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The Alberg 30 A Ladies Boat

by Robert T. Townsend

I have heard it said many times from very knowledgeable and experienced sailors that thirty feet is all you need for a pleasure sailboat on the Great Lakes. And I agree.

There is a little more to it than that simple statement. Pleasing lines, adequate accommodation, ease of handling, and above all, being seaworthy in all weather conditions, are important. Fortunately the Alberg 30 One design class fits all of these criteria. And it’s always nice, over 30 years later, when you tell people what kind of boat you sailed, to receive the universal reply, "that’s a nice boat" or "that‘s a good boat"

I wish I could accept the credit for so wisely choosing the Alberg 30. I really can’t. And the reason is simple. It is first and foremost a ladies boat. Ladies have the natural instinct to appreciate the better things in life. The original owner of Odyssey was a medical doctor, Dr. Joe Peller of the RHYC. (Better known for Peller Estates Wines) When Dr. Joe donated two cases of Red, two cases of White and two cases of Champagne for The Bermuda One Two Race I entered in 1985, I asked him why. ‘That was our first cruising boat and we loved her very much. After one year I sold her, and bought an Alberg 37. My wife was so disgusted with me that she has not sailed with me since. She loved that boat

A few days later I was hauling Odyssey out of the water to truck her to Newport for the Race. A woman came up, pointing to my vessel, I love that boat, I love that Boat over and over again. At first I thought she was nuts. Then I thought, Did you know her well

Yes she replied, Odyssey was our boat. We bought her from Dr. Peller, and I loved that boat. When my husband traded her in on a 37 the next year I was mad, and I don’t and I won’t sail any more. I love that boat
Then I thought back to my own involvement with Odyssey.

The third owner was Hugh and Kitty Van order, our dockmates at Whitby YC. We knew the vessel well. When we were going to buy a bigger vessel (twofootitis was rampant at the time) I never considered an Alberg 30. Then Hugh suddenly passed away. The day following the funeral my wife, Mandy, came to me saying that Kitty had already had offers for Odyssey, but couldn’t bear to see ‘her boat’ go to strangers and wanted Mandy to buy it, and Mandy agreed. Despite my protests, Mandy made up my mind that we wanted an Alberg 30. It was a wise decision, one I never regretted.

A year or so later I became excited about an A37, whose owner had just purchased a Whitby 45. The 37 was to be the show boat at the ‘in the water boat show’ in Toronto.

On the first day of the show I phoned Mandy to ascertain what time she was going to pick me up at the office to go to the show, as we had done every year since the show started. I’m not going to buy a 37' she said. And she refused to come to the show. I went by myself, and was able to come to a great deal, - I thought.

On getting home I was full of enthusiasm at the prospect of buying the A37. What will you do with my boat? I was asked. I thought it was my boat. Well our Boat she conceded reluctantly. I told her of one person we knew well who wanted to purchase Odyssey. She will never sail my boat was the reply, referring to the spouse of my prospective purchaser.

The next year, after about 10 days into a circumnavigation of Lake Ontario in very wet boisterous weather, we decided to return back to Whitby and then drive to Stratford for sheltered entertainment at the Stratford Festival theatre. On leaving the club, I insisted on stopping at Whitby Boat Works to look at an A37 which was for sale. We were referred to another A37 at Etobicoke that might please us more. We arranged a meeting at the vessel at 8:00 a.m. the next morning. Mandy seemed enthused. I thought we had bought the vessel. The salesman, Doug Stevenson, thought we had bought the vessel. But Mandy, with the coming of better weather, decided we had not, and she won out. Doug and I had to bow to her better judgement. And maybe she was right.

I came to the conclusion that, like her previous owners, the wives loved Odyssey, and no other vessel would take her place.

After a many years of sailing Odyssey, including a couple of trips to Bermuda, (1978, a wild weather sail, and 1985, the Bermuda one-two, and many years of racing and cruising Lake Ontario and a couple of trips to Newport I agreed, the Alberg 30 was the perfect boat. It was also a great Ladies boat.