Featured Alberg 37
1970 Mark I Alberg 37, Hull Number 66
Owners: Frank and Linda Smart
Barrie, Ontario Canada
(Currently Owned by Pat and Wayne Jobb, Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada)
Linda and I had admired BRANDELARA for many years beginning back in the seventies when we shared the same marina. Many a time we would walk over to the "big boat" dock and dream about someday having a boat like that. We never anticipated that in 1990 that dream would come true when we purchased her from her original owner. For the next four summers we sailed her in Georgian Bay then, in 1994, I took an early retirement and we decided to fulfill another dream and head south for an open-ended cruise. However, we quickly realized we needed to make a lot of improvements and upgrades to transform Brandelara from a weekend cruiser to a live aboard home.
The most important requirement was to replace an aging Volvo with something more reliable and we opted for the Yanmar 3GM30F. We had this done by an engine specialist in Toronto. The next challenge was to expand the working and storage space in the galley ..... must keep the first mate happy! Our Mark I had a small navigator's station facing aft on the port side and I decided it would be better use of the space to expand the galley into it. Our boat also used to have a pilot berth which was just a big catch-all for "stuff" so I designed and built cabinets to better use the space. Over the winter I next removed the fixed table in the salon and made a new, larger fold up table and significantly enlarged our living space.
I took the familiar route of installing four golf cart batteries in the "L" of the port settee and then upgraded the electrical system with new wiring, a Freedom 10 inverter, Link 2000R control system and a 100 amp alternator. On the stern we had a tower made which held a WindBugger wind generator and a crane for lifting our 15hp Suzuki aboard.
Refrigeration was greatly improved by filling the entire space around the box with 2-part expanding foam and installing a SeaFrost 12 volt system .... we had ice cubes all through the Bahamas! Naturally there were dozens of lesser changes .... stereo system, larger bow and stern pulpits, mast steps, Harken furling, new dodger, Linda made a new sail cover, bimini, weather cloths for the cockpit and a full deck awning.
Eventually we got to the point where we decided we were ready enough (you're NEVER completely ready) and set off for the sunny south in September 1995. We had intended going all the way down into the Caribbean that first year but fell in love with the beauty and isolation of the Exuma islands. We spent six months there before coming back to Florida where we laid the boat up and returned to Toronto for the summer. In September we began the pattern we would follow for the next three years ..... cross the Gulf Stream, cruise the island groups of the Bahamas for six months then return to Florida and lay the boat up. Well, it was a fabulous time and one might think it could go on forever but we finally had enough of living aboard and made the decision to bring Brandelara home. We didn't realize when we put her on the hard in June '99 that it would be another three years before she wet her keel again!
In that time, while we waited for the desire to go sailing to return, we gave Brandelara a much needed stem to stern renovation. Three years to the day she left the water we re-launched her and returned to her home waters of Georgian Bay for the summer. I'd like to report that the old enthusiasm for the boat and Georgian Bay came back to us but sad to say it didn't. As has happened to many of our Bahamas cruising friends the experience changes ones frame of reference and everywhere else pales in comparison to the Bahamas. We are now trying to decide what the next move should be.
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