The Century 3000, like the rest of the line, impresses me. In fact, I have been impressed with Century boats since – as a young teenager – my very first boat was a 22-foot Century Raven.
Through no fault of the boat, testing it took three tries, one canceled by a hurricane and the other by an inept navigator (not me) running up on a sandbar before I managed to get aboard. But the third time’s a charm, and I finally got to fish the Century 3000 Walkaround out of Sanibel Island on Florida’s southwest coast.
While not the conditions to truly test the mettle of such a boat, the foot-high, widely spaced waves allowed me to see the attitude at which the boat landed after it launched off a wave at high speed. At the 56 mph top speed delivered by twin Yamaha 250 EFIs, the 3000 Walkaround lands comfortably and softly stern-first.
Idle speed (5 mph) will be too fast for live-bait trolling, but with one engine shut down and the other turning at 500 rpm, you’ll get a perfect live-bait speed. And you have the insurance of being able to get up on plane and run at 30 mph with only one engine.
Close-quarters handling, both docking and spinning on a fish, proved nimble and responsive.
Certainly the top speed is impressive, but you won’t want to run that very often considering that 56 mph burned a considerable 55 gph at 5,500 rpm. A more rational (and fiscally responsible) 49 mph at 5,000 rpm decreases consumption to 37 gph – a substantial difference. Optimum cruising speed works out to be 35 mph burning a scant 18.7 gph total. At this speed, you can expect an effective range of almost 500 miles from the 270-gallon tank – most acceptable for an outboard boat.
An interesting side note: The Yamaha speedometer agreed with my Magellan 3000 hand-held GPS within less than 1 mph throughout the test – unusual and most impressive.
We chose to troll the slicks of several shrimpers on test day and I discovered the new 3000 Walkaround to be stable and quiet in every sea direction. Unfortunately, it happened to be one of those perfect days when birds worked, chum slicks spread, seas proved extremely comfortable, the sun shone – everything but the fish cooperated. I had really hoped to try out one of the two very large fish boxes.
A good example of how Century attends to detail can be found in the installation of separate pumps for the saltwater wash-down and the live well rather than forcing a switch between the two. A small item? Perhaps, but important to serious fishermen because it says that other fishing amenities will surely be in evidence.
Anyone who likes to bottom-fish from the bow will really appreciate the cushioned seat there. Not only will tall people like me find it easy to get their rod tips over the rail, they’ll find the seat a comfortable height so their knees don’t meet their chins as on so many walk-arounds. And the access fore and aft from the cockpit also provided a super-secure feeling with adequate handholds and room to turn.
Standard rod storage includes: under-gunwales for six, across the T-top for five, across the back of the leaning post for five and two flush-mounted in each gunwale. More could be placed elsewhere, including upright in the console and on the overhead in the forward cabin.
The stringer system (which looks like a tuning fork from above) constructed of foam-filled fiberglass gives excellent strength and rigidity to the hull.
But a few missing handholds caught my attention. The windscreen on the console has no support – just the smoked Lucite, and as soon as someone loses his balance and grabs onto it, it’s history. Also, getting down into the cabin could be made easier by the addition of a handrail on the outer bulkhead. As it stands, the only thing to hold onto is the Lucite windshield. Admittedly small items, but hey – everything big has been done impeccably.
The cabin provides remarkable room considering how much space the on-deck, L-shaped settee takes up forward of the helm console. The galley doesn’t qualify as exotic, but does include a sink, small stove and refrigerator, microwave and stereo.
Interestingly, the head and shower have been placed in the console rather than down in the forward cabin. I found loads of room in the console – enough even for me to change clothes.
The cockpit, while not huge, proved to be very workable, and access to the swim platform virtually adds another 30 percent to the space. Atop the transom you’ll find the bait prep area with sink and cutting board abutting the live well.
I’d have no problem taking this 3000 offshore 50 miles or more to fish with my cronies one day and cruise the bay with my family the next.