Talk to sailors who cruised the British Virgin Islands back in the 1970s and you’ll hear about remote anchorages with no other boats in sight, pristine beaches void of people and a quiet natural beauty that nourished the soul. By the time Twe chartered there for the first time in 2004, the lovely islands had morphed into something different, not better or worse, merely changed by controlled real estate development and a growing number of residents and boats. The BVI, which remains one of our favorite sailing destinations, had become, in a word, commercialized.
If the Balboa 26 had a motto it would echo the original marketing brochures that celebrated the boat’s ability to “go fast, go anywhere.” Designed by Lyle Hess, who in the mid-1970s would become well known for his 28-foot Bristol Channel Cutter design, the Balboa 26 fulfilled a growing demand for an economical cruising boat.
Les Crane sat on the deck of an unfamiliar boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean watching his boat, a sturdy, well-maintained 56-footer that he’d sailed more than 40,000 miles, as it was swallowed by the water. It was 7 a.m., less than four hours after his crew heard a “thud” that they had no idea would lead to them boarding a life raft and waiting for rescue.
The Yankee 30 was one of many fiberglass boats that was affected by the global oil crisis of the 1970s, which curtailed production. The cost of resin raised boat prices above the budget of average sailors. In some cases builders simply lacked the raw materials required for construction.
The Alberg 29 was designed by naval architect Carl Alberg and built by Nye Yachts in Canada from 1976 to 1985. The full-keel, masthead sloop was made to replace the much-admired Alberg 30, which had been in production since 1962.
Some people say Chip Ford is obsessed.Fourteen years ago, at age 52, the sailor from Marblehead, Massachusetts, bought a 1974 Catalina Mk I for $2,500 because it seemed like an inexpensive way to go daysailing. ScheduleScheduleSchedule