The Sailfish 290 CC is a classic in the genre — wide, deep, brawny and loaded with fishing features including 16 rod holders, 35-gallon (132 L) leaning post livewell, 30-gallon (114 L) transom livewell with high-speed pickup, four fishboxes in the sole and rod storage — name it and it's on board, standard. Her unusual VDS hull works as advertised.
- Cockpit courtesy LED lights
- 3 freshwater showers
- High speed livewell pickup
- 7 stainless steel rod holders
- Deluxe leaning post with 35 gal. livewell with backrest
- Console seat with front
- 80 quart cooler
- 4 insulated fishboxes/storage
- Aerated baitwell
- Boarding ladder with swim platform
|Length Overall||30' 6'' / 9.30 m|
3,629 kg w/eng
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||4.1 sec.|
|0 to 30||5.8 sec.|
|Props||15 1/4 x 19 p Mirage 3-blade|
|Load||2 persons, 11/50 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||78 deg., 78 humid.; wind: 10-12 mph; seas: 1-2|
2 x 300-hp Mercury Verado
Three Yamaha twin engine options from 200-hp to 300-hp
Three twin Mercury engine options from 200-hp to 300-hp
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Mission of the Sailfish 290 CC
The Sailfish 290 CC is an offshore fishing machine with the capability to take the family out to enjoy a day on the water. With the added safety and performance of the VDS hull's high freeboard and Sail-Tech construction, this boat is intended to fish and play hard while providing a solid, stable ride in virtually any weather. The versatility of the boat is apparent just by changing out some cushions and seating arrangements. She goes from being rigged for fishing, to watersports with the kids, to an evening dinner cruise with minimal effort due to all the available features.
Overview of the Sailfish 290 CC
The Sailfish 290 CC is the latest entry into the company’s line of popular center consoles.
Reasons for the model's popularity include lots of storage, ample deck space upon which to work fish when moving around the boat, an efficient hull that is also comfortable and dry in a seaway, and lots of well-conceived and carefully executed features that should appeal to both hard-core fishermen and families.
We tested the 290 CC with just over 175 gallons (662.44 L) of fuel, no water, two people and minimal gear which gave us a test weight of approximately 9,541 lbs (4,328 kgs). The weather was overcast, light fog and winds out of the southwest at 10 to 12 mph. This weather would have minimal effect on the performance of this boat.
Lots of Power and Speed. This boat was quick out of the blocks, thanks to Mercury Verado 600 horses and the boat's VDS bottom design. The stainless steel Mirage 3 blade propellers measured 15 ¼ x 19 pitch. This boat was up on plane in just over 4 seconds and effortlessly climbed to top-end speed. The engines and props seem like a good marriage with this boat.
The Numbers. We recorded a top speed at wide open throttle of 58.6 mph at 6200 rpm while burning a combined 59.6 gph. Best cruise from a miles-per-gallon perspective was at 3500 rpm where we recorded a speed of 26.8 mph while burning a combined 14.7 gph giving us a range of approximately 368 statute miles, with a 10% fuel reserve.
Our Cruising Speed. While testing the boat, in the conditions encountered we liked running her at approximately 4500 rpm with a speed of 40.8 mph while burning a combined 25.0 gph which reduced our range to 330 statute miles.
Towing Numbers. At 3000 rpm, we maintained a speed of 19.4 mph with a fuel consumption of 11.3 gph.
With an impressive freeboard height forward of 48" (1.21 m) and a deep cockpit ranging from 30" astern to 39" forward, this boat should provide a safe, dry ride in most conditions. When we throttled up to get underway from a full stop, she lifted out of the water quickly with minimal bow rise and got on plane in approximately 4.1 seconds. Her running angle was 5-degrees.
VDS Ride Features. When the boat was fully up on plane, it cut through the waves. The outermost sections of the hull didn’t do much (except knockdown spray) until the boat slowed down a bit when they added more lift and efficiency. That flatter outermost section also dampens rocking in a beam sea, when trolling, drift fishing, or at anchor on a busy weekend with lots of boat wakes.
Reverse Chine. A downward hook in the chine deflects spray downward, further increases stability at slow speed, and bites into the water during turns. Something that the operator should be very careful with when turning the boat hard over at speed. The reverse chine has a tendency to dig in and jar the boat. It is best to be holding on when maneuvering at speed.
- VDS Hull Design. Sailfish features what it calls its Variable Deadrise Stepped Hull (VDS) to improve lift and stability, at the same time giving the boat a comfortable ride. The “first” hull angle which is next to the keel and pad, has the deepest deadrise, is designed to cut the water forward and cushion the ride aft when running in choppy conditions. The “second” hull angle has a shallower deadrise which is a compromise between ride and a more horizontal surface for lift. The “third” hull angle is the shallowest of all and is intended to provide both lift and stability.
- High-Freeboard. Her freeboard forward at about mid bow is 47.5" (120.65 cm). Freeboard at the stern is 36.5” (92.71 cm). The high freeboard not only makes it harder for water to get into the boat, it also allows the cockpit to be deeper to keep people inside where they belong. This is particularly important in a fishing boat that may double for a family boat.
- Exceptional Range. At best cruise, this boat has a range of 370 statute miles / 321 nautical miles. She has a fuel capacity of 225 gallons (855 L).
Sailfish provides a deep cockpit depth with 30” (76 cm) at the stern that increases to 40” (97 cm) at the bow. This will provide a sense of safety and security for the family and keep the kids secure. The seats forward – just where most kids will want to hang out – the seatbacks are 19" (48.26 cm) from the top of the cushions to the coaming.
De-Watering. Besides the cockpit depth and extended freeboard, there are a couple of other unique features that instill a sense of security aboard this boat. The deck has 2" (5.08 cm) recessed cockpit drains on each side. The drain covers are hinged for easy access to clean. The transom gate opens out for emergency de-watering if swamped.
4-Step Swim Ladder. We don't know whether to put the 4-step swim ladder as a safety feature or a watersports feature. ABYC standards call for at least one rung at a minimum of 12" (30.48 cm) below the water. Sailfish has gone with 4 steps instead of the industry standard of 3 and has made them deep.
The Sailfish 290 CC tested was equipped with twin Mercury Verado 300 XL, DTS, 300-hp outboards with hydraulic power steering. She is also available with the following configurations:
Yamaha: Twin F200 XB, Twin F250 XCA, Twin F300XCA
Mercury: Twin 200 XL Verado – DTS, Twin 250 XL Verado – DTS, Twin 300 XL Verado - DTS
Noteworthy Standard Equipment
While the 290 CC is meant to be a dual-purpose boat, center console boats tend to be used most often for fishing. Sailfish doesn’t disappoint here, providing many standard features and offering quite a few options that appeal to fishermen while other features and options lean toward non-anglers.
- 16 rod holders
- 30-gallon transom livewell
- 35-gallon leaning post livewell
- Dual fishboxes in the deck
According to the builder, the composite hulls are kept in the molds for a full four days to allow them to cure correctly and are reinforced with Kevlar along the keel. Carbon Fiber is used in the transverse deck supports (see below). The entire stringer system is foam-filled for added safety, which is common industry practice. Many standard features – such as livewells, tackle storage compartments and cast net storage are molded directly into the boat for greater durability.
Prisma Beams. These pre-formed polyurethane foam cores are laminated under the deck every 5 inches. The cores themselves are 5" across and 3" deep and are laminated with carbon fiber along with the fiberglass and resin. They give both stiffness and loading resistance. Not only are they lighter than other core materials such as plywood, but they are also less expensive.
Highly Functional, Easily Cleaned Non-Skid Surfaces. We found a unique raised dot non-skid surface at the decks. It is a dot spacing non-skid surface that is strategically spaced to allow the majority of the dirt to be hosed off with normal water pressure.
Ergonomic Design Features.
As we approached the helm, the ergonomic design of the T-top support caught our attention. Not only was it handy to hold on to, but its powder-coated structure curved out of the way of the entry to the helm. This made for an easy approach to the console and was a real convenience.
In the Bow
Bow Seating with Fishboxes. Up in the bow, port and starboard seat bottoms hinge open to provide 36’’ openings for the twin 260-quart fishboxes. These continue all the way to the bow – each box is 64.5’’ total length. They’re insulated with smooth gelcoat finish and drain directly overboard to keep cleanup quick. Those same attributes also make these fishboxes ideal as two large, dry, easily cleaned storage lockers.
Console Front Seat Removable Cooler. A large 74-quart cooler locks in place at the front of the console. It pops out to create extra deck space forward when fishing and the cooler can travel home for pre-provisioning.
Removable Bow Table.
The table fits atop a gooseneck pedestal, leaving floor space unobstructed even with the table installed. Two extra drink holders compliment the four drink holders already in the bow – two beneath the table pedestal and two more just out of frame on the port and starboard side.
Snag-free Forward Handrails and Cleats. Handrails running most of the length of the bow are recessed into the cockpit combing where they won’t snag fishing lines or dock lines. All hatch hinges and latches are recessed, and all cleats aboard are pull-up types, also to prevent snags and stubbed toes. Fender cleats are included.
A standard bow compartment keeps the anchor secure yet handy, and a hawse pipe within the anchor locker helps stow the anchor rode so it should stay tangle-free.
In Deck Storage.
The forward in deck storage box is large enough to hold a couple of 5 gallon pails for fishing and is also great for wakeboard tow lines, boat washing gear or just about anything else. It’s easy to keep a half a dozen buckets in a dock box and grab only the two needed for the day’s outing.
Console and Midships
The T-top and center console were both redesigned for the 2014 model year, adding a more rounded, flowing look. The new design also better integrates, visually, the console and T-top legs. Options here include a Bimini top and boot, a canvas-covered T-top, or fiberglass top on an aluminum frame. Aluminum T-top framework is powder-coated in either white or black.
Optional T-top includes overhead lifejacket storage and eight rod holders -- six face aft for rod storage while one points straight outboard on either side to be used as impromptu outriggers when trolling. The T-top includes, as standard, welded supports for optional outriggers and an optional overhead electronics box.
Optional Fiberglass Hardtop. The fiberglass top is as long as the canvas-skinned top, but a bit narrower. The hardtop had provisions for outriggers and the optional overhead storage box. It also had 6 aft facing rod holders and one on each side facing outward. Radar pads are molded into the hardtop.
Console Top Storage. The space on top of every center console always seems to collect odds and ends ranging from hats, sunscreen and sunglasses to cell phones to bait fishing rigs, and all that stuff invariably flies off when hitting the first big wave. Sailfish did a good job of designing large trays for stuff, putting this real estate to good use.
A Real Head Compartment on a Center Console. A toilet or Porta-Potti shoved into a center console is nothing new, but Sailfish made the inside of the console into a proper head with 5’8” of headroom, a vanity and sink with a retracting freshwater hose, a mirror, and dedicated, dry storage for essentials like toilet paper and paper towels. (Either a Porta-Potti or a marine toilet are options, though.)
The inside of the compartment is painted white and the surface, while not covered in gelcoat, is relatively smooth. By illuminating the inner liner, Sailfish is saving weight and expense. Given how well the rest of the boat is finished, we think this is a good cost/value trade-off.
Expanded Room for Electronics at the Console. More prime real estate on the dash provides room for an additional navigation display. Because most systems today allow multi-displays a second display here provides secondary information to the captain or allows a second person to help navigate in tricky conditions.
The stainless steel wheel with turning knob was comfortable and responsive when operating the boat. The hydraulic steering made it easy to manage the 600 horsepower pushing us through the water.
The ignition switches are located on the port side of the console, to the left and just below the wheel. When placing the safety lanyard on the captain some care needs to be taken as to where it is attached. In this case, perhaps on a belt loop would be the best place.
Footrest Storage. A footrest built into the rear of the center console also includes storage. This is particularly handy for dock lines as it’s within the captain’s reach. Storing dock lines here prevents having people get up and move around the boat to access lines stored beneath seats -- when approaching the dock all guests should be seated and still for safety.
Helm Seat.The helm seat can either be ordered as a wide bench or with twin, individual deluxe captain’s chairs with armrests atop the leaning post tackle center. These chairs are plush and just as comfortable as they look.
Leaning Post Tackle Center and Livewell. The area behind the helm seat included a 35-gallon livewell to starboard and a bait prep sink and two tackle drawers on the port side.
This leaning post sink is fitted with a 5’ retracting freshwater hose that’s handy for bait prep cleanup or to rinse tackle or sunglasses.
Removable Aft Seats. A pair of optional, removable seats, one in each aft corner of the cockpit, offer the ideal place to sit for a long, lumpy ride offshore. The back of the boat is definitely going to be wetter on a rough day, but the stern offers the smoothest ride.
Cockpit Bolsters. Standard padded bolsters run from about amidships all the way aft in the cockpit, and then another 18” or so toward the center of the boat. These aid fishermen leaning against the cockpit side and also serve as side and backrests for the aft removable seats.
Deep Cockpit. The gunnels are 31”(78.74 cm) above the deck at the aft quarters of the cockpit and 40”(101.6 cm) above the deck farther forward, which is quite high compared to many center consoles and improves safety.
Rod Storage, Toe Rails and More. Rod holders are recessed into the cockpit gunwales and a toe rail is along the bottom to aid anglers' balance. A pair of dedicated recesses accommodate downrigger lead balls, and a small cargo net holds odds and ends.
Aft Livewell. This boat had the 35-gallon live bait well in the leaning post, which is an option, the 30-gallon livewell in the stern is standard. Both live bait wells feature positive-pressure plumbing and clear lids. We are told that this design reduces "bait stress" from water sloshing in the well or constant changes in light. LED lights illuminate both at night.
14 Centerline Rod Holders. Those four rod holders, one each at the port and starboard aft quarters, combined with 8 more on the back edge of the T-top stow 14 fishing rods in the center of the boat.
Tool Storage and Saltwater Wash Aft. The saltwater-wash hose connection is within the transom engine well, right where it’s needed. A tool storage rack across the transom includes a notch to hold the saltwater wash nozzle along with knives and fishing pliers. Accessing the hose, knives or tools might require reaching around or between fishing rods, though.
Recessed Watersports Tow Pylon.
With a quick twist, an optional stainless steel bar lifts above the stern to keep a watersports tow line above the top of outboard engines. This gives the boat added utility.
Battery Switches and Charging.
The boat has a Voltage Sensitive Relay which charges three batteries intelligently. Alternators first bring each start battery to 12.75 volts to ensure quick starts and proper electronic engine operation, then the relay diverts alternator output to the house battery to bring it up quickly, and then all three batteries are topped off. Proper charging helps ensure safety and also maximizes battery life.
Battery switches within the center console are either “ON”, for normal operation, or set to “EMERGENCY” to parallel all three batteries together for emergency starting. Resettable circuit breakers next to battery switches keep bilge pumps powered on even with main battery switches off. The optional windlass circuit breaker is located here as well.
Options to Consider
Based on the performance and speed of the boat we tested, that had the optional Mercury Verado 300 XL DTS outboard engines, we could see an owner opting for one of the other engine packages. This would reduce the cost of the boat and probably would not greatly hurt the overall performance -- other than slowing her down a bit under 58 mph at wide open throttle and conserving some fuel.
Powered by the twin Mercury Verado 300 XL DTS outboards, and a long list of impressive optional features, the Sailfish 290 CC we tested had a list price of $144,142.
The Sailfish 290 CC is a stylish and user-friendly boat that is a capable fishing machine that the family is going to enjoy using too. Her cockpit depth which runs from 31'' aft to 40'' forward is one of the deepest in class and provides safety for the kids as well as anglers. The Variable Deadrise Step (VDS) hull really seems to work, giving the boat comfort and efficiency, and stability, based on our tests of both the Sailfish 275 DC and the 290 CC.