Albin 28 TE
The Albin 28 delivers award-winning performance that is ready for any kind of seas. With almost 1,000 hulls produced, the Albin 28TE has a well-earned reputation for high quality, outstanding handling characteristics, economical diesel performance, and true value. We have made this legend available in the two most desired configurations.
From Albin News: New Albin 28 Testimonial
99 Days Aboard an Albin 28 Tournament Express
We departed John Wayne Marina in Sequim, WA on May 20, 2001 returning 99 days later after completing a round trip to Skagway, Alaska and many points in between. Our northbound route followed, with some exceptions, that taken by the big cruise ships. We varied our return route, including the west side of Vancouver Island; to avoid traveling over the same territory we covered going north. The scenery and wildlife is breathtaking. Pat and I would at times arrive at the days anchorage exhausted from our efforts to absorb the beauty surrounding us.
A fast moving log caught our attention and as we moved closer we realized it was a large colony of sea otter rolling over and over the bow wake of a ship that passed by earlier. Mountains rising from the deep water so steeply that I believe one could touch the rub rail of the boat on the mountain face and still have 100 feet or more of water under the boat. Seeing Pat’s eyes light up as she revisited Juneau and Haines Alaska, towns of her youth. Meeting her classmates of those years. Well it goes on and on but I think this is enough to leave the reader with a feeling that this was a special trip for us.
Many people along the way were interested in our 28-foot Tournament Express. We showed it to at least three couples and talked to many others who came to the boat to learn about it. One woman described it as a shining jewel. We were proud.
The boat is a serious fishing machine but also has many nice touches, which makes a comfortable and attractive living space. It makes it fun for both husband and wife to enjoy the boat. Our compliments to the Albin team for designing and building such a fine boat.
Since we purchased the boat shown at the Seattle boat show the Bellingham Yacht Team had equipped the boat with options they felt an owner would want. They sure hit the nail on the head as we found their additions to be excellent choices – great job to the Bellingham Yacht Team.
Since we planned to cruise the boat on an extended basis we installed an inverter and replaced the 4-D battery with two L16H, 6 volt, 395 amp hour batteries to support the inverter and other electrical needs for 3 days without charging batteries. We also converted the Bruce anchor to a backup and replaced it with a CQR anchor, an anchor system with which we have enjoyed much success during a 15,000 mile cruise on the east coast of the U.S. with a different boat.
We added an ice chest to supplement the boat’s 12-volt refrigerator. Rather than mounting it on the swim platform we chose to install it on the centerline of the boat at the rear of the cockpit for ready access and as an additional seat. Our intention was to remove the ice chest and it’s tie downs after the trip was over but to our surprise found it provides wonderfully comfortable seating. The backrest is the comfortable padded thigh rest surrounding the cockpit and the footrest is the motor box cover. It is so comfortable for us that it will not be removed but remains as an addition to the boat even if not used all the time for its intended purpose of keeping food cool.
The last addition I installed was a laptop computer arm and shelf and used my notebook computer loaded with the Capn Voyager Navigation program throughout the journey. I found it far superior to the chart plotter and the C-Map type chips used in the chart plotter. The computer, arm and table did not block access to the lower compartment.
The boat’s size is great for us. It fit in at marinas along the way without problem. Sometimes though we might be tucked under the bow pulpit of an 80-foot yacht but that’s OK as long as the big guy doesn’t decide to drop his anchor. It is easy to handle both on the water and when docking and undocking.
Many times we were asked if we encountered rough water. The answer is yes but only for a relatively small portion of the entire trip. We found the boat to be surprisingly responsive in the rough stuff. Most often I was able to run the boat at normal cruise speed. A few times I slowed the boat down for comfort and safety. At no time was I concerned that the boat could not take the conditions we were in.
We did not venture out into water conditions known to exceed what Pat and I are willing to tolerate (generally less than 25 knots of wind, less than 6 foot waves and no frontal passages expected during the next 24 hours). We listened to the weather forecasts carefully, got underway at daybreak for ocean crossings and used the automated weather buoy and lighthouse reports to learn current wind speed and wave heights for the area we planned to transit. If it exceeded our limit we did something else on that day while waiting for improved conditions.
The amount of rough water encountered is directly related to the skipper and the crew. If one is patient you can get near millpond conditions on all passages. We know our limits and stick with it. Pushing on through rough water can easily ruin a boating experience for a lifetime. We will always turn around or seek safe harbor if conditions exceed our limits.
Fuel, water and groceries are generally available along the route. Big cities have Supermarkets otherwise it trends towards a convenience market. Laundromats sometime require a walk or if we were lazy a taxi ride. It is all relatively easily done and was not a cause for concern.
Fishing was great during our trip. Salmon was abundant and if patient so were halibut, crab and other bottom fish.
The following information may be of help to those planning a similar trip.
Submitted by Jerry and Pat Brous
Albin 28 Review -Reprinted from Boating World – Nov 1999
By Michael Verdon
Even when busting through chop the Albin 28 Tournament Express is a smoothie.
ive-foot seas, wave after wave, are marching in behind us, tossing the stern from side to side. It’s ugly out here, and getting uglier every minute. What was calm ocean 5 hours ago is now being whipped up by late afternoon winds. To make matters worse, we’ve overshot the inlet and have to turn and run in front of the big seas that are surrounding Newport Harbor in Newport, Rhode Island.
Not that we’re looking up at cresting green monsters, or that the Albin 28 Tournament Express is in any real danger of getting completely swamped, but I’d rather be quartering the seas than skimming on wavetops toward the inlet.
After dodging lobster traps and being shoved around by the waves for an hour or so, we pass Brenton Point and head into the safety of Narragansett Bay toward Newport Harbor. This is one of those times when a dock looks mighty good.
There are boat tests, and then there are serious boat tests. This one, aboard the Albin 28 Tournament Express, is a certified serious boat test, a 5-hour run from Newport, Rhode Island, to Block Island and back that includes docking in a stiff wind and running in big seas.
At some boating magazines a boat is given the seal of approval when it passes the swizzle-stick test: If the swizzle stick on your pina colada is still standing by the end of the test – the boat doesn’t pitch or roll too much – then it is deemed seaworthy.
While that may seem a bit cynical – and Boating World puts boats through a much more extensive battery of tests – there’s something appropriate about the swizzle-stick test. That’s because the majority of pleasure boats aren’t designed for the kind of potentially rough conditions that you may encounter on the ocean. A lot of boats that claim to be “sea-worthy” have no business losing sight of land, as most are built for calm-to-moderate conditions. But on a rough and tumble day, the Albin 28 proves that it can definitely take a bluewater licking and keep on ticking.
It’s easy to see the quality in the lines of the 28 Tournament Express. It has a Downeast upturn in the bow, a very slight touch of trawler in the profile and a progressive modified-V planing hull. The pilothouse accentuates the New England look, a look that may not appeal to everyone. In my opinion, it’s a refreshing change from the cookie-cutter models other builders are producing.
It’s also a pleasure to drive, as I find out during the 18-mile run to Block Island. The hull, with 16 degrees of deadrise at the transom, heads through the 1 to 2 foot seas like a plow. This 28′s powered by a single 300 hp Yanmar diesel engine, but you can also opt for a 380-hp MerCruiser, 330 or 370-hp Cummins or 230-hp Volvo Penta.
The Yanmar gives the 28 a friendly cruising speed of about 20 mph at 3000 rpm, and a top speed in the 2 foot chop of 25 mph at 3500 rpm. You’d probably add another 2 to 3 mph in calm water, depending on wind and tide.
I like the helm setup, with the guages on the helm console and the electronics positioned overhead.
The pilothouse offers button-down protection againstwind and sun- we could talk at normal pitch when running – and of course, rain.
To port, there’s a raised companion seat, with a chart table in front. When I’m not driving, it’s a good place to hang out since it turns to face the helm. The padded engine box is a good place to have a snooze.
Another option for catching a nap is to go down below. Fit and finish in the cabin is strong, with cherrywood accents, a V-berth and table, and a large quarterberth behind the galley, which gets my seal of approval. Standard Items include a stainless steel sink, microwave, butane stove, 2.8 cubic foot refrigerator and plenty of storage. The standup head has a shower and toilet. The five electric lights, siz portlights and overhead hatch make for a light and airy cabin.
Albin is billing the 28 as a sportsfishing boat, and it has all the standard fishing items you’d expect, such as rod holders, tackle boxes, built-in fishboxes and a recirculating livewell. But the engine box limits cockpit movement, and the cabin is something you won’t find on most fishing boats, so I see the 28 being more of a cruiser with fishing potential than a hard-core fishing machine.
The Albin 28′s also loaded with additional standard features that you won’t find on may cruisers of this size and price range, such as its niftiest feature, a standard bow thruster.
Single screw inboards are the hardest boats to maneuver in tight quarters, and if there’s a wind blowing you could be in trouble when docking. We find that out as we’re being pushed by a crosswind into the docks at Block Island. Instead of banging-in head-first, Peter Waterman, the Albin’s new owner, just pushes the button and the boat swings neatly into the dock. This is the first time I’ve seen a bow thruster on a boat this small, and I know Peter is happy to have it.
The 28 is sturdy, as I find out during the run home from Block Island. by the time the boat bangs me awake during my post-lunch test of the cabin V-berth, the seas are 4 feet.
The following seas are pushing us around, and I can see Peter’s knuckles are blanching white on the steering wheel – as mine are on the grabrail. But the boat tracks straight and we make it in with no problem.
I’m impressed. I’ve been on boats that were tossed around like corks, but the Albin holds steady even when it looks like we might take on water.
Perhaps the most memorable feature of the Tournament Express is its solidity, elements of which you can only see by looking at the details. To me, the oversized handle on the optional transom door is a perfect example. This one has a thick stainless-steel handle and bed that will keep the door closed – even if one of those waves had slammed into the boat from behind.
My trip along New England’s coast is visually stunning, and the scenery is matched by the Albin’s rock-solid performance. Whether you use this boat for cruising, fishing or both, the 28′s solidity lets you head to the water without hesitation.
Reprinted from Boating World – Nov 1999
By Jack Hornor
Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
For more than 15 years owners of Albin 28s have praised their boats capabilities as sportfishermen, overnighters and pocket cruisers. No doubt this versatility has helped the Albin 28 to become one of the most successful models in the company’s history.
Designed by naval architect Terence Compton, the Albin 28 is offered in two basic configurations – one with an enclosed wheelhouse (pictured) and an express or “convertible” model.
The builder, which can trace its roots back more than 100 years to the Swedish boat and engine manufacturer of the same name, is now headquartered in Cos Cob, CT, with building facilities in Portsmouth, RI. Despite their Swedish origin and British-born designer, Albin labels their models “DownEast” cruiser/fisherman, although I suspect this is more a marketing person’s designation than intended by the designer. While the design shares a few features with New England “bass boats” such as the Crosby Striper, she bares little resemblance to traditional DownEast-styled workboats. In fact, to my eye, there is a greater resemblance to traditional boats of the Pacific Northwest. Labels aside, this is a handsome traditional design.
The Albin 28 was introduced in 1993 and, with only a few minor changes, remains in production in 2008. There have been more than 1,000 Albin 28s built to date. Her length is 28′ 4″ on deck, beam is 10′ even, draft is 3′ 2″ and displacement is reported to be 7,500 lbs.
She is solidly constructed utilizing conservative, time proven construction techniques and quality materials. Core materials are used in the construction of both the hull and deck structures although care is taken to use non-absorbent materials at through-hull fittings and attachments. Vinylester resin is used in outer laminates and osmotic blistering has not been a problem.
Structural strength is provided by two fiberglass-encapsulated longitudinal stringers and plywood bulkheads all securely and neatly attached with fiberglass tabbing. The hull and deck are joined in a shoebox fashion with adhesive sealant as well as nuts, bolts and washers. The quality of construction, fit and finish is at the level of upscale productions builders.
Although some will find the Albin 28 a comfortable weekend or pocket cruiser, I think it is safe to assume that most people interested in this boat will have some finishing in mind. The 75 sq. ft. cockpit has padded bolsters around the 28′ high sides, a live baitwell, rod racks under the cockpit combing on both sides and several lined deck boxes that can be used for storage of iced and used for fish boxes. Depending on the year and power option, some cockpits are obstructed by a raised engine box which, on the plus side, can be used for extra seating or as a table. A transom door, which was a popular option on early models, is now standard and allows easy boarding as well as access to the optional swim platform.
The configuration and features of the bridgedeck may differ slightly depending on age and options chosen but generally includes a starboard helm and a mate’s seat to port. Side decks are nearly a foot wide with stainless steel handrails on the hardtop and a welded stainless life steel rail along the deck edge for security. At the bow there is a pulpit for storage of the primary anchor as well as a locker for storage of anchor rode and an extra anchor.
Midship cleats are rarely found on a boat this size and those on the Albin 28 have the added advantages of being able to be reached from the cockpit and recessed so that they are not trip hazards and less likely to foul other lines. This small but important detail indicates a builder who actually has some experience handling boats.
Accommodations below are compact but more complete than typical of fishing boats of this size. There is a U-shaped dinette forward, an enclosed head with shower to starboard, an efficiency galley to port and rather cramped double berth to port tucked under the bridgedeck. Although most Albin 28s are powered by single inboard diesel engines ranging between 300 and 370 hp, a 365 hp Crusader gasoline engine was offered on earlier models as well as a 230 hp Volvo diesel with a Duo-Prop™ stern drive. Reasonable cruising speeds range from 18 to 24 knots depending on load and power and the 132-gallon fuel capacity allows a cruising range in the range of 300 nautical miles allowing for a reasonable reserve. The Albin 28 has a well deserved reputation for being able to handle bad weather and sea conditions particularly following seas. More than one owner has commented that “when the conditions got worse my confidence in the boat improved” which is a tough endorsement to beat.
Over 1,000 Albin 28s have been built which assures a good supply of boats for the used market. The Albin 28 is a rather expensive boat for her size but quality construction, outstanding seakeeping qualities and good resale value keep her in demand.
The Albin has produced more than 600 of their mid-sized, mid-priced Downeast-style cruiser/sportfishermen, yet John Shanahan, who sells Albins from his Oxford Yacht Agency on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, thought he could make the popular boat even better.
There are a lot of boaters on the Chesapeake who want to use a boat not just for fishing, but for day-running as well, and by making just a few modifications, Shanahan figured he could take everything that was already great about the Albin 28 and come up with a great boat for short pleasure jaunts. It’s a process he calls ‘picnic-ization.’
The first thing you’ll notice when you compare the picnic-ized version with the unmodified model is an inviting cushioned bench running the full width of the transom that you won’t find on the standard fishing model. You’ll also note that Albin’s standard, practical, tubular radar arch athwart the hard top has been replaced by a rather yachty-looking, slightly raked mast. Though it’s only a couple of feet tall, this custom-built mast supports an anchor light, running light, cockpit spreader lights, a naval omnidirectional TV antenna, GPS and VHF whips, and the radar unit.
Just as the antennas are neatly arranged up above, so the instruments are neatly rearranged on the helm console, including those that are arrayed on an overhead panel in the standard model. A fairly low-profile engine box in the center of the cockpit comes with a cushion for lounging, or it can be used as a table. Having the engine placed there allows room below for a mid-cabin berth.
Below, the cabin is roomy and has good headroom where you need it: at the galley station. The dinette table is arranged in the bow and forms a generous double berth.
That additional mid-cabin berth is tucked aft under the cockpit sole and has two ports opening into the cockpit for light and air. With 6Ft. 3″ by 3Ft. 10″ of space, there’s room for one large adult, or two kids; or it works great as one big storage bin for bulky items. The enclosed head boasts a Vacu-flush toilet, shower and wash basin. The galley, though compact, is neatly arranged and has everything you need in the way of prep space, plus a microwave, butane stove, fridge and stainless-steel sink with a pressurized water system.
The new picnic package appealed to Bill Bass, a retired nuclear engineer from Annapolis. Though his first boat was asailboat, a Tartan 30 that he and his wife, Courtenay, bought back in1974, their second boat was a Monk 36 trawler, “which had a lot of teak in those days,” he recalls. “I liked it at first, but after either spending all my time keeping it up, or spending all my money paying somebody else to do it, you could say the word, Ft. teak,’ and I’d jump 30 feet in the air. We sold that and spent the last two years without a boat, and then we went to the boat show last fall and saw this Albin 28. We went back and bought it the next day.”
In addition to all of its other charms, the Albin 28 is eminently devoid of any teak. Other practical features that attracted Bill Bass was the single 300 Cummins turbo diesel augmented with a bow thruster. ‘It’s very attractive,’ he says. ‘It’s pretty in a traditional sort of way, not stream-lined and Ft. swoopy.’ I like the idea of being able to get in and out of the sun, and there are no steps to climb. We’re going to have it in a lift right at the edge of the dock. It’s going to be a lot easier to use than the other one.’
Bill and Courtenay, who have been married 54 years, are looking forward to cruising and fishing with their kids and grandchildren who live nearby. ‘I didn’t fish much on the trawler, because we didn’t want to get the teak messed up,’ he explains.
The single 300 HP Yanmar diesel brings the modified deep-V smoothly up on plane, and you can expect to cruise comfortably at 19-20 knots. The V-drive with its closed couple system provides a reliable, low-maintenance transmission that loses little torque, and it’s quiet enough to carry on a normal conversation whether you’re at the helm under the hard top or lounging on the comfy bench in the open cockpit. There’s a wide variety of other engine options as well.
Fuel Consumption, Albin 28 TE W/230 Turbo Marine Power
6.5 liter gm engine . best cruise seems to be at 2800 rpm/14.6 kts and just about 10 gph. at 2600rpm looks like 9.0 gph and 13.5 kts. generally somewhere between 1.5 and 1.6 nmi per gallon
does that seem about right to folks with similar rigs?
the engine has just about 900 hours and i’m thinking new injectors may improve performance somewhat. any inputs appreciated.
…yanmar 315 numbers with the same boat :
900 5.3 kts 6.1mph 20 0.8gph 5 6.63 mpg 7.63 787 0.0 74
1200 6.2 kts 7.1mph 24 1.3gph 8 4.75mpg 5.46 564 0.0 81
1500 7.2 kts 8.3mph 27 1.8 gph 12 4.01mpg 4.61 476 1.0 79
1800 8.3 kts 9.6mph 32 2.8gph 18 2.98mpg 3.43 354 3.0 83
2100 10.1kts 11.6 mph 38 4.2gph 27 2.40 mpg 2.76 285 4.5 84
2400 13.1kts 15.1 mph 50 5.9gph 38 2.22 2.56mpg 264 5.0 87
2700 16.8kts 19.3 mph 64 8.0 gph 52 2.1 2.41 249 5.0 89
3000 19.9kts 22.9mph 76 9.9 gph 64 2.01mpg 2.31 239 5.0 91
3300 22.9 26.3 87 12.1 78 1.89 2.17 224 5.0 92
3600 24.9 28.7 95 14.2 92 1.76 2.02 209 4.0 92
3800 26.2 30.2 100 15.5 100 1.69 1.95 201 4.0 92
Advertised fuel capacity 132 gal. Range based on 90 percent of that figure.
Performance measured with three persons aboard, full fuel, full water.
Sound levels taken at helm, in dB-A
Albin 28 Tournament Express: Used Boat Review
This Maryland couple has found the perfect boat in their 28 footer.
14th December 2010.
By Steve Knauth
All of our passions have a starting point. There’s that first time at a baseball stadium, the first time on skis, the first time flying. They’re all portals that open up a lifetime’s interest and participation.
And so it is with boats and boating. For John Collins, 54, a Baltimore computer networking consultant, his passion came early and from unusual beginnings. “I guess it ould be romantic to say I’m the son of a son of a sailor, but nothing could be further from the truth,” says Collins. “My family was not into boating at all. My dad rented a boat once and dropped the outboard motor overboard. That was it for him.”
Not for his son. “When I was 12, I spent a few weeks on a lake in Maine with a friend,” says Collins. “We had a 12-foot aluminum boat with an 8-hp outboard. I spent every possible minute cruising on that lake. We tied an old door to the back of it and that was my first introduction to boating and skiing.”
The Albin 28 Tournament Express is a single-engine overnighter.
Forty-two years later, the passion is still there. Only the boats have changed. There was a 21-foot overnighter, a 17-foot runabout, a 27-foot aft-cabin cruiser and a fleet of small boats. But of all the boats Collins has owned, the one he and his wife, Sharon, share today comes closest to perfection. “This is the first boat I’ve owned that I am completely happy with,” Collins says. “Size, performance, accommodations, seaworthiness and fun is what I wanted. I’ve found it.”
Collins’ boat is a 1995 Albin 28 Tournament Express, a single-engine overnighter with full accommodations below and a roomy cockpit and helm area. The price was $78,000, and they took delivery in 2005. After looking over several other boats, they spied an Albin at a local marina. “My wife said, ‘Now that’s a real boat,’ ” says Collins.
The couple researched the builder and liked what they found. “Words that stuck in my mind were seaworthy, stable and reliable — all of the things I was looking for,” says Collins. Still, it was a complete departure from the boat he’d imagined buying. It had a single engine instead of twins, no bridge deck and a “smallish” cabin. “But it has a large cockpit with plenty of room for friends, dogs and fishing,” he says. “Whether we are cruising, on the hook or at a raft-up, we spend most of our time on deck. That’s where we wanted the space.”
Seakindliness was another major consideration. The couple was tired of getting beat up every time Chesapeake Bay got a little rough. “This boat will handle much more than I am willing to take on,” he says. “Last year we ran from Thomas Point light to the Gunpowder [River] in a 4- to 5-foot chop. My last boat would have been pounding and lurching all over the place. The Albin just powered through and shook if off. The worse it got, the more confidence I had in this boat.”
The Albin sleeps two in comfort (four in all) and is equipped with a stove, refrigerator, microwave, television and a “good size” head. Power comes from a 310-hp Peninsular diesel. Top end is around 25 knots, and it cruises at 18 to 20 knots, says Collins. Average fuel consumption is 4 or 5 gallons per hour.
Overall, the boat was in good shape. The hull was badly oxidized, but the cabin, helm area, cockpit, bilge and engine compartment were in perfect condition. With little work to do, the first season was spent learning how to handle a single-screw boat. The second year was spent having fun. Last year Collins upgraded the electronics and replaced the canvas and coaming pads.
Now that they’re settled in, the Collinses are looking ahead. They’re planning extensive cruises on the Bay and a voyage to Ocean City, Md., via the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. The couple’s “someday cruise” will be a trip on the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida. More often than not, they’ll be close to home.
Sharon and John Collins
“We’ll be out a couple afternoons during the week and just about every weekend,” says Collins. Favorite destinations include Rock Hall, Great Oaks Landing, Still Pond, Middle River and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Collins is so enthused about his boat that he started the Albin Owners Group, which now counts about 400 registered users. A Chesapeake Rendezvous is planned, along with similar events in Boston and the Pacific Northwest. “We encourage all Albin owners and potential owners to join the group,” says Collins. And share the passion.
The Albin 28 Tournament Express is one of the longtime builder’s most successful designs, with more than 1,000 sold since its 1993 debut. Noted for its solid construction and seakindly handling qualities, it is popular as both a family cruiser and a fishing boat. (Albin stopped building boats last fall.)
The hull is a modified-vee, with a skeg-protected rudder and a reputation for straight tracking. The bow is tall, and freeboard extends well aft below an even sheer. The coach roof with handrails is surrounded by walkable side decks and a slight bulwark forward. A hardtop version features a swept-back wheelhouse with good visibility through a triple-pane windshield and large, opening side windows. The helm station with pedestal seat is to starboard, with a companion seat to port. The cockpit is large and open, with room for fishing or entertaining. Engine access for the standard 315-hpdiesel is through deck hatches; an engine box is required for larger power plants.
The interior is compact and complete. There’s a large berth forward that converts to a spacious C-shaped dinette. The galley — with sink, stove, refrigerator and storage— is to port. There’s a head compartment to starboard, with a marine head and shower. Additional touches include a handy quarter berth and a teak and holly cabin sole.
The Albin 28 Tournament Express is a popular boat on the used market. Prices run from around $50,000 for older models to around $100,000 for more recent boats. A 1993 boat with a hardtop was for sale in Florida for$49,000, “ready to go” with a 220-hp diesel. In Alabama, a 1996 model “in very good shape” and with a low-hour300-hp diesel was listed for $72,000. The freshwater boat came with full electronics, a new transmission and a swim platform with dinghy davits. A California boat, vintage 2001, was selling for $109,000, with a 300-hp diesel. The fire-damaged vessel had been completely refurbished, with electronics and all other systems upgraded. A “well-maintained” 28 Tournament Express in Virginia, with a low-hour 300-hp diesel, was selling for $115,000.
Steve Knauth is a contributing writer for Soundings Magazine. This article originally appeared in the July 2008 issue