The new Everglades 275 CC is at the top of her class no matter how you look at her.
Everglades now offers 13 different models. The reason that Everglades has been so fast out of the blocks and immediately rose to the top of its class in terms of quality, fit-and-finish, safety, and functionality is because the company's founders have been building center console boats for years. In the case of founder Bob Dougherty, he may be the longest center console builder -- 51 years! -- still on the job. Son Stephen Dougherty has been building center consoles for over 21 years, which would make him an old-timer as well by most peoples' standards.
Bob Dougherty, 81, still comes into the Everglades offices to check on the latest developments at the fast-paced company.
The Back Story
Bob Dougherty grew up in Boston, Ma., earned a degree in Industrial Arts and met the founder of Boston Whaler, Richard T. Fisher in 1958, the year that the company began. Dougherty quickly rose to the position of Senior Vice President and was responsible for bringing the V-bottom to the company's product line. Along the way, Bob became the boating industry's expert on positive floatation, the raison d'être of Boston Whaler.
After Fisher sold the company to a conglomerate Dougherty stayed on and was the person who kept the product's reputation strong through a series of corporate buyouts that tossed the brand around like a football. Eventually, Brunswick bought Boston Whaler, and it finally got the home it deserved with a company dedicated to the marine industry instead of empire building.
The Everglades 275 CC has a transom door that opens in for safety and a freeing port in the door that opens out to help dewater the boat quickly should it swamp. Note the thickness of the ss hardware holding the fold-out seat at right.
In 1990 Bob teamed up with his son, Stephen -- of course -- a lifelong boater, and together they started a new company called Edgewater Powerboats. Edgewater quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the center console field as 30 years of experience poured into its new products. While Bob and Stephen where the principals running Edgewater they were not the majority stock holders.
Close-up of the freeing port. A piece of rubber keeps the door closed and water pressure from the inside will open it.
In 1999 the two men rolled out on their own and started Everglades. Today Stephen Dougherty is president of Everglades.
Level Flotation is Key
The secret sauce of Boston Whaler's success has always been its level flotation. Once you have seen the picture of founder Dick Fisher wearing his sport jacket, bow tie and hat sitting nonchalantly on a small Boston Whaler cut in half, who can ever forget it? That mental image of positive flotation sticks in the consumer's brain and sells boats. It more than anything else is the reason why Boston Whaler is still the sales leader in quality center console boats after 51 years and with over 50 competitors.
This 94-quart cooler is on a base under the bait prep console abaft the helm. There are rollers on either side to make it easy to pull out. This is a new wrinkle in the 275.
The out position. The cooler locks on the centerline ss strip.
Along the way the U.S. Coast Guard mandated level positive floatation for all boats powered by a 2-hp engine or more in boats 20' or smaller. But in boats over 20', Nellie bar the door, because almost anything goes. In the words of Stephen Dougherty, boats over 20' can sink "like a rock" as there is no USCG requirement or even an ABYC Standard covering their flotation requirements.
Unfortunately, this detail is not generally known by consumers who assume if a boat has "flotation" or is "unsinkable" that it will float level. They are entirely two different things.
The RAMCAP Process
Knowing the secret sauce, the Doughertys invented a process to make it fool-proof and patented it. It is called the RAMCAP Process (Rapid Molding Core Assembly). In 1999 it was awarded the 1999 NMMA Innovation Award.
A cantilevered transom seat is not so unusual, but look at this...
...when in the closed position it opens from the bottom providing access to the "pump room," batteries, and thru-hull valves.
In a nutshell, the boat's foam core is molded separately from the hull in a shape that mirrors the interior of the hull and deck. After it is formed, cured, it is released from its mold and inspected for voids or other imperfections. The foam part is then coated with epoxy and placed in to a vacuum mold where it is joined under high pressure to the fiberglass hull and deck. The result is a chemically bonded, foam filled boat, with no voids. This foam not only floats the boat level when it is swamped, but it also adds strength to the boat's hull.
See BoatTEST.com Exclusive Interviews with Everglades CEO, Stephen Dougherty--
The 275 CC
The hull and deck moldings of the new Series 5 275 CC are the same as the old Everglades 260. The major structural changes involves the center console unit which Everglades calls the "Command Center." Here there has been a complete and radical re-design. The helm seat and the bait prep counter behind it have also been redesigned. In the 275 CC Everglades has positioned the cockpit scuppers together on the centerline. Note the design of the metal scuppers which maximizes water flow. Compare this design with the typical metal scupper plate with a dozen of so holes punched in it, thereby reducing water flow by more than half.These two shut-off valves are connected to the scuppers above. Note the size and quality of the fittings and the fact that metal piping is used not rubber hose with clamps.
The Everglades 275 CC has all of the fishy stuff and normal amenities that one will find on the top-tier center consoles, things like lockable rod lockers, plenty of rod holders, colored bait tank, large fish box, in-console head, and the like. What sets the Everglades apart, in addition to its RAMCAP process and its level flotation, are three things in our opinion--
1) Flawless Fit-and-Finish
2) Clever Innovations
3) Good Sea-keeping Design Elements
Let's look at these three distinguishing characteristics one at a time.This the bait prep console on the old Everglades 260 with the bait tank in the center. Looks pretty nice until you see the new version...The new and improved bait prep console has a faucet with a hose that will reach all the way across. The cutting board in the center is huge and lifts up to reveal an even bigger sink below. Note the hand holds and the slots for tools. The bait tank has been moved to the port quarter of the boat, just a step away. There is 35" (88.3 cm) between this console and the transom.1. Flawless Fit-and-Finish
Walk through a boat show and if you have a sharp eye it doesn't take long before you will start to see little imperfections in the assembly in many of the boats. First-time boat buyers when they see such things are usually appalled that a $75,000 boat (the same price as a BMW 750 or top of the line Lexus) could get out of the factory with hatches that don't quite fit right, bondo oozing out from under hardware, swivel seats that don't swivel, and scratches in the gelcoat. Most veteran boaters have long since gotten used to it, and often generally excuse such sloppiness with the attitude that these little issues "don't hurt the runnin'."
They may not, put we have been to enough boat shows and through enough boat building plants to know that if you see flaws in fit-and-finish at the big boat show when everything should be perfect, there is often something dysfunctional at the plant, if it is not in downright disarray. (We once walked through a center console factory in an old tobacco barn and by the time we were out of it had a sticky mat of fiberglass strands the size of snowshoes on the bottom of our topsiders.)This is a view looking out of the old Everglades 260. Note the curved windshield, vents on the side, and white rocker switches on the console and on the hardtop. The two powder-coated aluminum pipes are in the skipper's field of vision; but they help hold up the hardtop. This was SOTA just a few years ago. But now...On the new Everglades Series 5 275 CC the aluminum supports for the hardtop have been removed and are incorporated into the windshield mullions for the "Command Center." The windshield powers down to let in the breeze. Note that the rocker switches have been replaced by toggles and the battery switches are at the bottom of the center panel. The engine monitors have been incorporated into one screen in the upper left. No Accident
Flawless fit-and-finish in boat construction doesn't happen by accident. It is a pains-taking and costly process that starts with a demanding and expert CEO, and a perfectionist mentality that permeates the whole staff down to the lowest pay grade. (Typically, in operations such as this you often find the owner or the president out on the shop floor picking up a bit of scrap, thereby demonstrating to one and all that no job is beneath anyone on the payroll.)
Most fiberglass boats are largely built by hand. Boat-building is hard and costly to automate, particularly given the small number of units produced. As a result, boats have many more man-hours in them than do a similar-costing automobile.
As we all know, the more humans are directly involved in manufacturing, the harder it is to produce flawless products. However, a few boat builders manage it, and Everglades is one of them.Everglades' new toggle switches are clearly marked and have a red light that goes on when they are engaged. The old rocker switches were hard to tell if they were on or off and were not so well labeled. 2. Clever Innovations
In our opinion, since its inception just over a decade ago Everglades has been one of a handful of innovation leaders in the boating industry. Whether it has been first or second with a new idea is hard to document because in this business a good, new innovation is immediately copied by the heads-up competitors. Nevertheless, we think you will find more new neat ideas that are useful on Everglades boats than virtually any center console on the market, starting with the RAMCAP construction method already discussed.The New Command Center
While the integrated T-top, windshield and top supports are not exclusive to Everglades, the Series 5 275 CC has up-graded to this system which eliminates the large aluminum supports that were invariably right in the skipper's field of vision and also took up valuable real estate on the cockpit sole right at the foot of the console.
By using the windscreen mullions to support the hard top a major advancement in center console design has taken place. Everglades then carefully considered every aspect of that console with an eye to making improvements.The windshield here is half way down. Power it all the way down for a 40-mph rush. The new forward-facing seats have an arm rest in the middle. The Windshield
On the Series 5 275 CC several other good ideas popped out at us: First was the windshield made of curved, tempered glass. A number of quality builders have vents that open at the top of the windscreen, but the Everglades windshield actually lowers automatically. Why didn't someone think of this before? The old-fashioned big round battery switches that boat builders placed in the head, under a hatch, or somewhere else equally inaccessible, has been eliminated on the new 275 CC. These easy-to-understand and handy switches are front and center on the instrument panel just below the toggles.
Related to this is a windshield washer system that has the fresh water sprayed from the TOP of the windscreen instead of from the bottom or from a spray nozzle on the wiper itself. Making use of gravity is a great idea and we hope automakers pick up on this one. We also like the large windshield wiper. New Bait Prep Center
Below the bait prep console is a large cooler that is on a track and has rollers on either side to make it easy to roll out for use.Helm and companion seat on the old Everglades 260 CC looks pretty good to us...until we saw the redesigned version.......the new Everglades 275 command seats are wider, thicker, and more comfortable. There is a center arm rest in the middle. Note that the large pipe side hand holds on the old version have been eliminated -- that is not how people hold on when crashing along offshore at 40 knots. They have been replaced by more user-friendly hand holds molded forward into the dash. New Switches
Instead of the large back rocker switches that seem to be standard on American-made boats, the Series 5 275 CC has stainless steel toggle switches with a red light on the end to tell you at a glance -- and at night -- if the toggle is on.
Everglades has done away with the age-old round rotor battery switch, and utilizes a new on/off sliding device that makes switching batteries on and off simple and far more convenient. Transom Seating
Everglades says that its cantilevered transom bench seat is patented. Not only does it fold down as seen on many other center consoles, but it also acts as a hatch and lifts up to give access to the boat's pump room. This is clever and useful and avoids problems that we have seen on other boats in this area.
Handholds on both the bait prep station and on the command center console for the navigator have molded in grips that fit human fingers and help secure one's grip when the boat is being tossed about. Note the windshield spritz fixture above where it ought to be on all automobiles as well as on boats. The windshield wiper automatically moves to the side when the window is open.3. Good Sea-keeping Details
It is clear that Everglades is concerned about safety at sea. As mentioned, the fact that the boat will float level if swamped is of primary importance. But any boat when swamped is venerable to the free surface effect which will quickly shift weight and the center of gravity of the boat causing it to capsize. For that reason, immediate and rapid dewatering is imperative if swamped.
The 275 CC has two devices to dewater the boat. At the transom we find two 2" scuppers on the centerline. They are together and are protected by a hinged fiberglass flap to keep them from becoming stopped up. Secondly, there is a freeing port in the transom door. Because the transom door opens in it would be difficult to open it if the boat was swamped. So, to help quickly de-water the boat, Everglades has placed a simple one-way flap valve to quickly release water should it get that high. Forward the new 275 is pretty much the same as the old 260. The cushions on the seats are standard, but there are no cushions for the back rests, which double as lockable rod storage.Other Safety Details
There is nothing like having high freeboard and deep cockpits to increase safety on a small boat. In the case of the 275 CC the cockpit is 29" (73.1 cm) deep aft and 36" (90.8 cm) deep forward. This is from 1" (2..5 cm) to 4" (10.0 cm) deeper than we typically see on many center consoles in this size range.
From bow to stern there are hand holds all over this boat. They are strategically placed so that an angler can move from the stern to the bow and always be able to easily hold on -- even if on hand is on a rod.
It should also be noted that the 275 CC is well-equipped with red and white courtesy lights in the gunwales and red lights in the hard top for night running.On the Series 5 275 CC the electric anchor windlass is standard, as is an anchor, rode and chain. The hatch is large enough for a skipper to be able to reach down and untangle a mess which will invariably occur.What is "Series 5"?
There is far more to the new "Series 5" Everglades models than new design features. Possibly even more important is the fact that all of the Series 5 models have incorporated in the standard MSRP price a long list of optional and expensive equipment, starting with the 275's beautiful T-top and integrated windshield and support system.
Some of the standard items in addition to the Command Center include: 94 quart cooler, helm bolster seats, Ritchie compass, tilt steering, trim tabs, stereo, Kingfish rod holders, forward seat pads, electric anchor windlass, bait well, 66 gallon fish box, powder-coated rails, and courtesy lights.The head compartment on the new 275 was perhaps the least impressive aspect of the boat, in our opinion. The access door measures 18.5" (46.6 cm) wide and 38.5" (97.1 cm) high. Headroom in the compartment measured 5'6.75" (1.69 m) which means standing up inside for most men will be problematical. All builders face this dilemma -- creating 6'6" (1.98 m) headroom would only mean that seeing over the console's instrument panel would be impossible for short skippers. All boats are a compromise, and here it is on the 275. Also, we did not see any shower or sump inside as one often finds on boats of the type and size. Price
The MSRP of the Everglades Series 5 275 CC powered by twin 250-hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboards that you see in the pictures here was $200,670. The "Boat Show Special" price was $159,900.
For that price this particular boat was equipped with a yellow hull, freshwater washdown, outriggers, electric head with macerator, hydraulic sliding windshield, windlass, anchor with rode and chain. The Everglades 275 has places for 36 rods. With all of that gear it should be easy to fill up the boat's 66 gallon fish box.BoatTEST.com Observations
Everglades tries to build boats as good as they can and let the chips fall where they may. That means the boats are expensive, and are usually the most expensive production boats in their class and size. For that reason the company's production runs are low, and the Doughertys are content with building good boats and not a boat-building empire.
Most people can't afford to own an Everglades. But even if you can't fit one into your budget, we urge you to take a good look them, then apply their most important features to the boats that you can afford.