John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Albemarle 330 xf
JUNE 2007
 
   
Length overall  33'
Beam  13'6"
Draft  4'
Displacement  19,500 lb
Fuel Capacity  450 gals
Base Price  $329,995

On opening day of the Miami Boat Show I watched the new Albemarle 330 XF (Express Fisherman) motor down the fairway, its twin six-cylinder diesels purring like a kitten. As she backed into her slip, I zeroed in on her lines. Plenty of flare forward and characteristic reverse sheer gave her away as a Carolina-built sport fisherman.

My hosts for this test ride were Burch Perry, Vice President  and GM of Albemarle Boats, and Justin Williams, a delivery/sportfishing captain and Albemarle dealer. Albemarle enjoys a reputation for quality. J. Scott Harrel, who founded the Edenton, N.C. company in 1978, wanted to build the strongest fishing boats possible. Today, Albemarle is owned and operated by the Brunswick Corporation, as quality minded as the company's founder.

With three new models in three years, the Albemarle design team has been busy. The last two, the 360 XF and the 330 XF, represent a significant change in philosophy. "We always thought offshore boats had to be narrow to offer a good ride," explained Perry, but this boat's 13-foot beam and almost 80 square feet of cockpit belies conventional wisdom.

Once aboard, I could immediately see that the 330 lives up to the Albemarle reputation for quality. All its lockers and hatches have a smooth gelcoat finish inside and out and are fitted throughout with heavy duty stainless hardware. A 56-gallon fish box is built into the transom. A tuna door is to starboard. Beneath the deck and aft there is an additional 57-gallon in-deck fish box. On the forward end of the cockpit, there is a tackle/bait prep station to starboard and a 25-gallon livewell/cooler to port. Moving forward and up one step and inside the isinglass enclosure is the bridge deck. The amount of room makes you think you are aboard a larger boat. A settee lines the port side. To starboard, an L-shaped settee allows guests to face forward or inboard for conversation. Captain chairs sit forward of the settees. Our test boat was equipped with optional air-conditioning for the bridge deck area.

Below, the interior has a teak-and-holly sole and teak joinery. There is an innerspring V-berth forward, facing an LCD TV. An L-shaped settee is to port; to starboard is the galley (stainless under-counter refrigerator, microwave, Corian countertops and sink). Aft of the galley is the head and shower.

Underway the Albemarle gave us a smooth ride. Our test boat was equipped with twin Cummins QSB 425-hp diesels. At 2800 rpm we made 28.7 knots and were burning 36 gallons per hour with both engines. As we barreled through chop, I could feel both the seakeeping characteristics and sturdiness of the boat. "This boat will not pound," said Justin, who has spent enough time on them to know. The 330 XF is a sturdy offshore boat with first-rate dockside creature comforts. Serious fishermen will want to check it out.