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October 26, 2001

Century 200 Walkaround

With its 1/2-foot beam, the 200s roll-moment made bottom fishing for bait a pleasure even in rough seas.

A spring front blew through the Florida Keys, carrying winds of 20 to 25 mph. Seas inside the reef off Hawk's Cay stood up to a full 2- to 3-foot height, while offshore, larger ocean swells marched in from the northeast.

Performance
Century's new 2900 WA didn't like heading straight into the nasty, steep chop in shallow water - of course, no boat does. Taken on a slight angle and at a prudent speed, however, and it ran very comfortably.
In fact, I can't remember a boat any more comfortable for driving while seated. Trim-tab switches and throttles located right by your thigh make for easy control without needing to divert your gaze from the horizon. When standing, however, I found that the controls so perfectly placed for driving while seated became too low, necessitating a long reach down to them.
One of the main benefits of a wide-body boat that ignores the normal highway towing constriction is stability. With its 9 1/2-foot beam, the 2900's roll-moment made bottom fishing for bait a pleasure even in rough seas.
With Century being a Yamaha-owned company, expect to see only those silver-grey engines mounted on a Century transom. In our case, Yamaha's heaviest iron - twin 250s - moved the 2900 along at just over 51 mph at almost-factory-spec 5,400-rpm top speed with a fuel burn of 0.9 mpg. The most economical cruising speed turned out to be around 35 mph at 3,500 rpm, providing a range of 1.6 mpg.
Like some Carolina-style boats, the 2900 really leans into a turn. The benefit of this translates into the force pushing passengers toward the flooring rather than over the side in a sharp turn at speed.

Fishing
Fishing proved spotty offshore with dolphin fairly prevalent and the odd blackfin tuna. I found the cockpit very workable with the transom rising to just above knee level and plenty of space for my toes. I hope Century follows through on its idea to move the bait-prep station to the forward side of the cockpit, as the transom bait-prep center seems a tad low. Or perhaps just adding a cutting board atop the baitwell would work. That way, you could double the size of the baitwell, letting it run full-width of the transom and serve double-duty as another fish box.
Between space belowdecks and cockpit storage, you'll never run short of storage area for rods and reels. Mount holders on the cabin overhead and bulkheads below to augment the standard spots for three rods under each gunwale and four more in the gunwales. Also under the gunwales, you'll find optional outlets to plug in your electric kite or downrigger reels. I can't imagine anyone buying this boat without either a radar arch or preferably a hardtop. Either way, you get additional rod holders and outriggers as options, too.
If you choose to move to the bow to fight a fish, you'll appreciate the sturdy handholds from cockpit to bow as well as the padded seat on the forward cabin top. A fighting belt is all you need. Brace your feet on the bulwarks forward and the fish won't stand a chance.

Design and Construction
The corporate logo for Yamaha happens to be a tuning fork. The stringer system aboard the Century 2900 WA also resembles a tuning fork. Coincidence? Built of foam-filled, solid fiberglass, this stringer system provides excellent strength and rigidity to the hull. Other features adding to the integrity of every Century include chrome-plated bronze thru-hulls, double-clamped hoses, Armorcoat gelcoat and Trevira fabric instead of wood for better screw-holding ability in the laminate.
A first glance at the Century 2900 WA makes a lasting impression. Different from previous Centurys, the 2900 sports a very rounded windshield. In fact, you can distinctly see Euro-styling from midship forward.
Century has executed a remarkable interior for a boat of 29 feet. Its semicircular dinette seats four quite comfortably, and a galley to port could supply those guests with full meals. A stand-up head to starboard and an athwartship berth under the helm deck assure the comfort of all four passengers.
Century Boats have always run well. (My very first boat was a Century Raven back in the early '60s.) But today's Centurys have that sleek look of the future that makes them even more popular.