[alberg30] CCA Design Suitabilty for Cruising (very long)

John Birch Sunstone at idirect.com
Wed Dec 8 13:03:12 PST 1999


As an owner of both A-30 and A-37, our racing experience was about the same with
both boats, but I dispute the notion that these boats were designed as "rule
beaters" under the CCA by Carl.    As Carl often maintained, he designed his
boats to no rule in particular and by CCA standards of the day they were not hot

To be sure Carl was influenced by the age in which he designed his boats, as we
all are influenced by our times, but it definitely was no 'beater.'   At the end
of the CCA rule boats were designed with outrageously heavy decks and short
draft and many a useless mizzen was added but note the A-37 sloop has the same
rig and only a 2 foot longer boom.  In fact many Sloop racers of the 37 felt the
yawl boom fitted on a sloop was superior to the longer sloop boom in performance
and nearly all the A-37s at QCYC were retrofitted with yawl main booms.

In fact a lower aspect sail rig is still faster down wind than a high aspect
one.  Sail technology also has a lot to do with higher aspect ratios as dacron
and now kevlar have the ability to better support the asymmetrical loading over
cloth or canvas. Added to this the belief that keeping the centre of effort low
was the only priority.  None of this was a rule issue, it was an aerodynamic one
dictated by the technology of the day (sail cloth).

Additionally, CCA boats had long, not short booms and it was IOR that developed
the idiotic monster J to put really big jibs on and a correspondingly shorter
boom.   Some booms are so short that reefing has virtually no effect, now that's
a good idea(sic).

As with any rule, the rule itself becomes the recipe of its own demise and the
CCA like the IOR destroyed itself when "clever designers" pushed the limit.
Alberg was not one of them. The same is true of the Universal and International
Rules which gave us those dart like beauties.

Unlike the CCA, the IOR self-destructed considerably faster and has left the
world with some pretty ugly and poor sailing boats suitable for landfill.

My point is that when racing both our 37 and previously our 30 we physically
beat boats with much faster PHRF ratings on REAL unrated time.    In one 300
mile race in our 30 we survived a gale and physically beat two CS36s by 12

The author can't have it both ways, either the Alberg is a rule beater which
wins on rating because it can't win on boat speed (the whole purpose of a 'rule
beater'), or it is a boat that is just about as fast as the modern boats, which
follows that there have been virtually no design improvements in 30 years.
Therefore the Alberg must be reasonably weatherly after all and clearly are
easier to sail.

Plus they look great and in either soft or fast markets, Albergs sell well.


John,  PS. I agree with you George on all you wrote plus Cigarettes are bad for
you or so yer SG says.

Forhan, Thomas wrote:

> From: "Forhan, Thomas" <Thomas.Forhan at mail.house.gov>
>         Well, the essay does give credit where due for racing - indeed
> maintains that the A37 and A30 were designed as racing boats. I think the
> general premise - that these old boats are viewed as wholesome traditional
> designs by modern eyes when in reality they were built as racing rule
> beaters is of some interest. And remember, he was looking at CCA designs as
> cruisers today, not racers.
>          I was reading Eric Hiscock the other night, talking about English
> builders in the '30s charging by the Thames measurement. The measurement was
> most affected by beam, so that by reducing beam and holding all else the
> same you could get a similar boat at a better price. Net result- lots of
> narrow, deep boats, like the old Vertues, which were some of the first small
> boats to go offshore, as a class. So even the classic cruising boats of the
> '30s were compromises- well, all boats are.
>         Anyone with an A37 looked at a CD36? An A30 owner examined a Alberg
> 29?
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