There are about 15 brands today building express fishboats in the 35 to 38 foot range. We break these builders down into three groups: 1)“big boat offshore” builders which have a 36 as their smallest boat, 2) “center console” builders who have a 36 express as their biggest boat, and 3) “express fishboat only” builders. Albemarle is one of three companies whose single mission in life is specializing exclusively in this fishy express niche. Life is tough for these three builders because they do not have a large customer base feeding them as the center console builders do with their trade-up owners, or even the big boat companies do with their trade-down owners. So the three companies who have survived building only express fishboats must have a lot going for them.
|Length Overall||36' 0'' / 10.97 m|
Currently no test numbers
2 x 540-hp Cummins QSC Diesel
2 x 575-hp Caterpillar C9 Diesel
2 x 715-hp Cummins QSM Diesel
2 x 710-hp Caterpillar C12 Diesel
The Albemarle 360XF doesn’t play games. It’s a purpose-built express fishboat designed and constructed Carolina-tough to go wherever the fish are. Its accommodations remind us of boats we fished on in the, ahem...1960s, that were functional below and that was about it. If you’re entertaining and partying below, you aren’t fishing and this boat is not for you.
Everyone knows the boat doesn’t raise the fish; the fisherman does. But suffice to say, it advances the cause to have a platform purpose-built for the mission. The Albemarle 360XF, introduced in 2006, is built for little else. Not that you couldn’t get comfortable in its interior, but if family cruising is what you plan to do, there are many other makes and models better suited for that mission. This sweet baby is made to go fishing.
To some folks trading down, 36 feet might seem a bit puny to run offshore, but the 360XF’s hull with its Carolina-style configuration with pronounced bow flare and stepped sheerline appears ready to take on the worst of the worst and stay relatively dry in the process. Its 16 degrees of transom deadrise and 23-degree deadrise amidships suggest a boat that will cut through the rough stuff, but be stable at trolling speeds and be flat enough aft to let her scoot. The tall, padded cockpit coaming is a welcome feature.
The Meat Market
This rendering shows the way, the truth and the light of the 360XF. The business department features two substantial fish boxes, a generous bait prep station and a 25-gallon livewell. The centerline helm ensures no voids in visibility. At 78 square feet, the cockpit has plenty of room to accommodate a fighting chair, and double hook-up should be no problem. Back at the marina there is plenty of room to entertain your friends and tell them about the fish they could have gotten. The seating around the helm adds to the 360’s sociability quotient.
Belowdecks, the 360XF is a comfortable place to hang out when the weather is nasty or fish tales need telling. With an enclosed head with separate shower, a full galley and what might pass for a dinette, the boat would hold its own for a weekend afloat. But again; that’s not why you’d buy one of these.
Standard power is a pair of Cat C-9s with either 510 or 575-hp. The big ones will propel the boat into the high 30s. The company cites the 360XF’s range as between 374 and 407 nautical miles depending on how big a hurry you’re in.
We have not tested this model, but we have tested four other Albemarles from 24’ to 30’ and we suggest you take a look at the videos there to get a feel for our captains’ take on the smaller boats.
Several years ago the Brunswick Corp. bought Albemarle and made it part of its Hatteras Collection, which included Cabo, and of course Hatteras. Last spring Brunswick sold the company to a large Columbia, North Carolina boat dealer and businessman. Scott McLaughlin who owns Cypress Cove Marina and now owns Albemarle.
Through all of this buying and selling, thankfully, the management team, the factory, and the boat builders themselves, have all stayed the same, and only the owner has changed. This means that the company has had seamless continuity.
If you are in the market for an express fishboat, you owe it to yourself to check out the Albemarle 360XF.
See BoatTEST’s tests of other Albemarles --
Visit Albemarle’s website --