Bob Dougherty is not a young man. But I'd be hard-pressed to think of anyone in the global marine industry with a more innovative mind. Sure, he's responsible for the Boston Whaler being unsinkable - a radical concept in its day. But that's old news. Since then, Dougherty, now president of Everglades Boats, has consistently won awards for new designs and construction methods. And with son Steve slowly accepting the company reins, new models show the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Winds at 25 knots and seas dead out of the east at 4 to 6 feet make for a true test of a boat's mettle. Triple 300 hp Suzuki four-strokes burbled us out of Ponce de Leon Inlet on Florida's east coast. The first thing I learned? Launch off a wave, and the 35 lands perfectly - slightly stern-first - with nary a creak, groan or thud. Running at cruising speed, the ride stays very dry when you lift the upwind chine slightly with the trim tabs. Down-sea, I set the wheel and let it run, and this 35 didn't swerve or lug at all. In a hard-over turn, the boat bleeds speed quickly without the bow digging and carves a 180-degree turn in a length and a half. Drifting, it takes quite a while to fall off the wind. Sitting beam-to the seas, the Everglades 35 exhibits a moderate roll moment with very gentle transitions.
Everglades mounts a bow thruster, which can certainly help around the dock. But with the two outboard engines of the triples spaced so far apart, I found very little need for the thruster.
Back in the Intracoastal, the 300 hp Suzukis made the GPS read 52.3 mph at 5,500 rpm. Given better conditions, I'm sure I could have coaxed 55 mph out of them.
The Doughertys have fished all their lives, but like the shoemaker's children, they no longer have as much free time to fish. Nonetheless, you can see that lifetime of fishing knowledge in the layout of the Everglades 35. For example, the boat comes from the factory with three rod holders on each side of the bow and three more in each cockpit gunwale. Add to that six holders across the back of the transom, five more across the back of the best-designed T-top in the business and under-gunwale lockable rod storage for three on each side. These horizontal holders feature cords at each end that don't need to be disconnected to place or remove rods.
A remarkably large tackle station with built-in livewell behind the helm seats proved to be just the right height for rigging without having to bend over constantly. It supplies space for hanging rigs, hooks, pliers and knives, as well as drawers for tackle, lures and other gear; and the baitwell has full-column water ingress.
Here's another innovation: The aft-facing foldaway seat on back of the baitwell sports a gimbal so that you can use it as a fighting chair if you choose. You'll find two more foldaway seats in the cockpit too.
I really liked the fascinating design of the scuppers: four 2-inch drains on centerline with a hinged lid for easy access to clear detritus. Should you ever get water in this cockpit, it won't last long. Add to that an innovative opening panel in the transom door called a "freeing panel." Should you take green water over the transom, it can readily escape through this hole in addition to through the scuppers.
An insulated, stainless-steel drink box in the transom has a heavy-duty cold plate designed to "spill the chill" into the large transom fish box adjacent. Outboard to port, you get another livewell.
The hardtop features a built-in ladder, which allows access to an optional upper station - a great vantage point for spotting fish better. Other fishing features include the eight-drawer tackle station, 158 square feet of cockpit fishing space and the self-draining, insulated, forward fish box and cooler.
Design and Construction
Honestly, I don't have enough space here to mention every innovation you'll find on the Everglades 35. Just a few include a feature normally found only on large sport-fishing yachts - fresh- and raw-water washdown in the anchor locker and a table mounted on an electric ram in the bow. At the touch of a button, you can choose cocktails or casting. Ever wonder where to stow your dock lines? Everglades provides special lockers on both sides. And the glass windshield allows you to have a wiper and washer.
Belowdecks, Everglades provides a head with pull-out shower, as well as a twin berth. Up at the helm, a StarBoard cover raises and lowers on electric rams to lock up your valuable electronics, and the powder-coated T-top frame holds a built-in weather-curtain track. A special cushioned floor pad at the helm can be ordered in most any thickness - a great feature for vertically challenged captains. Then there are the innovative lighting designs and so much more.
And finally, Dougherty invented the RAMCAP construction method that pre-molds the dense foam filler, and then molds the fiberglass around it, thereby making the entire hull and deck effectively one single part. You won't find a stronger hull.