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Albas sailboats

        The navigators of tomorrow

The architect's point of view

Fifty years of development

The materials

Naval architecture took advantage of the evolution of materials to find daring that did not allow construction in wood, couple on stringer. Thus with steel, aluminum, plywood, fiberglass, carbon, resins ... the architects were able to explore new ideas.

Stronger and lighter, these materials have given shape possibilities that designers have explored.


At the same time as the hulls are getting lighter, they are increasing in power by the widening of the master beam. The keel separates from the rudder, increasing the draft and reducing the wetted surface. A few years later, this master bau continued to the transom.

Pleasure boats took the opportunity to accommodate an additional aft cabin!

Then it is a considerable enlargement of the cockpit.

The keels were refined by carrying a ballast torpedo at their end, greatly increasing the ability to carry canvas.

The bows are rounded to find more lift on monohulls, or adopt wave-piercing shapes on multi-hulls.


This increase in return force is used to lengthen the mast and amplify the power of the split effect between the jib and the mainsail. The headsails have multiplied genoa, solent, genacker, code 0, asymmetric and symmetrical spinnaker.

To control this power, it was necessary to innovate to keep hulls which do not like the list, due to asymmetry, flat.

New appendages

Windward angulation of the keels, double rudders, since the central rudder protruded too much from the water. Then came the foils, magical objects that relegate Newton's gravity and the water displaced by Archimedes to oblivion!

Progress must benefit children

How to transpose all this progress on a toy for children? It

A few years ago, I designed models keeping a look of a XIX or 12 MJI schooner with a light displacement and modernized water lines. So I had experience of transposing the progress of architecture on scale models.

First objective to find the lightest wood, Paulownia comes naturally to mind, it is nicely grained and in addition, it is hydrophobic. Paulownia holds the world record for absorbing carbon, 10 times more than any other wood species.

With this light float, you should take the opportunity to also reduce the ballast, farewell to the kilos of the ancestors of the last century.

The draft is greatly increased, refined and streamlined. Of course the ballast is lead with a torpedo shape.

These thin, deep keels make boats very scalable and sensitive to their course. The balance of the thrust centers, the center of drift and the center of gravity is particularly sharp. The attention to the sway of the water lines at the heel, the volume on the front, the retreat of the centers of velic thrust and drift towards the center of gravity and more powerful rudders participate in the search for this balance at all gaits Fundamental balances that cannot be adjusted by a coxswain.

The Beech mast is mechanically sufficient, above all, it is surmounted by a mast head necessary for the safety of the captain. The shrouds make it possible to take up the forces due to handling by the mast head. The quest holds everything together effectively.

The sails must maintain perfect dimensional stability and remain insensitive to water. the spinnaker fabric responds of course to the needs, with the possibility of choosing the color!

A gusset sewn on the leading edge of the sail gives the possibility of keeping a laminar flow, passing the elasticated forestay or the mast. This gusset, by angulating under the action of the wind, promotes the formation of a hollow in the front of the sail.

The jib naturally takes a suitable shape. The mainsail requires more care to acquire the famous form of airplane wing. It only takes one to two millimeters, gradually taken from the front third until the fall. The free border also participates in shaping.

The reinforcements, in several thicknesses, are placed gradually on the clew so as not to create a hard point.

These shells are sanded for a long time to complete their fluidity. Statically, the bow brion is out of the water and the transom lifted off the water. The brion out of water makes it possible to give an additional volume in dynamics and especially to limit the height of the bow wave, therefore also the following trough. Decreasing this movement of water lift, it is certainly limiting the visual effect of the impression of speed, it is also an additional means of having useful horses.

The light displacement is confirmed by the freeboard which is significant and thus confers an important reserve of stability on the list.

All these details are found on all models. Apart from their size there is no difference in performance from one model to another. Between a Collection, a blackjack or a Custom the differences are only aesthetic.

This long and patient research applied to the toy, I carried it out on several prototypes and pre-series, each one was tested different rigs, fabrics and cut of sails. Differences between keels and rudders.

Several choices of wood, different tests after, paints, resins, stains to finish with a simple oil ...


The ALBAS 35 remains of a moderate width to require only a single block of wood. This limits the asymmetry of the hull and it can be satisfied with a single particularly deep rudder. Its excellent weight vs power ratio, its very fluid hull and its large transom make basin sailboats a big leap forward.

The ALBAS 42 was the first made in Paulownia. He inaugurated the concept of the large cockpit which limits the weight of the wood, allows a high freeboard, aesthetic and synonymous with stiffness to the canvas.

The ALBAS 65 benefits from a more generous master beam, increasing its form stability and limiting the need for too heavy a ballast. With the list, the wide hulls quickly show an asymmetry. To limit this , you have to put volume on the front, smooth the curves and adapt their rudders. This is essential insofar as a single central rudder would emerge too much from the water to perform its function. With a double rudder, it is possible to specialize one for the starboard tack hull, the other for the port tack hull. This is the explanation for the lateral angulation of the rudders, in doing so one of the two rudders comes out of the water limiting the wetted surface, the other working at best. In the longitudinal axis, the rudders are mounted straight for their heeled hull, therefore angled a few degrees towards the bow. To complete these imperceptible corrections, the rudders are asymmetrical like an airplane wing which only develops lift on the top of the wing. The increase in speed is related to the increase in list, so the increase in speed will result in a start to luff. By developing lift on the internal face of the rudder, this lift makes it possible to widen the range of wind without luffing. The increase in this lift is intended to limit the tendency to luff these hulls at the list. Although straight for its hull, the rudder, with the speed helps to oppose the start to luff.

The ALBAS 67, like all ALBAS, is a light displacement thanks to a well hollowed hull. A moderate 400g ballast but sufficient because it is placed very low. A beautiful master set back very fine water inlets and a load-bearing rear. A contained wet surface, no return to the port side, a deep keel.

The ALBAS 85 takes the advantages of the gaff rig associated with a long keel. A boat that is easy to balance because it is stretched lengthwise and therefore with a center of push not too high, it remains stiff on the canvas. Its numerous sails allow its sail area to be adapted to the force of the wind.

Its great slenderness and five sails make it a very beautiful object with a timeless design.

It's your turn

I took you into the architect's kitchen, but to pilot his sailboat the skipper does not need to know how to build the "engine" of his boat. The skipper just has to know where the wind is coming from to adjust his sails.

Good luck to all!

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