Stiff east winds buffeted the south Florida coast as I stepped aboard the new Sailfish 320 CC at Miami’s Sea Isle Marina. Michael Cohen from Nautical Ventures, the local Sailfish Boats dealership, welcomed me aboard, and the discussion immediately turned to the weather. “Dang wind,” I cursed. “It’ll be rough out there.”
“Yeah, but this gives us an opportunity to put the 320 CC to the test,” Cohen replied, as we cast off the dock. I sighed and nodded in agreement.
Sailfish Boats has a reputation for building wave-taming boats, thanks to an exclusive Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) hull. Now in its sixth generation, VDS features three distinct running surfaces. The transom deadrise, for example, changes in three 1-degree increments from 24 degrees (a true deep-V) at the very bottom to 22 degrees as it ascends to the hull sides.
Occurring along the length of the stepped hull, this multi-angle geometry helps deliver the soft ride of a deep-V in rough offshore waters (which the 320 CC is designed to fish), but also maximizes speed and fuel-efficiency in smooth water. What’s more, triple strakes and hard chines boost lift and toss aside spray to help ensure a dry ride.
We’ll talk more about ride and handling later, but first let’s look at how Sailfish builds and equips this boat. Construction starts with a hand-laid stringer grid that’s injected with closed-cell foam and reinforced with fiberglass mat for structural integrity and durability. That explains the solid feel of the boat as we traversed the lumpy water.
Sailfish uses Kevlar- and carbon-fiber-reinforced high-load areas, and avoids using wood to eliminate any worries about rot. Sailfish backs it up with a 10-year warranty on the hull. Built-in rigging tubes with pull cords facilitate the addition of accessories that require running wires or hoses from the bilge to the helm.
This video tour highlights many of the interior elements of the Sailfish 320 CC, including the bow seating, helm area, cockpit, transom design and deck layout. Jim Hendricks
Sailfish has enhanced the 40-inch-wide dash with an upholstered brow, which substantially cuts down on reflected glare. A pair of Garmin 16-inch multifunction displays, a Mercury Vessel View display, a Fusion audio source unit (serving Wet Sound speakers), and an accessory switch panel filled the dash of my test boat. A tilt-and-lock steering wheel lies to port.
I relished the convenient storage nooks at the helm, including a shelf and glove box to starboard. At the base of the console, behind the footrest, I discovered another convenient storage locker, and I really appreciated the full-width watertight tackle-organizer storage locker atop the console. There are also two USB charging ports inside.
To complete this offshore center-console fishing machine, nearly all boating anglers will opt for the available Offshore Tournament Pack II hardtop ($18,804), which includes an overhead electronics box, life-jacket stowage and 10 rod holders. Backing plates are integrated into the hardtop for adding antennas and radar.
A modest acrylic windshield wraps around the console, but I highly recommend the optional, three-piece clear-vinyl enclosure ($3,310) to minimize wind blast while underway.
I liked the 320 CC’s livewell capacity, which includes a 30-gallon tank in the starboard quarter and a 35-gallon well built into the leaning post abaft the twin high-back adjustable helm seats with flip-up bolsters and fold-down arm rests.
While we did not fish on this blustery test day, I found plenty of room to ice a catch inside twin 65-gallon insulated fish boxes in the bow and an 80-gallon insulated fish locker below the aft deck—all discharge overboard with pumps to evacuate ice melt, blood and slime.
I also discovered built-in rod and tackle storage on both inwales of the aft cockpit. Buyers can also order built-in tackle storage in the leaning post, accessible from the aft side, but this negates the leaning-post livewell, so I don’t recommend this option.
Ride It Out
With the Atlantic festooned with white-capping 7- to 8-foot rollers, we diverted to Biscayne Bay where seas ran 2- to 4-feet to put the 320 CC through its paces. The hull sliced through waves at speed, producing a smooth ride without taking on a drop of spray. Handling proved crisp and predictable, and electric-power-assist hydraulic steering made turns fingertip easy.
In the more sedate waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, the twin Mercury 300 hp Verado V-8 outboards propelled my test boat to a top speed of 51 mph. (In previous testing by Mercury in even calmer seas, the boat reached a top speed of 56 mph.) In my test, the lift generated by the VDS design help vault the 31½-foot hull from zero to 30 mph in six seconds flat.
The 320 CC achieved its best cruising efficiency at 26.4 mph (3,500 rpm), where the outboards burned 16 gallons per hour for 1.65 mpg. Offshore anglers will love the cruising range of 423 miles based on 90 percent of the 285-gallon fuel capacity.
All Decked Out
The 320 CC features a level deck, diamond “dot-matrix” nonskid and a center-console layout with plenty of room to follow a hooked fish while moving between the console and gunwales. With the seating pads removed from the elevated forward area, you can easily step up to battle a fish around the bow or man the anchor.
I found that the optional transom bench ($1,844) quickly tucks against the bulkhead to open up the aft cockpit for fishing, and the standard transom door in the port quarter enables the crew to haul aboard a big tuna or swordfish.
For all of its fishing prowess, the 320 CC can offer a softer side for those who order the optional Comfort Package, which adds an inviting sunpad and lounges in the bow area. There’s also a comfy seat on the forward console with a removable cooler underneath.
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Whether miles offshore or just on a harbor cruise, everyone will appreciate the comforts afforded by the console interior. Accessible via a companionway on the port side, the interior features an electric marine head, vanity with sink and freshwater faucet/pull-out shower fitting, mirror, port light and comfortable SeaDek flooring. I also discovered easy access to the backside of the helm rigging.
I like the style of the 320 CC, particularly the subtle sweep of the shearline and bold Carolina flare. Ultimately, Sailfish Boats’ 320 CC merges a wave-taming hull design, state-of-the-art construction, and a versatile offshore fishing layout in a package that offers superb performance, fuel efficiency and comfort.
|Engines:||Twin Mercury 300 hp Verado V-8 outboards|
|Load:||207 gal. fuel, two crew|
|Time to 30 mph:||6 sec.|
|Top Speed:||51 mph @ 5,700 rpm|
|Best MPG:||1.65 mpg @ 26.4 mph (3,500 rpm)|
|LOA:||31 ft. 6 in.|
|Transom Deadrise:||24 to 22 deg.|
|Draft:||1 ft. 10 in.|
|Weight:||10,500 lb. (w/ engines)|
|Base Price:||$301,683 (w/ twin Mercury Verado 300 V-8s)|