Technology: Love it. Fear it. Despise it. Regardless of your attitude toward all things innovative and occasionally extreme, we have to agree about one characteristic of today’s explosive technological progress: You’d better expect it.
High-end semicustom fishing boats, like luxury automobiles, surprise us each year with their fresh capabilities. To get a feel for the features — some standard, others optional — now trickling into the fish-boat market, we talked with six builders who are known for their leading-edge advancements. (Boats are listed alphabetically by builder.)
SPECS: LOA: 42 ft. 6 in. • Beam: 13 ft. • Transom Deadrise: 22 deg. • Draft: 2 ft. 7 in. Dry Weight: 22,000 lb. (w/o engines) • Max Power: 1,675 hp • MSRP: $803,882* * (w/ quad Mercury 300 Verados, electronics, vessel monitoring)
Whaler’s Outrage flagship 420 represents a clean-sheet-of-paper design and incorporates the Lenco Auto Glide dynamic trim-tab system, says Wil Rogers, director of large boat business. The system automatically helps the hole shot, creates extra lift during acceleration and optimizes trim on plane.
The vessel also offers a fully integrated electrical platform: The Mercury outboards, Raymarine electronics and other electrical systems share a common network. The company’s Whaler Watch comes standard and allows for full remote monitoring of the boat with regard to both boat position (theft monitoring) and key functions.
“The demand for integrated vessel management will only grow in the future,” Rogers says. “Our owners value the time they spend on the water, and eliminating the worry of systems issues will contribute to their enjoyment.”
Other standout features include a motorized vent at the top of the front windshield panel to usher in fresh air on hot days; a tablet device with an app to customize CZone digital switching; a motorized shade extending aft; hot and cold freshwater faucets, plus a retractable hose with hot and cold water for washing down the deck; a switch-activated teak bow table; and a freshwater washdown hose inside the anchor locker.
“The boat also has multiple air conditioners at the helm deck and in the cabin. Numerous refrigeration options, from fish boxes to cockpit refrigerator-freezers, should satisfy the most serious fishermen or pleasure cruisers,” Rogers says.
Everglades was among the first boatbuilders to introduce cutting-edge features such as a patented hydraulic windshield. “There is no such thing as a perfect boat, and as long as technology can help us improve our product, we will continue to use it,” says Shane Kwaterski, director of dealer development.
In its construction, Everglades uses what it calls RAMCAP, building its hulls around pre-molded closed-cell structural foam. The center console and hardtop are constructed as a single unit, with the footing for the frame anchored to stringers belowdecks.
The company also looms all its wiring in-house, using tinned wire, Deutsch connectors, shrink tubing and circuit protection. The process allows buyers to customize onboard systems.
Everglades designed the 435’s helm to accommodate three flush-mount 16-inch displays to match yacht-style wheelhouses. The boat’s windshield raises and lowers electronically to allow airflow and eliminate early-morning glare.
Other design details speak to further customization, though they could be considered lower-tech: trays for cellphones behind the second-row helm seating, a slide-out Yeti cooler beneath the forward module, a telescoping SureShade canopy and an electrically converting interior-console berth.
“Our customers wanted a boat that they could move up to, with big-boat features, but still have the convenience and ease of use of a center console,” Kwaterski says. “Also, customers stepping down from larger sport-fish boats and custom sport-fishers wanted the same fit and finish and technology as their large boats in a smaller center console.”
HydraSports Custom went to naval experts to find the custom techniques necessary to build this 53-foot, outboard-powered center console. In fact, the vessel is one of the first commercial deployments of Structural Composites’ Navy SBIR advanced combatant craft technology.
The single-skin transom and hull provide the durability and ease of maintenance of solid-laminate construction but at a weight equal to or less than sandwich construction, says Terri Nuechterlein, HSC’s marketing and public relations director. In addition, the company developed a new Megaform preform stringer system, which appears to resemble a skeleton with a vertebral column. Foam stringers, ribs and bulkheads blanket the hull surface, leaving no open space measuring greater than 11 inches, including overlay.
Abovedecks, the 5300 bears every new…