Friday, November 13, 2015

Alberg 30: Meeting the Captain of Jean-du-Sud

Every week while running a ferry at mile marker 0 on the Intracoastal waterway, I see hundreds of cruisers tie up at the free docks in Portsmouth, VA. There are boats of all sorts; power boats, sailboats, 100-300ft mega name it, and chances are I've crossed wakes with it on the river. The boats I like most are the plastic classic cruisers, the 25-35 ft sailboats from 1960-1985. Those are the people I can relate to. I love walking the docks when I spot one, and chatting with the people who own these boats. 
The sailboat community as a whole is rather small and has a few celebrities, if you will. A few names, whether of the sailor, the boat, or both, are quickly recognized within the community.My own celebrities are the well-known seafarers of the small plastic classics that I admire. If you own an Alberg 30 or a Capehorn windvane then you probably know the names Jean-du-Sud and Yves Gelinas. Yves designed the Capehorn windvane for his circumnavigation of the globe on his Alberg 30 Jean-du-Sud. Yves documented the voyage, and produced an award winning movie from the footage. Below is the trailer from YouTube:

Last Sunday on my way to run the ferry I saw a shorter mast than all the others at the High Street free dock. I decided to swing by the dock before heading to the ferry. As I drove closer I could not believe what I was seeing: another Alberg 30...and not just any Alberg 30. It was Jean-du Sud. I quickly parked and went to the see if Yves was onboard. Unfortunately, he was not. However I did meet another couple cruising a beautifully restored Tartan 34 docked nearby. They told me Yves was out but would be back. Before leaving I snapped a few pictures of Jean-du-Sud, and then headed to work. People come and go so often at these free docks I wasn't sure if I would actually get to meet Yves Gelinas.

Jean-du-Sud with side mount outboard

Taken from wheelhouse of ferry

Famously one of the best windvanes, the CapeHorn.

After completing my day on the ferry I returned to the dock and found Yves onboard. He was very welcoming, especially after I told him I was a fellow Alberg 30 owner. I enjoyed a lengthy discussion about his Alberg. He invited me down below and showed me all the modifications he had made for the "roaring forties" as he called it (referring to latitudes in the southern hemisphere known for their boisterous conditions, for our non-seafaring followers).

Yves onboard his Alberg 30

There I am with Yves onboard Jean-du-Sud.

Jean-du-Sud is without a doubt the most famous of all Alberg 30's, and Yves is one heck of a sailor, filmmaker and inventor. He and Jean-du-Sud have sailed 40,000 miles together to prove it. It was an honor for me to tour Jean-du-Sud and even more of an honor to meet Yves Gelinas.


  1. That's very cool. I'm a little jealous - in fact, I might have to go watch Jean du Sud again today. But what's that I see in the background?! A Westsail 32 named Satori?! That's the boat from Junger's "The Perfect Storm." What a great day for you.

  2. Ok, never mind! Just noticed the wheel in the cockpit of Satori. She must be a Hans Christian or something - not a Westsail. You're forgiven for not mentioning it ;)

  3. Satori was in Rockport Texas, on the hard a year ago when I re did the bottom on my boat. Last I saw here she was in Freeport Texas

  4. It is because of Yves that I own my sailboat.Congrats on meeting him!