The six boats in this roundup run the gamut from hard-core fishing machine to family fun boat, but any one of them will let you drag a lure or take a romantic sunset cruise around the harbor. When shopping for a center console, serious anglers look for lockable rod and tackle stowage, plenty of rod holders, insulated fish boxes that drain overboard, and a live well. Swimming and scuba diving enthusiasts want easy access to and from the water, and stowage for gear and tanks. Families want plenty of comfortable seating, an enclosed head, coolers for food and drink and a place to lay out lunch. You'll find all of these among this six pack of boats -- but maybe not all in the same one. Read these intros to each boat, jump to our Captains Reports for complete information, and don't hesitate to contact us at BoatTEST.com if you have questions.
The Sailfish 320CC is designed for fishing, and comes with a long list of angling-oriented standard equipment. There's plenty of room for electronics, stowage for 30 rods, multiple tackle lockers and two baitwells. A T-top is standard, as is an enclosed head. Under the water, the Sailfish 320CC rides on a variable-deadrise hull: The deadrise changes in three discrete steps from 24 degrees at the keel to 22 degrees at the chine, according to the builder.
When running on plane, the sharp centerline sections produce a smooth ride in a chop; at rest, the flatter deadrise at the chines makes a more stable platform for trolling, casting, drifting and just sitting at anchor than a conventional deep-V.
The Sailfish hull is reinforced with Kevlar in critical areas, and left to cure in the mold for four days, according to the builder, to lock-in the designed shape. Carbon-fiber reinforcement stiffens the deck, while keeping it light. These are expensive construction materials and she is the only one of the six boats here which uses them.
Mako's 334 CC comes in three Editions: Standard, Bluewater Family and Sportfish. The Standard Edition comes with lots of bells and whistles, including a Garmin electronics package, baitwells and a leaning post with a freshwater sink and cooler. There are two in-deck coolers, a tuna/dive door with a ladder, and a walk-in head. And the twin Mercury outboards are rigged with JPO -- Joystick Piloting for Outboards. That's a welcome standard for most anglers.
The Bluewater Family Edition upgrades the seating, adds a bow table and an auto-retractable sun shade on the T-top. The Sportfish version is for the fishing fanatics, with an upper helm station and outriggers, and an open bow with a coffin box that tips hydraulically for access to stowage underneath. Any Edition can be powered by twin or triple Mercury Verado outboards, 300- or 350-hp, or twin 400s. Our test boat had triple 350s, and hit 56 knots WOT; figure on cruising at around 36 knots. If top speed is not an issue, twins are more economical to buy and should produce good performance. An alternative for the speed-minded is a pair of Mercury's Verado 400R Racing XXLs on the transom instead of triple 350s. They will cost about the same as triples and the weight saved with twins rather than triples -- 668 lb. -- combined with less gearcase drag will go a long way to offset the lower total horsepower. She is the only boat in our sextet which offers the 400-hp Mercury Racing engines.
The World Cat 320 is at the other end of the power spectrum: Rated for 600-hp maximum, she demands the smallest engines of any of these six boats, thanks to her narrow, low-drag catamaran hulls. She is a brand new boat and we have not tested her yet, put plan to within the next month or so. Her builder claims a top speed of around 45 knots with twin 300-hp Yamaha outboards, and an economical cruise speed of around 16-17 knots. Using World Cat's figures, we calculate a cruising range of about 480 n.m. at that speed, using our usual 90% of total fuel capacity. That's a lot of cruising between fuel stop.
The World Cat 320, because she carries most of her 10'6" beam all the way forward, has a lot of cockpit room: She'll seat 12 people, half of them forward of the console. She's a real fishboat with 12 gunwale-mounted rod holders, 1,300 qt. of insulated boxes, a live well and tackle station. She has lockable rod stowage; pull-up cleats; a fiberglass hardtop with spreader lights; a windlass with remote switches, and an anchor and rode; and an enclosed head.
Most important, the World Cat 320 is probably the most comfortable boat of the six in rough conditions. There is nothing like a cat design for stability, and she has it.
Boston Whaler's 330 Outrage has center-console DNA running deep in her laminate: Boston Whaler built the first production center-console boat, back in the early 1960s. The new 330 Outrage has a new V-hull, with variable deadrise (sharp entry forward warping into 23-degrees at the transom), and a running pad to boost speed and cut time-to-plane. With twin 350-hp Mercury Verados, our test boat broke 45 knots WOT, cruised most economically in the high-20-knot range.
The 330 Outrage can be optioned for fishing, diving or family cruising. The standard boat has comfortable seating fore and aft; cockpit coaming bolsters; a windlass with a plow anchor in a hawse pipe; a portside dive/boarding door with ladder (much handier than climbing over the stern platform, between the outboards); a hardtop with lights and an electronic box -- in short, she's basically ready to go.
The options just fine-tune her: scuba-tank racks; underwater lights; an upgraded hardtop; a bow thruster; a stainless anchor rather than the standard galvanized plow; a painted hull, if you want a color other than white, and so forth. Most important, she contains enough foam in her structure that she will float level if swamped. She is the only boat of the six that will make that claim in writing.
Grady-White's Canyon 336 is a fishing machine, like all that builder's models. Grady-White supplies all its boats with virtually everything needed to go fishing as standard equipment. The 336 comes with a fiberglass T-top with electronics box, rod holders and spreader lights; an anchor windlass with remote switches; dockside power with galvanic isolator. There's a VacuFlush head, sink and shower in the console. A bow thruster is optional, but we'd choose Yamaha's Helm Master control system: It's Yamaha's drive-by-wire control system that incorporates a joystick for precise maneuvering.
The Canyon 336 is rated for 900 hp, max, but Grady-White will rig her with twin 300s or 350s instead of triple 300s, if you don't need the horses. We tested the boat with twin 350 Yamahas, found a top end of 45 knots, best cruise around 24 knots. Grady-White's tests showed the triple 300s are a couple of knots faster, but produce about the same most-efficient cruise.
She has the widest beam (11'7") of these six boats, wider even than the World Cat 320, and wide enough to seat three abreast at the helm and leave room for easy passage on either side. That beam, together with her 20-degree deadrise at the transom should make her a relatively stable monohull. FYI—her hull was designed by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, pioneers of the deep-V.
Andros Boatworks Offshore 32 is a fishing-oriented center console. She's a Michael Peters design -- he's the naval architect behind many, many fast boats, from full-blown raceboats to megayachts to sportfishermen. Two years of R&D went into the Offshore 32's design, according to the builder, with input from some of the world's top professional fishermen.
The Offshore 32 is built with vinylester resin throughout the laminate (most builders only use 1-2 coats on the outer skin only which is enough to stop osmosis), and is hand-laid with high-strength bi- and tri-axial fiberglass fabrics. The transom, stringers and bulkheads are foam-cored, and secondary bonds are made with high-tenacity Plexus adhesive, so she should be durable. Her deadrise is 24-degrees at the transom.
Her dry weight is just 8,500 lb., so she's the lightest boat in this fleet of six, and the narrowest -- 1' 10" less than the beamy Grady-White. With her svelte beam and light weight, she should be fast and fuel efficient. We tested the Offshore 32 with twin 300-hp Evinrude E-TEC outboards, and found a top speed of 46.1 knots, best cruise around 31 knots.
Andros Boatworks is the smallest and least well-known of the six boats presented here, and she is the only one sold factory-direct. It also means that this boat does not have all of the polish that the other builders have; nor does it have the corporate infrastructure of other five brands. With Andros Boatworks, buyers can talk directly to the builder and customize the boat to some extent.
As always, don’t hesitate to drop BoatTEST.com a note if you have a question about any of these boats.