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May 12, 2008

Hydra-Sports 41 Sportfish

This represents the finest, most extraordinary boat Hydra-Sports has ever built. Suddenly, the industry has a lot of catching up to do!

We've reached a milestone: This triple-outboard-powered boat has so much innovation - and space to house it - that two pages simply don't allow me to cover it all adequately. So I offer you highlights and hope that you'll head to your local Hydra-Sports dealer to check it out yourself.

Performance
Sarasota Bay on Florida's Gulf Coast ran smooth as glass. Offshore proved another story, with 4- to 6-foot seas out of the northwest. That's just where we headed for lunch some 40 miles up the coast.
 
I ran this boat with full fuel (630 gallons!) and hit just over 57 mph at 6,000 rpm while burning 103.4 gph. Amazingly, no matter where you set the tabs, this boat generates extremely little bow rise when coming onto plane. The visibility while seated impressed me too, thanks to a higher-than-average helm seat. A trolling speed of 6.8 mph consumed 4.8 gph   with modest subsurface whitewater. At a modest 35 mph, we managed 1 mpg. Turn the wheel hard over at 50 mph and the 41 reverses course in less than two boat lengths - with zero centrifugal force!
 
Overall, this boat is rock-solid - and deceptive. You really don't feel the speed, and it becomes harder to judge wave heights. You hear no hull-through-the-water noise - just the sound of spray shooting out and down on each side. And it's a down-sea machine. I had to run 54 mph down-sea before I could get this boat to launch. It landed perfectly. This would make an ideal quick-trip-to-Bimini-for-lunch boat!
 
In close quarters, the H-S 41 SF handles so well that the optional bow thruster becomes redundant. The Yamaha electronic throttle-and-shift with two levers controlling all three engines eliminates confusion. My only complaint about them concerns the individual engine-trim buttons on top of the binnacle. When driving, the heel of the helmsman's palm naturally rests directly atop those buttons, inadvertently altering engine trim. I'd love to see those buttons moved to the forward side of the control binnacle.

Fishing
I don't own enough tackle to fill all the storage places aboard this boat. Between the hardtop, under- and in-gunwale, you get 27 standard rod holders. Our test boat sported 48 including optional extras.
 
Do the environment a favor and don't ever fill all seven insulated and lighted fish boxes at once. Additionally, H-S offers three foredeck coffin boxes: two models of Frigid-Rigid and a genuine deep-freeze unit.
 
The tackle station situated behind the helm seats boasts a Corian counter with a sink, single-burner stove, pull-out tackle drawers and another Frigid-Rigid (with a top cushion for an aft-facing seat) on roll-out tracks. On centerline, you'll find a 60-gallon, baby-blue, lighted, gasketed and pressurized livewell.
 
Multiple washdown hoses around the boat make life easier than a single long hose fixed to one spot. And whether washing or backing down, six scuppers per side drain water instantly.
 
Drift and bottom anglers will love that beam-to the seas, the 12-foot beam exhibits a short and gentle roll moment with a wash - stability akin to fishing from a cement barge.

Design and Construction
Hydra-Sports bases the 41's organizational philosophy on the premise of running the boat alone. With that in mind, systems must be convenient, close at hand and easy.
 
The forward seating area sports a removable hi-lo table that doubles as a sundeck insert. The beautiful hardtop comes standard, complete with LED lighting. Finished bilges and a very roomy lazarette let you access every system you could want.
 
Hydra-Sports installs two fuel fills fore and aft on both sides of the boat. If you use high-speed hoses, pump into two holes on the dockside and open fills on the opposite side for supreme venting.
 
All deck hatches have full-length piano hinges recessed far enough below the deck that you'll never catch a bare foot or cast net on one.
 
Under the deck forward, the compartment sports twin posts on which Hydra-Sports fastens spare propellers.
 
I especially like that you can reach under cushions to undo hatch latches without having to remove the cushion. You don't need three hands.
 
The one-piece liner console hosts a fixed toilet and provides amazing headroom and storage space. Other options at the helm include air conditioning and misters. Of course, anyone who read Tom Clancy's novel, Rainbow Six, will probably pass on the latter.
 
The huge dash can accommodate twin 15-inch displays along with the rest of your electronics suite. You'll find a thigh-high glove box containing three power points for charging (and safely storing) cell phones.
 
One of the most interesting innovations comes with the standard seating arrangement. The centerline helm has flanking electric bolster seats with drop-away bottoms. Immediately behind those, Hydra-Sports mounts what it calls a "sleigh seat," a cushioned, incredibly comfy bench seat with high sides.
 
Hydra-Sports builds wood-free boats, opting instead for a combination of high-tech composites and hand-laid fiberglass. It uses pre-cut biaxial fabric and woven roving, and the company has long been famous for using Kevlar as reinforcement in its hulls.
 
 Even if you aren't in the market for a boat this size (or price), go see one anyway. It'll give you great ideas!
 
 
LOA......41 ft. 6 in.
Beam......12 ft. 2 in.
Hull Draft......2 ft. 2 in.
Deadrise......23 deg.
Weight......19,150 lb. (dry)
Fuel......630 gal.
Max HP......(4) 350 hp OB
MSRP......$360,000 (w/ triple Yamaha 350s)

Hydra-Sports Boats / Sarasota, Florida / 941-753-7811 / www.hydrasports.com