine (between 50-100 hp) during initial production and earlier years up to approximately 1987, and 2) fitted with larger diesel engine (100-200 hp). Boats configured with smaller engines generally top out at around 10 knots, while boats with larger engines are reportedly capable of up to 14+ knots. The smaller engines include the following variations: Lehman 4D61, Nissan Ld28,. The larger engines include the Westerbeke W100, Isuzu 6BD1, and Volvo-Penta TAMD31P. The reasons for the change in power plants appears to be related to Albin Marine USA’s marketing of the Albin 27 as a multi-purpose, economical diesel cruiser. The Albin 27 Sport (no aft cabin) is generally considered a fishing boat configuration and was produced with the larger engines.
What type of hull is the Albin 27?
The Albin 27 has been described as having semi-displacement characteristics, which means given a large enough engine an Albin 27 will exceed its hull speed. Personally I refer to the the Albin 27 as a full displacement hull. The typical owner cruising speed is approximately 6-7 knots burning .75-1 gph diesel. The keel extends 2’6” below the waterline similar to a down-east lobster boat. But the keel is not ballasted, and is relatively narrow compared to the roundness of the hull. Large flat areas extend aft of the engine in the vicinity of the undersides of the aft hull where is curves upwards from the keel. The hull speed has been computed at approximately 6.5 knots, but with enough horsepower (excess 100 hp) the hull can be forced to plane and reportedly can achieve up to 14 knots.
What’s the value of an Albin 27? And why is there such a variation in prices?
Albin 27’s can be found for sale across the United States, and typically sell with and without trailers for $15,000-$25,000. While it is common to see a Albin 27 with a trailer listed for $25,000-$30,000, it is a rarity that these boats actually sell at their asking price. The boat should always be valued based on its current condition, not what it once was or could be someday. The boat should be assessed and valued independent of any trailer or dinghy that might be offered in conjunction with the sale of the vessel. In many cases variations of price can be attributed to the over all condition of the boat, engine type and status, and the boats current state of readiness. But many boats have had their prices artificially inflated by sellers or boat brokers who are not educated on the specifics of the Albin 27. Owners of Albin 27’s have strong opinions about the values of their boats, so pricing may be influenced by a variety of factors but boats must be evaluated based on condition, state of readiness, and market demand in that order.
What’s the difference between an Albin 25 and Albin 27?
The Albin 25 was manufactured in Sweden by Albin Marine from 1968 to 1981. More than 2,000 of these boats were manufactured and sold around the world. They have a real cult following and it's a great little boat. The Albin 27 was manufactured in the New England area of the United States from approximately 1983 to 1992. There were reportedly less than 800 of these boats manufactured. The Albin 27 is not really a "little boat." The Albin 27 was based on the Albin 25 but designed by a completely different naval architect. To read about the differences between the Albin 25 and Albin 27 be sure to check out the Albin Buyers Guide. In addition, be sure to check out How I Chose the Albin 27 instead of the Albin 25.
Is the Albin 27 a blue water boat?
The Albin 27 is a capable inshore and diesel coastal cruiser, as it came from the manufacturer. It was not designed as a blue water capable boat due to some of the following reasons: overall displacement and hull shape; lack of ballast in the keel; lack of waterproof compartments; construction of the hull/deck joint; construction of the pilothouse to deck; and no lifelines. However, Albin 27’s have cruised in the Pacific Northwest, Atlantic seaboard, and onward to the Bahamas.
Is the Albin 27 trailerable?
The Albin 27 can be trailered on a double or triple axel trailer, towed by a 3/4 or 1 ton truck. The Albin 27 weighs approximately 6,500 pounds with empty tanks. The boat sits approximately 13’ feet tall on a trailer, and is 9’ 8” wide. It can be challenging to retrieve the boat by trailer from a launch ramp. It can be challenging to haul an Albin 27 up a boat ramp, so many owners utilize marina services to launch and reload their boats.
What are the dimensions of the aft cabin bunk?
The aft cabin has two bunks that run fore and aft measuring approximately 30”x 76”. If a center piece cushion is placed between the between the bunks, the sleeping area can be converted to 105” x 48”. The entire aft cabin is slightly bigger than approximately 105” x 60”.
Is there standing headroom throughout the boat?
There is at least 6’ standing headroom in the cockpit, at the helm, in the forward cabin, head compartment. There is not standing headroom in the aft cabin or engine compartment. For more information be sure to check out the free Albin 27 Buyers Guide.