Throughout the trying economic times of late, the continued existence of some well-established boat companies was questionable. I am very pleased to say that under new ownership, Pro-Line has come back strong. The company says orders are way up, new dealers have been signed and employees are enjoying an upbeat state of mind.
The Gulf of Mexico outside the mouth of Crystal River proved flat-calm on our test day - not much of a challenge for the stepped racing hull handed down from the Donzi 35. Our boat wore a pair of 300 hp Mercury Verados, though it carries a maximum power rating of triple 300s. With the latter, the 35 will just top 67 mph. With our twin-300 package, we topped out at 58 mph at 6,100 rpm while burning 60.7 gph. Optimum cruise of 40.4 mph used 26.7 gph while turning 4,000 rpm.
I experienced an interesting sensation on this boat when trimmed up for speed. Rather than feeling like it's running through the water, it feels like it's floating or skimming over the top of the water. It's not an insecure sensation, just a very agile feeling. Crank the wheel hard over, and the 35 maneuvers like a Jet Ski, leaning into the turn and carving a sharp arc yet with enough slide to keep everyone aboard.
Trolling at 8 mph, you see considerable subsurface centerline turbulence and moderate surface white water, but certainly distinct alleys.
The Lenco electric tabs give this boat a wide range of adjustability, and true to most race-boat forms, you'll want to drop the sharp bow entry when heading upsea.
Every angler wants unimpeded, 360-degree fishability in a center-console, and the 35 SS offers exactly that. Pop-up cleats keep the decks clean and snag-free. Though I'm not sure why, Pro-Line mounts coaming pads around the cockpit and bow, but not amidships. The very high foredeck will afford a great platform from which to spot bait and fish as well as throw a cast net. Should you want to stand up there and fish, Pro-Line also adds rod holders port and starboard in the corners of the foredeck as standard fare.
Find long, narrow fish boxes on each side outboard and another big fish box on centerline. Three rod holders hide under each gunwale, and two mount in each covering board. One lighted livewell fits under the transom seat, while another comes even closer to hand on the aft side of the helm seats - and they're all pressurized to keep your baits in the absolute best condition until you're ready to use them.
My only suggestion to Pro-Line involves the rod holders. The company still uses those funky rubber-capped models: Cut 'em off.
Design and Construction
Pro-Line hasn't changed anything about its advanced stringer-system construction. It builds the 35 SS of hand-laid, biaxial and triaxial fiberglass, specially blended high-grade resins and premium gelcoat. A one-piece liner boasts an integral stringer system, which adds to the strength and durability of the vessel.
Pro-Line uses only marine-grade stainless-steel hardware and UV-stabilized, colorfast, low-maintenance vinyl external upholstery. Speaking of which, I like the new upholstery and closed-cell foam in the seating along with the mesh bottoms for positive drainage.
Other new features set this boat apart as well. For example, an interesting small box just forward of the console front seat works perfectly for stowing dock lines and the like. An insulated drink box under that seat also sports a shallow catchall next to it.
The console has enough headroom to accommodate a sink and toilet. And in this there's an unusual design element: In many performance boats of this size, you need to choose between creature comforts like a head and substantial fuel capacity. This boat has made no such compromise. Also, in keeping with its racing heritage, the racing bolster seats have a drop-away bottom.
This marks the first vessel Pro-Line has introduced with a stepped hull. It makes for a smoother ride in a chop and potentially higher speed for equivalent fuel consumption when compared with an unvented running surface.
The 35 does what it was designed to do very well. Welcome back, Pro-Line.
LOA......33 ft. 4 in.
BEAM......9 ft. 2 in.
DRAFT......1 ft. 11 in.
MAX POWER......(3) 300 hp OB
MSRP......$167,905 (w/ T300 hp OB)
$187,246 (as tested)
Pro-Line Boats / Crystal River, Florida / 800-344-1281 / www.prolineboats.com