An ideal dual-console boat for Chesapeake and coastal family fun and fishing.
The first assignment for a true family boat is to give exciting but safe and comfortable boat rides. Anybody who has hosted a group on a busy summer weekend around Hampton Roads, Deltaville, or Annapolis can attest that the confused seas of those high-traffic areas can make a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon ride a jarring experience. But not if the family boat is Albemarle’s 27 DC (dual console). True to her Carolina Classic roots, (The venerable Albemarle and Carolina Classic boat companies merged in 2015) her 24-degree deep-V hull runs bow-proud to cleave the chop, while her classic Carolina-style flare, sharp strakes, and reverse chines keep spray out to the sides. Yes, this company’s hulls are known for their blue-water fishing prowess, but that seaworthiness produces plenty of benefits for family and guests throughout the Chesapeake as well.
The 27DC’s layout is certainly family-friendly. That compound adjective generally describes plenty of secure seating, shade from summer sun, at least one readily accessible cooler for food and beverages, a work surface for making sandwiches, a freshwater sink, a comfortable head compartment laid out for grown people, a swim platform with ladder, storage for water toys, and maybe a cushioned space for naps.
This well-designed, open bow area is a great place for young boaters to ride with the wind in their hair under the watchful eyes of the skipper and first mate. The 27DC checks all of those boxes.
The deep bow cockpit is secure, with a seat cushion, bolster, and recessed handrail on each side. It also offers side pockets for sunblock and sunglasses, drink holders, and cushions against the port and starboard consoles that convert the seats to forward-facing lounges for two. It simply invites engagement and relaxation. It’s a place where kids of all ages will want to hang out.
Meanwhile, the portside companion seat behind the windshield is wide enough for two, with an aft-facing seat behind, on top of the primary, 64-quart food/beverage cooler. There are also twin, cushioned, fold-down seats in the port quarter of the cockpit and against the transom to complete the seating for four guests.
The cockpit is wide enough to offer easy movement with a transom door to starboard leading to a full-width Armstrong bracket that mounts twin Yamaha F200s and serves as a swim platform with a shower wand connected to the boat’s 23-gallon freshwater tank. The starboard side of the cockpit holds a molded cabinet with freshwater sink and storage or tackle drawers. The sturdy hardtop is optional, but we can’t see ordering the boat without it. It complements the large, three-sided windshield perfectly, adding stout handholds and mounts for zip-on weather curtains that can button up the helm area completely, making the 27DC a legitimate three-season boat in the Chesapeake. And, by the way, its aft edge can mount a pylon for tow sports.
A look at the helm brings us back to Albemarle’s fishing heritage. It’s all business, with space for a pair of flush-mounted twelve-inch GPS/fish-finder displays, a digital engine and fuel management display, a VHF, a stereo, trim tab and electrical breaker switches, a flush-mounted compass, a stainless-steel steering wheel with knob, a footrest, and a skipper’s chair with a flip-up bolster. Between the consoles, a hinged windshield panel and a folding door can shut out gnarly weather for long runs. The self-bailing cockpit is molded with large scuppers. A sea-water pump allows a hose-it-out washdown at day’s end. The lockable, starboard console holds racks for four rods, with holders for four more in the legs of the hardtop and four in the cockpit gunwales. Overall, the layout provides plenty of space for casting to breaking fish, jigging, and bottom-fishing from the forward and aft cockpits, and the hardtop offers mounts to pull planer boards while trolling. For the latter technique, the aft-facing, port cockpit seat makes a perfect mezzanine for watching the lines. The cockpit sole holds a large, insulated fishbox with a macerator pump-out system, and a lazarette hatch with a bracket for a five-gallon bucket and easy access to plumbing, wiring, and pumps. The transom holds a lighted livewell with “calming blue” gelcoat and see-through lids.
Per standard Albemarle procedure, the all-composite construction is stout, with rugged and well-organized systems and painstaking quality control, which includes a factory sea trial for each vessel.
Underway, the boat simply feels solid, inspiring confidence. Our test boat featured a pair of Yamaha’s durable four-cylinder F200s, which provided plenty of performance, balanced the hull well, and offered good fuel efficiency for a boat this size. We saw the best cruising speeds in the 25- to 30-knot range at 4,000 to 4,500 rpm, with fuel burns of 14- to 18-gallons-per-hour and conservative range well over 250 miles. Top speed exceeds 40 knots. A pair of 250-hp Yamaha V-6s is optional but probably overkill, in our opinion.
One other note: Albemarle now offers a 31DC, which presents an interesting contrast with the 27DC here on the Chesapeake. While it is only four feet longer and certainly more substantial, it is half-again as heavy, with optional air conditioning, generator, and a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer, but requiring twin 300- or 350-hp engines at twice the cost and complexity. It also is not as nimble for tow-sports and gunkholing. It’s probably a better boat for overnights and extended cruising. Meanwhile, the 27DC covers everything from summer evening boatrides to fall-season jigging at the mouth of the Potomac and wreck fishing off the Virginia Capes. It’s what we call a “big little boat,” an overachiever that punches above its weight.
Base price for the 27 Dual Console with twin Yamaha F200s and a hardtop is $194,800.