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Big and bigger center consoles

As 40- and 50-foot models proliferate, HydraSports Custom raises the bar with plans for a 65 next year
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The Boston Whaler 380 Outrage was one of several center consoles from 30 to 41 feet that were introduced at the show.

The Boston Whaler 380 Outrage was one of several center consoles from 30 to 41 feet that were introduced at the show.

Jaws were dropping just a few years ago when at least a half-dozen boat companies introduced center consoles north of 40 feet, and one — HydraSports Custom — eclipsed 50 feet with its 53 Suenos.

Well, here we go again. HydraSports Custom is coming out with a 65-footer, and at least two more builders will be splashing boats from 50 to 55 feet. And the number of companies building center consoles over 40 feet continues to increase. For example, Mako to debuted a 41-footer. Powered with quad 350-hp Mercury Verados, the Mako 414 CC is the largest boat Mako has ever built. At a cruise speed of 36 mph, the boat has a range of 360 miles. The builder has equipment packages for fishing and cruising, with options such as an auto cockpit shade, gyro and a livewell system with tuna tubes.

Mako and several other builders had their new models in the water and on display at the Miami International Boat Show. Boston Whaler, Scout, Wellcraft, Stamas and Pursuit also brought new boats, ranging from 30 to 39 feet.

Three companies — Gulfstream Yachts, Scout and HydraSports Custom — gave the media sneak peeks of their super-sized center consoles, presenting models of their vessels in glass cases.

Next spring, HydraSports Custom will launch its 65-footer — the 3,135-hp 65 Estrella. Kurt Bergstrom, director of engineering, says the builder is simply giving consumers what they want. “It’s all based on customer feedback,” Bergstrom told me aboard the company’s largest current offering, the 53 Suenos. “They want to go farther and be able to travel through harsher conditions to fish.”

Much of the interest has come from the South Florida market, but there’s also been some from the United Arab Emirates, says Bergstrom. The Estrella’s console will house a stateroom and saloon, but the boat will remain a true center console, says Bergstrom.

“You are not going to see oversized cabins on our boats,” he says. “These boats are for hard-core destination fishing.”

A Scout 53

Scout Boats also announced plans to go bigger. The company will come to the market with a 53-foot luxury center console — the 530 LXF — in the spring of 2018. The boat will be 53 feet, 5 inches, with a 14-foot, 6-inch beam.

“It’s not a stretched-out version of our 42,” Scout president Steve Potts told me.

The boat will have a top end north of 60 mph. It’ll be equipped with twin bow tables, double quad seating units and a customizable island in the cockpit that can be set up for fishing, entertaining or even as a bar with stools.

The presentation of the 530 LXF came after Potts introduced the 380 LXF, which bridges the gap between the 350 LXF and the 420 LXF.

Scout is known for innovative storage and seating solutions, and the company did not disappoint with its 380 LXF. The boat’s “summer kitchen” (grill, sink and cutting board) on the leaning post’s aft end folds away — under electric power — and turns into a bench seat with a nice, high backrest and footrest.

“At Scout, we strive to create what doesn’t exist,” Potts said from inside the metallic-gold vessel (with matching Yamaha F350s) during the press introduction.

Gulfstream Yachts of Tampa, Fla., displayed a scale model of its 52-foot center console in the VIP Lounge at the Yachts Miami Beach show. The price is just under $2 million, completely loaded with quad Seven Marine 627-hp 4-strokes, says company president and CEO Huntington “Hunt” James. The Gulfstream, with its removable hard enclosure, gives you the 360-degree deck space of a center console with the weather protection of a pilothouse boat, he says.

Whaler’s 380 Outrage

The Boston Whaler 370 Outrage has finished an eight-year run of service. Boston Whaler at the show introduced its replacement, the 380 Outrage.

The boat is larger than the 370 and carries more deadrise aft (under the helm station) and is equipped with larger trim tabs that are integrated with the hull, says Boston Whaler engineering manager Bobby Garza.

The size of the console/cabin remains the same as on the 370, but Whaler has done a better job of using the interior space, according to design manager Charlie Foss. The same goes for the deck layout. The boat has a leaning post bench seat that easily converts to a teak table (with four cupholders) that can be used for a variety of fishing or entertaining activities. The boat has Whaler’s signature “bow garage,” a big compartment under the bow seat that holds dive tanks and life jackets. The air-conditioned console has a lockable enclosed head and a V-berth that converts to a dinette. Upgrades include air conditioning on the helm deck, and a gyrostabilizer is now an option.

The 380 Outrage, which is powered with triple 350-hp Verados, functions equally well as a day-cruising family boat and a fishing boat, Jeff Vaughn, vice president of sales, marketing and customer service, said at the press conference announcing the boat.

“The boat is designed to fish, but we ask, ‘Why be uncomfortable if you are going fishing?’ ”

Celebrating its 65th anniversary, Stamas Yacht also launched a new flagship, the Stamas 392 Tarpon. The 392 is built with more modern systems and conveniences, such as digital switching and a summer kitchen, than its predecessor, the 390.

The 392 also has a new hardtop design with a three-sided glass enclosure. She runs on a deep vee-bottom with variable deadrise (58 degrees entry; 20 degrees transom). With the optional triple Yamaha F300s, the 392 gets 1.1 mpg at 36 mph. Pretty good for a 39-footer.

The Mako 414 CC is the builder’s largest boat ever and its first with four outboards.

The Mako 414 CC is the builder’s largest boat ever and its first with four outboards.

New, but not so big

There were also a couple new smaller center consoles. Pursuit debuted the S 328 Sport — the little sister to the S 408 (which was introduced last year) in the builder’s sport series. The current Sport lineup consists of the S 408, the S 328 and the S 280. A fourth Sport model — the S 368 — will debut later this spring and will be in line with the styling and features of the S 408 and S 328, says Pursuit marketing manager Amy Gobel. The S 328’s strengths include an oversized fiberglass integrated hardtop and windshield. The console holds a two-person berth convertible to a dinette and a head. The aft cockpit has foldaway fore and aft seats and two removable dinette tables. Wraparound bow seating complements the forward-facing console seat. The hull is built with integrated transom extensions that give the owner easy access to the twin F300 outboards.

Kurt Bergstrom, HydraSports Custom director of engineering, says the 65 Estrella is designed for “desination fishing.”  The boat holds 1,800 gallons of fuel.

Kurt Bergstrom, HydraSports Custom director of engineering, says the 65 Estrella is designed for “desination fishing.” The boat holds 1,800 gallons of fuel.

Wellcraft has come to the market with a new flagship for its Fisherman series — the 302 Fisherman. The boat runs on a deep-vee hull but is quite fuel-efficient, getting 1.7 mpg from 29 to 36 mph and 1.5 mpg at 45 mph with twin 350-hp Mercury Verados. It’s versatile, too. You can outfit the 302 with an assortment of fishing equipment (27 rod holders, two 23-gallon livewells and four fishboxes with macerators) and day-cruising conveniences (a cockpit grill, console head and sink, oversized forward lounge). The Scarab Offshore trim package gives the hull flashy graphics, a tricolor gelcoat and upgraded helm and cockpit areas.

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue.



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