The Albin Ballad by Rolf Magnusson
Of the myriad cruiser-racers that appeared in the seventies, only a handful stand out as equally successful in both camps and among the best of them was the Albin Ballad by Rolf Magnusson.
Launched in 1972 as a half-tonner, she has a distinctive knuckle just above the waterline amidships. Her fin keel and semi-elliptical rudder were advanced for the times, as was her masthead rig with its tiny mainsail and huge, overlapping genoa which needs powerful winches or strapping crew to manage. Roller-reefing is essential. The hull is slim, well balanced and easily driven and she has a surprisingly easy motion in a seaway.
On the other hand, she can be wet upwind in a chop and a bit of a handful downwind if overcanvassed. She has a long, comfortable and well-protected cockpit and tiller steering. She has six berths in two cabins, including two rather awkward pilot berths. By modern standards the galley is small but adequate, as is the heads.
The GRP inner moulding makes the décor rather stark, but practical and robust. The boats were strongly built by Albin Marine in Sweden and have lasted well in general. However, most have had a hard racing background and may still be showing the bruises.
Deck gear and spars, if original, should be treated with caution. The design is still sought after as a sporty family cruiser and cost-effective club racer so prices, though not as firm as they once were, are on the high side.