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October 02, 2008

Yellowfin 32

Yellowfin makes the best boats possible without cutting a single corner. They're fast, dry, seaworthy, and the sheer line profile sets them apart from everything else on the market.

Lots of manufacturers claim their boats go fast across the seas, but you can count one one hand the ones that rightfully have that heritage. They all made the crossover from offshore racing to fishing at some point. Some made the switch wholesale, giving up racing altogether, while others still manage to race and fish at the same time. Yellowfin's president, Wylie Nagler, comes from racing, but would rather fish than breathe. So while you won't see him or his boats at APBA races anymore, you'll consistently find his boats  at the front of the pack at kingfish events, where the fast have a blast.

As luck would have it, seas were running only two to three feet from the southeast on the gorgeous south Florida spring day we tested the Yellowfin 32. I say "luck" because we ran out of one of the worst inlets on the East Coast - Hillsborough. Big seas out of the east or southeast cause surf to break all the way across the inlet mouth, just outside of a nasty dogleg in the channel. No such problem this time.
No matter how hard I tried, I found it impossible to launch this ventilated hull. It just wants to hug the sea's surface like a magnet. Pulling the shifts into neutral left the Yellowfin's bow to fall away from the wind until the boat drifted almost directly beam-to the seas, where it rolled very gently with comfortable transitions. In fact, throughout our performance runs, the Yellowfin 32 responded gently to all we asked of it, except it turns more sharply than you would ever want to. Be careful not to eject any passengers.
Surprisingly, Yellowfin designed this boat to carry strictly twin engines, unlike many of its other boats that readily handle triples and even quad applications. Of course, with the introduction of 350 hp outboards, even with twins, this 32-footer can benefit from up to 700 horsepower. With the standard 300 hp package on our transom, the 32 hopped onto plane in just under four seconds, cruised efficiently at a very respectable 40 mph, using 24 gph while turning only 4,300 rpm. At top speed, we hit 57.5 mph, burning 60 gph - obviously a speed at which you won't want to spend a lot of time with today's fuel prices. However, this boat had a very cool upper control station. With a clean T-top, the 32 tops out slightly above 61 mph.

I find it interesting that when working at idle speed around docks, some outboard boats maneuver sideways well and others don't at all. The Yellowfin 32 handles this trick superbly. And once you learn how, it makes you look so good to those standing on the pier.

Trolling speed produces virtually no surface turbulence from the hull moving through the water. On centerline, you'll find limited subsurface white water stretching back to about the second wave.