I was sitting at a bar recently talking to a friend who is an obsessive fisherman. He’s shopping for a new boat and trying to make the perfect decision. He’s been sea-trialing boats, weighing pros and cons. He likes the ride of one, the layout of another, yet he favors the fit and finish of third boat. He’s shopping production fiberglass boats. With my experience in both fiberglass and aluminum, I had to give him a boat review.
I got my dream boat this summer – named Albatross. (We’ll get into “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” in another blog and why this isn’t a stupid name.) The advantages we have in creating our perfect boat rest with the fact that aluminum boats can be custom built in one-off designs. The cost of creating molds for cabin and deck components makes this approach prohibitively expensive in fiberglass boats. Angling Unlimited has also evolved this design over the course of 14 years and 10 boats. Albatross is a product of that evolution.
After running Albatross for a full season, my review is total thumbs up. The 330 hp Volvo D6 is quiet, smoke-free, and efficient, generating a 25 knot cruising speed with a consumption of slightly under 10 gallons per hour. The ride is soft, the boat is stable at rest, and the performance in rough seas gives me great confidence at the helm. Like our other boats, Albatross has a full deck level walkaround so our anglers can spread out as well as follow hooked fish around the boat. The cabin has seating for 6 and heat for comfortable cruising.
Now, all of what I’ve described about Albatross holds true of our other boats. Angling Unlimited has upgraded our entire fleet to the fast, smooth D6 Volvos. The new evolutionary steps are relatively minor:
- The fish hold is a more manageable depth.
- She’s one foot longer providing just a wee bit more deck space.
- We left more of the boat unpainted which means lower maintenance and less repainting.
- She’s mine to drive. I spent 8 years at the helm of Ouzel, a great boat but the added space and power of Albatross provide a better customer experience and gave the skipper a new lease on life at the helm.