In the world of Harry Potter, wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them. As J.K. Rowling wrote, “some wizards just like to boast that theirs are bigger and better than other people’s”. Unlike magic wands however, some boats are simply bigger and better than others, allowing their captains and passengers to do more. Boat building technology has advanced greatly in the last decade, with more efficient, powerful and lightweight outboard engines, stronger, lighter hulls and more compact, advanced marine electronics. All of that has combined to make bigger and bigger center consoles more and more popular, making 3 or 4 outboard engines on the back of a “day boat” not only feasible, but commonplace. Growing up in the 1980s, my buddies and I used to excitedly point out boats in the marina with two engines. Fast forward to the 2020 Miami International Boat Show where I stepped aboard a 59-foot Cigarette Tirranna center console boat with six 450R Mercury outboard racing engines. Even if math isn’t your strong point, you can understand how that much horsepower on the back of one boat is an engineering feat. 2,700 horsepower to be exact. But is that the biggest center console on the market? Remarkably, no. Let’s take a look at the contenders for biggest center console boats in the world as we head into 2022.
- HCB 65 Estrella
- Midnight Express 60 Pied-A-Mer
- Cigarette Tirranna 59
- Nor-tech 560 SPORT
- Scout 530 LXF
- Intrepid 475 Panacea
- Freeman 47
- Valhalla V-46
- Invincible 46 Catamaran
- Grady-White Canyon 456
- Everglades 455cc
- SeaVee 450z
- Contender 44 ST
- Fountain 43 NX
- Jupiter 43
- Pursuit S 428
- Boston Whaler 420 Outrage
- Outerlimits SX-39
HCB 65 Estrella: World’s Largest Center Console
Above: A 2021 HCB Estrella boat for sale on YachtWorld. Photo via Staten Island Yacht Sales in Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island, NY.
The current reigning heavyweight champion of the world in terms of center consoles, this is the biggest center console boat on the market today. Full stop. Boasting an army of horses on her transom and the robust build to deliver peak performance from those hulking power plants, this giant center console provides a smooth, quiet ride and sporty handling. If you want a luxurious fishing machine with the 360-degree access to the water that a center console cockpit layout offers but with all the amenities of a world class yacht, this is the boat for you. Few center console fishing boats on the market rival her in terms of size, features and capability. Granted, she’s a bit big for many anglers to be entirely practical as a day-to-day boat, but her offshore capabilities are second to none. When you’re onboard this boat and you push the throttles forward, you can feel why serious tournament fishing teams trust her when plying deep waters far from the shore.
Some may use the word “masterpiece” to describe what HCB has built in the Estrella 65. Others may call her a monstrosity. Whatever your perspective, she is a show-stopping, eye-popping boat, even if she’s a bit ostentatious at the dock for some owners. With the infrastructure to support up to 3,135 horsepower the boat’s performance expectations are, frankly, hard to surpass (or even to imagine surpassing). The boat has been equipped with a few mind-boggling power packages, including five (5) Seven Marine 627-HP outboard engines, to achieve that aforementioned whopping 3,135 combined total horsepower. The top speed is estimated between 65-70 MPH depending on your load and sea state. Also, getting a 65-foot planing-hull center console to hop on plane quickly (under 10 seconds), is quite the feat too. In fact, the 65 Estrella can reportedly accomplish that task in just 8-9 seconds, from standstill to rocket ship.
Of course, all of this comes at a price and the HCB 65 Estrella is definitely not cheap. (Let’s face it, none of the boats on this list are cheap). Starting at somewhere around 3 million and going up from there based on options, she’s certainly not built for the frugal-minded fishing crowd. Nor for those who prefer to keep a low profile at the docks. Then again, if you want to casually smirk at choppy inlets, cross the Gulf Stream like your jaunting across your backyard and hop over to the Bahamas with style and ease, here’s your boat.
Midnight Express 60 Pied-A-Mer: Qualified Audacity
Above: A 2022 Midnight Express 60 Pied-A-Mer for sale on YachtWorld. Photo by Midnight Express.
In France, a pied-à-terre is a vacation or holiday home, while a pied-a-mer is an on-the-water home. At 60-feet long, Midnight Express has built what could fairly be termed a residence on the ocean with the Pied-A-Mer. “Residence” may sound audacious for a center console day boat, but that audacity is qualified and backed up by her cabability, features and amenities. Powered by quad Seven Marine 627-HP outboard engines, she has achieved top speeds of over 70 MPH, but there’s more than just speed to impress passengers onboard this colossus. Down below she has twin staterooms with queen berths and a full head with enclosed shower, plus a galley. Sounds like a motoryacht or cabin cruiser right? Nope, still a center console, but on a grand scale.
The center console alone on this boat is 30 feet long! Consider that’s bigger than a lot of other respectable center console fishing boats themselves. Most of the roomy cockpit is dedicated to lounging with plush, sofa-sized seats and monstrous loungers. Seventeen passengers can be easily accommodated and comfortably enjoy the ride topside. Stuffed chock full of glitz and glamour this juggernaut starts around 1.6 Million and goes up from there based on add-ons and options.
Cigarette Tirranna: A 62-Foot Bullet With Seats
Above: A 2022 Cigarette 59 Tirranna boat for sale on YachtWorld right now, rigged with six 400-HP Mercury outboard engines. Photo via: Marine-Partner-Network in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
Cigarette is an icon in performance boats. In fact, it’s often said that Cigarette is to high-performance offshore boats as Kleenex is to tissue – since the brands have become nearly synonymous for the category of products in which they reside. That means Cigarette clearly knows how to manufacture fast boats and has a knack for doing so with such flare and style that it’s virtually defined the very genre itself. The company’s Tirranna is, as they put it, “the ultimate ascendancy over the conventional, mundane, the uninspired”. Grandiose yes, but this boat is certainly anything but mundane. In fact, it’s a modern marvel of engineering and design.
Twenty years ago I probably would have laughed at the thought of a center console over 50 feet. It just didn’t sound feasible, or practical. Even picturing it sounded goofy. But this boat is the opposite of goofy. This is the boat an evil Bond villain would escape in only to re-appear in the next movie in a rocket ship over our planet making insane demands. This is a 60 footer that does 80 MPH – wait, what? Unreal is a word that comes to mind when you’re riding on this boat. It’s like a bullet with comfortable seats and a massive sound system to boot. Some may argue it’s just a bit too much – too over the top, prone to maintenance issues, a gas guzzling behemoth that gives the term “stink pot” a whole new meaning. Well, maybe. But honestly, this thing is pretty dang cool, isn’t it? If nothing else, you have to appreciate the marvel of engineering behind this vessel.
Nor-Tech 560 Sport: Sleek And Mighty
Above: A 2020 Nor-Tech 560 Sport center console boat for sale on Boat Trader by South Florida Performance Boats in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Photo by South Florida Performance Boats.
As kids in Norway in the 1970s, Nor-Tech Boats co-founders Trond Schou and Nils Johnsen were obsessed with extreme machines – from sports cars and boats to planes and helicopters. (Johnsen now has a cherry red Lamborghini Countach and Schou flies helicopters, planes and jets.) After building 16 boats in Norway, they brought their company to Florida and in 1990 they introduced their first 50-foot V-bottom boat, The Nor-Tech 5000 Supervee. Later the U.S. government commissioned Nor-Tech to build the Nor-Tech 43 drug-chasing boat that is still in use today and has helped intercept millions of dollars in drugs in the U.S., Bahamas and Panama.
Over 30 years later and their passion for building big, sporty boats continues on a grand scale with one of the biggest center consoles ever built. “Our customers want to fish, dive and cruise in luxury and style,” says Schou, “Our boats plane in near single digits, then throttle up to top speed.” The Nor-Tech 560 Sport, and its sister the 550, are two giant center console boats that pushes the limits of high performance production boats. Akin to an on-the-water limousine this boat can skyrocket passengers over the water with great range, gas mileage and torque. The 560 Sport is unlike other boats on our list in that she can be powered by either outboard or inboard engines (triples or quads).
At 56 feet long with a 12 foot beam, the 560 Sport weighs around 30,000 pounds dry and features a hull constructed of hand laid fiberglass sandwich and Carbon Kevlar. Another distinguishing feature unlike like others on this list is her two huge, 11-foot long luxurious aft loungers at the rear of the cockpit that allow for family and friends to stretch out and enjoy the ride. Characterized by an abundance of seating areas and comfortable social settings, the boat has ample storage, premium sound system and numerous fish boxes. The Nor-Tech 560 Sport Center Console is fully customizable from paint to thread stitching and Italian hardware.
Scout 530 LXF: Refined Yet Brauny
Above: A 2022 Scout 530 LXF center console boat for sale on Boat Trader by Seven Seas Yacht Sales in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Photo via Seven Seas Yacht Sales.
The 53-foot 530 LXF is the flagship from Scout boats. She is manufactured with cutting-edge carbon epoxy construction and, like the Tirranna above, she’s an absolute beast. In fact, back in 2019 Scout famously rigged this huge center console with 6 Mercury 400 HP outboards for a top speed of over 70 MPH. At the time, that was the first center console ever to be powered by six outboards.
As with many performance boats these days, she features stepped-hull construction with a wide beam of 14’8″. She is able to accommodate up to 2,250 horsepower on her transom yet has a mere 31″ draft, which means she can get up to sandbars and shallower fishing grounds while simultaneously having the length to battle heavy seas and big swells with confidence. She weighs in around 31,000 pounds with the biggest power package, so she is a heavily-built, sturdy offshore fishing machine. Every bit as extreme as other boats on this list, there is something a bit more austere about the way Scout builds this type of boat. Her softer colors and brownish-tan accents make you feel like you’re driving a luxury sedan but with an American muscle feel. In other words, Tirranna is to a twin-turbocharged Ford Raptor truck with EcoBoost, as the 530 LXF is to a Lamborghini LM002 ( aka “Rambo Lambo”). Or something like that. Whatever the comparison, this is a phenomenal vessel.
Intrepid 475 Panacea: The Gentleman’s Center Console
If you want to wake up early, bolt offshore a couple hundred miles to battle a 400 pound Marlin, throw it on ice, blaze back in, take a shower and throw a party at the docks before retiring to your nicely appointed V-berth below, this is the boat for you. The 47.5-foot, wave-crushing Intrepid 47 Panacea center console is an absolutely giant day boat but with luxurious overnighting and weekending capabilities added below and some serious performance specs to boot.
With a nearly 14-foot beam, and power packages that have included four 627-HP Seven Marine outboards, she can hit speeds in the low to mid 70s (MPH). Her transverse-stepped hull maximizes fuel-efficiency and stability while minimizing bow rise and reducing pitching and heeling. We’re betting folks can look out for this boat to have quad Mercury 600-HP engines in the near future. (Just a rumor, but why not, right?)
Freeman 47: Steadfast And Poised
One of just two catamarans on our list of biggest center consoles in 2022 is Freeman Boatworks’ flagship model – a boat built to conquer rough seas and hit speeds of over 80 MPH while cruising at 45 MPH easily. Yes, catamarans can have center console cockpit layouts too (which we’re seeing more and more of in the power cat market), and the Freeman 47 is an enormously capable behemoth on the water. She has a length overall of 47′ with a beam of 13’2″ and a draft of 27″. Her max capacity of 1,800 horses allows her to accommodate enough engines on the transom to hit those numbers we just mentioned, thanks in part to a relatively light dry weight of only 21,000 pounds and a very advanced hydrodynamic hull design.
Constructed with Biaxial and Triaxial fiberglass and vinylester resin using a closed-cell structural core, she pushes less water than a deep V (thanks to her two slimmer hulls) and therefore has less drag. Like a knife through butter, she cuts waves and chop with ease. In fact, seeing this boat smash over waves on a rough day, you may hear echoes of Ray Bradbury’s ominous book title “Something wicked this way comes,” in your head, although this boat is more like a dream come true for serious anglers than a nightmare.
Valhalla V-46: Polished Capability
Above: A 2022 Valhalla Boatworks V-46 center console boat for sale on Boat Trader. Photo via Valhalla Boat Sales South in Riviera Beach, FL.
Building on the overwhelming success of the V Series high-performance luxury center consoles, the Viking Yacht Company has begun the next chapter in the evolution of Valhalla Boatworks – the V-46. The Valhalla 46 takes the V Series to an entirely new level, broadening its appeal through additional accommodations and amenities while maintaining its fishing boat DNA. “We never stop innovating, fine-tuning and staying out in front of the needs of our owners and the marine industry,” says Viking President and CEO Pat Healey. “The V-46 is a result of that commitment.”
The V-46 possesses the same signature design traits (S-shaped sheer, doubles chines, tumblehome transom bustle), aesthetic enhancements (teak toerails and transom) and 360-degree fishing prowess of the V Series. This Valhalla’s significant length (46’ 7”) and beam (13’ 4”) allow for a massive console that functions as an air-conditioned cabin. Through the port-side console door, a powder-coated pedestal with teak stair treads leads to an inviting living space. You’ll immediately notice the headroom (6’ 7”) and free-flowing open layout that’s filled with natural light flowing through four shapely portlights. Forward, a dinette with U-shaped seating and bolstered backrest surrounds a drop-down table that converts to a queen berth. On the starboard side is the galley, which features a polished Corian countertop, stainless steel sink, brushed nickel and chrome faucet, two-burner recessed stove, refrigerator/freezer, microwave oven and cabinet storage. Directly aft of the galley is the private head with a molded-in vanity with freshwater sink and faucet, toilet and shower.
Invincible 46 Catamaran: The Fearless Frigate
Above: A 2022 Invincible 46 Catamaran boat for sale on Boat Trader. Photo via Intrinsic Yacht & Ship in Annapolis, MD.
The second catamaran on our list, the Invincible 46 power cat stands out among the crowd for her game-changing hybrid semi-asymmetrical sponson hull design and sportfish-level fishability and specifications. This is a tournament fishing boat through-and-through, built for extended range and the capability to handle all types of weather and sea states with confidence. With quad Mercury Racing 450R outboards she reportedly tops out close to 80 MPH (depending on load). Her efficient cruising speed is around 48-50 MPH, so if you’re looking to go long distances in a hurry – fishing wrecks far out in the Gulf, for example – this boat is built for you.
Update: Invincible has announced a pilothouse version of this boat, which the company boasts is “the first-ever production pilothouse catamaran” – a unique distinction. Essentially this version of the 46 offers more sleeping space and protection from the elements, making it more competitive in that respect with comparably-sized sportfishing yachts.
Grady-White Canyon 456: Pelagic Family Chariot
Above: A 2022 Grady-White Canyon 456 center console boat for sale on Boat Trader. Photo via Ingman Marine in Port Charlotte, FL.
Like a lot of the center consoles on this list, the Canyon 456 is the biggest boat the builder has ever crafted, and is currently the flagship in the manufacturer’s line up. Grady-White boasts she is “the largest unsinkable boat of its kind” and she has been over-engineered to be more than just a fishing boat – she’s a true yacht. Technically sophisticated, incredibly spacious and built over Grady’s trademark “SeaV2″ hull, she is consistently ranked at the top of J.D. Power and Associates Marine studies. She’s 45 feet in length overall with a 14-foot beam and a draft of only 2’6″, along with a displacement of 28,500 pounds. Vetted by a seasoned team of boat designers with years of fishing and cruising experience, she has a 21-degree deadrise and 10’5″ bridge clearance, along with 616-gallon fuel capacity and a max horsepower rating of 1,700.
If you’re heading far offshore to chase some swordfish, this boat will make you feel safe and confident, while keeping passengers dry during the ride. Two particularly unique and notable features of the Canyon 456 are her 24” transom mounted multifunction Garmin display that faces the aft deck and cockpit giving crew a clear view from the helm and a clever, patent-pending, Sapele hardwood rod-storage system.
Above: The center of the transom onboard a 2022 Grady-White Canyon 456 features a transom-mounted multifunction Garmin display as seen here looking down at the aft deck. Photo by Fish Tale Boats in Fort Meyers, FL.
At her helm she features three 17-inch Garmin displays and C-Zone digital switching to coordinate her onboard AC/DC systems. Aesthetically her lines echo her Carolina heritage with flared gunwales in the bow. The Canyon 456 starts around $1.4 million.
Everglades 455cc: Overbuilt Offshore Battlewagon
Debuting at her first boat show ever in October 2021 at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (aka FLIBS 2021) comes the newest addition to this list. If you still think of a center console as a small-to-medium size day fishing boat with few comforts and no amenities, the 455cc is hear to show you how wrong that notion is. She has a full cabin below with a V-berth, galley and full head with enclosed, stand-up shower. Her seating is ample, plush and even luxurious. More preconceptions that may be challenged have to do with her seakeeping ability and overall capabilities on the water.
“Sure,” you may say to yourself, “but she’s still a center console and could never be as stable, safe and comfortable as a traditional, larger offshore sportfish yacht like a big Viking, Albemarle or Jarrett Bay.” Well, again prepared to be surprised. The 455cc comes standard with a Seakeeper 6 and her 13’3″ beam and nearly 50-foot hull (47’2″ L.O.A. to be precise) give her tremendous stability for peace-of-mind in rough seas offshore. Her tower is a serious affair with full controls and a bird’s eye view to rival other sportfish yachts of similar length and size. Plus she is packed full of technology, featuring the builder’s largest ever command center with Garmin’s advanced Electronics Engineers and three massive, in-dash touchscreen monitors that provide continuous access to information about all onboard systems.
Her draft (with the engines fully raised) is 35″ which means fishing shallow sandbars in your favorite fishing grounds in certainly within range. On the business end of the boat she is capable of supporting up to 1,800 horsepower. In fact her hull has been designed specifically to handle the increased horsepower of today’s newest, modern outboard engines, including Mercury’s 600 horsepower V12 Verados. Word is the company is working on a triple 600-HP outboard setup right now. The standard engine package is 425 Yamaha XTOs in white with Helm Master EX included.
SeaVee 450z: Luxury Tournament-Ready Sportfish
As SeaVee likes to say, “building a bigger boat is only the start”. The vessel also has to be designed around your lifestyle and ready to accommodate the types of boating and activites you have in mind. She shouldn’t just be fast, or brawny, but be comfortable and inviting. Fortunately SeaVee kept all of that in mind when building this refined barbarian of the sea.
The 450z is built over SeaVee’s award-winning, twin-stepped “cross-ventilated” hull with the builder’s patented “SpeedRail” technology and a unique geometry that ensures a fixed trim angle throughout a wide range of speeds. “That’s a fancy way of saying you always have a clear view of the horizon, maximum fuel efficiency, more speed and safe predicable handling when making hard turns,” says the builder.
Capable of planing at very slow speeds the 450z can comfortably cruise through the roughest seas and glide across tightly spaced peaks at high speed. She has a 22-degree deadrise along with a 12’6″ beam and a 27″ draft (which is among the smallest on the list). The company also claims she has an unlimited maximum horsepower rating, which sounds a bit silly, but nonetheless, the point is, owners would be hard-pressed to fit any array of existing power plants currently on the market onto her transom that she couldn’t handle. Her biggest power package that we’re aware of was quad 450-HP Mercury Racing engines, giving her a top speed approaching 70 MPH.
Contender 44 ST: Chest-Pounding Offshore Champ
Back in May of 2019, Contender debuted their largest and most anticipated boat yet when they unveiled the 44 ST center console. With a twin-stepped hull, a beam of 12 feet an an overall length of 44 feet plus the ability to support up to 2,000 horsepower on her transom, she certainly delivers some serious performance and offshore fishing capabilities. As Contender says, “from kite fishing to sailfish in South Florida, to the long tuna runs in the Atlantic Canyons” the 44 ST is a wave-cutting fishing machine equipped for the most serious tournament anglers and ready for nearly anything you throw at her.
Fountain 43 NX: An Expertly-Crafted Speed Demon
Fountain Powerboats is another name synonymous with speed. The founder and namesake of the company, Reggie Fountain, has been setting and breaking speed records since the 1970s. Fountain has been building some of the fastest production boats on the market for the last 40 years as the boats have grown in size from their earlier days. He and his driving partner Ben Robertson, famously set the V-bottom speed record of 171.88 miles per hour on the Pamlico River in 2004. That was in a 42-foot V-bottom Fountain. Their record held until 2014 when Brian Forehand hit 172.876 miles per hour on the same river in an Outerlimits SV 43 offshore V-bottom raceboat. With all that history and experience, you can rest assured that the 43 NX center console is a big, battle-tested, speed demon ready for whatever you want to throw at her.
A screaming top end with a controlled midrange and a dry ride to boot, this is an expertly-crafted, finely honed performance machine that will knock the socks off any driver. She’s also a luxurious boat with plush cushions, plenty of seating and a cabin with a queen-sized berth, head and galley. Amazingly this 43-foot boat can achieve speeds in the mid 80s, depending on your load and water conditions.
Jupiter 43: Hefty Yet Nimble
When Jupiter Marine set out to design the Jupiter 43, the company was aiming to combine the best elements of a premium sportfishing yacht with all the advantages of a nimble center console. Fortunately, that’s exactly what they ended up doing. The 43 blends a utilitarian sport fishing boat with a comfortable cruiser to deliver a fast and stable ride while still remaining 100% fishable. She clocks in at just a hair over 43 feet with a 12.5-foot beam and a draft of 27 inches. Her maximum horsepower rating is 1,700 and she has a fairly light dry weight of 18,175 pounds.
Pursuit S 428: Sleek And Brawny
The S 428 is the largest Pursuit boat ever built as well as the most powerful and of course, the most spacious. Powered by quad Yamaha 425-HP XTO engines she can oush 60 MPH and cruises at 37 MPH. An industry-first mezzanine seat module that power-slides aft to reveal a second row of helm seats is a stand-out feature on this top-notch, humongous center console boat.
An offshore fishing machine that offers serious family fun the Pursuit S 428 center console boat is a well-constructed vessel engineered to yacht-caliber standards by one of the leading boat builders in the world. The Pursuit brand is an immense source of pride for the company’s family of employees, including the gratification of being designed, developed and manufactured in the USA.
Boston Whaler 420 Outrage: Rock Solid Wave Crusher
At the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, I got a chance to hop onboard Boston Whaler’s latest star, the 420 Outrage Anniversary Edition. Commemorating 50 years of Whaler’s Outrage models (from the first 21-foot Outrage back in 1971), this flagship boat is powered by triple Mercury V12 600-horsepower Verado outboard engines and has a slew of other awesome features onboard. From modern styling and a full cabin interior to teak accents and an impressive tower complete with a big sun lounger this boat is ready for long days on the water fishing offshore with the best of them. She is 41’6″ in length with a 13-foot beam and a 31-inch draft, along with a max horsepower rating of 1,800.
Nearly everyone familiar with boats knows the story of the “unsinkable legend” that is Boston Whaler. From the early days when founder Richard Fisher pulled the famous publicity stunt of cutting a boat in half and driving it around (documented well by LIFE magazine) to today, Whalers have built a nearly unrivaled reputation for crafting dependable, rugged, American-made family cruising and fishing machines. That’s why government agencies and military forces around the world continue to use the “boats that can take a bullet” and keep on floating.
Outerlimits SX-39: The Sportfish Slingshot
As we stated above, Outerlimits holds the world speed record for a V-bottom hull. More recently, the offshore powerboat builder has jumped into the big center console market, hopping on the trend with their respectable new SX-39 model. While it’s the smallest boat on this list, it’s still a formidable size at just over 40 feet in length, and still among the largest center console boats in the world today. The SX-39 actually has a 41-foot length overall and a 10’5″ beam, along with a total max horsepower rating of 1,800. She’s built over the company’s FVS Hull Technology built using a epoxy resin-impregnated e-glass with carbon fiber reinforcements utilizing an advanced vacuum-bag construction process which offers state of the art strength, speed, and fuel efficiency. On hull number one, Outerlimits is rigging the transom with quad 400-HP Mercury Verados for 1,600 total horsepower. Look for this to be one of the fastest big center consoles on the market in 2022 and beyond.