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Tough and Tender Trio

Three new center-console models couple hard-core fishing features with the comforts of a family cruiser.
Built in Florida, the Everglades 285cc earned the award for best powerboat under 30 feet at a fall boat show. 

Built in Florida, the Everglades 285cc earned the award for best powerboat under 30 feet at a fall boat show. 

The rise of the mega center console is a jaw-dropping trend in boating. Open fishboats have morphed into bluewater beasts that are long on length, heavy on horsepower and high on price. But what about the angler who wants a more conventional-size boat that’s well-made and well-equipped for weekends on the water with the family? Are there any new coastal rigs near 30 feet for the fishing fanatic in search of a civilized ride? Absolutely. Check out this trio of center consoles, all of which are made exactly for that type of boater.

Pursuit S 248

Most new center consoles are designed to fish, cruise and entertain. They’re for owners who are serious anglers and super-social at the party cove. The Pursuit S 248 fits that mold, as it combines fishing features and creature comforts in a trailerable platform (8 feet, 6 inches wide) that’s 25 feet, 8 inches in length.

This boat is the latest addition to Pursuit’s Sport series of center consoles, all of which have in-sole fish boxes, live wells and dedicated stowage for lures, line and rods. Cruising features on the S 248 include a cockpit bench with a deep cushion that folds out from the transom; and a set of lounges at the bow, each with a backrest so guests can face forward when the captain says it’s go time and the run offshore begins. Pursuit designed the backrest to swivel aft and lay flush against the inwale when there’s a need for a clear path forward. That’s preferable to a backrest that lifts out and gets put away, since stowage on a boat this size is limited.

Pursuit’s new S 248 is well-equipped and trailerable. 

Pursuit’s new S 248 is well-equipped and trailerable. 

Access to the head in the console is also noteworthy: The door opens from the forward end, rather than the side, so it’s easier to step into the fiberglass compartment. Even here, the finish is a smooth gelcoat, latches are serious, and stainless hardware is burly. Workmanship is top-shelf.

The S 248 is offered with one engine: a 300-hp Yamaha. The skipper operates the outboard from a helm designed to maximize space between the wheel and the leaning post. The goal is to keep the driver comfortable when he’s running out to chase stripers or make a 7 p.m. dinner reservation. The hardtop with helm enclosure enhances the boat’s athletic profile and could extend the owner’s boating season, as it keeps passengers warm and dry on blustery days.

EVERGLADES 285cc

This boat made waves shortly after it debuted in fall 2022, earning the award for best powerboat under 30 feet at the Newport International Boat Show. With its high freeboard, single-level deck and relatively wide passageway around the console, it’s a 360-degree fishing machine with a robust beam of 9 feet, 6 inches. It’s stocked with angling equipment such as a live well, insulated fish boxes and toe rails to give an angler solid footing when fighting fish.

With twin 300-hp Yamahas, range is 300 miles at a cruise speed of about 31 knots, according to Yamaha. Top-end speed is 48 knots. The 285cc rides on a proven hull. Shortly after Hull No. 1 came off the production line, the 30-foot, 1-inch boat crossed the Gulf Stream to Bimini from Port Everglades, Florida, for an owners’ rendezvous. The variable-deadrise, deep-V hull—which the builder calls unsinkable—is made with high-density, closed-cell, structural foam. Everglades offers a lifetime hull warranty on the 285cc.

Everglades builds center consoles ranging in size up to 45 feet. Some features from the company’s larger boats are on this model too. They include a Seakeeper option, dive door and reversible helm/mezzanine seat that rotates 180 degrees. The 285cc also has yacht-style details, such as two-tone upholstery with diamond stitching, teak at the helm and more wood forward—the backrests for the bow seats are ladder-style and made of teak by Release Marine. Other notable details include high freeboard, a casting platform that converts to a table at the bow, and a fiberglass hardtop with handholds that are molded in.

The Sailfish 312 CC runs 47 knots with a pair of F300 Yamaha outboards.  

The Sailfish 312 CC runs 47 knots with a pair of F300 Yamaha outboards.  

SAILFISH 312 CC

The 312 CC is the newest addition to Sailfish’s center console lineup, with a length overall of 32 feet, 6 inches. The Georgia-based company says this model has the same proven ride, construction and fishability of the other offshore boats in its portfolio.

It rides on the sixth-generation Variable Degree Stepped hull, a form that reportedly improves efficiency and stability, in part because the deadrise gradually changes from 24 degrees forward to 22 degrees aft. Power options include twin Mercury 300 or 350 Verados, or twin Yamaha F300s. With the Yamahas, the 312 runs almost 47 knots at wide-open throttle, and cruises most efficiently at 25 knots (16 gph), according to factory tests.

The big cockpit is sizable, thanks to the 9-foot, 9-inch beam. It’s deep too, with gunwales that hit at hip height—a nice safety feature for crews trolling offshore or families cruising with young children. Like other center consoles in this size range, the Sailfish 312 couples creature comforts (cushioned seating forward and aft, a private head, a dive door for walk-on access from the dock) with fishing equipment such as live wells, bait wells, coaming bolsters, a transom gate and holders for up to 29 rods.

There are a few surprises on board too: Under the fiberglass hardtop, headroom is 6 feet, 3 inches. That type of detail can make a day on the water all the more enjoyable. —Jeanne Craig

This article was originally published in the February 2023 issue.

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