(Be sure to click through all the images in the gallery above.)
Winning kingfish and sailfish tournaments requires a boat so well thought out that the fishing team can keep its mind on the fish and not the boat. That’s what Intrepid Powerboats accomplishes with each custom boat it builds, because it constructs them one at a time in partnership with the owner.
The Intrepid 375 CC recently carried Mark Henderson to the Division 1 Open Class win in the Southern Kingfish Association tournament trail. As he walked me through his Intrepid 375 CC battlewagon, I could tell he knew his boat as well as the crew who built it. I would also bet he never gives a thought to the durability or efficiency and reliability of the fishing assets, or even creature comforts, as he focuses on the fish — and getting to them.
Getting to the fish is a snap with triple Yamaha F350s on the transom. The outboards were spinning SWS 15¼-by-23 props with a test load of 160 gallons of fuel, downriggers and their power supply, and two men on board. The 375 easily broke 65 mph.
That was cool and done with ease, as you might expect with a 37-foot hull. But in our rough inshore chop, I could manage all the test gear and run the numbers effortlessly, thanks to the stable ride. Even my orange juice from the forward cooler on the console remained secure in the helm cup holder as we creased the waves.
The 375 accelerated to 30 mph in just 6.8 seconds, and for a craft — no matter how sleek — that weighs in at 15,000 pounds, that’s a pretty nimble hole shot.
At 3,500 rpm and 32 mph, the 375 got 1.2 miles per gallon for an effective range of 457 miles, using the main tank (302 gallons) and the optional auxiliary tank (204 gallons).
Getting there might be half the fun, but until the fish hit the box, tournament anglers put no money on the table. This vessel was ready for war. Rod holders along the transom were plentiful and mounted only inches apart, providing nearly unlimited options for flat lines.
Factory-mounted Cannon Digi-Troll 10TS downriggers added another pair of weapons; their cannonball weights were kept ready in skillfully mounted racks nearby. For billfishing, Intrepid had installed large tuna tubes in the gunwales, each with their own water supply and positioned so the overflow drained overboard.
A pair of pumps, set in a sea chest in the bilge, feeds one 80-gallon livewell in the deck. Another sea chest feeds a 55-gallon tank below deck. Sea chests better ensure a flow to the pumps, and ultimately the livewells, without added hull penetrations. Intrepid never minds mixing fishability with style either, so it equipped the deck-mounted livewell with a 180-degree acrylic face and LED lighting. Together, they give the boat an exotic look at night as bait circles through the ample current. But more important, every angler on board can monitor the condition of the bait and the water without lifting the lid or sloshing through the bait with a net.
Polished, stainless-steel Mate Series rod holders on the gunwales offer a wide mouth at the surface to accept a cold drink when not holding a rod. They’re a great invention and take a little more space on the gunwale than traditional holders. It’s odd they just cropped up a few years ago; they’re an incredibly good idea. In fishing, traditions die hard.
While some anglers feel that toe rails help secure footing while gaffing, I found that the deck gutters (scuppered overboard) let me flex my toes downward, giving a more efficient grip as I leaned outboard.
Design and Construction
Efficiency is a hallmark in Intrepid boats. The builders didn’t just mount forward coaming pads, they hinged them and tucked valuable rod-storage space behind them. They secured the pads with reliable spring-loaded latches. Aft transom pads fold out, adding seating for the ride to the battlegrounds.
Intrepid aptly describes its helm station as “bullet shaped.” Its rounded edges are streamlined, raking aft from the bow. But touch a button, and an electric motor slides the bullet’s nose to port on rails, revealing a roomy head compartment. That’s just one of many custom touches for which Intrepid designs the shape and feel, and then builds the hardware.
Another is the starboard gunwale door near the transom. It swings inward, and then an ultralight aluminum ladder lifts manually from a hatch in the deck and folds overboard. Even the beefy hinges and latches are first machined by Intrepid before being contracted to a supplier manufacturer.
While you might expect to find circuit-breaker panels and trash containers in the head compartment, Intrepid made them more accessible in the outer contours of the helm station.
Those types of intuitive touches show how much Intrepid owners benefit from brainstorming with the builder to create a custom craft — so they can focus on their sport, not their ride.
LOA: 37 ft. 9 in.
BEAM: 10 ft. 6 in.
DRAFT: 24 in.
DEADRISE: 20.5 deg.
WEIGHT: 15,000 lb. (w/ power)
FUEL: 300 gal.
MAX POWER: 1,200 hp
YAMAHA F350 FOUR-STROKE
TYPE: 60-deg. V-8
DISPLACEMENT: 325 cid
MAX RPM: 6,000
HP/LB RATIO: 0.43
FUEL SYSTEM: EFI
GEAR RATIO: 1.73:1
WEIGHT: 822 lb.
ALTERNATOR OUTPUT: 50 amps
MSRP AS TESTED: $350,000
NOTABLE STANDARD FEATURES
> Three-inch hardtop tubing
> Dual fuel intakes, port and starboard
> Flush-mounted power switches
> Beam-to-beam transom walkway