Our Albin Vega, Velocir, has been worked on over the past 4 years.
Past Blog Posts About Velocir Modifications:
– Albin Vega Stern Push Solar Panel Mount
– Velocir’s Albin Vega Sail Design
– Cost of Outfitting and Cruising Albin Vega Velocir
More Detailed Systems Information About Our Albin Vega Velocir:
(based on emails and comments we have received) Please comment below with any questions and we will add more info to this page.
- We have two 85 watt solar panels. This is the max size we could fit on our stern push. They provide us with everything we need and more! (Keeping in mind that we are only powering LED lights, LED navigation lights, computer, charging phones and small electronics, VHF radio etc.)
- An upgrade to all LED is huge in a solar plan. We found the Sea Dog line not quite as expensive and good quality. Leaving the lights on is never an issue, it draws so little it doesn’t matter! We have also talked about adding a refrigeration unit that would only draw about 3 amps and think it could handle this as well.
- The solar panels are then run to a power controller that regulates the charge. We bought the morningstar charge controller.
- We have two deep cycle batteries, with a battery combiner and a battery monitor for each one. We went with Clipper Compact BM-1 battery monitors (cheaper than others) and they have been great.
- Twice during our trip the battery monitors have reported charges that were obviously incorrect. (17 volts in the battery, or nothing when we knew there was something, etc) We have no idea why this happened, but we simply detached the solar panel power controller and connected it again. It seemed to “reset” itself we guess and the monitor readings were accurate again.
- We also have an inverter. We have not been happy with our Cobra 1500 watt inverter. Sometimes it works great but other times it senses too much voltage and will beep loudly. Our super old backup works fine! We only use the inverter to cut hair with trimmers, or for tools like a dremel or backup drill.
- Our spotlight, drill and vacuum (which I love) are cordless. It is the Ryobi One product found at most hardware stores like Home Depot. It is reasonably priced and the charger unit can be purchased in a 12v version. We have two batteries, so this way we are just charging them every so often and never pumping power from the boat for these things.
- ALSO, about the Garmin handheld 76CSx we use for navigation. We tried using it with a USB power connection, which it claims works. It would say it was plugged in but always discharge the AA batteries it had very quickly and then not work on simply USB power. We now use rechargeable batteries and this works great, and the batteries seem to last longer.
Storage and Cleaning:
- The 50/50 vinegar spray is a real thing. Vinegar is really cheap and is a light acidic. Not harmful to humans. My main use was to spray food to kill possible bug eggs. (Carrots do not like this) I also use it on counters, but it doesn’t cut through grease on my stove very well, so I keep around a bottle of heavier stuff for that.
- We LOVE those disposable counter wipes Clorox and Lysol make. They clean up stainless really well on my stove.
- We keep eggs unrefrigerated. I use one of those egg carriers they sell for camping. Sometimes eggs are too large for them, so I try to buy medium. I read a few books about food on boats before we left. Some people say they rotate their eggs daily to keep the yolk in the middle. While I have never tried to keep eggs more than a few weeks, I went with another book’s idea that I liked better. Her theory was that the boat is rocking and the eggs will move themselves enough. I only had bad eggs once, and that was right after I purchased them so they were just bad.
- Let’s see, what else? Lots of ziploc bags and storage containers that screw on, not pop-off. (Because if they fall there could be a mess, and harder for bugs to get in).
- We use the Garmin76CSx. It is pretty dependable, but never exact. We use it as an easy reference underway but go by what we can visually see and the depth sounder. Luckily, it came with the Bahamas Explorer digital charts, which was nice in a few cuts where visibility was tough.
- The Garmin device was a pain for us to upload charts to. It will only take proprietary Garmin charts that can be very expensive. So we bought the maximum micro SD card it could handle, 2GB, and put everything we had on it before we left.
- We also have a Toshiba netbook NB505. It is a super small low-power computer we use for navigation and internet. We use the chart software OpenCPN, a free program you can download online coupled with a $30 usb gps antenna. It works great but takes a while to get used to. Most notably it is free. We can’t really compare it to other programs, but it has a lot of features including working with our AIS receiver and adding waypoints and courses easily. It is a million times easier than calculating miles on a paper chart. We just click from one place to another and it figures out the miles and how long it will take at what speed. I’ve entered all of the popular anchorages plus more from Annapolis to Lake Worth, now when we go back the information is all there.
- For AIS we have a small AIS receiver that hooks up to a vhf antenna on our stern arch which can also be used as a spair vhf antenna if we lost the one on top of our mast.
- Then, NOAA has free US charts to easily download on their website. OpenCPN “quilts” these charts together to use in it’s program. Unfortunately, NOAA charts of the US are the only ones that are free and easy to use. Some cruisers trade bootleg charts. There are a lot of help forums on getting proprietary charts to work. They usually do, just Garmin was a pain. We never got our Garmin charts to work on OpenCPN, just the handheld.
- We have all paper charts for everything as well. In the Bahamas, everyone is right when they say get Explorer charts. It is probably best to buy all three books before you leave, because they are even more expensive if you have to buy them later in the Bahamas.
- We love them with all our heart, but a word of advice: they say they are waterproof but this is debatable. Avoid getting them wet!! They are like a sponge and will not tear or bleed ink, but they will never dry unless you towel dry every page individually multiple times. Even after this, some pages will stick together and literally pull off one side of the page image onto the other page.
- We used second-hand Chartbooks for the East Coast ICW. They piece the ICW together well and are large format. You can also print charts from NOAA’s website for free, they have even formatted “booklets” of certain areas for this purpose. Also, I wouldn’t worry about the date of your charts for the ICW. We used some charts from 1993 and there were minimal corrections that didn’t matter because when traveling in daylight you can see the marks all the time anyways. Our up-to-date NOAA digital charts on OpenCPN aided us if there were any discrepancies.
- We use a SSB reciever unit. Ours is a Target Nav-fax that we got used for a good price. We haven’t been thrilled with it and hear that a $100 Sony SSB receiver and FM radio unit works just as well. I think that is a better choice because it is battery operated, no wiring.
- In the Bahamas, EVERYONE listens to Chris Parker’s weather forecast Monday-Saturday at 0630 and 0830. He has a website for more information. He also offers detailed passage weather for people who subscribe with him. We always heard someone call in near us, usually going the same place.
- We don’t have a Kindle (the ebook reader), but we were told by numerous people that older versions come with a free 3G network for life. Cruisers were picking up 3G in the Bahamas and were able to load weather pages and email.
- Weather pages we like: www.windfinder.com, www.passageweather.com
- In many busy cruiser areas like the Abacos and Georgetown, Bahamas, there is a daily VHF net in the morning where someone gives weather.
- As you may know, getting weather in the US is not a big deal. It is on the VHF constantly, and we have a “smartphone” with some free weather apps, like radar, that help us throughout the day.
- Finally, we have an internet booster called the Ubiquiti Bullet. It picks up open wireless networks and has been amazing for us. In the Abacos and Eleuthera, and some places in the US, we get good internet and check the weather.
It was so lovely to see you in SF!!!
We just checked out your blog- the boat looks amazing!
See you in the Caribbean!
Anne & Dana
Hi fellow sailers My wife & I are new to sailing having traded our 26 chris craft power boat to a 28 ft hunter which has many Amenities, the PHILLIS B is in geart shape. I have been a boater many years and can’t believe how long it took to discover sailing, we are loving it. We are planing in early May to travel from our home port near Daytona beach, Florida to the Keys which we are planing on around 5 days each way and depending on how much open water we can do looking at seas highs weather reports each morning with the ICW as a back-up. Inlets along the Florida coast are ruffer 60 miles a parts. Deb is on the very safe side as I am much more dealing. Seeing and reading your Journey was hoping you could add some words of encouragement and advise on the excitement and joys of JUST DOING IT and what sea highs are not safe to be in open water
Thanks in advance
Thanks for your comment last week, sorry for the delayed response.
Your trip sounds like fun! We had hoped to cruise the Florida Keys but ran out of time. So we are not familiar with that stretch but still have a little bit of advice.
You may already know this, but we have found a good cruising guide and websites like Active Captain very helpful to plan the day.
We are conservative when going offshore because our boat is so small. It can be really uncomfortable for us if winds are over 15 knots and seas above 2-4 feet. Going downwind the conditions can be a little stronger for us.
Others get a thrill out of heavier conditions! But a perfect offshore day for us is 10-15 kts with small seas– and sometimes we have gotten it!!
That said, we have also found that short days traveling inshore on the ICW can be some of the most fun. Often we can spend the whole day sailing the ICW if we aren’t in a hurry and then anchor in a nice spot for the night. (But we aren’t familiar with your route).
Leaving on a trip can be the hardest part. We are still learning and everyone has a different cruising style of what they like, but the only way to know is to get out there and find out!
We hope you have a great trip! Hope this answered you question, please let us know if you have any more. We love to talk cruising!
Amelia & Grant
Just finished watching your series on YouTube. Overall great job!! Glad you made it back safe, your both an inspiration!
Thanks for sharing.
Fellow albin vega -sailor here. Your refit looks really nice. I have a -70 Albin Vega and have done some refitting on her, but nothing on your scale.
Did you do the dodger yourself, any info on how it was done?
– Albin Vega 1005 Ikiturso
Hi,thx with the youtube series.Happy to see you dont need one 50 ft yacht to have fun.
greets from Belgium (europe)
Enjoyed your videos , pics, and written info. Gald you had a great adventure.
Great information from both your videos and website. You are both good communicators.
I know it could be a lengthy post but could you post the Kubota conversion details as you did it?
really enjoyed your videos. Was sorry to hear about the troubles you had but I guess such is real life. I am glad it did not put you off sailing. Courageous to do all this in your 1st year of marriage, relationships can be sorely tested with that amount of togetherness. Loved every minute — thanks for taking the time to share.
Wow what a beautiful boat I love the creativity that you put into it.
Great site! Just got my Vega last month and have begun working on it already. I have a few questions if you are ever in the mood for sharing even more tips! Thanks!
I’m really curious, what type of anchor do you use and how much and what size chain? Great site guys.
Hi, thanks for your comment. We have 4 anchors on Velocir. Our primary is a 25 pound Rocna with over 200 feet of 1/4″ chain, that is permanently mounted on our bow and chain stowed forward in locker. Our secondary anchor is a hi-tensil 20 pound Danforth, that attaches to a spool of 50 feet of chain and about 150 feet of line. Stowed and also readily able to be attached to our secondary spool is a Fortress anchor (sized for a 50 foot boat) and a 25 pound Northill. We also like the Manson and would have liked it for a primary but the Rocna fit.
I’ve been watching the videos and really am amazed at what you did to get your Vega is shape. I’m living in Thailand but will be moving back to the States in a few months. I’ve sailled many years and made a few long ocean passages. I’m looking to find a Albin Vega or an Alberg 30 for some long distant sailing. The vega is my ist option. What I would like to know is: Do you have the plans for your interior? Adding the table and benches to the starboard side. Also for the mast support inside– What did you do to replace that part. Everything I read about the Vega says it’s a great seaworthy boat but does have a few problems with the mast support. If you have the time I would love to hear more and if you have interior plans I would love to take a look at them.
Hi, thanks for your comment! We do not have plans for our interior, there are some technical details and measurements in this post: https://velocir.com/2011/10/12/vega-modifications-an-update/
For the mast support, we added more fiberglass to the tabbing on the main bulkhead (1-2 ” lip connected to the hull that the wooden bulkheads bolt into). then we increased the thickness of wood on the doorway supports of the bulkhead, and also a thicker bigger wooden piece on the top of the bulkhead. In the galley we had an older layout with a pull-out sink. We traded that for shelving from a scrapped 1960s Vega. This added structural support.
I will shoot you an email so that you can keep in touch with us and ask more questions!
Sweden calls Velocir! Your great fervor and determination warms my heart! An amazing feat to renovate your Vega to a better than mint condition that would make both builders and designers to this little pearl, green with envy! However, I must take this opportunity to commend Amelia’s father for his great contribution in the project, without belittling your effort! To see this Vega (with one foot in the grave) to be such beauty in the end, really warms my heart! I myself have a small Laurin 26 that I will do a similar project, to later on go from little Sweden down to the Canary Islands and on the monsoon to the American continent. Well, that’s a lot of work and a dollar or two before the project with the crossing can take place! I have just discovered your blog (or is it called the vlog nowadays?) and will have many good moments with watching what you are doing with your little Vega! May you have favorable winds on your continued journey! Oh btw, here is a link showing my Laurin 26. http://www.laurinkoster.dk/Other_Laurins/other_laurins.html I have the first “L26” ever built in a serie of 22 boats, and are the fourth owner! Sincerely, Tony Shield
Tony, Thank you so much for your comment! The Laurin 26 looks like a great boat, keep us updated on your adventures!
Guys, let me just say that you’ve been a wonderful inspiration to me and my wife. Our own restoration project on our Vega starts this weekend, but it would never have happened without seeing what you managed to do with this little boat! :) If you have the time I’d love to keep you updated on how it goes! :)
Guys, let me just say that you’ve been a wonderful inspiration to me and my wife. Our work on our Vega starts this weekend, but it would never have happened without seeing what you managed to do with this boat! :) If you have the time I’d love to keep you updated on how it goes! :)
Hi Razvan, thanks for your comment. Please keep us updated, do you have a blog to share with us? Thanks.
Hey Guys, I am looking at a 71 Albin Vega. This one does not have the port settee or the gimbaled stove/ oven, but I see some many major good points. The hull and top sides look good and with very little work it could be very nice in a short time. My question is; the head or lack there of. Where the heck did you guys shower or bath and how? I’m also looking at a Cheoy Lee 28 which has a great head, but I’m concerned about having so much teak to keep up with. Pleas email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here and explain how and where to bath aboard the Albin Vega, please and thank you. Cheers mate.
Have been following your videos. I am very intrigued with what you are doing. My wife and I would enjoy such a life. But with two little ones and a medium sized, it would be difficult unless we rented the Titanic.
Btw. I notice you mentioned your inverter beeping at times. I have been told that using a bigger wire will usually fix that problem. Thanks!
Thanks for your comment!
First off thx for all the videos the wife and I loved them all. We were curious and had two questions as we consider a AV as a vessel. What was the ballpark on the whole refit as it seems you went from almost a shell of a boat to seaworthy? And how did you like the boat in any weather you might of run into?
Thanks for your comment. The ballpark cost for refit was about $27k, see our Cost of Cruising post here: https://velocir.com/2012/06/12/cost-of-cruising-albin-vega-velocir/ We went overboard, wanted to learn and try things and had fun with it, you can spend much less– safety gear and strong gear and hardware is our priority, then come the creature comforts.
Velocir was great for cruising, not our favorite for passage-making. Pros: good close-hauled and well-built, always fun and easy to sail, shallow draft and never let us down – Cons: tender in swell, makes poor distance in head seas – Best sailing conditions: 10-20 knots, light chop – Would not go out in over 20-25 knots unless downwind (we are picky, this is all personal preference) We went through some severe conditions and though we did not “like” it the boat was fine :)