Albin 36 Aft Cabin Trawler
By Jack Hornor
Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
The steadily growing popularity of trawler-styled yachts seems to attract new builders and models each year but Albin Marine, with more than 30 years experience building trawler yachts, is certainly no new kid on the block. Their 36 Aft Cabin model, produced from 1978 until 1994, offers used boat buyers sound construction, separate accommodations for two couples, excellent cruising range and some bargain prices for buyers willing to invest their own labor refurbishing an older model.
The Albin 36 was introduced in 1978 and quickly found a market of eager buyers who found the Grand Banks 36 out of their price range. Like her competitors, the 36's hull form is what is termed semi-displacement meaning that, given enough power, speeds above those typical of round-bilged, full displacement hulls can be achieved. With these designs, the intersection of the hull side and bottom meet at sharp angle forming a chine and there are deeply v-shaped sections forward gradually decreasing in angle until the bottom of the hull is quite flat at the transom. There is a keel that runs nearly the full length of the bottom.
Photo: New Style – Don Martin
Although the Albin 36 hull is fiberglass, plank seams have been molded into the hull sides to simulate traditional wood plank construction. Adding to the traditional appearance, there are teak companionway doors and hatches. All cabin windows are trimmed in teak as well as teak cap rails, handrails and teak overlaid decks. There is no denying that that this is a handsome boat, albeit at the cost keeping up with the maintenance of all the exterior woodwork.
The hull of the Albin 36 is a solid fiberglass laminate built in a method typical of similar Far Eastern-built boats of similar style. The fiberglass lay-up of the hull is substantial and is generally well supported by fiberglass-encased stringers, frames and plywood bulkheads securely tabbed to the hull. Construction of the decks, cabin house and flybridge utilize cored fiberglass composites in a number of areas and, on most Albin 36 models, the main decks as well as the flybridge deck are overlaid with teak planking. There is a teak cap rail at the sheer, the companionway doors and deck hatches are built of teak and all cabin windows are framed or trimmed with teak. While all this exterior teak joinery looks great, it creates the potential for leaks at every joint which, if not continually maintained, are likely to go undetected. Purchasers should look closely for water stains below windows, at the tops and edges of bulkheads, around deck hatches and in corners that can be telltale signs of hidden damage.
The foredeck, side decks and aft deck of the Albin 36 are passageways and work areas not necessarily intended for lounging or entertaining. On the small foredeck there is an anchor windlass and anchor storage as well as excellent access for handling ground tackle and bow lines. Side decks are 15& wide or more along the cabin house, unobstructed and there are entrances to the main saloon conveniently placed on each side.
Photo: Old Style – Don Martin
Few 36-foot boats offer the amount of interior volume, storage and livability as the Albin 36. For families or more than one couple, the Albin 36 provides two separate private staterooms separated by the main saloon.
The main saloon has a galley to port with an electric range, oven, stainless steel sink and an under-counter, front-loading refrigerator/freezer. To starboard, the dinette is aft and seats four comfortably with plenty of storage below. Forward of the dinette is the lower helm and starboard companionway. There are large windows that completely surround the saloon and the center forward window and side windows open for excellent ventilation.
The forward stateroom is two steps down with a head to port, large hanging locker to starboard and V-berth forward. There is additional storage below the V-berth and the head, although a bit cramped, has a vanity and integral shower. The master stateroom is aft and can be reached either from the main saloon or a companionway off the aft deck. It features a double berth to port, large head to starboard with a soaking tub and dressing table and chair forward of the head.
The majority of 36s have been powered by a single in-line, six-cylinder, fresh-water-cooled Ford Lehman diesel engine. Prior to 1985, the engine was rated at 120 hp. In 1985, minor modifications boosted output to 135 hp. Beginning in 1987, Albin began offering a 210 hp Cummins diesel engine as an option and, in 1990, buyers could choose optional twin engine installations of either the 135 hp Lehman or 210 hp Cummins engine.
With the standard 135 hp Lehman engine, a clean bottom and undamaged propeller, the 36 will cruise at about seven to seven and a half knots and burn about three gallons of fuel per hour. The optional 210 hp Cummins adds only about one knot to cruising speed and about a gallon per hour to fuel consumption. The Albin 36 caries 350 gallons of fuel in two tanks, and has an effective cruising range of more than 700 miles.
The optional twin 210 hp Cummins engine installation provides enough power to attain cruising speeds in the range of 14 to 15 knots but at a substantial increase in fuel consumption and reduction in cruising range.
The hard chines of the Albin 36 make her less inclined to roll both underway and at anchor than round-bilged trawlers although, in extreme conditions, the roll can be quicker and more violent. The full-length keel aids in directional stability as well as dampening roll and the deep forefoot helps to prevent pounding in choppy seas.
About 500 Albin 36 trawlers were built over the years ensuring a reasonably good selection of previously owned models.
The trawler lifestyle is for boaters who enjoy getting there as much, or perhaps even more, than being there. The traditional style of most trawlers also tends to result in more brightwork to maintain, attracting owners who either enjoy maintaining their own boats or don't mind paying the added cost of professional maintenance. For boaters so inclined, the Albin 36 should bring cruising pleasures for years to come.
Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.