January 1, 2017
Hope you’re sitting down when you read this article — we’re about to take a look at what it costs these days to buy a tricked out center console crafted by a few top-tier builders who specialize in these high performance dream machines. Not surprisingly, the market for custom and semicustom boats has been gathering momentum in recent years as more wealth is concentrated in the hands of the so-called one percent. Nowhere has this trend been more pronounced than with big offshore center consoles, a market that barely existed a decade ago before the advent of today’s mega-horsepower 4-stroke outboard engines. As sales have grown, more and more of these highly personalized boats are showing up on the brokerage market where their presence has become almost commonplace.
The eight boats profiled below offer some insight into what it takes to buy a premium center console in today’s fast-paced market. The level of customization differs from builder to builder — Venture and Jupiter may offer less in the way of customization than, say, Contender or Nor-Tech, but one might also say that Ventures and Jupiters are so well conceived that only a semicustom builder can approach that kind of quality. At the end of the day, all of these boats are among the most expensive in their class and it's instructive to see what they cost, both new and used. For the casual boat owner happy with his ten-year-old 30-footer, the prices of the high-end center consoles like those below give real meaning to what sticker-shock is all about.
At a Glance: A unique built-to-order boat — available with a conventional deep-V hull with inboard or outboard power (390B), a stepped hull version with triple or quad outboards (390Z), or 390IPS with pod drives. All can be configured in a variety of ways, from tournament fishing machine to family cruiser. Up to five bait wells, three in the transom, one in-deck well in the rear, and another forward. A wide variety of factory towers. Up to 42 rod holders ready for action. Tons of under-deck storage. Deluxe leaning post offers abundant tackle storage and slide-out cooler. Fold-away forward seating, walk-in console with marine toilet and shower, and hullside dive door are standard. Inboard model available with twin inboards engines or Volvo IPS pod drives offers extra range. A beautiful boat, beautifully finished and perfectly balanced.
Price Range: From the low $200s for 2007–08 model to mid-to-high $400s new.
At a Glance: One of the original big center consoles, the Venture 39 offers a combination of speed, quality and comfort seldom matched in this class. The large cockpit conceals enormous in-deck storage capacity, and abaft the helm seat module is an aft-facing bench seat. The console houses a standup head compartment with marine toilet, sink and shower. The Venture's uncluttered single-level deck layout is designed for maximum fishability. Highlights include a custom hardtop with electronics box, 55-gallon transom livewell, bait prep center with sink, dive ladder, pop-up cleats, K-Plane trim tabs, and a folding tower on the hardtop. A hullside dive door is optional. Traditional deep-V beam is quick to accelerate, stable and fast across the water. The Venture 39's big-water performance is legendary. Triple 350hp Yamahas reach 55+ knots top.
Price Range: From the low-to-mid $100s for an early model to $400K-plus new.
At a Glance: One of the most admired fishing machines on the water — Regulator quality and performance are well known. With nearly 11 feet of beam — and an Armstrong bracket to move the engines aft — the Regulator’s cockpit rivals many 38-footers in size. Features include wraparound forward seating, 25-gallon transom livewell, combined leaning post/livewell/tackle center with rod holders, transom fish box, foldaway rear seat, in-floor fish/storage box (aft), transom door with gate, console seat with cooler, and transom shower. The outboard bracket was updated in 2015 to handle triple 300 horsepower engines. The 34 SS (Starboard Seating) model offers lounge seating that wraps around the starboard side of the bow and an enlarged console compartment with mini-galley and twin-size sleeping berth under the forward deck.
Price Range: Low $200s for an early 2010–2011 model. Nearly $400K for a new (loaded) model.
At a Glance: Seriously fast, sexy as hell (note the distinctive curved sheerline) and near-perfect fit and finish. The Open version has forward seating and a marine toilet in the micro-cuddy at the bow. The Cuddy version has a full cabin with galley, convertible V-berth/dinette, and enclosed head with electric toilet and pull-out shower. For anglers, a Tournament Edition with increased fuel can handle quad 350hp engines. Ten-foot beam is carried well forward of the console for a wider floorplan. Dual transom livewells have over 100 gallons of storage capacity. The Deep Impact’s double stepped hull is vacuum bagged, Kevlar reinforced, and built for speed. Single piece bow-to-stern deck is laminated to the hull making this one of the strongest center consoles in her class. Triple 300hp Verado outboards deliver a top speed of about 60 knots.
Price Range: From the mid $100s for early models to over $400K for late (or new) models.
Deep Impact 36
At a Glance: Stepped hull performance machine hits the sweet spot with anglers able to experience Yellowfin construction and ride. Tons of storage — the foredeck has two large in-deck fish boxes as well as a huge coffin box with hydraulic lifting ram. Yellowfin recently added aft fish boxes where previously there were forward boxes only, and the transom door has been updated to a pocket-style slider. Highlights include factory hardtop with rod holders and electronics box, leaning post with 80-gallon livewell, 50-gallon transom livewell, K-Plane trim tabs, pop-up cleats, saltwater washdown, console seat, and 9-foot rod storage boxes. The 36 was designed for triple engines although there are plenty out there with twins. A pair of Yamaha F350s reach close to 55 knots top, and triple F350s can exceed 60 knots wide open.
Price Range: Older Yellowfin 36 models often start around $200K and top out at $400K-plus.
At a Glance: Big-water fishing platform really proves herself when the going gets rough. Offered with twin-stepped hull or traditional deep-V design. Two console options: standard front entrance with rod holders on each side, or larger console with side entrance and stand-up head. Enormous storage capacity includes forward in-deck 260-gallon fish box, 145-gallon in-deck fish box, twin 105-gallon fish boxes aft. The transom has two 40-gallon livewells, and another 68-gallon well aft of the leaning post. Popular options include full tower with controls, coffin box on electric ram with removable backrest, extra 100-gallon fuel capacity, underwater lights, custom sea chest, joy stick controls. Over 60 knots top with triple 350hp Yamaha V-8s. Luxury “LS” version with bow and aft seating and hydraulic table also available.
Price Range: From the high $250s (2013–14 model) up to $400,000 a new (loaded) boat.
Contender 39 ST
At a Glance: Custom stepped-hull party patform combines uncommon comfort and luxury with plenty of (optional, of course) fishing amenities for the serious angler. Available in Open or Cuddy versions. This super-quality 39-footer gets serious attention wherever she goes. Wide 11'2" beam provides more usable space than most center consoles her size. Spacious deck plan includes wraparound bow seating, forward-facing chaise lounge, 3-person helm seating, insulated in-deck cockpit fish/storage boxes, hullside dive door, fold-away rear bench seat. Large console head compartment includes V-berth, sink, and shower. Hardtop with electronics box is raked for minimal lift. In a 2016 article, Boating magazine reports that a Nor-Tech 390 Sport equipped with quad Mercury 400R outboards attained a top speed of 92.2 mph! Did we say expensive?
Price Range: A new, tricked-out Nor-Teck 390 Sport can easily exceed $400K.
Nor-Tech 390 Sport
At a Glance: Big, brawny and beautiful — the Jupiter 38 is a formidable fishing machine for boaters who love performance. Offered in Forward Seating (FS) and Cuddy version with V-berth and refrigerator. Highlights include two in-deck 104-gallon cockpit fish boxes, lockable in-deck rod storage, console head compartment with marine toilet, 360-degree cockpit bolsters, and bait prep center with 53-gallon livewell, sink and tackle storage. Transom livewell, coffin box, and custom T-top are optional. A large lazarette compartment on the centerline aft provides easy access to the boat’s pumps. The Jupiter’s generous beam, centerline fuel tanks and ample freeboard aft make this an extremely stable and comfortable boat. Twin Yamaha 350s top out in the low 50-knot range. Triple 350s reach close to 60 knots. These boats hold their value well.
Price Range: Starting in the low $100s for an early model. New models can cost $400K-plus.
Jupiter 38 FS