Southport Boats is taking its newest model — the 33 FE (Family Edition) — on tour to promote the boat and the revival of the high-end center console builder.
“My idea for the tour was to roll out our new model, the 33, and tell consumers and the industry that we’re back,” Southport managing director Skip Robinson told Trade Only Today at a stop on Friday at Prestige Yacht Sales in Mystic, Conn.
In the spring of 2011, Kenway Corp. acquired tooling and equipment from Southport Boats, which had ceased production in September 2010, and moved manufacturing operations from North Carolina to Kenway’s facility in Augusta, Maine.
The new owner has since developed a plan to build on Southport’s well-respected 27- and 29-foot center consoles with the introduction of a 33-footer that will debut Sept. 11-14 at the Newport (R.I.) International Boat Show.
Robinson said Southport engineers have worked to make improvements from top to bottom on the “new” Southports, starting with a manufacturing transition from traditional open-mold hulls to advanced vacuum-infusion closed-molded hulls. Other upgrades can be found in the wiring, plumbing, hardware and T-top.
A sea trial showed that Robinson’s pre-ride description was correct: The 33-foot boat with twin 300-hp Yamaha four-stroke outboards jumped out of the hole while keeping its bow down and delivered an excellent sightline while throttling up. The ride was smooth through a confused chop and a tight turn.
“The dry weight is only 7,300 pounds, but it feels like it weighs way more than it does,” Robinson said.
The boat tops out at 51 to 52 mph with the 300s and cruises comfortably at 36 mph at 4,000 rpm. The base price, with engines and T-top, will be $264,000; fully rigged, it will cost $298,000.
The tour, which will wrap up this weekend in Sag Harbor, N.Y., also included stops at dealerships in Kittery, Maine, and Osterville, Mass.
Heading to Mystic, Robinson said Southport had conducted about 25 sea trials with qualified buyers and had “five contracts ready to sign” on the new 33 (Hull No. 2 is now in production). About a dozen sea trials were scheduled during the weekend at Mystic.