Concerns about the Ballad

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Concerns about the Ballad

Post by Moslund »

Hi all..

Through reading various posts on this great forum I have some questions myself.

I (and my better half + 2 children) really have fallen in love with these Balads. I have been searching the market, reading about models, talking to people and so on for quite some time trying to find the best suited boat for our needs.
We wan´t at boat around 30 foot that can accommodate our family on longer trips. To start with that will be "shorter" trips like a couple of weeks in Danish waters (eastern sea), but in a year or two we want to sail (or engine ;) ) boat through the european waterways down to the mediterranean and sail around for some months before returning through or around europe. An atlantic crossing in the future can´t be rouled out, but for starters the above mentioned is our intended use.
So... the boat must have a draft of max 1.6 meters. It MUST be seaworthy - feel and be safe and it must handle heavy wind and waves well. It does not necessarily have to be a fast boat but of course it makes it more fun on daytrips. I have thought about long keeled boats but.. yeah..well.. now we are hooked on the ballad. We saw one yesterday and it impressed us. Great cockpit size and reasonable room for us below deck. Of course more space would be welcomed for a 6 month trip for 4 people, but our budget can´t handle more than 30 foot if we are going to realise the trip too :)
So after reading about the ballad I get the impression that it is well build, strong, safe and that it sails well......but in recent days i have also come across this forum where i have read about the MAST TRUSS problem... and the bulkhead problem! And this leads to my actual question:
Is this boat too old or too bad a construction for what we wan´t to put it through? I mean.. what does it help that the boat is well build in general if i has two issues that can lead to dissaster at sea? If the mast goes through the bottom of the boat in the meditterenean in a storm :o :o I don´t want to expose my family to that risk. Of course i could just fix the problem, but i do not feel confident that i am able to spot nor fix the problems. I am an mechanical engineer so i´m not totally lost regarding construction, but I have not experience with boatbuilding or fibreglass.
I know all boats have issues or unfortunate designs, but when i read about the issues regarding the ballad they seem very severe. I´m am afterall partially putting the lives of myself and my family in the hands of this construction. What are your thought about this? Should I look for another better build boat?

The one we looked at yesterday had some work done at the mast truss. The 3 bolts in the foremost bilge under the floor looked brand new... and the bilge just aft of the mast was painted inside. BUT.. it looked wet. I Could see water had been running there. And ind the next room ind the bilge there was standing water. This makes be think if the 3 bolts and the paint was just a cover-up. But the water was oily and the owner spoke about a leaking exhaust so maybe the water came from there. But am i right that there should be NO water in these compartments? The boat has been in the water since last summer and haven´t been used in that time as i understand it.
Also the roof above the windows (on the "outside" of the handrails) made a cracking sound when i walked on it in the starboard side. Guess it is delamintaion, but critical?
Didn´t look at the bulkheads.

I´m not expecting a boat in this pricerange that doesn´t need a bit of work, but still I wan´t to go sailing and not repairing. When I´m not totally comfortable in finding and sorting these issues out, do you think the ballad and its construction is the wrong boat for us - or would you just go for it?
I am looking for one with a relatively new engine since it will be used a lot on the waterways, and with good sails. But I just feel I´m in over my head with theese issues that can lead to complete failure. A lot of Ballad owners are happy, but if most are just sailing around unaware that their boats potentially could fail hard anytime, maybe the ballad´s reputation of being well build an safe for ocean sailing are a bit off??? Or is it me that are a bit off regarding the concerns? :shock: :lol:

Any help and point of views are VERY welcomed! Thanks!

kind regards
Last edited by Moslund on Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Concerns about the Ballad

Post by prjacobs »

Hi Moslund,
Welcome to the Ballad Forum!

The mast truss issue seems to be only on the earlier produced boats. I have #1085 and the truss and mast step are completely encapsulated and sound. I even drilled holes into the area and checked with a bore scope. There were no hollow cavities to be found, and no sign of rust.
I haven't heard about any bulkhead issues (I'm no expert), although in the complete rebuild of my Ballad all bulkheads were replaced.
Water in the bilge can come from the anchor locker after raising anchor, or from the stern area (exhaust leak, cooling water leak, rudder shaft cover, etc.) All leaks eventually wind up in the bilge (good thing) except maybe in the engine compartment where water can accumulate from a leaking pump until it gets high enough to drain out to the bilge.
My Ballad is the second Albin I've owned (Albin Vega previously) and my experience with the two boats is that they are well and solidly built, and don't suffer from boat pox like a lot of other boats do.

Good luck with your search, and keep us posted!
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Re: Concerns about the Ballad

Post by MarkRyan1981 »

Hello there, if you've been looking at the very lovely Ballad, I'm sure you have discovered my website ( with all my Ballad ramblings, and I can honestly say, so long as you get a surveyor to take a look over any Ballad and to check the mast truss you will find no sturdier, more sea worthy boat. There are no keel bolts to rust away and trip you up, her GRP is thick throughout and well made, and unlike many modern boats, as you move about a Ballad everything is very clearly built up to a standard, not down to a price, and built with passion by Albin Marin. I wouldn't be that worried about the bulkheads (I was quite worried to be fair); over the years many of the nuts will have shaken loose - a quick trip around the boat with a spanner to tighten them up and some penny washers to spread their load and you'll be fine.

I've been trusting the Ballad with my family for years, and we'll be out again this summer :). If you do find a Ballad and buy her, you won't be disappointed.

A few tips on the Ballad with children! ... dren-five/
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Re: Concerns about the Ballad

Post by rolfvp »

Check out this one! It might be what you are looking for. New lovely Yanmar 3YM20 engine, same as in my Ballad, new genua etc. It is a very late production number nr 1397 from 1979. I have nothing to do with the boat... just found it a Facebook group. I find the price to be ok considering the "new" engine (2013) :)
Ballad nr. 674 "Bilbo" Copenhagen
Bob McGovern
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Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: Concerns about the Ballad

Post by Bob McGovern »

All boats (even new ones) have design & construction issues, and all 40-year-old boats have age and wear issues. The Ballad's are mostly few and known. The mast truss affects some Ballads, but not all. It is not dangerous unless the truss fails, and that can be prevented; a bad truss may be a deal-breaker on that boat, or a basis to lower the selling price. The 'bulkhead issue' pertains to the main and forward bulkheads, which were bolted to robust tabs but not glued or glassed in place. If the plywood rots out near the bottom, or if the nuts vibrate off the bolts, the bulkheads can go adrift, which is not good. (Tabbed-in bulkheads can also rot out or tear off their tabbing; bulkheads are an annual inspection item on all boats.)

The chainplate arrangement is odd, but I've never heard of a failure. There can be spot deck delamination, but the core is foam & does not rot, unlike balsa. The cutless bearing strut should be checked for integrity, and do not be surprised if the rudder has water in it (lots of sailboats have wet rudders).

With these items checked, I have no doubt the Ballad could handle the trip you plan. My bigger worry is fitness for purpose, tho: four crew on a long journey will show up some of the Ballad's shortcomings. It's a small 30'er. The ends are pinched, internal volume is not huge, and the head is tiny. The galley is not ideal for cooking in a seaway, tho it is fine at anchor. It is not the easiest boat to stern-tie or swim off of. The headsails are large for a young family. Berthing arrangements are not ideal for sleeping at sea, tho that can be managed. A number of Ballads have made long passages with crews of 3. Personally, for the trip you describe, I'd be looking for a conservative but roomy liveaboard-type sailboat, something with a stout engine & plenty of volume aft. L- or U-shaped galley, a bigger head, probably a shorter cockpit (or center cockpit!) to improve living space. A walk-thru or vertical stern can simplify swimming off the boat and stern-tying in marinas.

The Ballad is a lovely IOR cruiser/racer for exploring harbors and daysailing. You could buy one and use it for a few years, see if it fits your needs, then sell it for what you paid (tho any upgrades will not be recovered). Would not be my preferred boat for distance sailing with four people.
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Re: Concerns about the Ballad

Post by Moslund »

Thank you SO much for all of your great reply´s and SORRY for the very late answer of mine. I have been very bussy but I´m back now :D
We have decided to go for a Ballad! If its to small - well then we have learned something. BUT we haven´t found one yet. Looking back I should have bought one of those for sale in the spring because the market seems dead now :roll: I looked at the one you sent me @rolfvp - it looked great but.. yeah to late now.
I found out there is a lot saved moneywise by buying in sweden, but it´s a little cumbersome too.
The only one interesting I can find in Denmark right now is this one: ... kiii-86118
Its an so called mkiii from ´82. What do you think of this years model. As I understand it from the history of Ballads it must be one of the first build in Denmark after the bankruptcy. Is this a good or a bad thing.
Compared to what else I have seen it is a little expensive. I can't figure out if that is ok because it is a newer model, or if it acutally should be worth less because its not one of the original ones build in sweden.
The engine is original 17 hp but cooled with freshwater. Sails are older and no tent for cockpit. No spinakker nor "winches" for it (don´t know the word). No delamination in the "roof". What do you think of this model and price???
Thank you again for your answers. I feel a little bad for being so slow on replying but hope you haven't given up on me :lol:

Btw GREAT info on sailing with kids Mark !!!!
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