Captain's ReportA Serious Offshore Fishing Boat with a Family-Friendly CabinBy Capt. Bob SmithWellcraft continues to place a great deal of emphasis on its customer demands and suggestions and that execution is shown in the new 360 Coastal. The 360 was a late entry into the Miami Boat Show last January and the original engineering hull has gone through a lot of trials to shake out the bugs and find some added means to improve the model. This one is built right here in the good ole US of A, and not shipped across the pond like some of her sisters. Testing day was a rough one in fact, it was too rough and windy for the helicopter to fly, but it did provide a good day to test a boat designed to run off shore.At the BowThe bow area of this coastal fishing boat is expansive. Getting up front was easy with pathways up the sides and handholds that didn’t feel as though I was walking the high wire over the lion’s den. Stainless rails protect the bow. The pulpit contains the anchor roller and skid plate that lead to the deck mounted foot controls for the windlass. A very deep line locker is just to the starboard side. Looking back, the windshield is plenty high to protect the cockpit and has twin wipers with washers so we could clearly see the way even in the rough spray caused by a late season storm. The hard top had all the antennas and the radar mounted in it as well as the remotely controlled spot light and deck light. Plenty of SpaceOne of the things I kept repeating as I worked my way through the boat was how much room there was to move about. In the cockpit, you didn’t have to worry about hip-checking someone when you moved from the comfortable lounge on the port side to get to the wet bar and lounge behind the helm. The helm itself was large and well laid out. The helm bench was double-wide and on slides so you could set your own comfortable position or push it completely out to brace yourself for handling rough seas. Instrumentation was logically laid out and since our test boat was equipped with Cummins diesels, we also had Mercury SmartCraft monitors which made my life easier as the test captain as well as making it simple to keep an eye on how they performed. The electronic controls give you the ability to finesse the throttles making changes with a light stroke of a finger rather than a shove of both hands. Fishing FeaturesA big step down from the raised cockpit is a huge fishing deck. This wide open space gives you all the room you could want to work lines and bring on the fish or when you are just out cruising with family and friends, you have a large area for the kids to play while you relax and watch from above. Three hatches are in the deck of this area. A center hatch gives you access to the bilges and cut-offs as well as some room to maybe stow the fenders. On each side are large fish lockers for your catch. The hatches are all gasketed to reduce sounds. The bait center is on the port side just behind the raised deck of the cockpit. It has a cover that flips up to reveal a sink with hot and cold water, a deep vertical freezer, a hook and tackle organizer and a couple drawers for tools and other tackle. Over on the starboard side is a 37 gallon Kodiak Pro Flow baitwell. No excuses for not being prepared other than you forgot to load the bait and tackle on board!Engine MaintenanceThere are two ways to check the engines. One is through a day hatch next to the helm. This is a good size hatch with a ladder down to the compartment. The other is through a double ram electric hatch that lifts the entire raised deck of the cockpit for excellent access to the power plants, generator and the rest of the mechanicals. Two folding legs flip down as an emergency prop. The rams are holding up at lot of weight, so please use the props when you go into this space!A swim shower is mounted in the side wall of the stern gate. Switches for the baitwell and engine hatch are located below the gunwale in the starboard corner so everyone is clear of moving parts when using them. The swim platform is typical of fishing boats. It is not as wide as a cruising yacht, but it is ample for just playing around or need a cool dip after winning the battle with a sailfish. The telescoping swim ladder is tucked under the port side of the swim platform and a long grab handle is mounted on the stern for easily pulling yourself back on board.Simplicity BelowThe cabin is nothing short of huge. The company reps tell me the guys all love the Spartan looks and simple comfort and the ladies want something to dress it up a bit. I saw it as simple beauty. Lighting is good with just the hatches, but because this boat is designed to be out in all kinds of weather, day or night, they have provided for great lighting inside. These are not your typical spots with gimbals and a paddle switch, they have dimmers! An island bed is front and center in the bow. Lockers on either side provide for hanging space and two drawers under the bed add storage. The front of the bed lifts up to reveal further storage, but I was not impressed with it as it was beside and behind the box for the drawers. I guess the space was there and I am sure you can find things to hide away in there.The salon lounge is an L-shaped lounger with a table that drops down to convert this into another berth. The seat back actually has hinges and Lee Sheet straps to make another berth overhead! The last time I saw this arrangement was on a sailboat. Smart use of space folks! Across from the lounge is the galley. This is a basic galley with coffee maker, microwave, two burner cooktop, refrigerator/freezer and storage. Aft of the galley is a full sized “wet head” featuring a vanity with sink, shower and VacuFlush head. A drop-down seat (not the toilet seat) provides a comfortable place to relax while you shower and shave.The open spaces of the cabin invite you to relax. Once again, you are not going to be trading paint with each other as you move around down below. It is a simple life inside, but it is relaxing. I can imagine being on a long fishing trip on this boat without being cramped and uncomfortable.SpecsThis boat measures 40’4” length overall with the pulpit and swim platform. She is 13’8” in the beam and weighs approximately 20,000 lbs. She carries up to 400 gallons of fuel and has a water capacity of 52 gallons. Bridge clearance is 10’ and cabin overhead is at least 6’.PerformanceWe tested the 360 on Tampa Bay in 2’chop in 15-20 mph winds. She sliced cleanly through the waves and didn’t pound us much at all. In fact, I stood beside the helm writing the numbers in the book the entire time and I could still read my writing when we finished! Best cruise was around 1750 rpm. This gave us a fuel burn of 28.1gph and a range of 380 miles on the tank. Top speed delivered 2680 rpm and a burn rate of 44.3 gph and range of 299 miles. She is easily up to 30 mph in 12 seconds. Our test model was powered with Cummins 540-hp twin power plants, but you can also have Volvo’s D6 370-hp engines in this package.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Wellcraft 360 Coastal (2006-Not in Production) is 36.8 mph (59.2 kph), burning 44.3 gallons per hour (gph) or 167.68 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Wellcraft 360 Coastal (2006-Not in Production) is 24.7 mph (39.8 kph), and the boat gets 1.13 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.48 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 407 miles (655 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 540-hp Cummins.
Standard and Optional Features
|Autopilot||Optional Raymarine E120|
|Fishfinder||Optional Raymarine E120|
|GPS/Chart||Optional Raymarine E120|
|Radar||Optional Raymarine E120|
|VHF Radio||Optional Raymarine E120|
|CD Stereo||Standard Clarion (includes Sirius Satellite Radio)|
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Head: Fixed||Standard VacuFlush|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|
Yes (10-year Protection Plan )
|5-year Limited Yes|
|ISO Certification NMMA Certification Other Certification||Yes Yes CE Certification (Export Only)|