Disagree with"reasonable boat at the price" - "wonderful boat at any price" would be nearer the truth. I bought one in the summer of 1999, and as you may have guessed, I'm still in the honeymoon stage.
I'm not aware of any major recurring defects - they were basically well made, however, two things to watch out for:
I was warned to check that the mast step hadn't worked loose (mine hadn't)
The deck and coachroof are foam cored. This can delaminate (mine had). You will hear a crackling noise as you walk over the affected area. However, the repair isn't too major a job (did it myself).
There is a UK Ballad Owners Association, but they seem to be concentrated in the Plymouth area - not much use if you happen to be in the North of Scotland.
Thanks for that Tim, that seems to be the feeling I have too that they are a great boat for the money, I will have a look at the As. site you recomended and see. Unfortunately not many seem to come on the market but I shall go on looking
I have owned an Albin Ballad since 1972. It is a great yacht with no vices. I have read that surveyors have never come across one with osmosis. Although thought by some as a 'wet' boat going to windward, I would not see this as a major problem. If there was one thing that I would change it would be the engine size. My Ballad, no.112, is fitted with the original Volvo MD6a which puts out, or used to, a paltry 10 h.p. In flat water this is quite adequate, but it becomes very slow work if you have to motor into any sort of a sea. I would love to have 16 or 20 h.p. available. However, last summer we cruised the Western Isles in light winds which involved hours of motoring and managed perfectly well. I have sailed the Ballad in offshore races when the wind was over 50kts and the neighbouring masts were tumbling. I have great confidence in the Ballad's ability to keep going in conditions which would defeat other similar sized yachts.
Hi, We are the Vega Assoc. of GB but we have a few Ballad owners as members as they were both made by Albin. The Ballad is a fine yacht, accomadation is a bit small for a 30 foot boat but very well made, as were all Albin yachts. I have yet to find a Ballad or vega with osmosis though most of my experience has been on the Vega. I would confirm the engine size is small and two of our members have just purchased the Beta BD722 (20hp) that fits well with ample oomph and is smaller than the original MD6A and MD7A that were fitted. Hope this helps. If you are stumped at finding a Ballad then drop me an email.
Would agree that 10hp is too small (by modern standards) for a Ballad. Mine has a 13hp Beta, and I would regard that as just about adequate - more might have been nice, but she sails so well that I can put up with limited engine power.
It is interesting to note that the size of engine fitted increased in stages from the original 10hp to 18hp in the last Ballads built.
BTW, I understand the Vega Owners Assoc. has a deal going on Beta engines - I'm not a member, so this isn't advertising
Yes, the VAGB has a deal with Beta for members. We have provided over fifty engines in the last two years so I expect we are one of their better dealers! We have only provided the BZ482 and BD722 so far but I am sure we would be able to get the larger ones if need be.
She fell apart in the 2001 Fastnet Race. Albin had a very strange method of attaching the bulkheads. Nearly all builders use a top hat section and glass the ply bulkhead in. Albin used a GRP web and bolted on the ply bulkhead. On my boat, the webs tore away from the hull, which allowed the hull to V as the mast drove down.
Ended up with a 3mm wide and 400mm long split on the centre line and making water. The water was appearing in the forward bilge. This is about 300mm aft from the external split. Following this failure, the rest of the hull started to move and ended up as a mass of stress cracks. Looked like a dropped hard boiled egg.
I had a look at an Albin Cirrus the other day. Had exactly the same problem as my Ballad, but in its infancy.
She has been sold as a repair project for £ 5,000 with £ 8,000 worth of sails on board. So far, the insurers have declined my claim.
If you are after one, they are super boats, I suggest you look in scandanavia and avoid the UK. As the UK ones are pretty knackered by now. Apparently production stopped in 1989, in Denmark.