Grady-White Fisherman 236: Center Stage

The Grady-White Fisherman 236 center console takes fishing seriously, but also adds family friendly touches.


This article originally appeared on boats.com. Republished by permission.


Grady-White is known for building fishing boats, but in the past decade or so they’ve added a healthy dose of comfort to even fish-oriented models like the Canyon 271 FS and the 191 CE Coastal Explorer. This trend holds true with their newest release, the Fisherman 236.

As is true on most center console boats, fishing remains the main mission, but the Fisherman 236 is dressed up with plenty of comfort-adding features.
As is true on most center console boats, fishing remains the main mission, but the Fisherman 236 is dressed up with plenty of comfort-adding features.

The Fisherman 236 doesn’t replace an old boat in the line so much as add a new option. Grady’s current Fisherman 230 is still being offered, and while the specifications for these two boats are similar (though not mirror images; the 236 posts an LOA 11” longer), the layout of the 236 is clearly tilted more towards multiple use. The 230, for example, has a flush transom with a 35 gallon livewell on one side and a stowage box on the other. The 236, on the other hand, has standard swim platforms on either side of the engine, an added 160-quart insulated box on the port side of the transom, a 15.5 gallon livewell (an optional 25 gallon well can be added in the leaning post), and a fold-out transom seat. This transom expansion forces anglers away from the outboard and will make fighting fish around the prop a bit tougher, but adds gobs of stowage and seating.

An even bigger difference can be seen in the bow, where the 230 has a pair of 101-quart insulated fishboxes that can be used for forward seating when the boat’s at rest, and a removable 72 quart cooler that serves as the forward console seat. On the 236, those forward boxes are 89 quarts, the seating has backrests so it can be used comfortably while underway, and the forward console seat is molded in with stowage underneath. Some other family-friendly features this model incorporates include a 10-gallon freshwater system with a shower at the transom, a portable MSD in the console head compartment, and an optional pop-up ski pylon.

The bow of the 236 is clearly oriented more towards comfort than fishability.
The bow of the 236 is clearly oriented more towards comfort than fishability.

Despite the differences, performance between the two models is extremely similar. Since the 230 is slightly trimmer it does have a higher top end (44.0 MPH versus 43.2 MPH with Yamaha F250 V6 four-stroke  outboard) and cruise (32.5 MPH versus 33.1 MPH at 4500 RPM). Differences this minor can be negated by the weight of an extra passenger or a full fuel tank, so they’re more or less negligible. Both boats can also be rigged with an F300, and gain a few MPH at top-end and cruise. Seakeeping qualities should also be very close to one another, since both ride on Grady-White’s variable-degree deadrise SeaV2 hullform.

The Fisherman 236 is built in standard Grady-White fashion, with a composite stringer grid, a transom backed with aluminum bracing, and foam blown into the belowdecks cavities. Hulls are cured in the mold to ensure they retain their shape, and when the boat’s completed a 150-point quality check is performed. Even the canvass snaps and straps are fitted at the factory, an extra step few builders ever bother with.

If you’re buying a 23 center console purely for fishing, the Fisherman 236 may well be a bit dressier than you need. For weekend warriors with a wife and kids, however, this one could be a winner.

Specifications:

  • Length: 23’7″
  • Beam: 8’6″
  • Draft: 1’7″
  • Deadrise: 20 deg.
  • Displacement: NA
  • Fuel capacity: 115 gal.
  • Water capacity: 10 gal.

Other Choices: The Regulator 23 FS tilts more towards fishability, but does have forward seating. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Chris Craft Catalina 23 offers minimal fishability, with maximum comfort and family features.

For more information, visit Grady-White.

 

Fishing Boats

This article originally appeared on boats.com. Republished by permission.


 

Would you like to own a fishing boat? Since you’ve ended up here on this web page, we’re betting it’s crossed your mind. And we’re not surprised—there are a lot of angling boaters out there and according to the latest figures, over 389,000,000 fishing trips took place on boats in American waters in 2013 (the last year figures are available for). Over 22 million Americans own their own boat, over half of all boating outings include fishing, and boats used for fishing range from one-man kayaks to 100’ long yachts that carry dozens of anglers.

Fishing boats come in all shapes and sizes. The one common denominator: they all make for big, big smiles.
Fishing boats come in all shapes and sizes. The one common denominator: they all make for big, big smiles.

If you’re in the market for a fishing boat—or you just think you might be one day soon—there will be a lot of tough decision-making in your future. Purchasing a boat isn’t to be taken lightly, and we hope you’ll do lots of research before deciding just what type to get, much less finding the exact boat you want to buy. We’re also quite glad that you found us. Because helping you do that research is what we’re all about. It’s not all out of altruism, of course. Yes, we do have listings here on boats.com, numbering well over 200,000 at this very moment. And we certainly hope you’ll peruse those listings once you figure out exactly what type and size boat will fit the bill. But until that time comes, we’ll do our best to coach you through your research from several different angles.

WHAT’S THAT BOAT MADE OF?

Modern fishing boats are usually made of aluminum, fiberglass, or in some cases (usually for small boats like car-toppers, kayaks, and canoes) rotationally molded plastic. The differences between these construction materials are significant, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are five of the most important (if somewhat oversimplified) basic traits for each:

Aluminum

  • Lighter than fiberglass or plastic.
  • Less expensive than fiberglass.
  • Dents instead of shattering.
  • Requires very little maintenance.
  • Difficult to form into complex hull shapes.
The Tracker Pro Guide V-16 is a great example of a common aluminum fishing boat.
The Tracker Pro Guide V-16 is a great example of a common aluminum fishing boat.

For more information about aluminum as a boatbuilding material, read Aluminum Fishing Boats: Light, Economical, and Seaworthy. And for an interesting take on welded aluminum boats versus riveted construction, read Lund vs. Crestliner.

Fiberglass

  • Heavier than aluminum or plastic.
  • More expensive than aluminum or plastic.
  • Looks magnificent compared to boats built from other materials.
  • Requires more maintenance than aluminum or plastic.
  • Molded construction allows for complex hullforms, integrated features, and built-in compartments.
Complex hullforms, like the twin-stepped Contender hull seen here, are usually molded from fiberglass.
Complex hullforms, like the twin-stepped Contender hull seen here, are usually molded from fiberglass.

For more information on fiberglass as a boatbuilding material, read Shifts in Fiberglass, and watch Boating Tips: Understanding Vacuum Bagging, and Boating Tips: Understanding Foam Cored Boat Construction.

Plastic

  • Lighter and in most cases less expensive than fiberglass (this becomes less true as boat size increases).
  • Plastic is extremely rugged, and when dented, returns to original form.
  • Looks are not as good as painted aluminum or fiberglass.
  • Requires zero maintenance.
  • Molded construction allows for complex hullforms, integrated features, and built-in compartments.
Rotomolded plastic boats are usually small, but they have a number of advantages.
Rotomolded plastic boats are usually small, but they have a number of advantages.

For more information on rotationally molded plastic as a boatbuilding material, read Rotomolded Dinghies. Also see Triumph 186 Sportsman: Roplene Plastic Fantastic to learn about Triumph’s proprietary rotationally molded Roplene polyethylene boats.

Whichever material they’re made from, fishing boats do, of course, vary quite a bit from one to another. In their most basic forms, we can divide them into two categories: those used for fishing in freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers, and those used for fishing in saltwater bays and oceans. While these three construction materials are used for both categories of fishing boats, as a general rule of thumb, plastic is used for the smallest boats (commonly up to 12′), aluminum is used for small and medium-sized boats (up into the mid-20-foot size range) and fiberglass is used for medium sized and larger boats (16′ and larger, with no limit). Still, there are plenty of differences between freshwater and saltwater fishing boats.

FRESHWATER FISHING BOATS

Freshwater fishing boats can range in size from the 10-foot-long dinghies used on small ponds, all the way up to big 30-foot-plus cabin boats used on big waters like the Great Lakes. They also range in how specialized they are. And for many boaters, this is where things can get confusing. Sure, there are some designs that are merely intended for general fishing use. The best examples of these are jon boats. Jon boats are, in their most basic form, hulls with bench seats and an outboard motor on the back. This simplicity makes them some of the most affordable boats around.

Many new boaters are surprised when they find out just how affordable a jon boat or skiff can be.
Many new boaters are surprised when they find out just how affordable a jon boat or skiff can be.

Pontoon boats are another good example of all-around freshwater fishing boats. They’re commonly designed for multiple activities ranging from fishing to water skiing, yet their large decks and open layouts mean they can be used for a wide range of forms of fishing. And yes, you can find pontoon boats that have been specialized to be fishing platforms. Read more about all the options in Pontoon Boat Basics.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have highly specialized freshwater fishing boats like bass boats and dual-consoles. When it comes to the specific fishing mission they’re designed for, these are usually superior to do-it-all craft like jon boats and pontoons. But on the flip side, they don’t adapt well to different fisheries. That bass boat may rule the reservoir when it comes to casting the shorelines for largemouth, but it can’t hold a candle to a properly outfitted pontoon boat if you want to troll for walleye. And if you decide to take the kids water skiing or wakeboarding instead of fishing for an afternoon, a specialized fishing boat is probably one of the worst options around.

Bass fishing? Yes. Water skiing? Ummmm...
Bass fishing? Yes. Water skiing? Ummmm…

For more information on the boats used for freshwater fishing in general and to learn about some of the different designs, power options, and variables, read Freshwater Fishing Boats.

SALTWATER FISHING BOATS

Anglers heading for saltwater bays or out into the ocean, naturally, need a very different type of boat than most freshwater fishermen. In many cases they must be larger, and better able to handle big seas. But in all cases, they have to be built with different hardware, wiring, and other components that resist corrosion. A boat intended for freshwater use only won’t last very long in the brine. Those designed and built for saltwater use, on the other hand, can be used in freshwater without any problems—and many anglers do go both ways. In fact, 56 percent of the boat owners who went fishing in 2013 cast their lines in freshwater and 21 percent tried their luck in saltwater, but 23 percent went fishing in both fresh and saltwater.

As with freshwater fishing boats, those built for saltwater use range greatly in both size and specialization. In fact, due to the radically different fisheries, conditions, and distances involved in different types of saltwater fishing, even though the market is smaller there are more types of specialized saltwater fishing boats than there are freshwater fishing boats.

Many saltwater boats, like this <A HREF="https://www.boats.com/reviews/maverick-hpx-v-ii-flats-boat-fantasy/">Maverick HPX-V II</A>"technical poling skiff ," are highly specialized for specific fisheries.
Many saltwater boats, like this Maverick HPX-V II “technical poling skiff ,” are highly specialized for specific fisheries.

In general, center-console fishing boats are about the most versatile models you’ll find on the water. But even these are more or less specialized for different fisheries. Bay boats, for example, are center-consoles designed for estuarine fishing for species like redfish and speckled sea trout. Center-console yachts like the Hydrasports 53 Suenos, the largest of its kind, are designed for runs through the open ocean—and could never fish in the shallow waterways a bay boat thrives in. Yet both are most certainly center-consoles.

For more information on the boats used for saltwater fishing in general and to learn about some of the different designs, power options, and variables, read Saltwater Fishing Boats.

HOW BIG IS BIG ENOUGH?

This is a question our boating experts hear all the time. And unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Some 20-footers are capable of handling rougher seas than some boats twice their size. And some that would be perfectly safe on a calm afternoon could be woefully out of place on the very same body of water when a front rolls through and weather conditions get bad.

Essentially, it all boils down to judgment calls. It’s best to own a boat for a while and learn its capabilities, before pushing to larger waters and tougher conditions.

We hope that you don’t feel overwhelmed at this point, but owning a fishing boat is sort of a big deal. Yes, those of you new to boats will have to learn a lot. Shopping for your new boat may take a long time. And in truth, for a fishing boat owner, the learning and researching never really ends. But trust us, it’s worth it. You’ll think so, too, once you pull away from the dock in your own fishing boat. We’d bet our bottom dollar.

Wellcraft 241 Fisherman Bay Boat: Wow Factor

Bay Boats are highly specialized fishing machines and there are entire companies built around this genre alone, so imagine our surprise when we got our first glimpse of the Wellcraft 241 Fisherman at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. This builder’s name is epic, for sure, but in the world of dedicated bay boats it hasn’t been a real force—until now. Take a peek for yourself, and we’re pretty sure you’ll share our initial reaction: wow.

In the Tournament trim, the Wellcraft 241 Fisherman has more than enough razzle-dazzle to draw the eye.
In the Tournament trim, the Wellcraft 241 Fisherman has more than enough razzle-dazzle to draw the eye.

Wow-factor, of course, doesn’t necessarily make for a great fishing boat. So ignoring the wild colors and radical T-top pipework, we settled in for a closer examination. And we liked what we found. It seems that Wellcraft did their fishing homework (tough assignment) before laying out the 241 Fisherman. The stern incorporates a bench seat, but it folds down flush to create an unencumbered casting deck. The integrated fishbox drains overboard. Tackle boxes are built-in. And the 34 gallon livewell has a light, timer, and baby-blue interior (which helps keep baitfish calm, and prevents them from beating themselves up against the fiberglass).

The console design is another feature worth pointing out. Sure, it encloses a head compartment. You expected that on a 24’4” center console. But check out the rodholders; three are flush-mounted on either side, in integrated bump-outs. Their height is staggered so your reels won’t smack into each other, and small ports are built into the hard top for the rod tips to go through. It’s a well thought-out, effective design. Same goes for the forward console seat, which unlike most is actually comfortable, and swings up on gas-assist struts to allow access to the head compartment without too much crouching and bending.

The bowdeck on the 241 Fisherman is well designed and executed.
The bowdeck on the 241 Fisherman is well designed and executed.

Now keep moving forward and check out the bow casting deck. This is an area where many builders simply put on a few hatches to create bulk stowage areas, and call it a day. But Wellcraft really went the extra mile up here. The hatches are finished inside and out, are gasketed and guttered, and swing up on gas-assist struts. Beneath them you’ll find stowage, yes, but there’s also a dedicated compartment for a five-gallon bucket, and a (optional, 14 gallon) second livewell.

Down-sides? Wellcraft made a tough call on gunwale design, opting to minimize width to provide maximum interior volume. Many anglers will like this tact, but some prefer wide gunwales which allow you to walk from bowdeck to sterndeck, and fish from an elevated position 360-degrees around the boat. A side-effect to the narrow gunwales is that it’s easier to accidentally kick rigs stowed in the under-gunwale rodracks, though truth be told, these are better utilized for brushes and mops than fishing rods on the vast majority of the center consoles out there. Still, Wellcraft did take the extra step of padding the inwale where reels would otherwise smack fiberglass. One other beef: I’m not in love with the plastic access hatch in the aft deck, which just seems out of place on such an otherwise finely detailed, high-end boat.

So far as performance goes, while we obviously couldn’t run the 241 in the convention center and no reports we’re willing to quote exits as of yet, Yamaha has issued a performance bulletin on this boat’s smaller sibling, the 221 Fisherman, with a F200 outboard. And in our experience, Yamaha’s performance bulletins are mirror images of what we record ourselves during boat tests. So we can make a few inferences. The 221 cruised in the low 30’s and topped out at 43.4 MPH. Considering that the 241 weighs just 300 pounds more than the 221 and can take 300 horses on the transom (your choice of E-TEC, Mercury, or Yamaha), smart money says a 241 with max power is going to get you past the 50 MPH mark and then some. And since the 241 has a whopping 35 gallons more fuel capacity than the 221, you can safely bet that there won’t be any real loss of range (in the neighborhood of 200 miles, at best cruise).

As for exact numbers, we’ll post an update as soon as we can get a test run. Until then, remember: wow.

Other Choices: Shoppers considering the Wellcraft 241 may also be interested in the Sea Hunt BX 24 BR, which has a similar displacement and shares the 15-degree transom deadrise. Slightly larger, heavier, and more expensive is the Grady-White 251 CE, which is a bit more tilted towards family boating and a bit less towards hard-core angling.

Visit Wellcraft for more information.

See Wellcraft 241 Fisherman listings on Boat Trader.

SPECIFICATIONS
Length 24’4″
Beam 8’6″
Draft (hull) 1’2″
Deadrise 15 degrees
Displacement 4,200 lbs
Fuel capacity 87 gal.

 

Boston Whaler 330 Outrage: Totally Ripped, Totally Ready

When we ran the 2012 Boston Whaler 320 Outrage we found a rugged boat that was geared for serious offshore fishing—just like the rest of the Outrage line. Four years later, why would Whaler give this model a makeover? Why mess with a good thing? Because in this day and age, boaters expect better. Sure, a boat can have a great design. It can be built as tough as they come, and perform like a champ. But if there’s a better boat out there, thanks to light-speed communications and modern digital resources, boaters will find it. And when it comes to boats like the 320 Outrage, that better boat is the 330 Outrage.

The 2016 330 Outrage replaces the 320 Outrage., and while basic design and construction remain the same, there are some significant differences between these models.
The 2016 330 Outrage replaces the 320 Outrage., and while basic design and construction remain the same, there are some significant differences between these models.

Here’s why: Boston Whaler has started out with their proven “Unibond” construction (a glass-foam-glass sandwich that eliminates voids and completely bonds the hull  to the deck), kept the fishy center-console layout, and added in a dash of design innovation that makes the boat more useable for purposes other than fishing. One great example lies in the bow. Many center consoles, including the 320 Outrage, have forward U-shaped or V-shaped seating up there. Many also have a forward console seat. This arrangement cuts back a hair on fishability, since the forward seating pushes you away from the forward gunwales. On the flip side, it obviously adds quite a bit of seating capacity. On the 330, Whaler made the bow seating more of a C-shape. There’s still room for three people to sit on the forward seat, but anglers can stand right up against the gunwales and use a lot more of the bow’s deck space for fishing. Meanwhile, the forward console seat has been extended and turned into a full-blown lounge.

Specifications:

Length 33’1″
Beam 10’2″
Draft (hull) 1’10”
Deadrise 23 degrees
Displacement 9,000 lbs
Fuel capacity 300 gal.
Water capacity 40 gal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new bow design in the 330 Outrage is a classic example of having your cake, and eating it too. Both seating and fishability have been improved.
The new bow design in the 330 Outrage is a classic example of having your cake, and eating it too. Both seating and fishability have been improved.

The net result is the same seating capacity—except that those kicked back on the console lounge will find it a good deal more comfortable—with additional fishing space. Added bonus: you get a huge stowage area under the lounge, which is fitted with rodracks. A cut-through into the console head compartment lets rod tips protrude through, and you’ll be able to fit over a dozen rods of virtually any length down there.

Another improvement can be found just behind the helm. Several different leaning post arrangements are available, one of which incorporates a new aft-facing seat design with a fold-down backrest that transforms into a table. As a die-hard angler, I’d probably opt to have the optional 40-gallon livewell here instead, to complement the standard 50 gallon well in the transom. Or, maybe I’d go for the version that houses tackle drawers, a cutting board, sink, and Yeti cooler. But if you use your boat for entertaining as well as fishing, you’ll probably appreciate having a table that, for once, doesn’t wobble around on one of those lousy pedestal mounts. You’ll also like the fact that you don’t have to hunt for a place to stow the table and pedestal, because when you want to go back into fishing-mode you simply swing the table up and back into the seat-and-backrest position. And if you really don’t care much for fishing in the first place you might even want to swap out the whole affair for the summer kitchen option, with an electric grill, inverter, and cooler.

Boston Whaler is great at designing in folding, flipping, converting features. This aft leaning post seat/table is the latest.
Boston Whaler is great at designing in folding, flipping, converting features. This aft leaning post seat/table is the latest.

We all know, however, that all things on boats have a down-side. And even if these design changes are ideal for your uses, you’ll still have to face the fact that with improvement often comes a price increase. The 320 Outrage was already a relatively expensive boat, and yes, the 2016 Outrage does cost more. You’ll have to plan on spending over $300,000 to get into this boat and depending on how you get it rigged and optioned, could boost that number by 25 percent. The flip side to this equation is that, as you can tell from looking at the used boat price range above, Boston Whalers as a rule tend to retain value better than the average boat on the used market. So while it may be a big financial bite initially, in the long run you’ll recoup more of your investment than you otherwise might.

One of the things that will affect just where those initial price numbers fall will be the choice you make regarding powerplants. The 330 is available with twin outboards ranging from twin 250 to twin 350 Mercury Verados. Get the 350’s. They’ll net you a spiffy cruise in the upper 30’s, and an eye-watering 53.2 MPH top-end. Who wouldn’t love performance like that?

Performance Data:

Test conditions: 82 degrees, 2 POB. Performance data courtesy of Boston Whaler.
RPM MPH GPH MPG
1000 5.5 2.5 2.2
2000 9.4 6.1 1.5
3000 12.5 14.2 0.9
4000 31.7 21.3 1.5
5000 41.7 31.6 1.3
6000 50.3 52.8 1.0
6400 53.2 60.3 0.8
Power Twin 350 Mercury Verado outboards, swinging 16″ X 17″ three-bladed stainless-steel props.

 

The bottom line: yes, you do have to pay to play, but with the 330 Outrage, Boston Whaler has quite simply built a better boat. Take one for a sea trial or poke through a 330 at a boat show, and we’re sure you’ll agree.

Other Choices: The Scout 320 LXF and Jupiter 32 are center consoles that run in similar waters. Those who are less interested in fishing and more interested in an entertainment/luxury platform (and who are willing to push the price envelope even further) might be interested in the Chris Craft Catalina 34.

For more information visit Boston Whaler.

See some current 330 Outrage listings.

 

Bayliner VR5: Boss Bowrider

Bayliner’s 2016 VR5 — a new 20-foot bowrider —  is a development of the builder’s popular 185 model. And it’s quite a development. Improvements include gelcoated lockers, a self-bailing cockpit, new touches in seating, helm station details, stowage compartments, and more.

The 2016 Bayliner VR5
The 2016 Bayliner VR5

The biggest move, however, was to carry the boat’s eight-foot beam all the way to the bow, creating more room and comfort  in the forward seating area. Aft seating, too, has been extended, so the comfort volume of the design has increased dramatically.

As this overhead view shows, the eight-foot beam of the VR5 is carried all the way to the bow, creating more room in the forward seating area.
As this overhead view shows, the eight-foot beam of the VR5 is carried all the way to the bow, creating more room in the forward seating area.

Lenny Rudow at boats.com recently put the VR5 through its paces with the standard MerCruiser 4.5-liter sterndrive (200 hp), and had good things to say not only about the ergonomic improvements but about the boat’s handling, ride, and performance. He praised the fuel economy of 3.7 mpg at a high cruising speed of 4000 rpm and 35.6 mph. Just as impressive was the reading at 3000 rpm and 25.3 mph — 4.5 mpg. Those are fine figures for a V-bottom design that can chew its way through wakes and chop with minimal jarring to its passengers. (For those in search of a high top-end speed, the boat hit 46.1 mph at 5000 rpm.) Here’s Lenny’s video review:

Bayliner has managed not only to make all those improvements over the 185 inspiration, but reduce the cost of the newer boat. The base VR5 is priced at $27,000.

For more information, visit Bayliner’s VR5 page.

View Bayliner VR5 listings on Boat Trader.

 

 

Boat Trailering Video Series: Expert Advice

There are good things and bad things to say about boat trailering. For people who are used to it and have their systems down, the good far outweighs the bad. For those who are inexperienced or lazy about maintenance, trailering can lead to hard knocks, and after a couple of those, their boats tend to stay in the driveway.

Don't hug the corners -- leave extra room for the boat to swing in behind you. It gets easier with practice. Photo courtesy of <A HREF="https://www.paulcroninstudios.com">Paul Cronin Studios</a>
Don’t hug the corners — leave extra room for the boat to swing in behind you. It gets easier with practice. Photo courtesy of Paul Cronin Studios.

But let’s dwell on the dedicated, experienced trailer-boaters. The world is their oyster. Many can keep and maintain their boats at home. It’s cheap – no, wait, it’s free – and they have all the conveniences of workshop and kitchen right at hand. Others can store their boats at low cost in boatyards near home, or near the waters they usually ply.

Being able to transport your boat by road means you can get to distant lakes, rivers, and coastlines to do some fishing or wake-surfing, or just explore a new area. All you need is the boat, a trailer, a launching ramp, and a tow vehicle to make it all happen.

So, if you’re new to trailering, or you’re already set up but are a little gun-shy, what can you do to become a competent road warrior? Nothing beats experience, but it always helps to get as much expert advice as you can. Lenny Rudow, our colleague over at boats.com, has plenty of experience. If he ever had any qualms about trailering, they were long ago erased by his lifelong quest for fish and fowl for the table. He’s hosting a new boat towing series — feature articles and videos — sponsored by Ram trucks, and the first installments are online:  Safety Tips for Towing a Boat, then  How to Tow Hunting Boats (which focuses mostly on how to handle a truck and trailer in sandy or muddy conditions), Towing in Mountainous Terrain, and What to Look for in a Tow Vehicle.

Have a look at the safety tips video below and stay tuned to boats.com for more in Lenny’s series.

There’s plenty of trailering advice here at Boat Trader, too. Before you get to the water, read:

Five Tips for Ramp Launching

Trailer Smarts: Road and Ramp

Boat Launching Basics: Launch and Load

 

Stamas 289 Tarpon: Offshore Pedigree

The Stamas boatbuilding company has been a going concern in Florida since before World War II.  Nick and Pete Stamas of Tarpon Springs learned the traditional craft in the 1930s, then made the bold move to fiberglass in the 1950s. Today, the Stamas plant is still in Tarpon Springs, and the family builder is still turning out well-designed, well-built boats in a variety of models (12 at the time of this writing) from about 29 to 40 feet LOA.

The Stamas 289 Tarpon center-console is a development of the successful 270. The 289 is also available in a cuddy cabin version called the Aegean.
The Stamas 289 Tarpon cernter-console is a development of the successful 270. The 289 is also available in a cuddy cabin version called the Aegean.

There’s a recent revision in the line-up called the 289 Tarpon, which is a development of a Stamas stalwart, the 270. The hull is the same, but the extra length comes mainly from a beefy anchor pulpit added to the deck mold. More importantly, the tried-and-true underwater hull design hasn’t changed. Transom deadrise peaks at 24 degrees, and there’s both volume and flare up forward, making the boat seakindly for offshore angling. The 9’7” beam gives stability, while good cockpit depth, wide coamings, and toe-kick space under the coaming bolsters mean secure footing and leg bracing for casting and working with fish alongside.

The dash on the 289 Tarpon offers plenty of room for electronics.
The dash on the 289 Tarpon offers plenty of room for electronics.

Like the other offshore boats in the Stamas line, this one is built with closed-cell foam for flotation. Another notable construction detail is that all the major components, including the inner liners and the hull-deck joint, are glassed together before being mechanically fastened. This makes for a super-strong, quiet ride. It also lets Stamas offer a seven-year structural warranty on the hull.  Here’s more on Stamas construction details.

Although there’s an inboard power option, most people will choose twin outboards for simplicity, redundancy offshore, and space savings in the cockpit.  Maximum combined power for the outboards is 450 hp.

The same hull is offered in a cuddy-cabin version called the 289 Aegean. There’s still plenty of fishability, but also a convertible dinette/V-berth where the kids can nap,  a small enclosed head, and a galley area.

Watch Lenny Rudow’s First-Look video of the 289 Tarpon (just before Stamas changed from the 270 name) at the Miami Boat Show, below. Read his full review: Stamas Tarpon 289: Bread and Butter Fish Boat. And for more information, visit Stamas.

 

 

 

Aquila 44: Power Cat with All the Angles

All boat people are dreamers. One dream involves owning a platform big enough for family and friends to have a great time together, but also to have some privacy; a boat optimized for outdoor fun on the water, and for comfortable inside living; a boat that’s both stable and seakindly.

The Aquila 44 power cat is built of premium materials for longevity. Many of the design elements are both modernistic and practical.
The Aquila 44 power cat is built of premium materials for longevity. Many of the design elements are both modernistic and practical.

Charter companies have long known the secret here: Build big, roomy catamarans with well-designed living and play spaces. Until recent years, sailing rigs prevailed on these boats, but inevitably the builders started deleting the sails on some models, and beefing up the diesels for all-power chartering.

MarineMax, the mammoth American boat retailer, has gotten up to speed very quickly in the big power-cat world, using top design talent and premium building techniques to produce (as of this writing) three primary models, a 38, a 48, and the new 44-footer in the middle, all dual-purposed for both charter and private sale.

The master stateroom stretches across the full beam of the cat.
The master stateroom stretches across the full beam of the cat.

The 2014 Aquila 44 (known in the charter trade as the MarineMax 443) serves as a good example of a large-scale collaborative boatbuilding project. The Slovenian firm of J&J Design (for brothers Jernej and Japec Jakopin) drew up the plans; the boat is built in China by the Sino Eagle Group, and the sales, marketing, charter vacationing, and general clout is provided by MarineMax. All companies have wide experience in the global recreational marine industry.

The design maximizes hull volume and deck space for good living in the elements and belowdecks, but adds sharp, modernistic styling that serves both practical and aesthetic purposes – tinted, forward-slanting upper bridge windows; a pronounced overhang for shade over the tinted main deck windows; a hardtop well-integrated with the antenna arch; big hullside windows like speedy parallelograms, and a sheer that rises dramatically from transom to bows. Jernej and Japec know what they’re doing in terms of visuals. They make space and comfort look racy, even with the boat standing still.

But the boat doesn’t stand still. Powered by twin 225-hp Volvo-Penta diesels, the 44 has a top speed of 17 knots. At a leisurely cruising speed of about seven knots it gets very good fuel economy for a boat of its size — about 2.9 nautical mpg.

The layout is available in a three-cabin/three-head version, shown here, or with two cabins and two heads -- a geat situation for a liveaboard couple.
The layout is available in a three-cabin/three-head version, shown here, or with two cabins and two heads — a great situation for a liveaboard couple.

The hull is built with top-quality vinylester resin to prevent water intrusion, NPG gelcoat, and resin-infused fiberglass in the main hull and deck construction. These materials and methods will help insure longevity — very important in the physically tough charter trade, and for resale value among private owners and buyers. And it has a really impressive features list.

The 44 is available to private owners in a three-cabin/three-head version, or, for really ultimate elbow room, comfort, and utility space for liveaboards, a two-cabin/two-head version.

Boaters interested in a serious test-drive of the boat  (in a  nice location) will be able to take one on a charter through marinemaxvacations.com.

Here’s a look at Lenny Rudow’s video review of the Aquila 44.  Also read his full review on boats.com: Aquila 44: Power Catamaran or Trawler? Yes. For yet more information, visit MarineMax.

 

Princecraft Sport 177: A Family Boat With a Fishing Pedigree

Last month we took a look at the Princecraft Nanook DLX WS, a dedicated fishing boat from the prolific Canadian aluminum boatbuilders. While boats.com reviewer Lenny Rudow was visiting the company in Princeville, Quebec, he also got a ride on the Sport 177, and we thought it would be good to showcase it here on Waterblogged, too, as an example of what a builder can do with the same general shape and size of boat, but with a different focus as to purpose.

The Princecraft Sport 177 does a little of everything -- and can do it fast.
The Princecraft Sport 177 does a little of everything — and can do it fast.

The 177 is about a foot longer than the Nanook, with a few more inches of beam and over 300 pounds more displacement. Accordingly it’s rated for a 150-hp outboard, as opposed to 115 for the Nanook, and with that extra power the boat really takes off — Lenny ran it at nearly 50 mph.

Even with double-plating at the bow and chines, and a deck of vinyl-covered pressure-treated marine ply,  the 1,330-pound boat gets an outstanding 5.5 miles to the gallon at a fast cruising speed of 36 mph.

The main difference between these two models is that while the Nanook is all about fishing, the Sport 177 does a bit of everything, with the whole family in mind: You can fish, you can ski or wakeboard or go tubing (there’s a socket aft for a tall drop-in tow pylon), or you can lounge and picnic on plenty of well-thought-out seating fore and aft. There are lots of good stowage spaces and handholds all around the boat, including two livewells, a roomy deck locker with rod-holders, and a passenger-side console glove box.

Watch Lenny’s full video review below. For more information, read his 2014 Princecraft Sport 177 Boat Test Notes, and visit Princecraft.

 

Princecraft Nanook DLX WS: Aluminum Fishing Star

The company has been through a lot of names and corporate incarnations over the years, but Princecraft, of Princeville, Quebec, has been building high-quality aluminum boats for almost six decades. That’s plenty of time to hone your skills. Now owned by the Brunswick Corporation, Princecraft produces three major lines – fishing boats, deck boats, and pontoons.

The Princecraft Nanook DLS WS is rated for 115 horsepower. With the Mercury powerplant shown the boat cruises at over 30 mph. and tops out in the mid 40s.
The Princecraft Nanook DLX WS is rated for 115 horsepower. With the Mercury powerplant shown the boat cruises at over 30 mph. and tops out in the mid 40s.

Among the fishing boats, there’s the DLX series – described by the company as “fishing machines” for devoted anglers. And among those DLX boats is the Nanook, a 16’6” speedster with a 7’4” beam, rated for a single 115-hp engine, with a 20-gallon built-in fuel tank down low on the centerline, and a 5-person capacity. The hull is fabricated from 5052-H35 marine-grade aluminum. The WS version has a dual-console arrangement with a big, protective walk-through windshield, while other versions are offered with dual consoles and individual screens, or more stripped down, with a single helm console to starboard and the midships raised deck to port uncovered.

And a fishing machine it is, in every important way. The beam is carried all the way aft, which provides both casting room and stability. That aft deck and the surrounding stowage areas are uncluttered, with emphasis on space for rods, PFDs, and loose gear on the sides, and a generous aerated livewell aft. While most anglers will prefer to stand and cast in those wide-open spaces, there are three pedestal sockets aft and one forward, so that seats can be moved easily to wherever the action is – or isn’t.

One of the features that active fishermen will appreciate is that the deck is uncarpeted. Instead, the surface is easily-cleaned nonskid that won’t  absorb fish blood, water, mud, or odors.

Lenny Rudow, a senior editor at boats.com, reviews the DLX WS below. You can also read his full review, 2014 Princecraft Nanook DLX WS Video Boat Review and study his Boat Test Notes.

For more information, visit Princecraft.