February, 2016 (Updated February, 2018)
Beginning in 2009 with the introduction of the Hydra-Sports 4100 Vector, we have seen some big center consoles introduced in recent years. Aside from the Boston Whaler 420 Outrage, all are custom or semicustom boats designed for deep-pocket anglers who want the biggest and best. Nothing, however, came close to the 50-foot mark until the 2015 Miami Boat Show where Hydra-Sports unveiled their ground-breaking 53 Suenos.
Listed below are today’s crop of big center consoles, all of which might be better called center console "yachts" since their roomy cabins and luxury features define them as an entirely new class of boats. Hard to believe that this category didn't even exist just five short years ago.
Intrepid 475 Panacea
At a Glance: Mega-luxury sportfishing boat for hardcore anglers takes Everglades quality to the next level. Distinctive wraparound windshield offers exceptional protection from the elements. Huge cockpit — nearly 200 square feet — includes twin 60-gallon livewells, 45-gallon bait freezer, toe rails, rigging station with twin cutting boards, lockable rod lockers. Dash has space for three 15" video displays (note air conditioning vents). Forward gunwales include storage for life jackets; forward sole conceals 225-gallon fish box. Extended console houses a functional cabin with convertible queen-size berth, enclosed head with separate stall shower, galley with granite counters, fridge, microwave and sink. High-density, closed-cell foam construction creates an unsinkable (and weight-efficient) hull. Quad Yamaha 350s top out at 50 knots.
At a Glance: Intrepid describes the Panacea as the world's largest center console, "forty-seven feet of sheer power and unadulterated pleasure." Huge layout offers unprecedented fish, cruise and overnight versatility. Cockpit features include removable rear seating, livewell, fish boxes, storage lockers, tons of rod holders. A sun pad and circular forward seating create a VIP lounge area for eight. Below, the roomy cabin with hardwood flooring and teak cabinets features a large head with separate stall shower, electrically actuated V-berth, full-service galley with refrigerator, sink, and Corian counters. Popular options include hullside dive door, bow thruster, joystick controls, Stidd helm chairs (3), cockpit console with electric grill and drawer refrigeration. High-performance stepped hull will cruise at 35–40 knots with quad Yamaha 350s.
Midnight Express 43 Open
Cigarette 42 Huntress
At a Glance: Stepped hull go-fast machine with world famous Cigarette paint combines style, power, and comfort. The company calls the Huntress a center console, but the portside walkway has been replaced with the cabin access door. Well-finished cabin with high-gloss cherry cabinets includes convertible V-berth, head with shower, 32-inch flat-screen TV, Corian counters, refrigerator and sink. Highlights include a spacious cockpit with teak sole, helm seat with retractable hydraulic lounge seats, oversized forward-facing sun lounge with integrated cooler, underwater LED lights, joystick controls, bow thruster, starboard dive door. Hydraulic cabin door and powder-coated grab rails are nice touches. Note ambient mood lights in cockpit and hardtop. Five 350SCi Verados reach 70+ mph top; quad 350s approach 60 mph top.
At a Glance: A super-distinctive boat — Midnight Express styling compels everyone to stop and stare. Said to be the first speedboat in her class powered with six outboard engines and controlled with two throttles instead of six. Expansive deck layout can entertain a small crowd. Features include hullside dive door with integrated ladder, state-of-the-art dash with space for three video displays, U-shaped bow seating with retractable table, cockpit galley with sink and refrigerator. Tons of in-deck storage for and aft of the console. Efficient cabin below the helm includes a convertible dinette and head with stall shower. Carbon fiber (lightweight) hardtop and dive door are engineered to lower the center of gravity. Composite twin-stepped hull is built for serious speed. Scary fast — quad 300hp Verado outboards can surpass 80 mph.
Sea Hunter Tournament 45
Boston Whaler 420 Outrage
At a Glance: Luxury-class cruiser combines legendary Whaler quality with distinctive styling (note hull window) and exceptional versatility. More day boat than fishing machine. Large cockpit includes foldaway stern seat, transom livewell, and dive door. Rod holders everywhere. A forward-facing, fold-out bench behind the helm seats three or four guests — fold the bench up for use as a leaning post. Rigging station with sink can be replaced with an optional "summer kitchen" unit with fridge and electric grill. Wraparound forward seating can convert to chaise lounges. A sun shade deploys from the aft hardtop at the push of a button. Well-appointed interior features a convertible double berth, galley with faux-granite counter, and head and shower. Four Verado 300hp outboards with joystick controls cruise at 30 knots (40+ top).
At a Glance: Quad-powered tournament monster is said to have the most square footage of any outboard center console on the market. Standard features include leaning post with tackle storage and rear facing cooler seat, forward lounge seating with cooler under, three large livewells, and an in-deck rod locker. Thirty rod holders line the console, and the tackle station comes with drawers, sink, cutting-board top, and removable tackle boxes. Note console AC vents and centerline transom door. Triple helm seat is joined by second-row seating for three more adults plus a bow lounge area. The Sea Hunter’s step-down cabin with hardwood flooring boasts a queen-size bed, sink, hideaway head, TV, and microwave. Kevlar reinforced hull with padded bottom and stepped transom delivers about 55 knots top with quad F350s.
Scout 420 LXF
At a Glance: The first jumbo center console to appear on the market and still the standard for big offshore fishing machines. Well-finished cabin includes twin berths, standup shower, electric head, microwave, and hardwood floor. Rod holders are everywhere. In 2013, Yellowfin redesigned the 42 by replacing the seated livewell with a 70-gallon transom livewell, adding a hullside door to ease entry, and moving the console and leaning post forward 18 inches to reduce bow rise and increase cockpit space. Exemplary fit and finish throughout. High performance fully cored hull has twin steps to reduce drag. Cruise at 40 knots (nearly 60 knots top) with four Mercury 300hp Verado—or triple Yamaha F350—outboards. Many offshore anglers consider the Yellowfin 42 to be as good as it gets in a big center console.
At a Glance: Gorgeous center console mini yacht with distinctive reverse transom combines sport fishing utility with cruising luxury. Highlights include powder-coated hardtop with curved glass enclosure, portside boarding door, forward sun lounge with retractable teak table, sliding sunroof hatch, three-across seating module with refrigerator/freezer and electric grill, cockpit sink and cutting board, synthetic teak swim platform. For anglers, seven flush-mounted transom rod holders, an 80-gallon transom livewell, and two large fish boxes are standard. Vacuum-infused epoxy-resin construction offers greater strength with less weight than hand-laid fiberglass. Console cabin with hardwood floor features convertible dinette, TV, drawer-style fridge, microwave and head/shower. Note twin-stepped hull. Quad Verado 350s top out at 55 knots.
Invincible 42 Open Fisherman
Hydra-Sports 4200 Sport Fish
At a Glance: Dedicated fishing platform with double-stepped hull is sleek, agile, built for speed. Single-level deck provides full 360-degrees of unobstructed fishability. For overnighting, the step-down cabin with teak trim includes convertible V-berth/dinette, L-shaped galley with sink and microwave, storage cabinet, and head with shower. Fishing amenities include 53-gallon transom livewell and 64-gallon well under aft cockpit sole, and five insole fish lockers. Hullside dive door and large coffin box are popular options. Note fold-down jump seats at the transom corners and two-person lounger with fold-down armrests on the forward console. Michael Peters-designed hull features molded grid stringer system to unite bulkheads and stringers into a single, unified piece. available with triple or quad outboards. Available with triple or quad outboards with top speeds of 55+ knots.
Opa Locka, FL
At a Glance: The biggest production center console available when she was introduced in 2009. Called the 4100 Sport Fish in 2009–10. Composite deep-V hull with Kevlar reinforcement boasts a single-piece stringer grid system for added strength. Spacious deck layout features two rows of seating aft of the center console with triple power bolster seats at the helm and a bench seat in the second row. A sun pad sits atop the coffin box. The helm console is huge with room for three big-screen displays. Below, the step-down cabin has a marine head with standup shower. Standard features include factory hardtop, bow/stern thrusters, dive door, 60-gallon transom livewell, tackle center with refrigerator, underwater lights, foldaway rear seat. The helm AC vents are a nice touch. No lightweight compared with others in her class. Top speed of 50+ knots with four 300hp Verados.
At a Glance: Badass tournament machine with super-clean lines ranks at the top for finish, looks, and fishability. An exceptional boat of uncommon quality and design. Standard features include 60-gallon transom livewell, 90-gallon in-deck well, forward seating/fish box, bait prep area with fresh and saltwater, numerous fish and dry-storage boxes. Hatch interiors are finished and gelcoated, and hatches are sealed with unique double-O-ring system to prevent leaks. No sub-console cabin with dinette and galley for the wine and cheese crowd, just storage and a marine head. Too bad about that front step. Composite deep-V hull is lightweight (less than 10,000 lbs. dry), fast, seriously fuel efficient. At least a foot narrower than other boats in her class. Tops out in the low to mid 50-knot range with triple — not quad — 350 Yamaha outboards.
West Palm Beach, FL
At a Glance: Family-friendly sportfisher loaded with amenities is the only big center console with an outboard bracket. Features include hull dive door with in-deck swim ladder, twin 40-gallon transom livewells, large transom fish box, air conditioned helm, fold-away transom seat, 360-degree cockpit bolsters. Forward casting deck doubles as an entertainment area with retractable bow table and seats with adjustable backrests. Combo tackle center/cockpit galley is optional. Posh cabin (with side entry) features fully equipped galley, convertible dinette with cherry table, enclosed head/shower with Corian counter. Exceptional visibility thanks to the high bridge deck sole. Note built-in coolers on the mezzanine seating behind the helm. Deep-V hull (no steps) is heavier than most. Quad Yamaha F350s top out at 55 knots.