When thinking of iconic boat brands, several may come to mind, but there are only a few that truly transcend generations and typify a specific culture and region like Carolina Classic and Albemarle have over the years. A pair of boat building forerunners hailing from Edenton, North Carolina, these brands have defined the true measure of reliable performance and quality in the express fishing boat segment. Recently the two companies’ resources have been pooled under the brilliant and passionate ownership of Murphy Alternative Investments and their teams are embarking on a new chapter.
Albemarle and Carolina Classic both started as small family businesses that saw great success nearly over-night thanks to their stalwart hull forms and superior ride—particularly in sporty Carolina sea conditions. Together, these two esteemed boat builders have delivered over 3,600 hulls and claim a strong dealer presence on four continents, while still being run by members of their founding families.
Marrying these two families so rich in history and heritage was not taken lightly— even the reworked logo was thought over long and hard to incorporate the most familiar elements of both brands into one new icon. Albemarle’s director of Sales and Marketing, Ted Haigler, describes a carefully considered process, “We cherrypicked from both company’s model lines. The result is seven models that represent the very best of what the two brands had grown to offer.” Poised to reawaken a segment that has been neglected and sorely lacking since the great recession, Albemarle seeks to “bridge the gap” for anglers graduating from center console fishing and starting to seek larger, drier and more comfortable express fishing platforms.
Albemarle’s entire model lineup features many advancements, including the implementation of several new construction technologies while still nurturing the tried and true hull forms that have made Albemarle and Carolina Classic world-renowned. Their larger express and convertible boats stay true to their roots with inboard diesel power, but their smaller express boats from 25’ to 29’ now feature reliable twin Yamaha outboard power. Acknowledging the small boat market’s shift to outboard power over the last decade hasn’t exactly been easy for two brands that built their reputation on what became the quintessential inboard design, as Haigler explains, “We still have customers that LOVE their inboards, but the changes really have been consumerdriven. The increased efficiency, speed and quietness of today’s four-stroke technology cannot be denied.”
The company is currently developing an all new model, a 29’ express, which they plan to debut during the 2016 Fall boat show season. But Haigler identifies one of their most popular existing models as best exemplifying the Albemarle mission. “The 36 express fisherman is so versatile and really has it all. Its comfort and fishability is excellent and we have a variety of tower, hardtop and enclosure options as well as standard propulsion or Volvo IPS pod propulsion. It is a super capable offshore machine that can also be comfortable for the family when you need it to be.”
Aside from specific model updates, Albemarle is committed to constantly improving their product and customer experience throughout all their boats. The team cites retooled seating for added comfort, as well as redesigned helm areas and battery capacity for today’s larger electronics. In addition to outboard power on the smaller models, they are providing options for white-painted Yamahas and matching powder coated hardtop frames. In the larger boats, systems are being modified to include underwater exhaust, which help to greatly reduce diesel noise and smoke. Also, starting with the 2017 model year, the company is making six new gelcoat hull color options available for all of their models.
…super capable offshore machine that can also be comfortable for the family…
Partners in Professionalism
To help bring marketing exposure and sales support to their refreshed vision, Albemarle’s management naturally turned to their long-term friends and allies at Bluewater Yacht Sales; now the brand’s exclusive dealers throughout the Mid- Atlantic from South Carolina to Maryland and all points between.
“We are excited to have such a quality sales company to partner with,” said Burch Perry, Albemarle General Manager. “Bluewater Yacht Sales has fostered many strong relationships throughout the Mid- Atlantic and their numerous locations and top-notch sales and service team, make them the premier choice to sell our boats and take care of our customers.” Haigler adds, “We’ve known Chris and Earle Hall a long time and have worked closely with Randy Ramsey and Jan Boone in past partnerships. Bluewater is a firstclass organization who has always carried premier brands, and we’re proud to be a part of that. With their service facilities in Hampton, Wanchese and Beaufort, we’re ensured that customers are always well taken care of. Bluewater’s sales locations are convenient and their sales staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Working with people like that makes our business so much easier.”
The Bluewater team is indeed excited to be part of this iconic brand’s past and future success. The families at the helm of Albemarle today have a commitment to innovation and quality to ensure that Albemarle sportfishing boats help you catch more fish and enjoy your time on the water. Likewise, the Bluewater family is committed to be there with expert advice and know-how throughout the sales process, as well as the service, maintenance and upkeep of your new Albemarle, The Carolina Classic.