Albin 28 boat review
MAY 2001
Length overall  29'11"
Beam 10"
Draft  3'2"
Displacement  7,500 lb
Fuel Capacity  132 gals
Water Capacity  36 gals

(Above) New owner Bill Bass of Annapolis mans the helm with its revised dash layout and custom mahogany wheel. (Below) The galley is compact and neatly designed for functional meal preparation whether under weigh on an afternoon jaunt of off on a weekend cruise.

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 You'll also note that Albin's standard, practical, tubular radar arch athwart the hard top has been replaced by a rather yachty-looking, slightly raked mast.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 a
sailboat, 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.