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Old 05-21-2012, 08:40 AM   #1
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1980 Albin 33'

Greetings,

Looking at a 1980 Albin 33' trawler. Single Ford Lehman Diesel. Fly bridge, v-berth and aft stateroom. No Generator, AC or Bow Thruster.

I think I read that this year of Albin is a "Taiwanese Trawler." Would be interested in if someone can tell me if that is true and what concerns that might include (other than typical 30 year old boat stuff).

Owner mentions "soft spots" on deck. Initial urge is to run away, but want to look at it myself first. My understanding is that this vintage of Albin had the deck teak screwed in, creating all sorts of holes for water intrusion. But the owner sees no sign of water leaks inside and is seeing it as an annoyance that can be addressed later on.

After I look at it and if I am comfortable I will arrange for a surveyor and diesel mechanic.

Intended use could be coastal great lakes cruising, Lake Champlain, 1000 Island region, Georgian Bay, Finger Lakes (those connected to Canal), canals (Erie, Rideau, Trent) and maybe even a hop down the Hudson to NYC and out to Long Island Sound.

Family of four with two tweenagers. I have moved from small pocket cruiser sail boats to a small ski boat (kids). The cruising is a dream of mine and I think the trawler is more realistic and enjoyable for the family than a sailboat. Kids will be somewhat irked by the loss of a ski boat but the #1 thing they enjoy now is hangin' with friends so I am hoping weekend and week long cruising may engage their interest.

Thanks for reading this far. My questions for more experienced trawler owners are:
  1. Thoughts on 1980 era Albins
  2. Thoughts on soft spots on decks
  3. Thoughts on 30 year old Ford Lehmans (< 2000 hours)
  4. Trawlers and teenagers - Is Dad a kill joy?
  5. General observations.

Thanks!

John
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:08 AM   #2
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Taiwanese Trawlers

Ok, found this article attached to another thread:

Venerable Taiwanese Trawlers

Went a long way in educating me on this type of boat.

John
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:01 AM   #3
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About Boats

I think boats are age dependent.
Kids will miss the ski boat , be bored to tears with snails pace of trawlers, and probably want to spend time with their friends" probably not on the trawler. There are exceptions, my daughters loved the big boat but also had access to a ski boat.
Are you ready to spend time at 8knts?
Ford Lemans are good simple engines that are easy to maintain with plenty parts availability. 2000 hrs no big deal on a industrial diesel.
Albin trawlers are easy to work on with good access to mechanical components, Fuel tanks could be an issue as can any boat with metal tanks thirty yeas old. Electrical systems are hit and miss depending on whats been modified by previous owners and wireing will not meet current codes. Expect to have to up grade ground fault protection and spend some time making sure things are safe. Outlets and switches will be in cutouts unprotected and exposed on the backsides. Wiring will probably be 10 gauge and stiff to work with. Wire colors for 120 volt may be red, black and green easy to confuse with 12volt dc. Soft decks are a bargaining chip as repair is expensive but probably not necessary. good boats if your ready to slow down.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:14 AM   #4
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Thanks

Scary,

Thanks. Current owner replaced tanks, and most fuel lines, so that is a plus.

I was (am?) a sailor, so 7 knots is just ducky with me.

Good point about the kids. Drats. On option is to slip it within an hour or 2 cruise of some points of interest.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
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I own a 1983 vintage Albin, and I bought it in Rochester 6 years ago.
What has been said is true imo.
My Lehman has 3800+ hours on it and runs fine.
The boats varied greatly in build quality but at this age, what you see is what you get. Mine ended up being decent quality, mostly dry inside, dry decks, not much for water damage.
Pervious owners did some good things and some bad things at least according to me, but we all have our own opinions on that sort of thing.
Parts are easy to get via American Diesel Corp, and they routinely ship the day you order. I get my stuff oin 2 days from them (Virginia to Ct).


For more details about that particular model try joing this site
Albin Owners Group &bull; Index page
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:49 AM   #6
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We're on our third 80s trawler. The first was an Albin. They all had Lehmans (4000) on current boat. Lehmans will far out last you. 80,000 hours on two that are still running today. My three teenage kids love our trawler. It's about making it fun, whatever that means for your family. Soft decks are usually cosmetic to a point. If you have the boat long enough you will have to deal with them as they slowly cross the line into must be fixed now. You could tow a jet ski if that was imperative, or if you went bigger like our boat you could put anything aboard you want. We have a 11' Boston Whaler with a 35HP engine that is all the fun any teenager needs.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:14 AM   #7
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tow

Daddyo.

Thanks. I thought about kids having fun with something brought along. Chesapeake Light Craft offers a great dinghy that can be sailed, rowed, motored. A zodiac with OB, akin to your Whaler. Kayaks.

And we also have great fun as a family. And these days they amuse themselves on car trips with iPads and the like.

I considered the PWC at the dock, never thought of towing it though - interesting. I've read there is a precaution or two to take while towing one of those to prevent damaging its engine but that would go a long way in guaranteeing fun.

Thanks again for the input. This forum (this thread and elsewhere) has really changed my view on the engine from a negative to a plus, and the soft spots from a negative to neutral.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:17 AM   #8
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Strider,
I happen to know a good broker who could help you with that purchase
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:43 AM   #9
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Kids are different

If your kids like adventure and you like to explore it can be a lot of fun. It really helps to be able to get them off the boat 33' will get tight with four aboard. When my kids were in their preteens I did a lot cruising with a 28' Bayliner express cruiser that I towed all over the western US. This boat cruised at 22-28knts and allowed us to see most of the cruising spots on the west coast. I had a 10' Zodiac with a 15hp Merc on snap davits, which the kids learned to ski behind. I even cruised from Everett Washington to glacier Bay and back with that boat. The girls are in their early twenties now and one has her own wake board boat and the other really could care less about boats. My son "first family" grew riding motorcycles and water skiing. When I started sailing fast dingy's and Hobies, he could have cared less. I even gave him a Hobie which he promptly swapped for a wind surfer. Today in his late forties he rides bicycles and hasn't touched water except to bathe. All you can do is expose them and hope it sticks.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Daddyo View Post
Strider,
I happen to know a good broker who could help you with that purchase
I've already visited the site linked on your post. A very nicely put together site. Also appreciate the Latin tag line. Thanks for both.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:56 PM   #11
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I've already visited the site linked on your post. A very nicely put together site. Also appreciate the Latin tag line. Thanks for both.
Thank you!
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strider View Post
  1. Thoughts on 1980 era Albins
  2. Thoughts on soft spots on decks
  3. Thoughts on 30 year old Ford Lehmans (< 2000 hours)
  4. Trawlers and teenagers - Is Dad a kill joy?
  5. General observations.

Thanks!

John
Don't know anything about Albins.

Deck soft spots--- Soft spots in a deck are Bad Things. They require major work to repair. In short, the teak decking has to be taken up in the area, the soft part of the subdeck cut out, new wood and glass scarfed in, and the teak replaced if you want to keep the teak deck.

The deck construction you are looking at is common for almost all boats from that era be they Grand Banks from Singapore or the cheapest Taiwan Trawler. The subdeck is a sandwich of fiberglass-plywood-fiberglass. The teak decking is screwed down on top of it with a sealant/adhesive compound painted/smeared on underneath it. The screws generally penetrate the top layer of fiberglass and into the wood core, although on some boats with thin subdecks the screws can penetrate all the way through the subdeck.

The problems start occuring when the seams between the teak planks pull away from one side or the other of the grooves beween the planks which will inevitably happen as the boat ages ane the deck planks work. This allows moisture to get down underneath the planks. Once there it can migrate down along the plank screws into the plywood core of the subdeck at which point rot can get a foothold. This is one reason one should always wash a teak deck with salt water even if you have to make your own. Salt water does not promote rot as quickly as fresh water.

And this is why it is important that the owner of an older boat with teak decks be vigilant about the condition of the deck seams and repair any that are pulling away from the side of a groove. These repairs are not hard to make once you know the techniques, but if ignored they can lead to the soft spots like the ones in the Albin you are interested in.

Newer models of boats like Grand Banks, Fleming, etc. glue the teak decking down and use no screws. So this eliminates the issue of moisture getting down into the subdeck core even when over time the deck seams start to fail.

30 year old Lehmans--- Well, ours are 39 years old and are running fine. They're not all that efficient, they're noisy, they're polluting, they're big and heavy for their power output, but they're simple and they're reliable. They need more frequent servicing than a modern engine. If you're looking at a Ford Lehman 120, for example, the injection pump needs its oil changed ever 50 hours and for good reason.

But in recreational service assuming proper operation, servicing, and maintenance they're said to be 12,000 to 14,000 hour engines before needing a major overhaul. The number one killer of an FL120 is overheating. Let the engine overheat, even a little bit for a little while, and the chances are high that major bad things will happen.

Taiwan Trawlers--- The big bugaboo with the so-called Taiwan Trawlers, particularly those built in the 70s and 80s is inconsistent quality. This was due to the way the boat manufacturers worked in Taiwan. Hulls and sometimes basic superstructures were molded in the home yard but then they were farmed out to small, family-owned boatyards around Taiwan for completion. And each boatyard worked to different quality standards.

One yard might use good marine-grade ply as cabin wall stiffeners while another yard might use cut up packing crates and pallets. Both methods work fine at the outset but as time goes by and windows start to leak--- which they always do eventually--- and moisture gets down into the cabin side structure, guess which stiffening material is going to resist rotting the longest?

This is why it's so important to have a qualified surveyor familiar with the type of boat you're interested in check it over very carefully for you. Because the farm-them-out-for-completion method could result in Acme Boat Co. Model 36 Hull Number 540 being in good to excellent shape after 20 or 30 years and Acme Boat Co. Model 36 Hull Number 541 having all sort of soft spots in decks and cabin walls and other problems. A surveyor experienced with these kinds of boats will know what to look for to determine if this particular boat is up to snuff or has problems that will end up costing you major coin to deal with down the road.

Obviously any boat be it a Bayliner or a Nordhavn can become a mess with neglect and abuse. But what boats like Nordhavn, Grand Banks, Fleming, and others bring to the table is a consistency of construction methods and quality that has remained consistent for decades in some cases. This is one reason these boats hold their value better than some of the so-called Taiwan Trawler brands. It's not that the Taiwan boats' designs are inferior, or even that their basic hull construction is questionable. It's the potential inconsistency in their final assembly and fitting out that raises the questions.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:57 AM   #13
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Thanks

Marin,

Thank you for the detailed response, I appreciate it.

Yes - that is my new understanding of deck repair: remove teak, correct rot, fill screw holes, recover (glas/epoxy), resurface (teak, non-skid, plasteak).

A big job.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:54 AM   #14
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Soft spots in the decks can be "tolerated" for a very long time if they are not extensive if you can stop the water intrusion. Yes they will eventually need to be addresed, but can be worked on a section at a time so as not to become intimidating.
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:51 AM   #15
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Soft

Yes, that is what the seller is saying, and what I am reading here and elsewhere. Reassuring. I am sort of moving on to the "family fit" part of the puzzle.
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:04 PM   #16
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We don't have kids. We have a dog which is a lot cheaper and a hell of a lot less hassle. So I can't comment on your proposed family use of the boat from direct experience, but I will from direct observation.

Every family is different, of course, and I have no clue how the parents and kids get along in your case. But I think you are looking at the right kind of boat in the tri-cabin. This is assuming the kids get along since they will be sharing either the aft cabin or the V-berth. But the ability for the people on the boat--- you and the kids in your case, us and our occasional guests in our case--- to get away from each other and have their own space is very important.

The major big benefit of the tri-cabin is that you have two separate spaces separated by common ground. So in the morning, for example, if couple A wants to get up, make coffee, go for a walk, whatever, they can do this without disturbing couple B who might want to laze in bed for awhile longer. My wife and I really like the Europa configuration of boat--- that big, covered, enclosable aft deck is fantastic, particularly in our climate. But it would be very hard to give up the separate cabins and main cabin/galley in the middle. Unless we went to a larger boat in the Europa or pilothouse configuration that had room for two separate staterooms up front. Which is a pending possibility but we'll see.

I personally would want a bit larger boat than what you're looking at--- in the GB line a 36' would be minimum and a 42' would be better--- but it all depends on the nature of the people sharing the boat.

I also believe that two separate heads are very important if you're going to be carrying kids (or guests). You can get away with one shower on the boat, which is what we have. But having a toilet and sink for each "stateroom" is, in our experience, a major, major benefit.

As to the "will they enjoy cruising" question, I think that's a tough one to answer even for people who have a boat and kids. Because every kid is different. You'll get lots of input from people on how their kids view boating, but that's their kids. It's not yours.

It's been my observation that kids really enjoy the cruising thing when they're younger. Particularly in that 5-10 range when everything is fascinating, at least to most kids. We took a 5-1/2 year old and her parents with us on a two week narrowboat trip in the UK followed by a 1-1/2 week Land Rover trip into northern Scotland. She is 23 years old today, graduated from Virginia Tech and embarking on her career and she still talks about things she saw and did on that trip, some of which we and her parents don't remember. So these things can make a big and lasting impression.

But while we've certainly seen exceptions, it seems that by the time kids get into their early teens they're ready to not be with mom and dad. Interests change. iPads and smartphones and their circle of friends become far more important than watching the family of otters playing in the bay. The boat, particularly a slow cruiser like the ones many of us on this forum have, is "boring." All of which is another reason I think it's important that the kids have their own space somewhere on the boat, assuming they're still willing to cruise with you at all.
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:52 PM   #17
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I'd have to agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
We don't have kids. We have a dog which is a lot cheaper and a hell of a lot less hassle. So I can't comment on your proposed family use of the boat from direct experience, but I will from direct observation.

Every family is different, of course, and I have no clue how the parents and kids get along in your case. But I think you are looking at the right kind of boat in the tri-cabin. This is assuming the kids get along since they will be sharing either the aft cabin or the V-berth. But the ability for the people on the boat--- you and the kids in your case, us and our occasional guests in our case--- to get away from each other and have their own space is very important.

The major big benefit of the tri-cabin is that you have two separate spaces separated by common ground. So in the morning, for example, if couple A wants to get up, make coffee, go for a walk, whatever, they can do this without disturbing couple B who might want to laze in bed for awhile longer. My wife and I really like the Europa configuration of boat--- that big, covered, enclosable aft deck is fantastic, particularly in our climate. But it would be very hard to give up the separate cabins and main cabin/galley in the middle. Unless we went to a larger boat in the Europa or pilothouse configuration that had room for two separate staterooms up front. Which is a pending possibility but we'll see.

I personally would want a bit larger boat than what you're looking at--- in the GB line a 36' would be minimum and a 42' would be better--- but it all depends on the nature of the people sharing the boat.

I also believe that two separate heads are very important if you're going to be carrying kids (or guests). You can get away with one shower on the boat, which is what we have. But having a toilet and sink for each "stateroom" is, in our experience, a major, major benefit.

As to the "will they enjoy cruising" question, I think that's a tough one to answer even for people who have a boat and kids. Because every kid is different. You'll get lots of input from people on how their kids view boating, but that's their kids. It's not yours.

It's been my observation that kids really enjoy the cruising thing when they're younger. Particularly in that 5-10 range when everything is fascinating, at least to most kids. We took a 5-1/2 year old and her parents with us on a two week narrowboat trip in the UK followed by a 1-1/2 week Land Rover trip into northern Scotland. She is 23 years old today, graduated from Virginia Tech and embarking on her career and she still talks about things she saw and did on that trip, some of which we and her parents don't remember. So these things can make a big and lasting impression.

But while we've certainly seen exceptions, it seems that by the time kids get into their early teens they're ready to not be with mom and dad. Interests change. iPads and smartphones and their circle of friends become far more important than watching the family of otters playing in the bay. The boat, particularly a slow cruiser like the ones many of us on this forum have, is "boring." All of which is another reason I think it's important that the kids have their own space somewhere on the boat, assuming they're still willing to cruise with you at all.
This is why I think the 33 might be a little tight. One of the things that has helped me in the past is to carry kayaks or let the others roam in the dingy, be their own captain for a spell it also gives me a break from being the guy responsible for entertainment.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:47 AM   #18
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33

Yes, the floor plan is very attractive. Sleeps 4-5 and space for each to get away. V berth, aft stateroom, main cabin, fly bridege, fore deck, fantail, cabin deck. Probably not the right words but you get the picture. Everyone can find space.
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