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September 21, 2007

Fish Caller

This steady platform Proves that it raises fish.


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Tower access is easy, even underway, and the instrument faces are analog dials for excellent readability, rain or shine.
BACKROOM DEAL: Managing wiring harnesses is easy. Access to the back of the instrument panel is at eye level behind a hinged door in the cabin.
ROOM WITH A CREW: Albemarle maximizes living space with a convertible sofa bed and stacked forward berths.
BALANCED POWER: The 360 seems impervious to poor handling skills (I tried), producing graceful turns and maneuvers at every power level.
DOOR IN THE FLOOR: The entire command deck rises for superb access to the engine room, but there's a convenient quick inspection hatch if the seas are too rough.
BRING IT: There's a tuna door for the big ones and enough fishbox space-more than 135 gallons of capacity in three boxes-to keep the home freezers full.
RUN SILENT: With no smoke and virtually no engine noise at troll, the Cats were never louder than 97 dB-A at full throttle, but they did the job beneath the surface and raised fish.

GOOD GRADE: Part of the SWS test crew hoists a sailfish.
Photo: Jim Daly

I've fished a few albemarle boats- from an early 24-foot sterndrive to this 360 Express Fisherman-in the waters from Charleston to Miami. The 360 is one of the most balanced sportfishermen of its size I've been aboard-from any builder. This boat shows its North Carolina heritage in every important detail from fishability to reliability.

Performance

Length 38' 6" Beam 13' 11"
Draft 4' Deadrise 16.5 ¿
Fuel 535 gals. Price $511,230
w/ twin 575-hp Caterpillar C9A diesels

A 36-footer doing 32 knots gets past a lot of traffic. The 360 that I tested-rigged with a tower and full curtains-did that, burning 52.8 gallons per hour at wide-open throttle with a crew of five onboard and full fuel. Throttling back to 2,100 rpm, the 360 burned 35 gallons per hour at 26.5 knots-an ideal cruising speed for trips to the Bahamas or the canyons.

How It Fished

Test Conditions
Miami, Florida
79 ¿
Winds: 4-6 knots Southeast
Seas: 2 feet
Target: Sailfish

Despite the 24-by-36 wheels, the 360 could slow down enough to keep the baits alive all morning. The 24-gallon live well helped keep them lively, too, while the bait-prep center is at the right height to work comfortably. We put dolphin in the box and released a large sailfish during our morning test near Fowey Light south of Miami's Government Cut. Albemarle Sportfishing Boats; (252) 482-7600; www.albemarleboats.com


MIDDLE MAN: The centerline helm keeps you in sight and in control of all the action as you work the electronic controls.