Albemarle 27 DC
The classic boat builder makes a strategic move with the Albemarle 27 DC.
Conventional marketing wisdom has often espoused the idea of “do what you know” and you’ll succeed. It was an idea popularized in the 1980s with the publishing of the book In Search of Excellence that quickly became a business bible of sorts. With changing tastes and business models, however, more companies are choosing another tack, one that says “diversify and sustain the brand.”
This is the path taken by Albemarle Sportfishing Boats as they roll out their first dual console express cruiser, the Albemarle 27 DC. Focused on family fun, the new model embraces the multi-tool approach and delivers a boat that, in addition to fishing, aptly handles waterskiing, diving, cruising, and happy hour entertaining.
With hand-laid, solid fiberglass construction, the deep-V hull has wide inverted chines and a 24-degree deadrise. A heavy-duty vinyl rub rail with a stainless-steel insert ensures those docking mishaps won’t result in expensive damage, and the encapsulated fiberglass stringer system adds strength and rigidity. Like her Albemarle siblings, the 27 DC is built for a fast, soft, dry ride on open water. But unlike her sisters, the 27 DC is configured to do double and triple duty while she’s out.
More is Mighty
The differences start right at the helm. The single-seat with a bolster allows the driver to sit or stand and because the windshield is raised, visibility forward is quite good either way. The compass sits at eye level so it’s easy to take bearings, and a molded footrest keeps the driver comfortable. (There’s one at the companion seat as well.) The dash is well equipped with twin Garmin multifunction displays and a Fusion stereo head. On the shelf below, you’ll find a cup holder and two arrays of rocker switches.
Beneath that is the Yamaha Command Link engine display to the left of the wheel, with the engine controls outboard to the right. The 27 DC is powered by twin Yamaha F200 4-stroke, 200-hp outboards. (A pair of 250-hp F250s is an option.) The top end with the base engines is about 41 knots, so the upgrade may not be necessary.
The features list on the Albemarle 27 DC is long and runs throughout the vessel. To port is companion seating for two tucked behind a console that hides an electric head and sink. This nicely finished area has a solid-surface counter, a medicine cabinet and a mirror. Unlike many heads shoehorned into consoles, this is actually quite a usable space that women and kids will appreciate.
The Albemarle 27 DC carries 23 gallons of water and since there are a freshwater cockpit shower and a berth hidden behind the helm console, one or two people could conceivably weekend on this versatile model with all the necessities. If that sounds too much like camping for you, the cavernous cabin space also makes a great place to stash wakeboards and water skis. Plus, there is lockable storage for up to 24 eight-foot fishing rods. That’s not too shabby for 27’4″ LOA!
A little bit of everything
With a nearly nine-foot beam, the Albemarle 27 DC offers a 58-square-foot cockpit that has some tricks up its sleeve, including two double foldaway seats—one to port and one at the transom. This means you can host a harbor cocktail cruise for eight or more, or fold the seats away when it’s time to fish.
A 60-gallon insulated deck box can be used for storage or to hold your catch and has a macerator pump-out system. The insulated multi-purpose transom box is also plumbed as an 18-gallon livewell that is painted a calming blue to keep the bait fresh. A 64-quart cooler is beneath the aft-facing seat to port to keep happy hour snacks cold, and there are cup holders and USB ports throughout to keep everyone’s iPads and smartphones charged.
There is additional rod storage below the starboard gunwale and a raw water wash-down to get any blood and fish guts out of the self-bailing cockpit. A convenient transom door leads to the integrated swim platform and ladder. It’s a nice way to get in and out of the water or dinghy since you can walk the width of the boat at water level and never have to tangle with the engines.
Albemarle offers an optional hardtop with side curtains to keep you dry and comfortable when the weather changes. Cockpit and bow sunshades are also available. Speaking of the bow, there’s plenty of seating there as well. Both port and starboard sides have extended lounge seats with angled backrests that will be favorite places to relax.
High and Dry
Insulated dry storage is under the port bench seat and stainless steel handrails are on both sides. An integrated anchor locker holds the electric windlass with a through-stem anchor roller so a muddy anchor never has to mar the deck. With the anchor locker closed, this bow platform is just large enough for one person to stand on and cast from, and since the Albemarle has pop-up cleats, there won’t be anything on which to snag your line.
The walk-through has been offset to port so both the tempered glass windshield and the composite bow door can be open when running and the wind is funneled away from the helmsman. Indirect lighting throughout creates a soft glow for perfect evening ambiance.
All the wiring is color-coded, electronics are prewired, the whole electrical system is bonded, and LED lights are used throughout to keep the power requirements to a minimum. All the thru-bolted deck hardware is stainless and of good quality. The 190-gallon aluminum fuel tank has a cold tar epoxy coating, and hoses below the waterline have double stainless steel clamps. Seacocks below the waterline are bronze and thru-hull fittings above are stainless steel.
Attention to detail
These kinds of details show Albemarle’s dedication to quality and how they value the needs of their customers. Because this new model is a departure for the builder, it must meet many expectations and may possibly become a harbinger of the future for the brand.
Albemarle Sportfishing Boats joined with Carolina Classics in 2015 and together the companies have built more than 3,600 hulls from 25 to 41 feet. The North Carolina builder is family owned and says that customer feedback created the 27 DC along with market trends. Sure, there will be those who can’t wrap their heads around an Albemarle bowrider, but it’s a good bet there will be more who will rejoice that their favorite fishing machine is now a family-friendly boating SUV.
By Zuzana Prochazka, Southern Boating January 2019
LOA: 27′ 4″
Beam: 8′ 8″
Draft (engines down): 2’7″
Dry Weight: 8,000 lbs.
Fuel/Water: 190/23 gal.
Power: 2x Yamaha 200/250-hp outboards
Cruise/Top Speed: 26/41 knots
Range (at cruise): 260 nm
140 Midway Drive
Edenton, NC 27932