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Launched: new boats

Wellcraft says its new 232 Fisherman was designed to handle the inshore and offshore needs of seasoned anglers and first-time boat owners alike.

Wellcraft 232 Fisherman

Wellcraft says its new 232 Fisherman was designed to handle the inshore and offshore needs of seasoned anglers and first-time boat owners alike. The 22-foot, 4-inch center console has an 8-foot, 8-inch beam and rides a deep-vee hull with 20 degrees of transom deadrise. The hull design also incorporates a flared bow for a drier ride, according to Wellcraft. The boat draws 15 inches with the engine up, 32 inches with it down.

The 232 seats five and is ready for fishing, with two 155-quart fishboxes with sealed lids and overboard drains, a 116-quart lighted bait well, non-skid decks, two tackle boxes, a removable transom storage bin, transom door, gunwale rod storage and four rod holders. The fiberglass center console contains a head.

Options include a removable 72-quart cooler and a backrest for the leaning post, Bimini top, T-top, additional seating, and hull colors.

The boat handles up to a 300-hp engine thanks to its deep-vee design and "hefty" displacement of 3,300 pounds, says Wellcraft. It can be equipped with anything from a 150-hp outboard up to the 275-hp Mercury Verado and Yamaha Z300. Suggested price ranges from around $40,000 to more than $50,000 depending on power.

Wellcraft Marine, Sarasota, Fla. Phone: (941) 753-7811.

- Michael Hauenstein

Dufour 34

With the success of the Dufour 40, the French builder says it offers the same combination of quality and comfort in its new 34-foot performance cruiser.

With its lightweight hull and generous sail plan, the Dufour 34 is designed to be fast on all points of sail, stable and capable of ocean crossings as well as racing, according to Dufour.

The builder says everything is within easy reach in cockpit, a plus for short-handed sailors. Genoa winches are beside the wheel, and the helmsman can adjust the mainsail by using a traveler fitted on the cockpit sole at the foot of the steering pedestal. All control lines, including reefing lines, are led to the cockpit to cut down on operations at the base of the mast. Wide side decks will make it easier to move about the boat.

Below deck a spacious layout features a navigation area, an L-shaped galley and a comfortable saloon. Two- and three-cabin layouts are available.

The hull is made of vacuum-bagged PVC foam sandwich, while the deck is built using a new technique known as resin transfer molding, according to the builder.

The Dufour 34 was European yacht of the year in 2003 and is now available in the United States. Base sail-away price is $150,000, and a special 40th anniversary package is available.

- JoAnn W. Goddard

Formula 31 Performance Cruiser

The Formula 31 Performance Cruiser is new for 2005 and includes a forward-sweeping radar arch that accents its sporty profile. The express cruiser rides a modified-vee hull with an 11-foot beam and an overall length of 33 feet, 1 inch, including the bow pulpit.

The cockpit contains a U-shaped lounge with tables that can be lowered and fitted with cushions to become a large sunpad. The tables and cushions can be stowed in the transom trunk, with fenders, when not in use. The cockpit also includes a wet bar with Corian countertop, for which a refrigerator or icemaker is optional. Twin sunpads on the foredeck are accessed by way of an opening windshield and molded steps.

Below deck, the layout shows a double berth forward, an Ultraleather lounge/dinette to starboard, a full galley and head to port, and a midcabin with a U-shaped lounge. The dinette and lounge convert to berths and give the boat a sleeping capacity of six. The galley includes a microwave, refrigerator, stainless steel sink, and two-burner stove, while the saloon is outfitted with a 15-inch LCD flat screen TV/DVD player and an AM/FM/CD stereo system. (A complimentary one-year subscription to Sirius satellite radio is included).

The 31 PC is powered by twin 300-hp MerCruiser or Volvo sterndrives. Suggested price starts around $215,000.

Thunderbird Products, Decatur, Ind. Phone: (260) 724-9111.

- Michael Hauenstein