Thanks to uber-potent outboards like the new Mercury V12 600 hp Verado and the Yamaha F450, boatbuilders of outboard-powered boats have pushed beyond the old limits. A 30-something center console boat used to be “big,” but in this day and age, we don’t think of a center console as a true monster until it breaks the 50-foot mark. Which are the best center consoles over 50 feet? That’s debatable, but everyone will agree that these top 5 are in the running.
Cigarette 52 Thunder
As the only center console in this roundup expressly not for fishing the Cigarette 52 Thunder certainly stands apart from the rest of these contenders, but it fits the definition of a center console in just about every way — it just trades in the rodholders and livewells for gobs of cushy seating and a flaming-hot attitude. The entire boat is bolstered all around and screams of high-octane performance.
This is an all-new model designed to run with a brace of six Mercury Racing 500R outboards. That gives it a hair-whipping top-end approaching the 90-mph-mark — if you can handle it. The boat is also designed for socializing and has facing settees in the cockpit with a dinette between them that raises and lowers with the press of a button; it has an outdoor galley with an electric grill; and down below there’s an extended V-berth and an enclosed head compartment.
See Cigarette 52 Thunder boats for sale on Boat Trader.
HCB 65 Estrella
The 65 Estrella not only stretches the tape well beyond the 50-foot mark, it’s the largest center console on the market today. It can also carry the most power, with options ranging up to sextet Mercury 600s for an outrageous 3,600-hp total (producing speeds in excess of 65 mph). And with 1,730 gallons of gas in its belly it also has the most fuel capacity.
Luxury is a clear imperative on this boat, any you’ll find impressive touches wherever you turn. There are air conditioning vents blowing a cool breeze at the helm, inserts and cushions turn the entire foredeck into a padded playpen, and owners have the ability to customize anything from the teak helm pod to the decking to the three-screen-wide electronics at the helm. Does biggest mean best? That’s your call. But if it does, this one’s a clear winner.
See HCB Estrella boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Scout 530 LXF
Built with cutting-edge carbon epoxy infusion, the 530 LXF is Scout’s flagship model. It can carry up to 2,400 horsepower in the form of Yamaha F450 outboards, Mercury 600s, or Mercury V10 400 hp Verados. Depending on power configurations, top-end can range from the upper-50s to the lower-70s.
While it’s equipped for fishing, the Scout is also designed for cruising and entertaining. The Seakeeper gyroscopic stabilization system, heated seats, and electric sunshade are all present and accounted for. In the cabin you’ll find a private forward stateroom, a private aft berth, separate head and shower compartments, and a galley. Better yet, the cockpit gunwales swing down at the press of a button, transforming the back of the boat into a 150-square-foot beach club. The boat has a healthy dose of tech, too, with digital switching, glass-encased Garmin touchscreens, and remote interface.
See Scout 530 LXF boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Valhalla Boatworks was created by Viking Yachts when they made their entry into the world of outboard boats. And it was a grand entry, indeed, with the initial range of 33- to 41-foot boats constructed and finished in true Viking fashion. Then last winter, they announced a new queen of the Valhalla fleet: the V-55.
The V55 runs on the Michael Peters designed SVVT twin-step hull design, and is powered by either quad or quint Mercury V12 outboards for up to a total of 3,000 raging horsepower. With max power the boat can travel at over 70 mph, and with quads, hits the mid to upper 60s. And, while it is a center console, it’s also a true yacht. The extended console houses a cabin with two staterooms (a pedestal queen berth forward and a pair of bunks aft), separate head and shower compartments, and a saloon with a galley. Additional highlights include two-row seating on the helm deck, a monstrous forward console lounger, and a pair of 65-gallon aquarium-style livewells in the transom.
See our full review of the boat: Valhalla V-55: Apex Predator.
See Valhalla V-55 boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Yellowfin 54 Offshore
Among all these choices, serious anglers will probably gravitate towards the Yellowfin 54 Offshore. Yellowfins are known as fishing boats, period, and despite its grand nature the 54 Offshore holds true to that promise. It has 150 gallons of livewell capacity (stock — more is available), a 200-gallon fishbox, and more rod holders than you can count. Critically, the bow design is also made for anglers with split forward seating that tapers open at the peak, so you can stand comfortably in the very front of the boat and fight fish.
Rigged with quad engines up to 2,400 hp, total, the 54 Offshore is capable of speeds in excess of 60 mph. More interesting, the boat gets 0.5 mph or even slightly more at cruise, which is substantially better than many boats of this size. And although it’s clearly built for pursuing pelagics the 54 Offshore does get some luxury touches, like a cabin with a queen berth and galley, a separate head, and a triple-wide forward console lounger.
See Yellowfin 54 Offshore boats for sale on Boat Trader.
Okay: now, which one are you going to buy…?