Consumers face a dizzying selection of center console fishing/family boats. Like zebras in a herd, these small, open boats can be hard to differentiate. Most are outboard powered and have a hardtop or soft T-top, a half-dozen or so rod holders, a seat on the forward section of the console, a cockpit live well, and maybe a couple more seats tucked into the stern corners. That’s pretty much it.
The design, performance and durability of most of these elements should be noticeably better on the higher-priced models, separating them from the rest of the pack. I took a look at a quality center console — the Everglades 210cc — at the Miami International Boat Show earlier this year. The Edgewater, Fla., builder added this boat to its 10-vessel lineup last year. (A 23-footer was introduced this spring.) It replaces the 211cc, which lacked many of the family-friendly features of the new model, such as a bow seating area, flip-down bow boarding ladder and a head in the console.
Our test boat was powered with a 225-hp Honda. It didn’t exactly jump out of the hole when I hit the throttle and might be better paired with a 250-hp outboard. I thought the throttle — a small Glendinning — was too close to the wheel. I accidentally bumped it while steering, causing the boat to lurch forward. Visibility through the sliding Plexiglas-type windshields is excellent — no T-top pipes crisscrossing the field of vision. The front and side windshields slide up and down and can be secured at any height by tightening the dog-style clamps. I found the steering wheel hard to turn. Consider spending the extra money for power-assist ($3,554).
A Raymarine C80 multifunction display was mounted on the lower portion of the console panel, with the engine gauges above. I’d reverse their positions. The driver looks at the sounder/plotter more frequently and, therefore, would want it as close as possible to his or her line of sight. Two powder-coated handrails flank the console. The base of the vertical T-top frame is secured to the console — not the deck — so you won’t stub your toes. Good thinking.
Another thoughtful feature is designed into the leaning post. The seat bolster and the footrest below are connected and, with the aid of a gas lift, move in unison. The footrest pivots out of the way as the bolster flips aft, and vice versa. You can grab the bolster and move it up or down, or use the armrests, which are connected to the bolsters.
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I kept banging my head on the underside of the T-top (I’m 6 feet 2 inches tall). It’ll be 3 inches higher on future models, according to Chris Turner, the builder’s quality-control and warranty manager, who was on the boat for our 30-minute test drive. This 210cc also lacked a handrail on the back of the leaning post. Same deal: The 210cc will be built with a handrail here, Turner said.
The Honda burned only 1.4 gallons per hour at a little more than 6 mph. The boat planes at about 2,500 rpm and settles into a comfortable cruise at 3,500 rpm, where it runs at 22 mph and burns 6.7 gph. This equates to 3.3 mpg, which is pretty good.
The Everglades rode like she was larger than 21 feet. As we charged through some 2-foot wakes in Biscayne Bay, she felt solid with no rattling noises emanating from poorly fitting hatch lids. I would think this vessel, with its deep-vee hull (21 degrees at the transom), could handle 2- to 3-foot seas without beating up the crew.
At the dock
After the short sea trial, I examined the rest of the deck. Two comfy transom seats sandwich the raised 27-gallon live well on centerline. The U-shaped rail mounted a few inches abaft the live well forms a ski pylon for water sports. Two rails intercept the pylon at its base, providing hand-holds for those using either of the two swim platforms or the transom seats. This is truly a multitasking network of powder-coated piping.
The swim platforms are larger than on most boats this size. The boarding ladders slide under the platforms when stored, rather than sitting on the top. Smart.
There’s a lot going on at the bow, as well. The builder provides a standard sun pad that snaps onto the raised foredeck. A filler cushion can be dropped between the bow pad and the forward console seat. The anchor roller doubles as the home for a telescoping ladder that drops at the bow for beach boarding. The split bow rails form a safe passageway to the ladder. The anchor locker sits just abaft the roller/ladder. Its lid flips aft — instead of to port or starboard — and hampers access to the contents inside.
Everglades builds the 210cc and its other boats with its patented RAMCAP (Rapid Molded Cored Assembly Process) construction. Before starting Everglades, founders Bob and Stephen Dougherty used to manufacture — using RAMCAP — hardtops for Mako, Stamas and Pro-Line.
The Everglades 210cc consists of two fiberglass closed-molded shells — the hull and the liner — that sandwich a 6-pound-density urethane foam core. The three components are bonded together in a vacuum-bagging process, resulting in the stiffest boat in the industry, says company president Stephen Dougherty. The liner includes components such as the stringer grid, hatches and live well.
The boat comes with an impressive list of standard features, including the T-top, trim tabs with indicators, live well, bow cushions and LED navigation lights. The builder will hang outboards from Suzuki, Honda, Mercury or Yamaha. With a single 225 Honda, the Everglades 210cc retails for $74,252; with a Yamaha 250, the price jumps to $77,577. Expensive, I know, but worth it for those who want the best of the best in a small center console.
LOA: 21 feet, 7 inches
BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 15 inches
DISPLACEMENT: 3,600 pounds (without engines)
TRANSOM DEADRISE: 21 degrees
TANKAGE: 95 gallons fuel
POWER: single Honda BF225 4-stroke
SPEED: 43 mph top, 22 mph cruise
CONTACT: Everglades Boats, Edgewater, Fla.
Phone: (386) 409-2202,