Albin 40 North Sea Cutter — By Capt. Bill Pike
— November 2005
Rarin’ to Go
Good performance and a great price will attract a lot of mid-range buyers to this Chinese-built 40-footer.
What a gorgeous, New England day it was and what a pretty blue-hulled, China-built 40-footer docked there behind Eastern Yacht Sales, Albin Marine’s dealership in Hingham, Massachusetts. For a moment I stopped to study her profile from afar—boxy perhaps, particularly minus the bimini top most owners will opt for, but muscularly built and undeniably salty-looking. Thick, welded-stainless steel rails and solid lifelines gleamed in the sun.
“Ahoy there,” grinned Eastern’s Michael Brockman, a leprechaun-like fellow who stepped through the doorway on the port side and headed aft. “I hope you’re not lookin’ for wicked sea conditions today—we’re fresh out.”
“No problem,” I replied. Bad weather’s the cat’s meow for heroic, high-seas wringouts, but I’ve had my fill of heroics over the years. Flat calm’s good for the soul sometimes, especially when you’re in the mood to just kick back, sip a cold Poland Spring, and cruuuuuise.
Shortly after Brockman had given me a hand up, I made a quick circuit of the 40’s weather deck and formed two impressions. First, initial transverse stability was excellent, a virtue I’d attribute to a semidisplacement hull form with wide chine flats and plenty of heft (dry weight: 25,000 pounds) as well as a deep, trawlerish draft of four feet. Hoofing it from one side of the boat to the other produced little heel; the 40 simply held steady, as immovable as a parking lot. And second, whether it was the beefy, solidly latched hatch on the anchor locker, the solid thunk of the deck underfoot, or the heavy, molded-fiberglass sliding doors on either side of the superstructure, every detail of construction seemed to say just one thing: Here was a hearty, thick-skinned fireplug of a boat, up for dang near anything.
I cranked the mains at the lower station. Once our 370-hp Yanmars had already chortled a few minutes by way of a warm-up, I went topside to the flying bridge, clutched both engines in and out of gear to make sure all was mechanically well (the split-type Morse mechanical engine controls were extremely stiff but workable nevertheless), and then asked Brockman to toss off our lines. As he jumped aboard, I eased the test boat out of her slip and headed toward Hingham Bay.
The 40’s a practical boat. Visibility, whether I was seated or standing, was excellent all the way around, the helm chair was cushy, the instrumentation easy to keep tabs on, and the ambiance on the bridge was generally serene and peaceful...for a while. Then, quite quickly, Brockman and I were involuntarily thrust into an impromptu little seafaring drama (see “Flying Bridge Fever”) that brought us limping back to the dock at idle speed with oil-pressure and water-temperature gauges dangerously pegged.
We rectified the issue immediately, at least for a couple of middle-agers. In fact, once I’d backed the 40 into her slip with an effortlessness due mostly to the boat’s big props and torquey Yanmars, just a minute or two of downtime was all we needed to send us safely back to Hingham Bay. Top speed out there was rousing: 26.6 mph with the flaps up, the hammer down, and plenty of fuel and water onboard. And handling was sprightly, with sharp, inboard-leaning turns, thanks to a savvily positioned longitudinal center of gravity and some smooth Teleflex Sea-Star steering hydraulics.
This article originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.