History tells us that luxury and center consoles don’t go together, but this new 32-footer proves otherwise
Once upon a time, center console boats were bare-bone machines dedicated to the requirements of offshore — and inshore — fishing. Rod holders perforated the gunwales on both sides of the cockpit, and rod racks nestled in the hollows beneath. Hinged hatches in the cockpit sole opened a bait well here, a fishbox there. Hardcore center consoles had a dual seat at the helm, with a fold-up cushion that became a leaning post for runs out to the fishing grounds. Forget seating in the rest of the boat. That would infringe on the square footage of the deck and compromise the 360-degree fish-fighting arena.
A 1987 article in the Chicago Tribune was frank in its assessment: “The E.C. Collier is dying.” The 52-footer is a two-sail bateau, a vee-bottom deadrise type of centerboard sloop known as a skipjack.
Sweet Freedom is a boat of a different color.
This is a Down Easter with workboat roots as a platform for commercial fishing and lobstering, but she can be set up several ways for cruising — for example, with a galley-up or galley-down, and with a combination head and shower or a head with a separate shower.
What makes a great fishing boat? I’ve fished all my life — mostly aboard center consoles and walkarounds from 20 to 35 feet, but also from express fishing boats, pilothouse vessels and convertibles.
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