Hi Vic de Beer
Way back in the Nineties the Ballad was one of my top favorites when I was looking for an affordable but seaworthy sailboat in the size of about 30 ft. But here in northern Europe it was hard to find one on the marked because they were so popular and they still are.
The Ballad is built in the typical scandinavian yachtbuilding tradition , she is out of the 70ies, built into the International Offshore Rule (IOR) and was constructed to meet the 'half-ton'-measurements. Today they make wonderful and comparably fast cruising boats, but you have to live with a rigg and sailplan that was constructed into the IOR-rule: a rather small mainsail on a short boom and a big headsail-area that require many different sizes of headsails. But maybe a roller furling gear is installed and one of those well cut genoas that does not loose its shape when half way rolled away - that reduces the work on the foredeck.
The Ballad has the traditional s-shaped frame lines with the keel growing out of the hull and not just bolted under. The keel is even an integral part of the fiberglass hull in which the lead is laid into. So you don't find any bolts – a nice watertight solution.
The rudder is traditionally attached to a skeg and the whole fibreglass construction of hull and deck are solidly built – unless a Ballad has been raced very hard and for many years, the whole constrution should be still stiff and solid. And osmosis does not seem to occur on a Ballad. And it's a truly seaworthy boat – we met a some of them doing ocean cruising!
But here are some things to take a closer look at:
- The substructure of the mast step in the bilge is made up by a metal beam, fiberglassed into the bilge. This beam could be loose or corroded. Due to the mast pressure the laminate in the area of the mast step could be soft. Signs that this happened are cracks in the top coat.
- Another point of interest are the chain plates of the lower forward shrouts. Their substructure, mounted between the main bulkead and the forward balkhead are made out of metal and you should check if they are still bolted solidly to bulkeads and if the Ballad has been sailed hard it could be that the holes in the bulkeads changed to "longholes"
- Normally the halyards were tied to the mast. But if the halyards are led back to the cockpit by blocks mounted on the deck there must be tie rods below deck to take the tension off the deck. Otherwise the deck can rise in the area of the mast. But maybe the blocks are mounted to the mast intself – then there is no problem.
And I guess you have already looked at these sites:
and a swedish site, but in english:
And that you can live on a Ballad for a longer period of time is nicely written down in "Balladen i Haparanda – Et halvt års sørejse med sejlbåden Kalif" (A Ballad in Haparanda/Sweden - a half years journey up the Baltic Sea from Kopenhagen to Haparanda and back) written by Jette Varmer. It is written and published 1999 in Denmark and I am not sure, if it ever has been translated…
An Albin must be an eye catcher on the western shorelines of the Atlantic! It's a good choice.