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BOAT TEST: 2008 Albemarle 290XF - page 3 / 7

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2008 Albemarle 290XF

We ultimately boated the rambunctious little sail (a 60-pounder by onboard estimate), took a few pictures, and promptly released him. Then we tangled with a couple more catch-and-release sails, one slightly larger than our first, and another grandiose tail-walker we all pegged at about 80 pounds before he pulled the hook. Moreover, we caught some sharks and a fair-size dolphin.

As if our test boat hadn't already shown her stuff and then some, she made the trip back to Lake Worth Inlet in full battlewagon style, despite the six- to eight-footers whopping her starboard quarter all the way. Tracking was straight, with little yaw to contend with, most likely due to a nose-up running attitude at two-thirds throttle and the focused thrust tunnels engender. The ride was bone-dry, even when bottoming out in troughs, thanks to the Carolina flare that Albemarle touts. And the heft of the vessel was apparent every time we split the back of a roller.

This last point's important. Albemarle bills the 290 as an entry-level offshore sportfisherman, albeit a serious one with a serious price tag. So we're talkin' a full-up weight of approximately 15,000 pounds—that's with full fuel and water tanks, a topped-off livewell, and a few folks onboard. Such a number blows past the full-up weight of a 30-foot mainstream cruiser by a couple of tons, at least.

Where do the extra pounds come from? Albemarle's Scott Wildermuth drew the 290 and spearheaded her development in accordance with an old-school aphorism: "The more glass, the better." Consequently, he specified a gutsy, 916-inch-thick, solid-glass bottom skinned with both a vinylester barrier layer and a layer of premium Armorcote gelcoat from Cook Composites & Polymers. In addition, he specified Divinycell foam-cored hull sides that

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BOAT SPEED GRAPH

A Yanmar powerplant boosts the Albemarle 290 smoothly out of the hole. Note that top speed is achieved in just under 20 seconds—comparatively fast given the vessel's beefy weight.

GEAR ONBOARD

Edson Wheel: Our test boat had an Edson Marine investment-cast 316 stainless steel wheel that featured a tactile elastomeric material on its underside is called Santoprene. The point? The

4/28/08 12:33 PM

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