This outboard-powered express crossover is cruising centric.
The term crossover confuses me. There are crossover cars, crossover software and now crossover boats, and I have to admit, sometimes I’m not sure what is crossing over, from where it is crossing, or to where it’s going. But when I boarded the Everglades 360 LXC, the term started to gel for me. It crosses over some important boundaries: Yes, at its core, it’s an Everglades, with a fishing pedigree. But it’s a fantastic docktailer with more to wow a happy hour crowd than most 36-footers, and a couple could spend a weekend on it and miss very little about their shoreside life. Hmm, maybe crossing over just means being many things to many people and, somehow, pulling it off on all levels.
Garrison Williams and Mike Curtin of Newport Pontoons welcomed me aboard the Everglades 360 LXC, hull #4, on a warm Southern California morning. The boat was spotless and raring to go, provisioned with full tanks, lots of ice and more beverages than the three of us could drink in a weekend.
Being familiar with Everglades center console fishing boats, I was surprised when I stepped aboard through the handy side gate. Yes, I expected to find plenty of rod holders, but they doubled as cupholders, and that set the tone for my exploration of the rest of the boat.
The 360 LXC is, first and foremost, a family cruiser designed to entertain, accommodate four adults and maybe a kid overnight, get to Catalina quickly and cruise the harbor with up to a dozen people for cocktails. The layout is all about the topsides, as the small cabin has been moved well forward to maximize the open lounge and cockpit above.
“This was a departure for Everglades,” Williams said. “It’s built to cruise and entertain, with 80 percent of the space on deck. That’s different from most express cruisers that have a large cabin that may only be used at night.”
In fact, Everglades took an existing hull — one that is also used for the 355CC, 350EX and 350LX — and modified it as an experiment. If the target market likes it as much as I did, it’s possible this concept will spread to hulls of other sizes.
The 360 LXC is a center console boat with the command center amidships under a large and very durable hardtop. A seat with a flip-up bolster and fold-down armrests will accommodate two people just aft of the 42-inch console. Here, the wheel is offset to port and engine throttles are just to the right. A line of switches and controls is within reach even with the driver seated. Above are twin Garmin 7616 16-inch multifunction displays and the optional Yamaha Helm Master with a joystick, which is a $45,000 option.
The hardtop is a serious piece of powder-coated aluminum frame construction with two non-opening overhead hatches in the fiberglass rooftop. The middle frame acts as a sort of ladder to reach a second helm station on top, an option that will run between $27,000 and $35,000. Unless a buyer is into serious offshore fishing, this may be overkill. Various LED spot and dome lights are built into the overhead for an impressive nighttime atmosphere.
The console isn’t exactly a walk-around design, because the starboard side dead-ends in a wetbar with a sink and an ice-maker. To port is the forward lounge, which will undoubtedly be the place people will gravitate to. A U-shaped settee wraps around a high/low electrically activated table and will comfortably seat four for dinner. With the table down and a cushion insert, the area can sleep one adult or two kids.
Directly across from the lounge is a 32-inch retractable flat-screen TV that levitates out of the forward bulkhead. Just aft, built into the port gunwale, is an 83-quart cooler that was filled with ice and drinks for our ride. With side curtains, the forward lounge is an all-weather room that will be a favorite with many passengers.
Aft of the helm seat is the galley — one of two aboard. There are two 1.7-cubic-foot refrigerators that slide out port and starboard. Drawers at the back can be used for galley implements or as tackle storage, and there is a trash bin just to the side. The top lid of the module opens to reveal a sink with a fold-down spigot and a Kenyon electric grill. With plenty of room to stand in the 100-square-foot aft cockpit, the chef can move about, cooking or serving people seated forward in the lounge or aft on the built-in transom seat. Six can sit here between the removable armrests that have integrated cupholders. And speaking of cupholders, I stopped counting at 14, and since that’s the rated capacity for the vessel, there will be one for everyone on a party cruise.
The whole cockpit sole was covered with snap-in Seagrass flooring that is comfortable underfoot and can be hosed off in case a drink goes for a tumble or some fish guts make their way aboard.
There is just enough to the interior to make the 360 an overnight couple’s cruiser. Accessible via a pocket door between the forward lounge and the retractable TV, the neat little cabin can sleep two in an angled berth forward. It’s plenty large for one or cozy for two. Folks in the bunk can watch their favorite show on a 16-inch flat-screen, while an overhead hatch keeps the fresh air flowing.
Another small galley is to starboard and includes a sink, a microwave and a third refrigerator. To port is the enclosed head, which includes a marine toilet, a sink and a shower. The boat holds 55 gallons of fresh water, so a couple should be able to take a couple of showers and still have plenty of water left for the dishes. Headroom in the head is 65 inches, so don’t plan to stand up there unless you’re short. The rest of the cabin has 68 inches of headroom.
I expected to find a fishing boat; however, what I got was a cruiser that can be fished on occasion but will most likely become the family weekender or couple’s party boat. These crossover benefits mean that this model will probably go out three times as often as a single-purpose boat.
Out for a Spin
The sidedecks are not terribly wide, but there are good handholds along the hardtop, so moving forward to toss the docklines isn’t difficult. On the bow is an opening anchor locker and a chute through the hull, so the anchor may be launched and retrieved with the electric windlass without ever messing up the deck with mud or other chain debris.
Williams maneuvered the 360 out of the slip with the help of the optional joystick that ties together the triple Yamaha F300 outboards and the bow thruster. (Triple F350s are available, but I’m not sure they’re necessary.) We motored out of the harbor and opened it up to 32 mph at 4000 rpm.
Everglades is known for its Rapid Molded Core Assembly Process (RAMCAP) all-composite hulls that are built over a pre-molded foam core and vacuum bonded to a liner. The hulls are called unsinkable, and according to Williams, Everglades hulls provide the smoothest ride on the water. I must say that speeding along at 30 mph in a two-foot chop, I felt no pounding or shuddering, and the turns were precise as we sliced through the small swell without a hiccup.
The triple 300s delivered a top speed of 48.7 mph, which was about 7 mph short of previous tests done with the F350s (and shy of other tests conducted with the 300s). Fuel burn at WOT, 5300 rpm, was around 78 gph. At 4500 rpm, the outboards were burning 49.1 gph and pushing the boat at 36.6 mph. Our boat was loaded up with water, fuel, people and ice, and we found the most economical cruise around 21 knots, burning 26 gph, which was an average of running against and with the wind and waves. Range will fluctuate widely with speed and conditions, but with 328 gallons of gas aboard, expect to run 250 to 300 miles. So offshore fishing spots can be reached in a short day’s run.
Back in the harbor, I played with the joystick drive. We had a pretty strong current running out with the tide and I found that scooting the boat directly sideways took a bit of coordination to move the light bow at the same pace as the heavy stern from which comes the thrust of triple engines. However, given a couple of afternoons using the joystick in various conditions and tight quarters, I bet anyone would look like a docking rock star.
All This Stuff
Everglades’ tagline is “luxury is not an option,” which I took to mean that there is so much integrated into every model that luxury is a given. Still, I was surprised to learn how much actually comes standard on this model: two TVs, triple outboards, two reverse-cycle heat/air units (one for the cockpit and one for the cabin), three refrigerators, a 5 kw Kohler genset to run all those power-hungry toys, and many other features.
In fact, the list of optional features is shorter: Garmin electronics including radar, Sirius XM audio, a satellite security system from GOST, custom hull colors, a canvas enclosure, a bow thruster and that nifty side gate I used from the dock. As tested with just about everything including a bright blue hull and a KVH TracVision TV antenna, this 360 LXC came in at $690,000.
When I hit the docks that morning, I expected to find a fishing boat; however, what I got was a cruiser that can be fished on occasion but will most likely become the family weekender or couple’s party boat. These crossover benefits mean that this model will probably go out three times as often as a single-purpose boat.
I admit, if I’m not the world’s worst fisherwoman, I’m probably close, and maybe that’s why this design made such an impression on me. Or maybe it’s because this boat has a truly universal appeal, since it does double and triple duty. Yep, I think this whole crossover thing may just catch on.