Albemarle 24

Illustration by Jim Ewing
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Jim Ewing

Jim Ewing

Scott Harrell loved tractors. The Edenton, North Carolina, native “delighted in mowing and moving dirt,” as one observer put it. So much so that in 1951, at age 23, he started Edenton Tractor and Implement.

Harrell also loved boats and knew how to fish from them. Combining his two interests, he hopped on a tractor one day and began carving a small marina on Pembroke Creek. It was the birth of Edenton Marina.

Harrell had another vision — a vision of the type of fishing boat he’d someday like to build. Designed for the coastal and offshore waters of the Carolinas, the single-engine fishing boat would be rugged, well-equipped and easy to maintain.

In 1978, the dream became a reality: Scott Harrell founded Albemarle Boats in Edenton. The Albemarle 24 had an 8-foot beam, and the deep-vee hull had 24 degrees of transom deadrise. The boat had simple lines and an uncluttered cockpit, and it could be customized for fishing. Twin pedestal seats flanked a centerline companionway to the cuddy. The helm station was to starboard, with a short windscreen.

But the main feature was the propulsion system — a revolutionary jackshaft arrangement that combined an inboard and an outdrive, eliminating the cockpit engine box and creating more room for fishing. Anglers also appreciated the boat’s soft, dry ride, a product of Harrell’s deep-vee design. (Harrell died in January; he was 90.)

The 24 was the first of many models from Albemarle Boats. “It was the cornerstone of the brand,” Burch Perry, Harrell’s grandson, says. “The 24 was in production for 37 consecutive model years, with almost 1,000 of them built. That’s a pretty good run.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue.