MIAMI 2017: Size and presence of center consoles grow / Neff Yacht Sales / Articles

MIAMI 2017: Size and presence of center consoles grow

February 22nd, 2017

Boston Whaler president Nick Stickler (right) introduces the new 380 Outrage center console Friday at the Miami International Boat Show. Also shown are vice president of sales, marketing and customer service Jeff Vaughn (center) and design manager Charlie Foss.

MIAMI - After a couple days of pounding the docks at the Miami International Boat Show, it's easy to see that center consoles will continue to get bigger during the next two to three years, with more builders joining the 50-foot club and one company preparing the launch of a 65-footer.

About this time next spring, HydraSports Custom will launch a new flagship - the 3,135-hp 65 Estrella. Kurt Bergstrom, director of engineering, said the builder is simply giving consumers what they want.

"It's all based on customer feedback," Bergstrom told me aboard the company's largest current offering, the 53 Suenos. (HydraSports showed a model of the 65 at its display.) "They want to go farther and be able to travel through harsher conditions to fish."

Much of the interest has come from the South Florida market, but also from the United Arab Emirates, said Bergstrom. The Estrella's console will house a stateroom and saloon, but the boat will remain a true center console, said Bergstrom.

"You are not going to see oversized cabins on our boats," he said. "These boats are for hard-core destination fishing."

HydraSports Custom director of engineering Kurt Bergstrom said the new 65 Estrella center console will debut in about a year.

Like HydraSports Custom, Scout Boats at the show announced plans to go larger. The company will come to the market with a 53-foot luxury center console in the spring of 2018. The boat will be 53 feet, 5 inches, with a 14-foot, 6-inch beam.

"It's not a stretched-out version of our 42," Scout president Steve Potts told me.

The boat will have a top end north of 60 mph. It'll be equipped with twin bow tables, double quad seating units and a customizable island in the cockpit that can be set up for fishing, entertaining or even as a bar with stools, said Potts.

The production of new models of about 40 feet continues to be strong. Mako came out with a new flagship.

The new 414 CC is the largest boat Mako has ever built.

The Mako 414 CC has a maximum horsepower rating of 1,675. The boat at the show was powered with four 350-hp Mercury Verados and has a 562-gallon fuel capacity.

Stamas Yacht, celebrating its 65th anniversary, also launched a new flagship, the Stamas 392 Tarpon. It's based on the builder's current 39-foot hull, but the deck has been redesigned, company president John Stamas said.

"It's a completely different boat above the waterline," he said.

Nuances include a summer kitchen and a helm electronics station with flush-mounted components and an all-digital switch panel that adds redundancy to control all systems.

Gulfstream Yachts of Tampa, Fla., had a display with a scale model of its 52-foot center console in the VIP Lounge at the Yachts Miami Beach show.

After an eight-year run, the 370 Outrage from Boston Whaler has been retired and replaced with the new 380 Outrage. Not only is it a larger boat, but it also has more deadrise aft (under the helm station) and larger trim tabs that are integrated with the hull, said Boston Whaler engineering manager Bobby Garza.

The size of the console/cabin remains the same as on the 370, but Whaler has done a better job of using the interior space, said design manager Charlie Foss. The same goes for the deck layout.

The boat has a leaning post bench seat that easily converts to a teak table (with four cupholders) that can be used for a variety of fishing or entertaining activities. Other upgrades include air conditioning on the helm deck, and a gyrostabilizer is now an option.

The boat, which is powered with triple 350-hp Verados, functions equally well as a day-cruising family boat and a fishing boat, Jeff Vaughn, vice president of sales, marketing and customer service, said at the press conference announcing the boat.

"The boat is designed to fish, but we ask, ‘Why be uncomfortable if you are going fishing?

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