410 — By George L. Petrie — February 2001
|Part 2: Albemarle 410 continued|
According to Blount, one of the most important factors in planing hull design is "bottom loading," that is, how many pounds of lift must be developed per square foot of bottom area. A hull that is too lightly loaded (too much bottom area in relation to weight) will not be a good sea boat. Conversely, a bottom that is too heavily loaded will be a sluggish performer.
Equally important factors are the longitudinal distribution of chine beam (the beam at the chines) and deadrise angle. In Blount's opinion, the faster a hull is designed to run, the more its chine beam should pinch in at the stern. Deadrise angle, particularly transom deadrise, is an important determinant of running trim. Generally, flattening at the transom will produce a lower running trim, while increasing deadrise gives a softer ride at higher speeds. Optimizing these and other design parameters for the Albemarle 410, Blount chose a transom beam that is 90 percent of the maximum chine beam, with a deadrise of 15 degrees at the transom increasing to 22.6 degrees amidships.
To see how the new hull runs, we put the first Albemarle 410 through her paces during a dreary, rainy morning on what would otherwise have been a picturesque Albemarle Sound. First off, the hull is well balanced fore and aft. Even though trim tabs are standard, we never felt a need to use them. Running trim was moderate throughout the speed range, with little bow rise. Even while we were coming onto plane, there was no loss of forward visibility from the helm. About the only need for trim tabs might be to reduce the heel that could result from a beam wind hitting the full tuna tower.
Despite the rainy weather, winds were light, producing just a one- to two-foot wave height. Nonetheless, it was a nasty chop, the kind that can jar your fillings loose at 40 mph. But at full throttle, on any heading, the Albemarle 410 just sliced the slop like a hot knife through butter. She's stable as a rock even in a tight turn, wide open, with a full tower up in the breeze.
Steering was a little slow, but Harrell explained that the high-aspect-ratio rudders designed for the yacht were being reworked in the shop, and our test boat had been temporarily fitted with spade rudders that were admittedly undersize.
Although the 410 is a big step up in size for Albemarle, the level of comfort and accommodation have kept pace and then some, offering features like Corian countertops, Amtico flooring, and top-notch fit and finish in high-gloss teak joinery; for example, above the settee in the saloon is a spacious, handsome fold-down cabinet for rod stowage.
Nice as the interior is, Albemarle is mocking up refinements. Shelving on each side of the bow stateroom will be repositioned, allowing access to both sides of the centerline berth, and the cedar-lined hanging locker will be relocated to the transverse bulkhead, offering full floor-to-ceiling stowage. In the saloon the settee may be offered as a convertible berth, with a fold-down berth integrated into the rod stowage cabinet above it.
In designing the 410 Albemarle met with several dealers and sales managers to determine just what features their customers were looking for. Production, warranty, and QA reps were then brought in to make sure the design concepts were sound. The result of this collaboration is a well-laid-out bridge and cockpit arrangement, loaded with appealing features.
The bridge deck offers a pod-style centerline helm station with a single helm seat, flanked by twin settees that are curved rather than L-shape for greater seating comfort. From there it's just two steps down to a spacious fishing cockpit equipped with a gated transom door, a five-foot transom fishbox, another large fishbox beneath the sole, four flush-mounted rod holders, and large self-bailing scuppers. Offering a sink, livewell, and icebox, with space for an optional freezer and/or icemaker, the tackle and bait-prep center can be customized to suit each owner's requirements.
Regardless of what you require of your boat's cockpit, one thing you and every other boater will appreciate is how, at the touch of a button, the entire bridge deck can be raised hydraulically to gain access to the engine space. There's plenty of room to maneuver around both sides of the standard twin Caterpillar 3196 diesels and to get at the auxiliary systems for repair work. But for routine maintenance and fluid checks, a small hatch in the bridge deck would be a welcome addition, and it's an item on Albemarle's to-do list.
Albemarle faced a major challenge in commissioning the first 410, especially since it had to design a complete new production facility in which to build her. Great performance, first-rate accommodations, and hard-core functionality prove that Albemarle has succeeded in meeting that challenge. The 410 Express Fisherman should give this Carolinian builder the critical mass to pursue even greater opportunities in the future.
Albemarle Boats (252) 482-7600. Fax: (252) 482-8289.
L. Petrie is a professor of naval architecture at the University of New
Orleans and provides maritime consulting services. His Web site is www.maritimeanalysis.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.