The Highs: Love that crash pump and brawny construction. Helm air conditioning vents in a 36' boat? Wow! The 9kW genset comes standard. The 535-gallon fuel capacity is significantly more than most competitors in this class.
The Lows: Livewell is small, has a standpipe, and sloshes while underway. Hook-and-loop and magnetic door catches won't cut it in heavy seas. Latch securing chest freezer is weak.
Toughest Competitor: Both Cabo's 35 and Bertram's 360 go for about $425,000 with the same number of horses in the stable. The Bertram is the only direct competitor to sport a fully enclosed stateroom, but neither boat matches the Albemarle's fuel capacity: The Bertram holds 406 gallons, the Cabo holds 400. All three of these boats have top-shelf fit and finish.
From the bass-ackwards files: The smaller a boat, the bigger the chance it'll take on water, yet the smaller a boat, the smaller the chance it's fitted with an engine-driven crash pump. Usually these high-volume water evacuators are reserved for boats in the 45' and up range. Stupid, eh? Evidently Albemarle thought so too. And when it designed its new 36' Express, a standard crash pump was included. You want a bigger safety margin? This boat delivers.
Albemarle's construction methods ensure that the chances you'll ever need to engage that crash pump are remote at best. All resins are vinylester, the hull is solid glass from the waterline down, and the structure is beefed up with XL pressure-treated no-rot ply core stringers. In the engine room the stringers are capped with aluminum plates laminated into the fiberglass.
Before you can even begin to appreciate the way this boat is built - and the correspondingly cushy ride in rough seas - you'll take notice of the forward stateroom. Yes, that's right: stateroom. Few 36' expresses claim to have a stateroom - the forward berth is usually separated from the rest of the cabin by a curtain, if at all. But this Albemarle has an honest-to-goodness door. If more crewmembers need to crash, the settee pulls out into a berth.
Now get the hell out of that cabin! Who cares about sleeping when there are fish to be caught? The transom killbox will hold a 150-pound tuna, and the integrated box in the deck, which is insulated and drained by a macerator pump, holds 57 gallons. Flip up the hatch to that box, and note the molded-in leaping marlin.
Like most Albemarles, this one has a cockpit that's born and bred for trolling. Check out the six rocket launchers on the top and two on each side, four gunwale holders, a tackle/rigging station with bait cooler that can be turned into a freezer ($4,996), and aluminum fighting chair reinforcement plate laminated into the deck. You'll be teasing that marlin in no time. Then the only backward thing you'll be doing is driving - while your angler cranks for all he's worth.
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Displacement (lbs., approx.): 25,000
Transom deadrise: 16.5°
Bridge clearance: 10'2"
Max. cabin headroom: 7'2"
Fuel capacity (gal.): 535
Water capacity (gal.): 95
Price (w/standard power): $375,999
Price (w/test power): $399,995
STANDARD POWER: Twin 500-bhp Caterpillar C9 diesel inboards.
OPTIONAL POWER: Twin diesel inboards to 1,134 bhp total.
TEST BOAT POWER: Twin 567-bhp Caterpillar C9 Acert in-line-6 diesel inboards with 538 cid, swinging 24" x 36" four-bladed Nibral props through 1.73:1 reductions. ****
STANDARD EQUIPMENT: (major items) Automatic fire extinguisher system; high water alarm; crash pump; hydraulic trim tabs; hydraulic steering; 10-gal. water heater; 9kW genset; battery charger; fresh/raw-water washdowns; transom and in-deck fishboxes; 24-gal. livewell; 4 gunwale-mounted rodholders; rigging/tackle stowage station; bait cooler; bow pulpit w/anchor roller; 3 windshield wipers; compass; vacuum-flush commode; 2-burner cooktop; microwave; refrigerator; a/c w/reverse-cycle heat; entertainment center w/TV/DVD/CD stereo.