This hardcore sportfishing machine has a social side too.
When the ferry on its return route from Catalina Island appeared, our boat changed direction and the driver’s eyes narrowed a bit. We weren’t aimed at the ferry itself, but rather at the sizable wake streaming aft of it. If the Pacific Ocean wasn’t going to give us a challenge on test day, Garrison Williams of Tide Yacht Sales was going to seek one out, and the ferry was our best bet.
Traveling in excess of 40 mph, the Everglades 355 Center Console we were testing hurtled toward the ferry wake. I grasped the hardtop’s powder-coated aluminum frame support a little tighter. We hit the wake with the bow of the deep-V hull, rose slightly and … landed smoothly. No shaking, vibrating or rattling. Anticlimactic, if you ask me, but really solid. I took the wheel and we hit the wake again. And again. Same result. Everglades’ building process showed its worth every time.
The hull is one piece, molded around structural foam, as part of the builder’s patented RAMCAP construction process, which creates a heavier, stronger boat, and the deck is one piece too. The hull liner and deck are then mated to create a rigid one-piece product. I won’t go into the whole process, but as Williams pointed out, the builder hasn’t had a hull failure.
The no-hull-failure thought was comforting as we zipped across the top of the small ocean swells off the Southern California coast at 52 mph, the 355CC’s top speed on test day, the combined 900 hp of three Yamaha F300 four-strokes growling at their max 5800 rpm. That kind of speed can get anglers from one spot to another in a hurry. Fuel burn was 79 gph at top speed. At 4600 rpm, the boat settled in at 42.5 mph, which we measured as its most efficient cruise speed — 0.9 mpg at a 47 gph fuel burn. Take it down to 4000 rpm and the fuel efficiency is better — 1.1 mpg at 33 mph — but it will be up to each owner to decide if the nearly 10 mph slower speed is desirable. Really, from 4500 rpm to about 5600 rpm, fuel efficiency is consistent, varying by 0.2 mpg.
Though heavier than other comparably sized center consoles, the 355CC was quick out of the hole, getting on plane in 3.5 seconds and reaching 30 mph in 5.8 seconds. Handling on the open ocean was precise thanks to SeaStar Optimus electronic power steering, and the nimble 35-footer was equally adept around the docks, since it was equipped with an Optimus joystick system. Owners could further the boat’s dockside capabilities by adding a bow thruster, but that’s probably redundant with the joystick.
I write “center console” and most readers get the immediate picture of how the 355CC is laid out. A console occupies the center of the boat, the cockpit is aft of it and the bow is forward. That’s the case here. But there is a lot going on in and around that console, starting with the cabin that’s built into it. A crawl-in day berth is forward, and a sink with a refrigerator underneath it and a head are aft.
At the helm, twin Garmin GPSmap XSV multifunction displays dominate the slightly forward-angled dash. Below them are a Yamaha engine display and a board filled with systems switches. There is room between the MFDs for a small display or two. Situated to port is the stainless steering wheel with a turning knob, and the engine throttles are immediately to the right. Trim tab controls and the Optimus 360 joystick are on a flat section of dash, next to cupholders and a lockable glove box.
A comfortable bench seat with room for three rear ends fronts the helm and hovers over a Yeti cooler. The bench has two bolster sections, one single and one doublewide. To spare the captain’s legs and back during a long day of pelagic pursuit, an anti-fatigue pad is built into the deck at the helm. It’s a nice touch that feels great. And to ensure the folks at the helm seat can stay cool, one of Everglades’ innovations comes in handy. The windshield of the three-sided console enclosure can be lowered some or all of the way, allowing in exactly as much breeze as the driver wants.
Built into the front of the console is a bench seat with room for three people, but its center backrest cushion folds down to reveal a tray and cupholders. Forward of that, in the bow, is a raised casting deck or a large V-shaped settee, or both. With cushions in place and the high-low table raised — it’s push-button easy — the area is a lounging/dining/cocktail space. With the table lowered and the cushions removed, it’s a casting deck with room for a couple of anglers. Plus, a 129-gallon fishbox is built into the deck, and rod storage is under the gunwales to both sides.
In the cockpit, a leaning post workstation is immediately aft of the helm bench seat. It includes a sink, a livewell, eight tackle drawers and a fighting seat that folds out of the unit. Built into the transom is a 56-gallon fishbox, a livewell and a six-holder rod rack. Two more seats fold out of the transom, to lend the cockpit some social status. A portside dive door ensures easy boarding access from the dock.
Over top of the console and the workstation is a hardtop, which is stretched on our test boat to cover the forward bench seat too. It’s called the X-top and is held up by thick aluminum tubing in the four corners that can double as ladders for the more adventurous. Most folks will use the ladder that’s atop the work station and emerges through a central hatch.
The extended portion is home to the radar unit, and the upper helm sits directly above the main helm. How fully the upper helm is outfitted is up to each buyer, but it can include full electronics, twin bolstered seats, drink holders and a hardtop. The whole thing can be lowered for transport with gas-assisted shocks. Oh, and there are more rod holders up there too. (I counted at least 28 rod holders spread throughout the boat.)
Fishing amenities on the 355CC are ubiquitous. I’ve already mentioned the fore and aft fishboxes, the transom and workstation livewells, and the bounty of rod holders. In addition, twin outriggers are standard, and options are available for upgrades. Coaming pads encircle the 127-square-foot cockpit, and buyers can opt for bow coaming pads. Four under-gunwale rod racks, including lockable compartments, will store and secure the tools of the trade. All of the rod compartments and wells and boxes are finished. Raw- and freshwater washdowns in the cockpit ensure fish guts can be quickly washed away, and that anglers can be quickly washed too.
While the 355CC is definitely outfitted for maximum fishing action, it won’t be a social pariah, thanks to the bow’s versatility. A Bimini top with carbon fiber support poles is an option, so in addition to the passengers on the console bench seat and the helm seat being covered, the folks in the bow — six, easily — can enjoy shade during a harbor cruise too.