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BOAT TEST: 2008 Albemarle 290XF - page 4 / 7

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2008 Albemarle 290XF

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are approximately one inch thick, a deck sandwiched with the same coring material that's 114 inches thick, and stringers and transversals composed of two thicknesses of lifetime-guaranteed, 34-inch XL marine ply, glass-encapsulated. Add to this prodigious melange a shoebox-type hull-to-deck joint secured with stainless steel bolts on six-inch centers and heavily bonded with fiberglass, and it's no wonder the 29 tips the scales with such gusto.

rubber-like coating improves traction and reduces the fatigue a helmsman can experience while driving with (and squeezing) a hard, unforgiving, solid stainless steel wheel. Moreover, the Santoprene reportedly makes driving during cold weather way more comfy. How does Edson get the stuff to stay within the confines of the slot cut into the underside of the wheel? Proprietary information, says the company.—B.P.

We did a second sea trial several days later in Miami because immediately after returning from offshore, I noticed that the top-end speeds we were getting in Lake Worth seemed low and our engines were turning almost 300 rpm below Yanmar's full-throttle spec. Moreover, the boat maneuvered sluggishly while I backed her into her slip at Sailfish Marina in Palm Beach. The problem? "Bottom needs cleanin'," Haigler and Brandon agreed.

The test data from the second trial in flat-calm water turned out more realistically. Our Yanmars spun an appropriate rpm, thanks to a freshly pressure-washed running surface, the average top speed of 34.3 mph was cool, over-the-bow visibility from the lofty Pompanette helm chair was fine despite the equally lofty running attitudes coming out of the hole, and dockside maneuvering was quick and agile. "Now that's more like it," I concluded.

This lovely outcome was gratifying on three counts. First, I'd already gotten down with the 290's oomph and stoutness by this stage of the game, despite the disappointing initial performance results. Indeed, my offshore experiences onboard had engendered one telling observation: Of all the several boats plying the cold coastal Atlantic the morning I snagged all the dang fish, ours was by far the smallest.

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4/28/08 12:33 PM

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