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February 02, 2010

Yellowfin 29

Unlike some "mini-me" performance boats, this 29 loses nothing in the shrinkage. It runs beautifully in rough water without the shortcomings common to stepped hulls.

What a day to run a boat: Forecasts called for tornados, and the rain came down in buckets. Needless to say, my performance evaluations for the Yellowfin 29 come from the Intracoastal rather than offshore of Florida's east coast.

Performance
While the boat was still on the trailer, I couldn't help but notice the dramatic reverse angle on the incredibly sharp chines. Combined with a significant bow flare, those chines effectively keep spray from blowing up onto the passengers.

The 29 represents the largest of all Yellowfin Yachts models with a single step; from that size up, all hulls carry two. I've heard two schools of thought about stepped hulls: One says the steps reduce drag by generating a layer of air along the running surface, while the other claims that potential energy forward of the step changes into kinetic energy aft of the step, in effect, lifting the boat higher out of the water. Sorry, I am not brilliant enough to determine the validity of either theory.

The integral transom bracket angles up from the running surface, allowing better water flow across the propellers. The 23-pitch Mirage three-blade props on the twin 300 hp Mercury Verado outboards lift this boat onto plane like a rocket launch — even with a full livewell and 175 gallons of fuel.

At 30 mph, the vessel seemed to be standing still while the 300s sipped a mere 13 gph, equating to 2.3 mpg. Even at 40 mph, you can realize 2 mpg. Surprisingly, a fast cruise of 53 mph still only uses 35 gph. At a top speed (loaded, remember) of 68.1 mph, the 29 burned 60 gph, showing that this hull's power-to-weight ratio runs pretty efficiently, readily cruising at 2 mpg or better throughout much of the rpm range.

The 29 corners really well. It leans into turns and can actually turn faster than you might like with the engines trimmed down. Slow trolling and drifting in a beam sea, the 29 exhibits a moderate roll moment with quite gentle transitions.

The owner of this particular boat chose to go with a soft T-top rather than a custom hardtop to keep weight down as well as lower the center of gravity.

The spacious helm console held one 15-inch Northstar 6100i chart plotter/sounder as well as the Mercury engine performance display. You'll find more than enough room for larger or multiple displays on this console.

Fishing
Though you can have as many rod holders on any Yellowfin as you can possibly fit, this owner opted for seven on the T-top, with the two outboard at right angles for trolling and one segregated on centerline for a long drop-back. Add to that the six across the transom and another four (standard) in the gunwales, plus three under each rail, and even a conservative angler will find enough places to carry sticks. The only thing I might change is the location of this particular 29's aft-most in-gunwale rod holders, as they seem to interfere with the uppermost under-gunwale rod holder.

The leaning post boasts a huge tackle storage box beneath the cushions. Store your fish in the 132-gallon macerated fish box forward or one of the two smaller boxes aft. And if you fish live bait, you'll surely appreciate the 55-gallon pressurized livewell.

Design and Construction
Looking at this 29-footer's profile, you can't possibly mistake it for anything but a Yellowfin with its distinctive proud bow and dramatically sloping sheer line.

I love the layout of the lazarette on this and all Yellowfins. You can access everything very easily, making any necessary troubleshooting a breeze.

Unlike so many performance-oriented boats that have no ladder, Yellowfin's contribution to offshore safety includes a slick Garelick tube ladder that completely hides in the transom but is easily deployed by someone in the water.

You'll find no shortcuts in the construction of a Yellowfin. The boats are designed and built to run offshore at high speeds — a pastime that puts incredible stresses on the hull and passengers. History has shown that these boats stand up to the stresses, probably better than the passengers do.

Yellowfin Yachts
Sarasota, Florida
941-753-7828
yellowfinyachts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 30 ft. 11 in.

BEAM: 9 ft. 6 in.

HULL DRAFT: 1 ft. 8 in.

DEADRISE22 deg.

WEIGHT7,400 lb. (dry)

FUEL250 gal.

MAX POWERTwin 350 hp OB

MSRP$134,500 (w/ twin 300 hp OB)