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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-Finish2) Clever Innovations3) Good Sea-keeping Design ElementsLet's look at these three distinguishing characteristics one at a time.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Price as Tested: $200,670.00 Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.