Albin Build Quality

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psneeld

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Oct 15, 2011
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USA
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Sold
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Was an Albin/PSN 40
For all those in love with Albin build quality...

This is what I found when trying to convert the galley icebox on my 1988 40 tri-cabin to a fridge/freezer unit with the Dometic ColdMachine CS-NC-15 power compressor fridge unit.

The entire outboard side of the icebox was just large chunks of foam..none attached to the actual icebox...just randomly thrown in there providing almost no insulation value at all...yet over a garbage bag full of foam (over 18" thick in one place) doing virtually nothing.
 

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Otoh

Foam cores mean one will never find Balsa rot in an Albin deck.

I would take exception that the chunks of foam "doing virtually nothing".
 
"Foam cores mean one will never find Balsa rot in an Albin deck.

I would take exception that the chunks of foam "doing virtually nothing"-----NOW THAT"S FUNNY RIGHT THERE! I DON'T CARE WHO YOU ARE!
 
the chunks were just filling a void...not attached to the glass icebox liner and major air spaces between them....so pretty much doing nothing.:D

It had nothing to do with the decks....:confused:
 
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I'm out'ta here. I've got my Albin. If psneed doesn't like them, he can go find a better brand, with my blessing. My boat is 38 years old. I wonder how his choice will be at the same age?
 
I'm out'ta here. I've got my Albin. If psneed doesn't like them, he can go find a better brand, with my blessing. My boat is 38 years old. I wonder how his choice will be at the same age?

If I had only known...but I believed the pack like so many..."Albins are great"

I have learned along the way that until you take a boat apart to nuts and bolts...public opinion is a really bad judgment of build quality.

I will say that certain models and certain years are WAY different in build quality.

I have heard good things about Albin 25's...but then again I heard good things about Albins in general till I found out the truth the hard way.

Worse than others? Maybe not for many but that doesn't make them built well either.
 
I have learned along the way that until you take a boat apart to nuts and bolts...public opinion is a really bad judgment of build quality.

Exactly!

Have spent countless hours grinding out bondo (fairing puddy) because the manufactuer didn't glass the joints close enough to the final level, filled the voids with bondo which cracked. Have been fixing a lot of short cuts this summer.

Ted
 
I'm eyeing an Albin 48.... Don't tell me they suck! :(

The trouble with boats that were built in Taiwan is that there is a huge difference in build quality all the way from yard to yard, make to make, model to model and even boat to boat. Any boat is worth looking at...but like a fne home with a lot of nice woodwork...you really don't know what is in the walls till you tear into them.

Sure there are a lot of common problems to a particular construction technique that really showed how much care owners took of their boats..but the point about stuffing a cavity with random blocks of foam just shows that certain points of even a "decent reputation" boat were totally overlooked by a competent ANYBODY....so what else was??????
 
HA HA. I have found some shockingly bad construction in my Marine Trader too. Then again, most of that poor construction has hung together for 15, 20, 25, 30 and now almost 40 years before I found it and 'corrected' it. So how bad could it have been?
 
HA HA. I have found some shockingly bad construction in my Marine Trader too. Then again, most of that poor construction has hung together for 15, 20, 25, 30 and now almost 40 years before I found it and 'corrected' it. So how bad could it have been?

Yep...my boat's not on the market, I'm still going to Florida in it this year and I'm planning on living aboard for the next 20 years or so.

So I hope I DON"T find out how bad it could be.....

MY post is just another in a long line of posts by people who really get to know their boat as opposed to the other end of the spectrum that let yards do all the work while they sit around the club and say how well their boat is built....:D
 
The trouble with boats that were built in Taiwan is that there is a huge difference in build quality all the way from yard to yard, make to make, model to model and even boat to boat. Any boat is worth looking at...but like a fne home with a lot of nice woodwork...you really don't know what is in the walls till you tear into them.

The very few Taiwan yards that actually paid attention to build quality are still in business. Alexander Chueh, for example, started Ocean Alexander with the express intent to address the build quality problem he noted in other yards.
 
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Getting back to the "not really doing anything" part of the OP, the firmly appearing chunks are doing one thing fairly, REDUCING CONVECTION IN THE AIRSPACE SURROUNDING THE COLD FOOD CHAMBER, which is the big bugaboo when it comes to ice boxes and refrigerators. Sure, poured-in-place Urethane foam would do that more efficiently, but that is only a question of degree. Pouring in bushels of Styrofoam packing peanuts would have also worked.
 

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If there's a pretty large air gap between the ice box and the first few inches of foam that can drain cold air all the way to the bilge...do you honestly think the next 17 inches of foam was really doing anything???? Where do you see that the blocks were firmly anything? I could put my boroscope around most of the box suggesting over an inch air gap in many places where the foam just shifted away from it...it wasn't even glued to the ice box.

It was like some kid was told to fill a toy box with random sized chunks of foam..and he was in a hurry to get to the playground. Maybe that's where the idea came from...they saw how well it worked with chunks of teak sorta thrown together and poured poly resin over them to make the flying bridge deck...:rofl:

Let me put it another way...I realized the icebox was useless when it wouldn't hold ice a couple days in moderate temps...then to find they wasted over 2 cubic feet of foam to do nothing just makes me shake my head.
 
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I have yet to find any shoddy construction on my Camano. It's a well thought out and well built boat. It was built in Canada.
 
Taken a sawzall or crowbar to it yet? That's the real test.
 
Have you taken a sawzall or crowbar to one?

And while I know its a better built boat than many...my point is till you rip into one seriously..ya can't go by what the crowd thinks.....

And I've owned/run boats that go both ways in my opinion.

Cheaper boats that had building details that rivaled "better names"...and good ones that just kept disappointing me the further I dug.

So far MY Albin has fallen the furthest from it's "boatshow" reputation. Notice how I said "MY" as there are other models and years that are a lot different.
 
MOBY NICK, perhaps you are aware of the fact that you own a boat that shares a name with Psneeld's vessel but not much else. Your pride and joy was designed and built in SWEDEN! His vessel was unfortunately was designed by a committee in the USA and built in Taiwan. They share nothing but a name.
 
I've done a fair amount of work on my Albin-25, (Swedish built in 1976) and am impressed with the quality of fiberglass and hardware. Our ice chest is a pivoting article of wooden and galvanized steel furniture which performs comparably with picnic and camping ice chests of the same period. We now cruise with a much better insulated ice chest able to keep ice for 5-6 days.

BTW, I do have a big sawzall (Porter Cable clone, actually) but so far a 1/4" shaft die grinder is the most powerful tool employed on our boat.
 
Made in Canada

I have yet to find any shoddy construction on my Camano. It's a well thought out and well built boat. It was built in Canada.

I have come to the conclusion that with all the imported (Chinese) junk these days, that almost anything you can by that is "made in Canada" is an assurance of superior quality. Nice to know that someone in NA is still doing quality work the old fashion way. Sure wish Canadians would manufacture a lot more items; they would have my business.
 
Here's the real story behind the thread...

Had Albin built a decent ice chest....for MY particular boat....

Dometic is nice enough to market a freezer/fridge unit that you literally cut a hole in the side of the icebox, mount it with 6 screws, run a 10Ga line to a 15 amp opening in a fuse panel. Could have been literally a 1 hour job...and would have been on my last 2 liveaboard boats.

But...because Albin saw fit to not REALLY insulate their icebox worth a dang...not I have to either dismantle the whole galley...or build up 1.5 inches of top quality insulation inside a perfectly nice glass icebox from the inside and refinish over the insulation with some type of covering material.

So a one hour project has not turned into a 3-4 day project and I lose about around 2 cubic feet of space.

I wouldn't mind it if Albin was a bottom feeder and they did crap like this...but they were supposed to be of good enough quality that one would expect did things would be constructed at least as well as the other average boats out there...again...I'm only comparing similar models and similar years.
 
Taken a sawzall or crowbar to it yet? That's the real test.

It sounds like you're saying that unless you've cut up your boat, you have no way of knowing if it's a quality boat. If I took a sawzall and a crowbar to my boat, that would pretty much guarantee my boat would be a POS.
 
Yes and no.

But like everything in life..only to a point and there's always exceptions to the rule.
 
I think the take away here is that brand names are bought and sold all the time and don't have the importance people attach to them. Companies buy a brand because people think it means something then they set about changing it and not always for the better. Even the Hatteras name has belonged to several corporations. Is there any consistency? Why would you expect it?

The idea that people don't know their boats is generally correct as is the idea that somehow most boats make it for decades without falling apart. I'm not a certain anymore that I know of a quality maker. What I can say is that every failure I can remember on every boat I owned and maintained could ultimately be traced to sloppy work by someone on a shift in the factory. The next boat may have had the same work done differently.
Boats are not high volume products where process can be continuously measured and improved. Just hope the new guy didn't build your boat but even if he did it will probably work.
 
The issues of quality and reliability get all twisted together. If something was not done well, or to specification, we can say it has poor quality.

However, if it works as intended for a long time it can be said to be reliable.

The only conclusion from those statements is that the level of quality we wanted was unnecessary.
 
To start with I currently own a US built Albin and the quality is pretty good. I have owned a Taiwanese built Albin in the past. I could barely tell the difference between it and a Marine Trader of the same model. In fact, many years ago when I was in Kaohsiung, Taiwan I observed workers rolling shared molds on metal wheels up and down the street between several plants each building a different brand of boat.

I would not call my Taiwan boat built high quality, but it was tough and got the job done at a reasonable price. My main objection to the boat was water leaking through the teak decks and ruining the inside paneling.
 
My boss used to say "you get what you inspect". I'm finding that very true in most things, especially boats. Who would expect to find foam blocks like that?
 
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