There aren’t many small and midsize boats that have more seating or a better deck design for dayboating than the dual console. A center console sports an open layout, but the console structures on some models have gotten so big that they tend to separate the bow area from the cockpit. With a dual console, a walkthrough windshield connects the open bow and stern, and the helm does not interfere with the flow between these areas.
The dual console does its best to please everyone. Anglers will like the open cockpit. If you’re into water sports, these boats often come with ski pylons, oversize swim platforms and boarding ladders, as well as storage for wakeboards, skis and the like. Enclosed heads and dinette tables add comfort and convenience.
Seating arrangements continue to evolve on these boats. Seats, sun lounges and benches are not only comfortable, but many also double as dry storage lockers or coolers.
In automotive terms, the dual console combines the practicality of an SUV with the speed and acceleration of a sports car. I had a chance to test two models from Chris-Craft this summer (see accompanying story). Powered by next-generation 4-strokes, they hopped on plane in seconds, and their vee-hulls cut through a 1- to 2-foot chop with ease. They carve in and out of turns predictably, and their power steering delivers fingertip control. They’re flat-out fun to drive.
Dual consoles have grown in popularity during the past five years, with many production builders offering them. Here’s a look at four new ones from Grady-White, EdgeWater, Chris-Craft and Pursuit.
Pursuit DC 295
The DC 295 joins three other dual consoles in the Fort Pierce, Florida, builder’s fleet, sitting between the DC 263 and DC 325. The DC 295’s integrated hardtop and windshield give protection from the weather without sacrificing visibility. (Pursuit pays close attention to the sightlines on all of its boats, using large frameless windshields.)
There’s 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom under the hardtop, and the boat is built with Pursuit’s glare-reducing gray helm. There’s forward-facing seating in the bow, tables for the bow and the cockpit, and a big storage compartment for rods, tackle, water toys and scuba tanks. With twin Yamaha F300s, you’ll get 1.3 to 1.6 mpg at 30 to 40 mph.
LOA: 31 feet, 9 inches
BEAM: 9 feet, 10 inches
DRAFT: 1 foot, 10 inches
DISPLACEMENT: 9,790 pounds
FUEL: 230 gallons
POWER: Twin Yamaha F300s or F250s
SPEED: 52.5 mph top, 30-35 mph cruise
CONTACT: Pursuit Boats, Fort Pierce, Florida, (772) 465-6006. pursuitboats.com
Grady-White Freedom 235
The Freedom 235 and Freedom 275 are the latest additions to Grady-White’s dual console fleet. Both have the builder’s new swim platform, which is integrated into the hull and flanks the outboard. There’s also a starboard-side transom door, a feature you find on larger boats, says vice president of marketing Shelley Tubaugh.
The Freedom 235’s bow will hold six comfortably. Stowage in the head extends into the bow to hold rods and skis. At the transom is a built-in 160-quart insulated box for your catch, beverages or whatever must be kept cold. A storage box can be plumbed for an optional 15.5-gallon live well. A freshwater cockpit shower is standard. The aft bench seat folds away.
An inboard-facing wet bar to starboard in the cockpit includes drink holders and a 35-quart Yeti cooler. A hardtop or canvas Bimini is available.
The 23-footer rides Grady-White’s SeaV2 variable deadrise hull and can be powered with a Yamaha F250 or F300. With an F300, the boat tops out at 44 mph and gets about 3 mpg at 26 to 28 mph.
LOA: 23 feet, 7 inches
BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 1 foot, 10 inches
DISPLACEMENT: 4,070 pounds
FUEL: 115 gallons
POWER: Yamaha F300 or F250
SPEED: 46.4 mph top, 28-35 mph cruise (F300)
PRICE: $100,310 (F250), $101,980 (F300)
CONTACT: Grady-White Boats, Greenville, North Carolina, (252) 752-2111. gradywhite.com
Chris-Craft Calypso 26
The Calypso 26 is the first dual console from Chris-Craft, which is known for runabouts and luxury sport boats. The Calypso fuses Chris-Craft’s DNA with the dual console design. A standalone, single-piece, low-profile windshield; teak-trimmed exterior; and oversize stainless hardware are signature features.
Stern seating on the port and starboard sides can be folded flush against the gunwales. The bow and cockpit accept dinette tables. The Calypso 26 is fast and tracks well in hard turns. The boat has no trouble with a 2-foot chop at 35 mph. Fitted with twin Yamaha F200s, Optimus 360 power steering and joystick control, the boat gets 2.4 mpg at about 30 mph and 2.2 mpg at about 38 mph, topping out at 53 mph.
LOA: 26 feet, 6 inches
BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 1 foot, 5 inches
DISPLACEMENT: 5,900 pounds
FUEL: 154 gallons
POWER: Yamaha F350, twin F150s or F200s
SPEED: 53 mph top, 28-33 mph cruise
PRICE: $166,540 (F200s)
CONTACT: Chris-Craft, Sarasota, Florida, (941) 351-4900. chriscraft.com
The 248CX replaces the 245CX in the builder’s lineup of “Crossover” dual consoles. “Our dual consoles are described as Crossovers since they blend both fishing and family boating so well into one singular platform,” says marketing coordinator Daniel Robinson.
EdgeWater has improved the bow area, with forward-facing seat backs and armrests and better-insulated storage boxes. The helm can accommodate a 16-inch electronics display. A patent-pending port-side back-to-back seat — with insulated fishbox — can be configured six ways. The cockpit includes a transom-width fold-out seat that can be tucked away for access to the raised bait well.
EdgeWater boats are built using a patented resin infusion process (Single Piece Infusion), which produces light, strong hulls. The 248CX rides a deep-vee hull and gets 3.3 mpg at 29 mph, 3 mpg at 33 mph and 2.5 mpg at 38 mph.
LOA: 24 feet, 6 inches
BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 1 foot, 11 inches
DISPLACEMENT: 3,365 pounds
FUEL: 120 gallons
POWER: Yamaha F300
SPEED: 48 mph top, 30 mph cruise
CONTACT: EdgeWater Power Boats, Edgewater, Florida, (386) 426-5457. ewboats.com
On the water with a Chris-Craft dual console
It was a scorcher of a mid-July afternoon in Sarasota, Florida, but I was having a blast at the helm of the new Chris-Craft Calypso 30. I slammed the throttles, the twin Yamaha F300s responded, and I barreled through a 2-foot chop at 54 mph on Sarasota Bay.
The Calypso 30, Chris-Craft’s second dual console — and 10 other models from 21 to 42 — was available to test during a demo event for dealers and customers. I drove three models: two dual consoles, the Calypso 26 and 30, and the new Commander 42.
The Calypso 30 performed like a 19-foot runabout, with head-jerking acceleration and precise handling. Even with six people on board, the twin outboards pushed the boat on plane in about six seconds, with minimal bow rise for a clear view ahead.
The Calypso gets decent mileage for a 600-hp, 30-foot boat. I recorded 1.4 to 1.7 mpg from 30 to 40 mph, and 1 mpg at 53 mph. The boat also can be powered with twin 350s, but the 300s seemed like plenty of ponies.
Simple and uncluttered, the helm can take two 12-inch electronics displays or a single 15-inch model. The boat was rigged with SeaStar’s Optimus 360 joystick and power steering.
I was impressed by the cockpit design. You can fill the entire space with seating by pulling out port, starboard and stern settees that are recessed under the coaming bolsters or clear the way when you need to move about freely. A starboard boarding door swings inboard and can be lifted and placed on top of the gunwale. A swim ladder hides beneath a deck hatch.
I also like the starboard-side enclosed head in the helm console. The entire forward-facing bow seat swings up on two stainless gas lifts to reveal a passageway to the head, which has a sink and vanity.
The Calypso 30 will be on display Sept. 15-18 in Rhode Island at the Newport International Boat Show, though there’s still some tweaking to be done, according to Chris-Craft regional sales manager Neal Hager. For instance, the trim tab gauges directly forward of the joystick were hard to reach and will be moved inboard of the throttles. “We literally just finished [building the boat] yesterday,” said Hager, who was aboard for the test ride. “We weren’t even sure it was going to make it here.”
I’m glad it did.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue.