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April 27, 2010

Scout 345 XSF

Ralph Lauren suits, cashmere overcoats, Patek Philippe watches, Opus X cigars, Dom Pérignon and Scout Boats. They all function perfectly and couldn't possibly look better in the process...

Throughout all the tough economic times, some companies have invested in the future by continuing to design and introduce new models. Scout - a perfect example of this philosophy - introduces its biggest center-console ever. In fact, the 345 XSF represents the 10th new model Scout has designed for the current model year. Now that's confidence in the future!

Performance
This hull runs dry, dry, dry (not that it matters since this new Scout comes with a gorgeous glass-enclosed console).

The 345 with a pair of Yamaha 350 V-8s boasts a top speed of 63.8 mph at 6,100 rpm, burning 69.6 gph. That's a hair shy of a mile-per-gallon at wide-open throttle! Best cruise is 28.9 mph at 3,500 rpm, using 23.7 gph for 1.22 mpg.

A pair of 300s drops top end to 55.5 mph, using 54 gph, but raises the bar to 1.03 mpg at WOT. Interestingly, though, optimum cruise with the 300s is a faster 39.9 mph at 4,500 rpm and 28.9 gph for an impressive 1.38 mpg. Time to 30 mph with the 300s (9.86 seconds) also beats the 11.83 seconds it takes with the 350s.

As has proven true on every Scout I've run over the years, the 345 XSF turns in a tight arc and drifts in stable fashion. With the bow thruster, you'll maneuver like a pro in virtually all conditions at any dock.

Fishing
Having fished in some far-flung places with Scout president Steve Potts, I can vouch for the fact that he strives for fishing-feature perfection in every boat he builds. The new 345 proved no exception with nine rod holders on the T-top in addition to those in the gunwales.

Scout hides tackle-storage drawers under the helm chairs as well as beneath the stern seat, which also houses a livewell. As you'd find on much larger fishing boats, the 345's cockpit features a molded-in locker to starboard for storing those awkward items such as dock lines, gaffs and brushes.

Though the 60-gallon transom fish box comes standard, you can replace it with an optional aerated livewell or deep freeze. The switch doesn't mean you'll give up fish storage, however. Each 345 sports a pair of 7-foot, in-deck fish boxes on either side of the lazarette.

Design and Construction
Scout provides a handsome and functional powder-coated hardtop with a glass enclosure as standard equipment on this boat. It took a moment to determine how to access the console, as Scout puts doors on both sides.

The portside door opens to the roomy cabin below, where you'll find a marine head with electric overboard discharge and 10-gallon holding tank, a microwave, stainless-steel sink with Corian counter and mirror, and another Corian counter with ice chest below. Scout installed a comfortable double berth with a removable middle cushion that covers a hi-lo Corian table. The berth converts easily to a lounge/seating arrangement with no bulky table brace through the floor. Throughout the 345, you'll find naught but the finest-quality upholstery with a richness that broadcasts its presence across the harbor.

The starboard door hides vertical storage for gaffs, mops and the like. Scout is nothing if not tastefully innovative. For example, other unique features include an optional retractable fiberglass sunshade that exposes a moon roof in the hardtop when electrically extended. A large sun pad with seatback forward of the console rises on rams to reveal a large storage area. And unlike so many boats, the Scout's swim platform aft of the transom can be negotiated beam to beam without obstruction.

The standard-equipment list even includes a Kenwood stereo system with an iPod plug or USB flash drive; four JL Audio 7.7 component speakers and a JL Audio 450-watt amp; a console glove box with a 12V plug; and a Lewmar anchor windlass with bow and helm controls.

Scout offers some of the handsomest fittings in the industry with its signature D-shaped tubing on the molded T-top, all meticulously powder-coated. Optional features that I expect most owners will select include a 12V (5,000 btu) air conditioner, 4 kW generator, an electric bow thruster, underwater LED lights, a colored hull, outriggers and a Pantograph windshield wiper with a freshwater washdown.

Scout engineering puts the company in a uniquely strong position with its Strata-Mount stringer system. The molded grid fits into the hull and features two main longitudinal stringers that pass through the transom and end, supporting the full, integral engine bracket for outstanding strength - an ever-more-important point with the size and weight of outboard power today.

But perhaps the most instantly recognizable asset the Scout 345 XSF brings to your dock is its incredible good looks. Class, style and beautiful lines make this boat unmistakable. In a world of look-alikes, I defy anyone not to recognize this boat from a distance in an instant!


LOA......34 ft. 11 in.
BEAM......10 ft. 9 in.
HULL DRAFT......2 ft. 3 in.
DEADRISE......22 deg.
WEIGHT......9,100 lb. (w/o power)
FUEL......330 gal.
MAX HP......Twin 350 hp OB
MSRP......Price on request

Scout Boats / Summerville, South Carolina / 843-821-0068 / www.scoutboats.com